I’m taking a break from my usual author’s introduction this week to talk about writers conferences. I attended the Love Is Murder writers conference last weekend for the 4th time, and I went home feeling energized and optimistic. It was great fun taking an entire weekend to be nothing more than a writer. I loved networking, meeting up with old friends and making new ones, some of whom will appear on my future blogs.
I’ve been going to writers conferences, some years on and some off, ever since I attended my first “Of Dark and Stormy Nights” writers conference twenty-five years ago. It was at this conference that I got the chance to meet and speak with contemporary authors whom I would have never discovered, or considered reading, if I hadn’t summoned up the courage to go to that conference. Being a neophyte writer, this was the first time I found myself swimming in a sea of traditionally published authors… and it was wonderful! The day was filled with useful information, and many new authors just like myself were soaking it all up. I felt right at home.
But my nerves got the better of me for most of the morning, because I had just finished my first manuscript, and I’d sent it to the conference to be critiqued. Yes, authors at the conference actually did a critique of your entire manuscript back then. I really didn’t know what to expect. Of course I had visions of praise for my writing, and publishers just begging to publish my fabulous new work. After lunch, my critique was given to me in a positive and constructive manner. It turned out to be a huge letdown, but it was an eye-opener. So I paid close attention to the carefully rehearsed speeches the professionals on the dais presented, authors like Lee Child, Carolyn Hart, and Barbara D’Amato, because they had so much to say, and I knew I still had so much to learn.
Since then, I’ve attended numerous writers conferences. Some great, and some not so great. I may not remember all the best-selling authors who spoke, but I remember that every one of the authors, no matter how well-known, was easily approachable, helpful, friendly, had a warm smile and always an encouraging word. I’ve discovered over the years that mystery writers truly are a wonderful group of people. Needless to say, I’ll continue to attend conferences for many years to come.
See you at next year’s Love is Murder!
I’d love to hear about your conference experiences, so please feel free to leave a comment.
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