Saturday, September 28, 2013
Find the Right Conference for You
by Sharon and Bill Hopkins
Our guests this week are husband and wife writers Bill Hopkins and Sharon Woods Hopkins. Sharon is the author of Killerwatt, Killerfind, and the just-published Killertrust. Bill is the author of Courting Murder and River Mourn, also a new release.
We have gone to many writers’ conferences for the last five years. There are different kinds of conferences and good ways and bad ways to attend them.
Let’s start with the different kinds of conferences. Some do not allow independent writers to sell their books or appear on panels. If you fall into that category, check the information about the conference carefully before you spend your time and money.
Fan conferences (such as Malice Domestic and Bouchercon) are great fun because you get to meet your readers! Usually these gatherings have a bevy of famous authors who are interesting to chat with and listen to.
Workshop conferences (such as Sleuthfest and Mystery Writers of America University) are mainly for writers. You’ll be doing workshops, exercises, and perhaps receiving critiques or talking to agents or pitching to publishers.
At study conferences (such as Killer Nashville and Writers Police Academy) the lessons and information are so intense and exciting that you’ll wonder how you ever did without such a source.
State or local literary or book festivals are mostly oriented toward authors selling their books. Some are friendly to self-publishers (Missouri Writers Guild and Mississippi Writers Guild, for example), and some prohibit self-publishers altogether.
Regardless of what conference you want to go to, we suggest you go to at least one per year. At every kind of conference, you must not be shy! Writers from the most famous to the brand new ones are friendly and interested in talking with you. We always attempt to make several new friends whenever we go to a conference.
A final note of encouragement. We heard at one conference that mystery writers could benefit from participating in Romance Writers of America activities. Neither of us writes anything remotely romantic, but that group is probably the strongest writing group in the whole country. Those people know how to market and how to teach writing.
Jodie Renner has compiled a list of gatherings that you should go through:
If you know of a conference that should be on there, please let Jodie know AND thank her for the hard work she did in compiling this.
Please write us if you have any questions:
Sharon Woods Hopkins