Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Learn Without Going

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.
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18 comments:

  1. This seems like such a simple alternative that I can’t believe I never thought of it! Great advice. Now I’m looking forward to not attending the next conference I really wanted to attend!

    JaneKennedySutton

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  2. Now THIS is a much appreciated post with lots of great tips, Helen. Not that that's something unusual for you - lol. Good advice, lots of stuff I hadn't thought of - thanks!

    BTW, I AM going to do a post later this week on the Friendship award and the Lie thru your Teeth tag game ... planning something special (wink)

    The Old Silly

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  3. Jane, have fun - not attending that conference!

    Marvin, I don't know whether to look forward to your upcoming posts or be very scared. ;-)

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  4. I never considered how I could attend by not attending. Good points all. However, since I've never been to one, and since I think there's one not to far away in Colorado Springs this fall. I may just go to see what it's like. Maybe make a mini-vacation of it, as well.

    Best regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  5. I never considered how I could attend by not attending. Good points all. However, since I've never been to one, and since I think there's one not to far away in Colorado Springs this fall. I may just go to see what it's like. Maybe make a mini-vacation of it, as well.

    Best regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  6. Let us know what you think of the conference, Galen. And what you learned while there!

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  7. This is wonderful advice,Helen. I've attended local writer conferences in the past, but I was leery of spending too much time and money traveling near and far for less than satisfactory results.
    Karen Walker

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  8. It's also a good way to check out various conferences. Know who will be there and what will be going on before you sign up.

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  9. Good advice, Helen. I hate to think of how much money I've spent in the past on writer conferences. They were worth it during my early career but I now dread the hassels of airline travel, so I stay home.

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  10. I've never been to a ocnference, but would like to find some in my area soon. Networking is everything, whether its in person or online. Without getting out there and meeting people face-to-face, its going to be difficult if not impossible to be successful as a writer.

    - Steve Tremp
    http://www.stephentremp.blogspot.com/

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  11. What a smart idea, Helen. I, for one, can't always get to conferences. Living beyond the back 40 everything is a haul to get to. I have checked out websites and there are free articles. But I didn't think of seeing if they have CD's of their workshops.

    I liked the page you showed. I'm going to start looking at some of those.

    Thanks for the info!

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  12. Stephen, it is energizing to go to a conference. And you can meet a lot of people there.

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  13. I love conferences - there is so much to be learned and so many to learn and network from. One really good conference (and its free which makes it even better) is the Online Muse Writers Conference in October. It is free and online so it is easy to attend - lots of great workshops. There is a lot of good networking there too. On the downside, I don't recall agents being there (although I may be mistaken) but there are representatives from a lot of smaller publishing houses which is great for getting your foot in the door in this business.

    I've attended several other conferences too (live and vicariously from others posting online what they have learned). Great tips here, Helen. I hadn't thought about trying to get CDs from conferences before, and, especially in today's economy, that is a great suggestion!

    Nancy, from Just a Thought…

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  14. I keep hearing writers mention the Online Muse Writers Conference. It must be a good one.

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  15. This was a great post, Helen. I really appreciated the link to the list of agents. Found some I will be contacting.

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  16. Great ideas for getting the most out of conferences without the costs of having to attend them!

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  17. I'll admit I've done more than a little vicarious conferencing in my day, and while it can't QUITE compare to the hands-on deal I have gained much for very little effort. Thanks for the tip!

    --Lisa
    http://authorlisalogan.blogspot.com

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  18. Save where you can! But attend when you can, too.

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