Young aspiring writers often wonder about the value of attending a writer’s conference. The question under consideration is: Should you invest your hard earned money (generally these gatherings are not cheap to attend) to listen to people in the industry teach you about writing and related subjects? The short answer is … maybe!
If you’re new to writing, you have a lot to learn. Even as a veteran writer you will find yourself continually discovering helpful tips and techniques. When I answered the question above with a “maybe,” I did so for a simple reason. Not all writing conferences are created equal.
As a young and aspiring writer, you want to ensure that any conference you attend is more focused on teaching you something rather than on selling you something. I suggest before you go and plunk down a lot of money on a conference and travel expenses consider starting with an online writing course.
There are numerous writing courses available online that will help you with every facet of writing from the inception of the book to the promotion of it. I suggest that you start small and make sure writing is for you before you go investing a lot of money in it. This means taking a writing course or two to see what you can learn and how you take to it. If you find it a great fit, then keeping moving forward. If not, you haven’t wasted a lot of money to find that out. In other words, don’t jump in the deep end. Instead, just get your feet wet and see if you like the feel of the pool.
Finally, please listen to a word of caution. Generally, you will find that authors have big egos (myself included). In some ways writing is a bit of a “vanity” business. You market your work but you also market yourself. Smart business people know this and will try to take advantage of you if you allow them to. They know your work and ego are closely tied together. This makes an author vulnerable to exploitation. Everywhere you turn people will try to sell you this tool and that service all designed to “help” you enhance or market your writing and yourself. Don’t get me wrong. You will find a lot of helpful stuff out there. However, I caution you to be selective about what you purchase and sign-up for. If you’re not careful, you will be bombarded by tons of unwanted emails trying to sell you one thing or another. Many of these websites sell your email address for profit. As you probably already know, free offers are generally a tool used to capture your email and then market their products to you. Frankly, I do the same thing. It’s how ecommerce is done. The key is to be selective. There are so many great writing tools. Take the time to choose what’s right for you. You can always go back tomorrow and get the tool you passed up today.
Until next time, think about and try to answer the following questions:
What aspect of writing do you need help with the most?
If you took a writing course or attended a writer’s conference, what would you hope to learn?
Next time we’ll talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing.