Ten years ago, I had a dream to write a book and get it published by a royalty publishing house.
I’d been a freelance writer for magazines since 1993. Before that, I’d taught high school journalism and English for 11 years, and I’d spent a lot of time in the newsroom and production room of a daily newspaper. So I assumed I was well-acquainted with the world of publishing.
I was wrong.
Yes, I did have a good handle on the world of magazine and newspaper publishing. I was used to pitching ideas to editors and having less than 10 percent of my stories accepted for publication. But book publishing is an entirely different breed of cat.
I learned that when I attended my first writers’ conference in 2003. My friend and neighbor, Jenn Doucette, had a book on her heart, as well. She invited me over one day to review her query letter and book proposal and suggested we attend a writers’ conference together.
A writers’ conference? I’d heard of such entities, but why did I – a person with a master’s degree in teaching English and journalism… a person who’d taught others how to write for 11 years… a person who’d been getting her own writing published for a decade – need to go to a writers’ conference? What could they teach me about writing that I didn’t already know?
But I agreed to give it a try, mostly to support Jenn, who was more than a little nervous about pitching her book project to editors and agents. I completed my book proposal and off we went, proposals in hand and hopes high.
A day later, after receiving multiple face-to-face rejections from agents and editors – Jenn and I sat in our hotel room, sobbing.
While the rejection part was definitely discouraging, other parts of the conference opened my eyes and my heart.
I got to spend two days hanging out with hundreds of people who loved the craft of writing as much as I do.
I got to meet editors and agents, and discovered that many of them are published authors who have also experienced more than a few rejections of their own projects.
I was touched and entertained by the keynote speaker.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was that I learned things about writing that I had forgotten, neglected, or never knew in the first place.
Long story short, I eventually did get my book published with a royalty publisher. But it took three years of attending writers’ conferences and a heavy pile of rejection letters before I found the right home for my book.
After attending a couple of writers’ conferences, I thought, “I do know a thing or two about writing. And about writing professionally for magazines and blogs. I could teach what I know and encourage others.”
So I applied to teach at writers’ conferences. And got accepted! Since 2005, I’ve been sharing what I’m learning about writing, publishing, and social media marketing with others who are on the journey.
Teaching at writers’ conferences brings me inexpressible joy. I get to hang out with my writing peeps. I get to learn from them. And I get to see lightbulbs click on above their heads (virtually, of course) as new ideas flash into their mind.
The Big Deal About Writers’ Conferences
If you are thinking about becoming a writer – either a writing hobbyist or a published writer – I highly recommend attending a writers’ conference. They’re offered all over the country, and there are conferences for both general market and Christian writers.
Writers of all ages and stages attend. So whether you’re a novice who wants to learn about writing and publishing or you’re a multi-published author who wants to fine-tune your craft, you’ll benefit.
If you’re looking for good conferences to attend, I’ll be teaching at two in March.
The Oregon Christian Writers Conference (in Salem, OR) is Saturday, March 16, 2013. It’s a one-day conference and would be a great “starter” conference if you’ve never been to one.
Davis Bunn, a best-selling novelist (and long-time Blogging Bistro client) will be the keynoter. I’ll be teaching two workshops:
- Marketing Your Writing Online
- Blog Your Way to a Book Deal
The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference (near Santa Cruz, CA) is Friday, March 22-Tuesday, March 26. There is also a “head-start” clinic March 20-21.
Mount Hermon is one of the largest and lengthiest Christian writers’ conferences in the U.S. Many of the “rock stars” of the Christian publishing industry attend – agents, editors, and authors. This year’s keynoter is McNair Wilson.
This will be my sixth time attending Mount Hermon. If I had to choose one writers’ conference to attend, Mount Hermon would be #1 on my list. It is simply a phenomenal conference from start to finish.
This year, I’ll be teaching a Major Morning Track (8-hour course) called “Marketing Your Writing Online: The Art of Thinking Backwards.” Unlike the “Do-Re-Mi” song from The Sound of Music… “Let’s start at the very beginning….
We’re going start at the very ending – a very good place to start! We’ll define what makes your marketing successful and work our way backwards through a simple, 7-step social media marketing strategy you can use to promote your writing, ministry, or business. This is going to be a hands-on course and I encourage you to bring your laptop or tablet.
It’s not too late to register for either of these conferences. I’ve heard that many people register at “the last minute,” so you won’t be alone. Come! Join us! It’ll be the experience of a lifetime. I promise.
Have you attended a writers’ conference?
If so, what’s your top reason for attending?
If you haven’t been to a writers’ conference, what questions do you have about them?
Tweet This Post!
Here’s a ready-made tweet so you can share what you just read:
Why bloggers should attend a writers’ conference (Click to tweet)