This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Monday, June 02, 2008

Budget Conference (Part I)

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor 

New WritersIf you are a new author with no complete manuscripts or only one or two completed manuscripts, most likely you need workshop classes on the craft of writing and revising. Look for conferences that focus on:

  • Providing one-on-one critiques,
  • Contests with feedback
  • Workshops geared toward point-of-view, editing and revising, show vs. telling, characterization, plot building, dialogue, etc.

    Intermediate WritersIf you've been seriously pursuing publication for a few years and have completed more than two manuscripts, but have no agent, and no editor requests, you will want to concentrate on conferences that focus on the process of publication. Look for conferences that focus on:
  • Teaching how to write query letters, synopses and proposals.
  • Pitching interviews, creating sell sheets, blurbs, websites and blogs, online promotion.
  • Finding an agent, what to expect from publishing contracts, etc.

    You will want to enter a few writing contests at these conferences (even if you can't attend) for more than just the feedback, but to start building writing credentials and agent and editor feedback. The kind of feedback you receive from inexperienced judges, or from intermediate writers and pre-published authors, even some published authors will vary a great deal from the feedback you will receive from editors and agents. This is because many of the judges are on the same level as you. Also, published authors may have only written for one or two publishers and they are unfamiliar with the preferences and practices of other editors at various publishing houses.

    Pre-Published Authors
    If you've been writing for several years and have four or more completed manuscripts, have finaled in a few writing contests, and may have or are seeking a literary agent, you will want to concentrate on conferences that can help link you to editors and agents. Look for conferences that focus on:
  • Providing editor and agent appointments. At this level, you can't afford to waste time or money on a conference that doesn't provide access to the gatekeepers of publication.
  • Do your homework on all the editors and agents who will attend the various conferences you're considering. Narrow them down to what they like and are acquiring that best match what you are writing, then narrow the list down to what conferences they are attending.
  • Sign up for paid critiques with established authors that will give you a one-on-one personal critique. You will not only learn a lot, but you might make a connection with another author who could eventually provide a quote for your book if it is published.
  • If you already have an agent, sign up for as many editor appointments as possible. You could make a connection with an editor or obtain a request that your agent will be able to follow-up on for you. Any leads you provide, can only help your agent sell your work.
  • At this level, you've established writing friends, don't sign up for a conference just because some of your writing friends will be there. Go where you will get the most for your money. God has a different path planned for everyone, let Him guide you on yours.