Are Writers Conferences Worth It?
I’ve never been to a writers conference. I’ve always wanted to. The reason I’ve never been to one is because they’re really expensive. I’ve researched them and the lowest are $300 to $500 while the highest reach $5000. The average falls in the $2000 range. This is not including travel, lodging, food, gas, etc.
Conferences offer things like workshops, panels, and spending time with an agent or editor. Most of the aspiring writers that go to the conferences go to spend time with the agent or editor. Sadly, at most you spend 10-15 minutes with them.
I believe you should go to a conference taking away something. With as much money as you’re spending, you shouldn’t go to feel good about yourself or your writing. How much can you learn from 10 minutes? You spend a few minutes giving your pitch, they spend a few reading your work then giving you some feedback. I’m not saying they’re not going to give you any insight or valuable feedback. I’m just saying that it’s a really expensive cost to time to feedback ratio.
I believe you should go to conferences to network if you already have a book out or one that’s about to come out. That way you can meet people and they can get to know both you and your book.
People will spend thousands of dollars to go to writers conferences and won’t bat an eye. Yet people won’t pay for editing when editing is about the same price or cheaper. I don’t understand why.
I think if you’re looking to get your work published, looking for an editor is the way to go. You get way more attention from hiring a freelance editor than seeing one at a conference. They spend hours going over your work, helping you refine it. If you have any questions, you can contact them. The one on one, personal contact you get with an editor is way more valuable. As much as I believed in my work enough to submit it, it needed work. A lot of work. If I had gone to a writers conference, I’m sure I would have learned a few things but I wouldn’t have learned as much as hiring an editor.
Unless you’re going to network and already have a book out, writers conferences are not worth it. Remember, this is just my outsider’s view. I hope to experience and find out what they’re actually like one day.