Writing conferences hold a special place in my heart. The first time I attended one was in 2017. It was a small conference held 35 minutes from my house, and there were maybe 300 people in attendance.
I remember standing in line to check in and listening to the conversations happening around me. One author in front of me had a few books out, and she was talking to her companion about a new book coming out soon. Casually, as if it was no big deal that she was a published author. Later that day, I attended a talk held by an author who had their work optioned by Disney for a series.
I spent most of the weekend feeling starstruck. I attended workshops on craft and marketing and all things publishing, and I even pitched my novel to an agent (eek!). When I left that conference, I felt for the first time that I could do it. That I could become a published author.
Fast forward to 2021. Four years, one baby, a pandemic, and four published books later, I still get that giddy feeling whenever I go to a writing conference.
A couple weeks ago, I attended the annual 20Books conference for independent authors in Las Vegas. In 2017, I never would've dreamed of starting my own publishing company and publishing my books. Sometimes I still feel amazed when people ask what I do and I can say that.
I thought that first conference in 2017 was life-changing, but 20Books was on a whole new level. I'm still new to the independent publishing business, and I had no idea what I didn't know. It was truly a life-changing experience to spend five days in a hotel full of other independent authors. I attended panels and lectures by authors making six figures (and more!) every year publishing their own books. I learned marketing techniques, craft tips, and publishing information I had no idea I was missing. I networked with other authors who are soaring past me in terms of books published, and some who haven't published their first one yet. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and did something that scared me, and boy did it pay off!
I will never forget how it felt to sit in the giant conference hall full of 1,500 other independent authors and listen to the panel of high-powered authors sharing their secrets to success.
Now, two weeks after the conference, I have a to-do list a mile long, new podcasts to listen to, market research to do, new covers to commission, and a heart full of renewed passion for my craft!
If you're considering a writing conference (whether you've published a book or not), trust me... GO FOR IT! If you take that step and push yourself outside your comfort zone, you will not regret it. Writers are a special breed, and there's nothing like meeting hundreds of your tribe in one place.
Have you ever attended a conference, writing or otherwise? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!