Thursday, March 8, 2012

It’s Conference Time



Conferences are held all during the year, but it seems to me that the biggest share are held in the spring and summer, probably because of nicer traveling weather. I don’t know about you, but location and how I’ll get there is definitely an important factor for me. That and cost. Oh yes, justifying the cost is major! Next, what will I get from the conference? Is it focused on my interests as a writer or is it mainly for readers and fans? Will there be workshops I can benefit from and opportunities to network with other writers? Agents and/or editors appointments scheduled? Time to relax? You’ll need some.

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before plunking down hard-earned dollars for registration and travel costs. And there will be unexpected expenses, as sure as Texas has bluebonnets, so those must be planned for, too. And I can’t stress enough- WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES! 

When you decide what you want from a conference to help move your career forward, do some comparison shopping on the internet. Many writers conferences are focused on a specific genre, so be sure you choose one that’s geared for what you need.

For readers and fans, the RT (Romantic Times) conference is a great event for readers to meet authors of all genres, as well as attend workshops and parties. This year it’s being held in Chicago in April.

Imagine 2000 romance writers under one roof for several days. That’s the Romance Writers if America (RWA) Conference every July, location varies each year. Some of the biggest names in publishing attend this one, acquiring editors and agents take pitches and workshops focus on all the different levels of a writer’s career, from beginning through marketing and promotion. 

There are Paranormal and Fantasy conferences, Mystery Writers conferences, Southern Writers conferences…the list goes on and on. Each one is designed to give you the best in that particular genre. Smaller local conferences can be valuable sources of information, too. The internet will help you find the one that’s right for you. 

This year, I’ll be attending two – the RWA conference in Anaheim, CA., in July and our local Mid-Michigan RWA Retreat From Harsh Reality April 27-29, 2012, at Yarrow Golf and Conference Resort, Augusta, MI. Can’t wait to hear our guest speaker for the weekend, NYT best-selling author, Eileen Dreyer. Check out our website, for all the information. We’d love to see you there.

What are some of the conferences you’ve attended? Which ones are your favorites? Are there some you’d like to attend, but haven’t? Why? I’d love to hear your comments about your own experiences at conferences you’ve attended and any tips you can share to make the experience a good one. Clothes to take and packing tips always makes for interesting comments, too.

Today, I’ll leave you with a little Southern wisdom that has nothing to do with conferences:

Only true Southerners say “sweet tea” and “sweet milk”. “ Sweet tea” means it better have lots of sugar in it, not unsweetened. “Sweet milk” means you don’t want buttermilk, another Southern drink of choice for some. “Light bread” means the white, sliced stuff, not cornbread. (I prefer cornbread every time.)

Bless your hearts … and have great day.


  1. Good post, Tex! Good information. Loved our lunch last week and look forward to seeing you soon. Hugs!

  2. Thanks, Patrish. Lunch was great, and I'll definitely see you at MMRWA Retreat if the good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise.

  3. Great post Loralee! I've always wanted to attend a conference, but haven't yet. I'd love to go to the retreat one day that MMRWA holds in April. But at the moment I'm only allowed 3 weekends off a year, so I usually reserve that time for family. I hope things in that area change eventually, and then I'm all about attending some of the awesome conferences offered.

  4. Oh, Christine, I'd love to have you attend Retreat, but I understand about family time. I hope yu can come next year. BTW, am so anxious to read your upcoming book, SOME LIKE IT IN HANDCUFFS.

  5. Good post, Loralee (as always). Ditto what you said about comfortable shoes. My fav conference (besides MMRWA's retreat) was Autumn Authors in Chicago. Too bad they don't have it anymore. I really miss it.

  6. Oh Diane, I agree about Autumn Authors. One of the nicest smaller conferences around. I met the editor who eventually bought my first book there.
    Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

  7. Chiming in a day late, Loralee! Wonderful post! I have never made a conference outside of our MMRWA Retreat From Harsh Reality and if they are as fun as ours in then I'm in!

    1. Jennifer, the bigger conferences are totally different from our retreat, but they're exciting, plus the varied workshops hold lots of beneficial information. As I said, choose the one that fits your needs.
      Hope you get to attend one of the bigger ones someday just for the experience. Keep writing!