Blogger: Rachel Kent
Writers conferences are on my mind since I just returned from one in Seattle, and I’m preparing for one next month in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
I’ve noticed that many conferences work best for writers who are at certain levels but not as well for writers at other levels.
The conference I just came from in Seattle is a wonderful place for beginners. They have group appointments with publishing professionals instead of individual appointments so that you don’t have to feel intimidated with a one-to-one meeting. And they have a lot of mentors and experienced freelancers on faculty so you can get great critiques and advice from those who are at an intermediate or advanced writing level. There weren’t many editors and agents at this conference, but they did have established people to talk to if a conferee was ready for that step.
A conference that I would say is mostly set up for advanced authors is the ACFW conference. As a beginner, this conference would probably be overwhelming just by the sheer number of attendees. I know that ACFW does a lot to make sure everyone feels welcomed and encouraged, but the way the conference is set up is a lot more intense than some others I’ve been to. The appointments are one-to-one and strictly timed, the classes are on topics that multi-published authors can get a lot out of as well, and there are lots of editors and agents are available for appointments. (I’m aware that they offer workshops that are graded by level so beginners don’t end up in classes that are beyond their skills and advanced writers get more in-depth material.)
Before you invest in a conference, research who will be on the faculty and what the schedule is to see if the conference is going to be a good fit for your level.
What conferences have you been to and what level of writer would you say they fit best?
Have you ever been overwhelmed–or underwhelmed–by a conference? What would have made the experience more relevant for someone on your career level?