JENNIFER BURKE KYLE woke from the coma to the realization that she was a widow and the mother of a young son who could read minds, create portals to an alternate realm, and have unforeseen growth spurts when he is in or near Paradise Valley. As if that wasn’t enough, a complete stranger has stated he is to marry her and raise her son as his own. All on the order of her dead husband, David.
DAVY KYLE was tickled pink that Alex McGuire would be his Dad and couldn’t wait for his mother to wake from the coma so the wedding could take place. What Davy didn’t see, was the trouble in the form of PRI, otherwise known as the Percival Research Institute. PRI agents were after his family and it was going to be up to Davy to hide them all until it was safe.
Welcome Carly, and tell us about the value of attending writing conferences.
This is great advice from an experienced author!
CONFERENCES: ARE THEY WORTH IT?
It doesn’t matter which writer’s group you belong to, I guarantee there will be a conference of some sort to attend. It could be a local, regional, or national conference. The price varies depending upon the type of conference, length of time, size, and location.
In recent years, I have attended the RWA National Conference three times and the SCBWI Regional Conference once. The cost was vastly different as one was national and one was regional.
The first conference I attended was RWA National in Orlando, FL. It was supposed to be in Nashville which is an easy drive from my home in Kentucky, but the hotel flooded so the location was moved. I was disappointed because an agent I had been speaking with had offered to meet me for coffee to discuss my first book. When the conference location changed, she backed out of the going. Opportunity lost L After much deliberation, I decided to attend anyway. The cost went up as I now was flying to the conference instead of driving. That made me cringe, but I figured the experience would be worth the expense. The conference was fantastic. I met so many wonderful authors like Nora Roberts, Sabrina Jeffries, and Brenda Novak to name a few.
The classes I attended were great. I learned something new in each one. I was so motivated that I rewrote a good portion of my first book. I came home rejuvenated and ready to apply all I had learned. The next year, I attended the RWA National in New York. That was a wonderful experience too. I met with an agent and a publisher, both who requested partials of my manuscript. They both ultimately turned me down, but I learned how to pitch on the fly and in a short amount of time. It forces you to boil your book down to a few sentences. My classes were great and had almost a whole day free to go sightseeing. The downside was the cost. New York is expensive! The hotel didn’t have any more of the allotted rooms for RWA and opened up a couple on the concierge level. I had to pay more for the room, but it gave me access to the concierge lounge which had free food five times a day. At least I didn’t have to pay for food!
The following year, I skipped RWA and attended the SCBWI Regional Conference in Nashville, TN. This was a lot less expensive than RWA Nationals by several hundreds of dollars. The hotel was very nice and we were able to drive instead of fly. The conference was great! There was definitely more opportunities to meet agents and publishers. I was at lunch the first day when a lady approached me to share my table. I then realized it was the main speaker for the conference. Score! There were a couple of agents I was interested in meeting while in Nashville. One I really wanted to work with. She repped both middle grade and young adult. There was another one I was slightly interested in too. What I found through attending the workshops by these two agents is that I didn’t want to work with either of them. I was grateful for the opportunity to discover this before I queried them.
This year I took on New York again. I was lucky this time as some very nice people paid for my conference fee and airfare. All I had to pay for was the hotel and food. I am published now and was interested in meeting an agent. I did pitch to one and she has requested a full manuscript. I am waiting to hear the results. Again, classes were wonderful. I met my publisher and the other authors with my publishing house. I made a lot of friends this time around and feel more like a “real” writer.
So, is a conference worth it? Yes, the connections you make can make your career or change is significantly. The National conferences are expensive, but worth the money. If the price scares you, try a regional conference first or even a one day workshop locally. These are less expensive and can be just as valuable.
Thanks Carly, for that valuable advice! When my life slows down a bit I hope to attend either RWA or SCBWI and catch up with you!
Carly loves to travel. You can find her at various conferences and other author events throughout the year. Her hobbies include: travel, photography, reading, party-planning, dinner with friends, and hanging out with her family.
Carly is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Check out her books by clicking the covers!