My First Writer’s Conference

by | Jun 6, 2015 | writing

Speaker on the podium. People at conference hall, rear view

This past week, I attended my first ever Writer’s Conference here in my hometown. It was small, but it was a great! Here are some of my take-aways…

Finding out what a Writer’s Conference is all about. I went to learn, more than anything, what a conference is all about. What does it look like? How does one flow through the conference? What are the sessions like? Will I meet with the agent? What will that be like? I’m not good at networking…will I be able to meet people? So, I’m learning as much about myself as I am about the conference.

Meeting other writers. How wonderful to be surrounded by other writers! People who are deeply interested in the craft of writing, just as I am. We share a common passion. We understand each other in a way that non-writers just don’t. We develop Meeting writerspeople (characters) out of thin air! And then they talk to each other. That’s just this side of crazy in my book. I did meet some interesting people and made some good connections. Not necessarily with people who will further my career in a tangible way, but that’s not what it’s about. I met a couple of ladies who were extremely encouraging and supportive. I met a man who was writing a novel that intrigued me and inspired me. And so on and so forth.

Learning my craft. I attended some great seminars/workshops over the two days of the conference and maybe one I could have done without. But even in that one, I learned because I listened. I tuned in to what was being said and availed myself to the information being disseminated. There were talks about Characterology, Author Platforms, Plot Development, The Three Drafts, to name a few.

Pitching to an Agent. There was an agent at the conference and I grabbed the last open slot for his time (whew!). Now what? I have written 5 books, remember? Which one to pitch? How do I pitch it? Well, lucky for me, in one of the workshops the first day, the speaker touched on pitching your book. It gave me a place to start. So, that night I worked and worked (with faithful hubs) on my query, synopsis, and pitch for the Trail of Fears, deciding it represented my strongest work and that I was most familiar with the story and character arcs as I was most recently in the meat of that book. Nervously, I sat down with the agent at my appointed time. I pitched my book and he was very intrigued. He asked me questions I had not expected, but found myself able to answer. Then, surprise of all surprises, he asks for me to e-mail him my information and the first four chapters of my book!!!

So, all in all, the conference was a smashing success. I couldn’t be happier. Now, get out there and register for a conference near you and find out what all the fuss is about!

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Sara R. Turnquist