Writer’s Conferences – are they for YOU?

What, leave the house?
What, leave the house?

You see conferences posted all the time, and a lot of them just seem like a way to separate you from your money. And pry you out of your writer hole to interact with other human beings.

The horror.

Occasionally, though, there are some good conferences that are worth attending.

We’ve discussed other author events, like book fairs and whether they are right for you, HERE


I went to the Florida Writer’s Association “mini conference” Saturday in Orlando. I’d never gone to anything like that before, and I had no idea what to expect.

Well, that’s exactly not true. I’d been to conferences for work lots of times; I just never went to a conference about writing. That, I tended to learn on line. Why would I need to go sit all day in a classroom? With, you know, people?

About twenty minutes before the conference started there were 35 people sitting in the room not saying a freaking word to each other.

Yep, that’s a group of writers. I’m in the right place.

Throughout the day there were maybe 200 attendees. Sessions were on landing an agent, marketing, writing your memoir, writing tools, etc. Each session was its own all-day thing, so I floated around to spend an hour or two in each one.

One particularly interesting session was titled How To Make Money Writing. Well, who doesn’t want to do that?

Sharon Keeble
Sharon Keeble

horse girlIt was hosted by author and writer Sharon Ward Keeble, an international journalist for more than two decades who specializes in articles about real-life people for a wide variety of national daily newspapers and weekly women’s magazines in the UK, U.S. and Australia. She also is an author and ghost writer, having penned a personal memoir about her adventures backpacking in China and her latest book, The Horse Girl.

So she’s walked the walk – for a long time – making money off her writing. We will be featuring here on these pages soon.

Plus she has a British accent, so I’ll try to get her to say “brilliant” a few times. Cos we love that.

I’ll be honest, the breakout marketing session only had about 12 participants, and only 1 other person besides me had put a book out, so the topics stayed kind of entry level. But the people leading the class were professionals who’d done author promotions with NY Times authors for years, so they were worth meeting. (If you can’t benefit from networking with the students, network with the instructors.)

Why, I could easily take over a group like that...
Why, I could easily take over a group like that…

And think about it: if there are only 12 people in a class, you can easily dominate the session and get all the information you need. I mean… you can get a lot more one on one time.

That’s what I meant.

Don’t take over the group.

A few tips from ME about sneaky as Hell marketing stuff HERE


Well, maybe that last one...
But this is my happy place!

If you’ve never gone to a writer’s conference before – I hadn’t – you probably should. You need to get out of the house for something besides your kid’s soccer practice, and it’s a great way to learn a few things, to reinforce some things, and to network. As much as I learn on websites or watching online tutorials, there’s something to be said for real in-person interaction and meeting fellow wordsmiths who actually live near you. You could, say, go have coffee and discuss writer stuff.

You’ll have to introduce yourself, though, because most don’t talk…

I had a good time doing writer stuff with writer types, in person. What a nice change. It’s easy on the internet to expose yourself to lots and lots of writers who are more successful than you – and make yourself feel inadequate as a result. At a conference, you’ll see who can help you move to the next level, and who you can help move up a step – and trust me, helping people feels good. Odds are you’ll learn something from them, too.


The Florida Writer’s Association has a full 4 day conference in October. Since it’s a writing related expense like training, it’s probably a tax deduction for your book writing business. I’ll be there, and you should think about coming.

There are worse places to be in October than Orlando, and just you might learn something!

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He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?
He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?

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Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

9 thoughts on “Writer’s Conferences – are they for YOU?

  1. I’ve often wondered about the benefit of conferences. I love learning, and I love the IDEA of hanging out with other writers…people who’s eyes don’t glaze over when I start talking about the “writer stuff” that interests me.

    The reality is, the idea off going to a conference intimidates me. So, I’d probably be one of those people sitting quietly out of the way.

    I think I’ve always had the impression they were geared more toward seasoned writers, with topics well beyond my level of expertise—a place that I wouldn’t fit in. It’s great to know that they also have a lot to offer newer writers.

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I may have to step out of my cave and check one out for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I’d probably be one of those people sitting quietly out of the way.”

      You’d fit right in, then.

      I also thought that conferences were for veteran writers. They’re not. They’re for newbies. I was probably among the most seasoned attendees – who wasn’t an instructor. But that was okay, too. I got a chance to see where I stood.

      As an author with several books out, other attendees actually thanked me for asking questions and encouraging other writers (you know me). Thanks to people in my critique group that I’ve become friends with, I had a leg up on the others when it came time to pitch our stories in the breakout group.

      It all adds up.

      Liked by 1 person

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