The pro’s as I see it are:
• You get to meet people in person that you only know online. • You sometimes get the chance to pitch your work to an agent. • You get a more personal feel for the writing industry through conversations with other writers, editors, and publishers. • A short time away from the people and issues in my life.
The con’s as I see it are:
• The cost – of travel, lodging, food, and the conference itself. • Time away from family, and perhaps from a 9-5. • The pitch sessions to an agent can be an added fee.
Each writer as an individual has to determine for themselves whether a brick and mortar conference is for them. Some things to consider are:
• The cost – can you afford it. • What do you hope to gain from the conference? • Is the conference relevant to the work you are doing? • Is the agent pitch session worth it? • Is going to a conference in any way going to help you get published? • If you are going Indie (self-publishing your own work, or going with a small press), how relevant are conferences? • How do you learn best? Can you learn from a book, a video, or a webinar? What is the best use of your time and money?
Where do you find conferences? Through national writing organizations (usually by genre), through strategic locations in big cities, regional conferences, and specialty marketing conferences.
I plan to do a combination of the above – attend webinars, local conferences, as well as big city and national conferences – if they are relevant to the work that I am doing. I will plan where I want to go at the beginning of each year (actually, I will probably do t his the year before, as soon as the information about a conference is out to the public)., and make sure that it fits into my budget. I will have to prioritize the conferences, but that is what life is all about!
Continuing education … meet and greet … networking … however you look at it, while we write in solitude, we do need to get out there and mix to hone our craft!