By Vicky Dreiling

If you’re a writer, whether aspiring or published, I think there is a great deal of value in attending writer’s conferences. However, conferences can differ quite a bit in both scope and in purpose. Before you sign up, research the conference to see if it meets your needs and aligns with your writing goals. Is your goal to pitch a book to an editor or agent? Is your goal to learn more about the business of writing? Do you wish to learn more about craft? Are you hoping to network with agents and editors? These are all considerations to take into account before attending a conference.

The RWA Annual Conference

This conference is the mega star for both published and unpublished authors. Typically, about 2000 writers plus a plethora of industry experts (e.g., agents and editors) attend. What to expect: lots of daily workshops, opportunities to pitch to editors and agents, a giant public book signing benefitting literacy, publisher spotlights that showcase what the publisher is seeking, and a glamorous awards ceremony. If you’re a finalist in the Golden Heart or Rita awards, I highly recommend attending. While the RWA national conference offers myriad opportunities for a wide range of author needs, it can be overwhelming due to the sheer size. I love this conference and look forward to seeing friends there every year. However, it’s more expensive than smaller conferences. What you’ll spend depends on how many days you attend, the number of roommates you have, how far you have to travel, the city where it’s held (e.g., overall, costs in New York are higher than say in Dallas).

Regional Conferences

As much as I love RWA, I’ll confess that I got my best requests for my manuscripts at regional conferences. I also found that there are far more opportunities to network with agents, editors, and fellow writers. Plus, the cost is likely to be far less expensive than the national RWA conference, especially if the regional conference is relatively close to where you live. True story: I met my agent by accident twice at writer’s conferences. If you’re interested, you can read the full story here:

Romantic Times and Other Fan Conferences

I’ve never attended a fan-oriented conference, but friends have told me these are great for readers and fans. At some, such as Romantic Times, workshops are offered as well.  

Overall, whether or not a conference is worth the money depends on your goals and needs. There is no one size fits all, of course. J  But in addition to all the business reasons you might attend one, there is one other aspect I haven’t mentioned. I’ve made so many wonderful friends at conferences, and that’s not something can put a dollar value on.

May the Magic Romance Fairies be with you!

Vicky’s website:

Vicky’s Bio

Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle.  That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.”

When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. She holds degrees in English literature and marketing. A native Texan, she shares her home with her daughter and a spoiled mini-lop rabbit that lives in a slightly gnawed cardboard cottage. 

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. No love is necessary—nor desired. But how to choose amid a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met . . .

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

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