Jan Morrill, me, Ruth Weeks, Patty Stith (thanks for the pic Jan!)
I'm in Oklahoma City, OK waiting for the Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc. (OWFI) board meeting to start. We are planning the 2011 conference which is always held the first weekend of May. A lot of work goes into a conference. In fact, the day our conference is over we begin working on the next year's. I will be serving as conference president in 2012 and I'm already working on it!
Everyone should go to at least one writing conference, even those who consider themselves advanced and think they've heard it all.
None of us have heard it all.
Besides, the networking opportunities are invaluable. Pitching to agents and editors in this setting gives the writer a great advantage over those who query via snail mail or email. Meeting industry professionals face-to-face offers an opportunity for rapport. They can get a feel for you and what you have written. They can also ask questions and give feedback!
Think about it, would you rather have your manuscript stuck in an electronic slush pile or discuss it with the editor or agent in person.
Conferences can be costly, so do your research, choose one, and start saving money. If you are thinking, but Linda, there is no room in the budget to save money, take a look at what you may spend on a daily basis. Can you "trade" it for "saving" money? The cost of lattes, gum, soft drinks, eating out for lunch, movies really add up. Have a garage sale. Sell stuff on e-bay. Put all that money in a bank account precisely for conference expenses. Be sure to save up enough to buy books! It is also good to find a roommate to go with you and share with the cost.
Go to www.writersconf.org for a great list of conferences according to genre. BUT, while you are looking at that list, DON'T forget the greatest conference of all, the 2011 OWFI Writers Conference May 5-7th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in OKC, OK!