Friday, October 19, 2012

Choosing a Conference

I've been thinking about conferences lately. Unfortunately, I had to miss a conference I signed up for--my family had the flu. Even if I had the stamina to drive the 6.5 hours, I figured no one wanted those germs.

Then, I looked back at the number of conferences I have been to in the last year and how they all differed. It got me thinking--how do people decide which ones to attend?

There are readers' conventions, and writers' conventions, and combo conventions. Some conventions are small, intimate affairs. Some are lavish, over the top productions. I surely drooled at all the fantastic Romanticon pictures this past week on Facebook. Whew! (thanks for sharing, ladies!)

For combo conventions (ones that have equal events for readers and writers), RT Booklovers certainly stands out. The 2012 convention in Chicago was amazing. If you are looking for a large, mostly writing convention, you can't go wrong with RWA Nationals. I've heard that Authors After Dark (AAD) is a great readers' convention. (pics from there looked like tons of fun, too).

Next year, several large conventions will be within driving distance for me. Yeah, it is going to be an East Coast convention year. RWA, RT, and AAD, will all be a reasonably short drive for me. That is both exciting and terrifying! Talk about needed to save a lot of cash. Are they worth it? Absolutely. Are they cheap? No way.

What factors do you consider when picking a convention to go to? I look at convention size, location, price--and who is going to be there (guests of honor, authors, and friends). I also look at the programming, though I have been known to skip a class or two in favor of a nap. Conventions are TIRING. (just look at Romanticon eyes would have been positively exhausted by the end of the first day). Oh, if the convention hotel offers free Internet in guest rooms--that really makes me happy (please, conference organizers--bargain with hotels to get Internet access thrown in. We bring a lot of money to the hotel/hotel restaurant. We deserve Internet access!)

I'm making my list and saving my pennies for 2013. How about you?



  1. I am on the Board of Pacific Northwest Writers Association (the literRy contest chair)' which is a multiple genre writers conferences with dozens of agents and editors. We offer speed pitching, which allows attendees to speak with multiple agents and editors. I agree completely with you about Internet availability, but hotels aren't very cooperative. At PNWA's last conference the hotel wanted $15,000 for us to provide Internet to the attendees. That's a huge chunk out of our proceeds. I do like attending conferences where readers are in attendance, but also love hooking up with other writer friends who I only get to see every few years. Phrases, I'm long winded today.

  2. Missed you at M&M, Kerry! Hope everyone is feeling better. :) For conferences, I like a mix of small and big, readers and writers. Going to try and go to a one day conference for mystery writers in February. My smallest yet! We'll see how it goes. :D

  3. wow, Darcy! That is crazy! I would think that to be able to bring in a large conference, the hotel would be willing to toss in Internet. Especially since they often have free Internet for their club members and frequent stays people. UGH.