Recently I attended the annual Conference organized by Liberty States Fiction Writers. LSFW is a multi-genre organization dedicated to the education and support of fiction writers – both published and yet-to-be published.
The conference was held at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel in Woodbridge, NJ, a luxury hotel with several amenities in addition to modern and attractive rooms. There was no vomit-colored carpet, drapes or bedspreads, which was a big plus in my book! The friendly and courteous staff helped make my visit pleasant from check-in to check out.
This was my third year attending the conference and as in past years, I had a blast. Here are some reasons why I love attending writing conferences, why I’ll go to as many as I can and why you should too.
1. Meet new author friends
When I go to a writing conference, I’m surrounded by people who do what I do and love it almost as much as I do. As authors, we get each other. We understand the plight of serving our family cold cereal for dinner in a less than immaculate living space, amidst piles of laundry while we create magic via the written word. We talk shop, commiserate with one another and bounce ideas off each other. It happens so naturally. I sit next to someone during lunch or one of the workshops and bam… we just start talking and laughing like we’ve known each other for ages. This year I met a number of new author friends including Liwayway Piano, Karen Kenney Smith and Carol Gyzander.
2. See old friends
Not friends who are old, (although there’s nothing wrong with that) but friends I’ve already met either in person or via social media. I love catching up with authors and others in the writing community with whom I’ve already lamented about the cold dinner, the dirty house and the piles of laundry. Some of the familiar faces I saw this year are Linda J. Parisi, Irene Peterson, Caridad Pineiro and Patt Mihailoff to name a few. I have several friends that I’ve connected with online but have never met in person. At this year’s conference I met Pascale Kavanagh and Jodi Payne for the first time. We hugged, laughed and jumped right into fun conversation.
3. Connect with fans and readers
During some conferences, authors have the opportunity to set up tables to display their books. I might sell a few copies which I autograph for the reader or meet a fan who’s already purchased and read my book and just wants to say hello. But even if I don’t make any sales, there are attendees who might sign up for my newsletter or even just pick up pens and other goodies, which of course, have my name and contact info.
4. Great food and drink
Meals were included in the price of this conference. We were served breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and coffee (all delish). There was also a cash bar and since the event was held at the Renaissance hotel, there was also the option purchase from the hotel dining room and bar.
At this year’s conference we had game night… with prizes. One year there was a dance party with a DJ. The highlight was watching Damon Suede kill it on the dance floor. Oh and of course, door prizes! Check out this beautiful basket I won!
6. Information-packed workshops
This is the real meat of the conference and 50% of why I attend. There’s so much valuable information on writing, editing, publishing, marketing, building your platform, establishing your brand, using social media, finding your life balance, and this is just to name a few. The workshops are presented by amazing speakers who are willing to share their knowledge.
7. Pitch your manuscript
During the conference, authors who wanted to pitch their manuscripts were assigned scheduled time slots to meet face-to-face with editors and agents.
8. Find service providers
Attending a conference is the perfect opportunity for networking. It’s likely you’ll meet editors, cover designers and others who can help get your book ready to publish. But keep in mind, many authors have day jobs, so you May bet likely to mingle with authors who are also lawyers, accountants, hair stylists, realtors and math tutors. Or you could be the one who meets a new potential client for your own business. Bring your business cards and prepare to network.
9. Writing time
Who wouldn’t love a full weekend away from the usual chores and activities which scream for attention when you’d rather be writing? I carry my laptop with me whenever there’s a chance I could have some downtime, AKA writing time. But even when I don’t have my laptop with me, I can work on my writing projects by making notes in any number of phone apps. I have my current WIP, Off Base, on Google Docs which I can access via the phone app as well as on my laptop. During this year’s conference, I stayed at the hotel, so I had plenty of opportunity for late-night writing.
10. Road trip
Who doesn’t love a good road trip?! This depends of course, on how far you travel to the event. But even if it’s a short ride, you can pack some snacks, pick up your writing buddies, put on your driving playlist and get hyped knowing you’re en route to a helluva good time.
Now that you know some of the many reasons you should attend a writing conference, perhaps I’ll see you at next year’s Liberty States Fiction Writers conference.
Have you attended a writing conference, either as an author, speaker or reader? Comment below and let us know what you enjoyed the most.