- Conferences: Best for a soup-to-nuts approach to the writing world
- Workshops: Focus on one aspect of writing or the writing life
- Retreats: Offer a place to write
- Seminars: More business-oriented, and a how-to focus
- Proximity: Affordable hotel, within day commuting or a weekend stay, early arrival available
- Speakers: From the keynote to breakout session leaders, the speakers were topnotch. Examples include David Baldacci, Arthur Golden, Sebastian Junger and Morely Safer.
- Writing opportunities: We were given assignments onsite and looked them over there, too.
- Networking: There were tons of opportunities over the weekend to meet the writers and speakers.
This year, I'm attending LWC } NYC, Literary Writers Conference New York City. It's co-sponsored by the New School graduate writing program and the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and partners with lots of places: Sobel Weber Associates, The National Book Foundation, Sterling Lord Literistic and Poets & Writers. It's two days for fiction, poetry and creative-nonfiction writers to meet other experts—writers, editors, agents, publicists and publishers. Participants include Publishers Weekly, Oxford University Press, Scribner, Hachette Book Group, Graywolf, the Poetry Society of America, Bloomsbury, Knopf, the Academy of American Poets and more.
The conference promises a lot—let's see if it delivers. I'll let you know in November—and pass along tips and resources.
To make the most of any event—workshop, retreat, conference or seminar—think in three phases: before, during and after:
- Research the presenters' and sponsors' websites. Consider dropping a simple—and brief—e-mail to those of interest.
- Meet everyone you can, and bring items that represent you—business cards, bookmarks, brochures—e-versions are fine, but giveaways are great. Tailor what you offer to the type of contact.
- Follow up with thank-yous, invites to guest post, etc., Don't just go to get; go to give.