Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A conference is like a garage sale by Morgan Mandel

A conference is like a garage sale. I never know what I'll discover, but I usually can find something I like to take home with me. Among my take home items, of course, are books, some of them free. Those are just the tangible goodies.

With June's mention of  Spring Fling 2010 coming in April, I remember back to my first conference, Of Dark and Stormy Nights, sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America. I read about its existence in a magazine and decided to try it out. There I met many fascinating mystery writers, made friends, and learned much about writing from their panels and speeches. What impressed me was the fact that many others were like me in the same boat, striving to get published. There were also others who had made it to the promised land of publication and were happy to share their experiences.

That was quite a while back. Since then, I've been to Bouchercon, the National RWA conference, Love is Murder, and Spring Fling, to name a few conferences. Each held something unique for me to remember. I got my first contract at Love is Murder one year and had Two Wrongs published, which led to the next contract for Girl of My Dreams. Another year I got my inspiration to self-publish. The result is my recent release, Killer Career.

In April, I'll be going to another Spring Fling conference. I don't know what I'll take back this time, but I'm sure to find something great. For info. on this conference to be held April 23 and 24 at the Hyatt in Deerfield, IL, click onto: http://www.chicagospringfling.com/

What about you? Have you been to any conferences? If so, what do you like about them? Or, maybe you're thinking of trying one. Which one?


Terry Odell said...

I love conferences. Where else can you mingle with so many other folks who hear voices in their heads and don't have to worry about being locked up in a rubber room.

I only wish the budget allowed more. I've been to 3 RWA national conferences, plus a bunch of local ones in central and south Florida. SleuthFest is my local MWA conference, and I love it (it's where I met the editor--who I didn't know was an editor--who bought When Danger Calls.) The Emerald City conference in Washington State. Pike's Peak Writer's Conference in Colorado Springs. RT when it was in Orlando.

I'll be going to the "Written in the Stars" conference in Shreverport next March, and giving a workshop on dialogue basics.

Did I say I love conferences!

Anonymous said...

I've never been to a conference but will be looking for a few locally for 2010. I'll bring the fam and we can all stay at a hotel.

Stephen Tremp

Debra St. John said...

Conferences are a very valuable tool, for any career. I've attended several writing conferences as well as ones for my "real" job! Lately I've been presenting at those conferences, which is another great way to make connections and get something new out of a conference.

Helen Ginger said...

I've been to several conferences - Bouchercon a couple of times, the Writers' League's Agents & Editors Conference many times (ran it when I was E.D.), and recently the online PPWebCon. Conferences are great for meeting people, learning new stuff, being inspired and motivated, connecting with agents, editors & published authors, and just rejuvenating yourself.

Straight From Hel

Katie Hines said...

I've only been to three conferences, but they were all worth it. The first was rather small, and the offerings a bit meager, but as I didn't know anything about publishing, it was a good one to start with.

My second was an SCBWI conference, and it tended to have more relevent material, since I am a children's writer.

The third was a Highlights conference, and it was wonderful! I cannot tell you how much I learned from them. I'd love to go back, but it is pricey, and I need to have some time to assimilate the information.

Dorothy Thompson said...

Wish I lived near Illinois, I'd go with you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My last one was Book 'Em in Virginia, and I came home with new author friends, new fans, and a real sense of satisfaction this time around!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm a conference junkie.

I'll be attending Epicon in New Orleans (March), Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha (May), and of course PSWA in Las Vegas (June) and Bouchercon in San Francisco in October.

I think for a writing conference, PSWA is my favorite. (http://www.publicsafetywriter.com) It's small, one track, interesting speakers, opportunties for anyone who wants to be on a panel, bring your books for sale with only 10% going to PSWA.


Other Lisa said...

I've been to LeftCoast Crime, as a volunteer/guest, and it was a blast.

Next year, I'm looking to go as an author (my book comes out in June). So far I'm considering LeftCoast Crime, Bouchercon and ThrillerFest. I'd love to hear any/all suggestions!

Anonymous said...

My "must-attend" conference is the annual Women Writing the West! I agree, you can always take away at least a tidbit, if not a treasure trove of information. There are opportunities to meet with agents and publishers. And the people--that's the most important thing for me, the contacts, the support, the networking, and friendships developed.

I've also attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, which is great too. Opportunities to meet with agents and editors too.

I recommend attending at least one conference every year if you can.