Attending a Writers Conference

Nancy J. Cohen

Today I am on my way to the Novelists, Inc. conference at St. Pete Beach. As I am contemplating what to say here, I’m thinking about the benefits of spending a wad of money to attend a writers conference. Ninc focuses solely on the business of writing for career professionals. You must have two published novels to join, so the membership consists of multi-published authors. This makes it different from any other conference, which may be aimed toward fans or writers at all levels.

Ninc doesn’t aim to teach you to write. It aims to get you up to date on industry news and trends in publishing; the how-to’s regarding promotion & marketing, indie publishing; legal aspects like literary estate planning and forming a collaborative group to produce a book box package; how to use Amazon or Book Bub or Goodreads effectively. Reps from Kobo, Amazon, iBooks and more will be present. I can’t wait to attend. I can pick anyone’s brain there for any career questions I might have, and I have plenty. Ninc is a goldmine of seasoned, professional authors.

So why should you attend a writers, as opposed to a fan, conference? Here are some of the benefits:

· Networking with other authors and making new friends
· Career guidance from more experienced authors
· Attracting new readers, as authors are readers, too.
· Workshops at all skill levels
· Editor/Agent appointments
· Name recognition
· Meeting authors whom you might ask later for an endorsement
· Giving back to the writing community by offering a workshop or volunteering

I have been attending SleuthFest for years. This premier mystery writers conference will take place Feb. 26 at Deerfield Beach, FL. And new this year is the Flamingo Pitch Tank, where you get the chance to pitch your novel to every attending editor and agent at once. This is in addition to one-on-one appointments. You’ll learn about marketing and brush up on your other writing skills. Last year I attended workshops on Kobo and ACX. So check out this event before it sells out. James Patterson and Dave Barry are guest speakers.


What other reasons can you offer for attending a writers conference? As I will be unable to respond, please talk amongst yourselves. I’ll respond next week when I am back home.

16 thoughts on “Attending a Writers Conference

  1. Ninc looks like an excellent conference, Nancy! I hope you’ll let us know the highlights when you get back.

    There are so many great conferences out there (I keep a running list on my blog), but it’s not always easy to spare the time, energy, and funds for the registration, plane fare, hotel, etc.

    Tomorrow I head off to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference – my first time to that one. Usually I present at writers’ conferences, but I’m looking forward to just attending this one and selling my books there. Can’t wait to hear some of my favorite writers, speakers, and bloggers there, like Donald Maass, Hallie Ephron, Chuck Wendig, Larry Brooks, David Corbett, and Anne Perry.

    Then Nov. 15, I present a workshop on deep POV at Seattle PubCamp, and January 17, I’m presenting and critiquing at Steven James’ all-day seminar, Troubleshooting Your Novel. Both should be a lot of fun!

    • You’re certainly getting around, Jodie! The Ninc conference was fabulous. It was so nice just to go to listen and learn.No pitches and no promotion, just all professional authors. I collected a wealth of information.

  2. Hi Nancy, Thanks for this good post. I’m teaching a webinar for 511 people tonight for the Southern New Hampshire University and one of the topics has to do with attending writers conferences. I will quote you and credit Kill Zone.

  3. The session on “Analyzing What Makes a Bestseller” sounds pretty interesting, just from the perspective of getting a fix on what pushes a reader’s buttons. Essentially, what lights ‘em up or not? And why?

  4. I was too late to sign up for NINC, Nancy, (they close registration at a certain point). But the program this year sounds especially strong. I hope you’ll do some reports when you get back.

    • I will be writing blogs on all the sessions I attended. It was fantastic. Register early next year. It’s the first weekend in October at St. Pete Beach again. This year it got sold out.

  5. The occasional twenty that someone drops in the parking can make any conference worth attending.

    Well, that and the ability to rub elbows with and schmooze with other writers and writerly types. I go to our local Alaskan Writer’s Guild Conference every year (I’m on the committee so I have to) but have also been to a couple others including Bouchercon ’07and the Atlanta Writer’s Conference in 2012. I always find them to be an awesomely fun place for an extrovert like me to visit with other people and make friends.

    Next year I am going to my first really big big one outside of Alaska, ITW’s ThrillerFest 2015 and really looking forward to a great time there. Hopefully I’ll meet a couple TKZers there!

    • Basil, you’ll absolutely love Thrillerfest! I attended Craftfest and Thrillerfest for 4 years in a row, then missed last summer because of my big move to the West Coast. Now that I’m on the opposite side of North America, not sure if I’ll make it next summer, though I’m seriously considering it….

    • Thrillerfest sounds like a great conference too. I’ll be attending SleuthFest, as I do every year, because it’s local. Conferences in NY can be expensive.

    • My friend Marc Cameron will be there. Big tall retired US Marshal. Tell him you’re a friend and ….

      .. no …. wait.

      That might not be safe for you.

  6. Sleuthfest was the first conference I ever attended, Nancy, and it remains one of my favorites! I think the people one meets at writers conferences are very serious about the craft. Those conferences help one forge ahead, personally and professionally.

    • Most definitely, Kathryn. People at writers conferences for the most part go to learn. I love Ninc because you don’t have to worry about promotion or pitching your work. You can just sit back and absorb all of the practical advice and industry news.

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