Wednesday, April 23, 2014
People will often ask why go to a writer's conference, and there are bunches of reasons. First, you get to meet some well-known authors, often people you've read and like. Second, you get to hang out with a bunch of people just like you! It's a good chance to compare notes, learn new things, get re-energized. Third, if you love to read (and most authors DO love to read), you have the opportunity to find new books - and usually you come home with a bunch of free books.
This year, in addition to all of these things, they are also setting up head shots for those of us who need a new photo to add to social networking or back covers or whatever. There is a yoga class bright and early Saturday morning to refresh the body and the spirit. And there is the opportunity to talk to industry insiders about how to get "in." Pitch sessions, where you can promote your writing to an agent or a publisher.
The very first time I went to a writer's conference, I was nervous and shy. Writers as a whole tend to be an introverted lot, and I'm no exception. So I lurked around my first day, tried to follow the advice to meet new people. And I did. I met some very nice people, but at the end of the day, I felt SOOOO out of my element. What was I doing there, pretending to be an author? But you know what? I stuck around for day two and they had some awesome workshops, one of which was "what makes you think you're an author?" (Talk about fortuitous!) It was a session on author psychology 101. Suddenly I felt included. I had a reason to be there and I was surrounded by hundreds of people just like me. What an insight.
I've learned a lot since that first conference. I've written four more books since then, and I've pitched a dozen different agents and publishers. I have the confidence to walk up to a stranger and ask them if they are interested in the genre I write. I have done book signings with Julia Quinn and Jennifer Cruisie and Simone Elkeles and Eloisa James. This year I'm doing one with Mary Balogh! If you're in the Chicago area, stop in! You can click on the link for a list of authors who will be at the book signing . . .Chicago Spring Fling Book Signing. It is hosted at the Marriott near the Sears Center.
at 8:40 AM