Have you ever been to a “Writer’s Conference?” I have been to the same one several times some years ago, and actually “presented” at it one year. My presentation was not on “How to become a Rich Writer” as were most of the presenter’s topics. Mine was on how best to promote your work after you had done your best. Since I had been published I also felt it my duty just to encourage eager writers. It has always been my feeling that if you work hard at being a writer and finally after much writing and re-writing you have completed a 150 or 200 page piece of fiction – even if NOBODY ever published it, you were qualified to call yourself an author. You should be proud of that accomplishment. I have had dozens of people say to me , “You know, I’ve been thinking about writing (fill in the blank).”
The truth is that they never will, because they can’t. Writing is perhaps the hardest work for the smallest reward of any profession. First, it takes talent. After that it is merely a case of a lot of writing to perfect the skill of the art form. Of course, there are the flukes or anomalies where someone writes some trash that, because of publicity, makes them rich, but for every one of those there are thousands who never even get recognized.
Writer’s Conferences are much like writer’s forums or writer’s chat rooms. There is a lot of “talk” about writing but very little in them to aid you in perfecting your skill. I found two types of presenters that dominated the conferences I attended. There is the guy or gal who was a “One hit Wonder” who then proceeded to tell everyone how they too could be rich and famous. Most of those, were never heard of again after their first round of conferences – and remember, they were PAID to be there and give you that fine advice.
And then there were the “agents” who wanted to represent you. Had you never written a book longer than a high school essay? No problem. Had you a pile of writing that you had never assembled into a a useable manuscript? No problem. These so-called “agents” made a living out of making the circuit of writer’s conferences where they are paid for each appearance and they would sign up Fido the Dog just to make it look like they were legitimate. I ran into one of these agents once who was eager to sign me on. She was actually recommended to me by someone I trusted. After she had my manuscripts for about a year I began to question some of her other “clients” and I discovered that she had never sold anything to anybody for anybody. I paid a lawyer to relieve me of my contract with her and to get my manuscripts returned.
Writer’s conferences are like “How To” books on writing. You may get one idea from them, but for the most part they are a waste of money and most tragically of all – they are a waste of time in which you could be writing. Save your money. Stay home, and write!