paperw-3094008_1280I know a lot of people think the writers’ conference season is in the summer. But the ones I’ve recently attended have all been in the fall, so I am dedicating my blog for September to conferences.

If you love writing and have been working on your art for awhile, you may have been considering attending a writers’ conference. For me, there’s just one reason: you want to get published.

Although conferences offers classes on how to improve you art, they exist primarily to connect writers with people employed in the publishing industry. If you re focused on developing your writing skills, don’t go to a conference. Takes classes at a college or online or at an arts center. Read books on the subject. Join a writers’ group. Most conferences don’t offer enough classed on the art of writing to justify the expense if that is where your focus is.

Most writers attend a conference to pitch their work to  agents and editors. The fact that you have spent time and money to take part in a conference shows agents and editors that you take getting your writing published seriously.

Another benefit is networking with fellow writers. I had the unexpected pleasure of bumping into Jen Turano at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas last year. We connected because we attended the same high school, several years apart, and our dads both worked their. I’ve corresponded with during the past year.

What if you’re unsure about whether to pursue publishing? Find a small, local conference within your means. The first ones I attended were located in a large city that was only a two-hour drive from my home. The conference only lasted one day, so I didn’t have to spend money on a hotel room.

Research the conference. If this is its 15th annual meeting, then it is well-established. Check up on the faculty. What are their credentials for teaching? Make sure the conference offers the kind of classes you want. Does the conference offer appointments to meet agent and editors? Do they come from reputable firms? Do they represent the style of work you write?

The more research you do, the more you will benefit from a conference.

What conferences have you attended? What advice do you have for someone who is a first-time attendee?