Last week on my post about Why Conferences Cost So Much, I said I’d post more this week about conferences. Today, I’m blogging about how to learn from a conference without even going.
Why do writers go to conferences? Of course, there can be a lot of reasons, but the two top ones are: to meet agents and to learn about writing.
Let’s start with Learning About Writing. If that’s your goal, you’ll be hitting as many of the workshops, panels, and classes as you can. If you go. But if you don’t, there are ways to learn. First off, check the schedule and mark the events you would love to attend if you could go. Then find out if the conference will be selling tapes. You can pick up one or two tapes for a whole lot less than paying for the full conference. Another idea is to check out the instructor or workshop leader. It won’t cost you anything to visit their website. They may be teaching in your area in the future. They may have a page or more of free articles you can read. They may have a blog where you could get daily information.
Now, how about if you would be going to the conference in order to Meet Agents. You can find out about them without being there. Go to the conference website. More than likely, the site lists the agents and editors who are scheduled to attend. Most sites will do more than that. They’ll have bio of each person, along with a link to the agent’s website and what genres they are looking for. Score! Check out this page which lists the agents who came to last weekend’s Writers’ League of Texas conference. Conferences do that, especially if they’ll be offering one-on-ones with the agents. They do it so attendees will know who they want to sign up with for a pitch session. But you, even if you’re not going to the conference, can have access to this information.
Sure, there are other reasons to go to a conference - networking, meeting the big name authors, getting autographs, and on and on. But there’s a lot to gain even not going to a conference.
4 months ago