Blogger: Michelle Ule
Filling in for Rachel, Janet and Wendy over the next three days as they attend, and I write about, the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.
One of the best reasons to attend a writers conference is the networking that can take place.
Networking is defined as “interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.”
That’s exactly what has happened to me at every writers conference I’ve attended.
The contacts I made have fallen into five broad, and often overlapping, categories:
One of the best places to meet and get to know agents–and to assess them–is at a writers conference, particularly one like Mount Hermon that lasts over several days and gives you ample opportunity to observe them.
You can make appointments, attend their workshops or sit at their tables during a meal to talk with them.
In my case, at my first Mount Hermon writers conference, I examined the addresses posted, hoping to find someone from my hometown. I thought if I made a connection at the conference, that person might be willing to meet with me when we got home and talk about books and maybe writing.
Well, that was a little intimidating, but I sat at her table.
We learned we lived around the corner from each other.
Which is how I met Janet Grant.
The networking with editors that happens at a writers conference is valuable for both the writer and the editors.
Whether an editor can purchase a writer’s work, or the writer is ready to be published is immaterial.
A conference is an excellent place to meet, observe, visit, and learn if you might, someday, be a good fit to work together.
As I mentioned here, the first two people I met at Mount Hermon were editors: Becky Germany and Shannon (Hill) Marchese. I was sitting at a table before the conference began and they sat down with me.
Eight years later, Becky bought my first novella.
I’ve been privileged to attend workshops taught by all sorts of experts at the writers conferences I’ve attended. Networking with experts gives you an idea of who you might contact if you need one someday.
Under Jeane and Tyson, I learned how to put together a media kit and other elements needed for my first book launch.
Gayle oversaw two critique groups I attended where I learned to appreciate the craft involved in putting sentences together.
I took a nonfiction track from Kay while I was writing a spiritual memoir and learned how to craft it better.
Davis inspired me to go deep on a WWI novel I wrote and admonished me, because of the subject manner, “you better not get this wrong.”
Dave taught the most interesting workshop in which he likened an acquisition editor’s job to fantasy football and invited us to put together a dream team based on the imaginary money we would have to purchase a series of titles.
I learned a lot about the business needs of publishing from that hour.
By definition, of course, but the fun of a writers conference is everyone is good with words. Everyone likes to read. They love books.
The conversations are terrific and so. much.fun, whether around the table, sitting in class, waiting for a program or just walking about.
These are my people–they understand!
And they are so witty and clever!
I don’t remember when I’ve laughed as hard as I did at one very punny lunch.
Thirteen years later, the friends I have made are precious. I’m missing Mount Hermon this year for good reasons, but I long to be there with my friends.
Facebook helps, of course, I see them all the time.
But it’s still a joy to spend five days with people whose company I enjoy so very much.
I wish I was there!
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Five reasons to attend a writer’s conference. Click to Tweet