Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop March 2019

I'm thrilled to be participating once again in the Author Toolbox Blog Hop, the brainchild of Raimey Gallant. Join fellow writers as we share some insights and advice on this writing life.

Two months from now, I'll be packing for my trip to Pittsburgh, PA where I'll be attending the 32nd annual Pennwriters Conference for three days. I've been a member of Pennwriters for fifteen years. It's a writing group covering the entire state and all writing careers. There are 40+ hours of workshop sessions and appointments to be had for pitches to attending agents and editors. Keynote speakers will share insights and expertise. I'm not pitching the conference because I'm on the board, though it is an excellent conference if you're in the area. I'm pitching workshops and conferences in general.

The board of on Pennwriters recently debated the question of whether or not younger writers are as keen to attend and join writing groups and conferences that meet in the flesh. One side believes that younger writers find their network and tribe online. Unlike those of us who have been in the business to a long time when the only support was found in local writing group, the first place writers look today is online.

The Insecure Writers Support Group is one example of an excellent online group. RWA, despite recent updates that don't seem like updates, has forums and their online classes. Blog hops like this one can lead to networking opportunities. Critique partners are found through Facebook groups. Why spend the money to travel and attend a workshop or conference?

I've been published by a small press for over twelve years, but I know there are zillions of ways to improve my writing and at least that many things I don't know that I don't know. Every time I attend a conference or workshop, I learn something I didn't know. And not always from the presenter. Sometimes, I pick up things from the person I sit with at lunch or at the bar in the evening. Sometime, it's the person who sits beside me in a workshop. Or the free literature sitting around in the hospitality suite or included in the welcome folder. There are always craft and marketing books for sale, too. I found my first critique partner at my first writing conference. It might be a cliche, but we met on the elevator.

My local chapter of RWA held a one day workshop last November. It was a terrific, well-spent day that included lunch and only cost $50 for many pointers on marketing and platform.

Our Pennwriters board didn't come to a conclusion or ways we can draw more young writers to our organization. I thought this was the perfect spot to pick the brains of writers. Where do you make your networking and support connections as a writer? Do you enjoy in person meetings and workshops? What do you look for if attending a conference? What might entice you to attend a workshop?

Please visit the other participants of this bloghop.




24 comments:

  1. Lovely read Susan, hope your trip to PA will be a happy and joyous occasion.
    Have a lovely Wednesday.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Enjoy the conference!
    I'm not young, but I tend to go online for help as well. So many writers to connect with in the IWSG (thanks for the mention) and we have a ton of resources at the site.

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  3. I attend conferences to speak and teach, but I always pick up tips from the other speakers when I'm there.

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  4. I'm an introvert but I like to go to conferences. I'm usually a wallflower for a bit but always push myself and have made great connections. Have a great time!

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  5. I've attended two conferences, and both times, I felt that some of the courses weren't worth the money or travel time I spent on them. I wonder if this is part of it. I tried it and would like to try it again, but I'm holding out, I think, because I didn't think the quality was super high. The other thing is the USP for your conference. Unique selling proposition means offering something that young writers have to attend the conference for because it's not on offer anywhere else. This, admittedly, is hard to do, because there is so much on offer everywhere. Part of it comes down to which speakers you invite, part of it is what they're covering. Also, many conferences offer recordings of their conference classes after the fact, and this is positive and negative. If I can just buy the classes and listen at home, I may not be as likely to go, but if I can't buy the classes, the conference organizers could be missing out on an additional source of revenue. So many thoughts! Generally speaking, there's also the disparity in income between older generations and the younger ones. One approach would be to offer partial scholarships for low income, no matter a person's age and to not price those who are low income out of the added events like dinners. Good luck!

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  6. I tend to look for information and connection online first, but I've always enjoyed and learned from the writing conferences and workshops I've attended. Even though I had to push my introverted self to put on an actual, presentable clothes and go. :)

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  7. The Pennwriters Conference sounds fantastic! Most of my tribe is online. I do go once a month to a local critique group, and usually young writers who try it out don't return. The two founders of the group--both over 70 now--are wonderfully knowledgeable and are really tough critics. I've learned a lot from them, but I think they scare young writers who don't have thick skins yet. As for attracting younger writers, I'm not sure. I can't go to cons due to financial issues at the moment, and that may be what's deterring other folks.

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  8. I'm not a writer, but I can tell you when I had a chance to go to conferences for my work, I loved it, but that was maybe because I got paid to be doing something fun and was not doing my regular work.

    Wonder if some young ones, so to speak, want to save money by not attending conferences especially when a lot of stuff they need is available online.

    Have fun at yours!

    betty

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  9. How exciting. I expect a full report when you get back. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  10. I enjoy conferences but I think I get more useful information online. Maybe it's easier to hunt for this way.

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  11. Younger writers do find their networks online, but a lot of that is because it's cheaper and no one has any money. :P

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  12. It is easier and cheaper online, so that is what all go toward. And yeah, so many things we can learn and don't know.

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  13. I've been researching writing conferences as I'm hoping to attend one this year. i did enjoy an online conference earlier this year, WriteonCon. Thanks for sharing.Hope you enjoy your weekend in Pittsburgh!:)

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  14. Oh Susan! I wish I could meet you! I'm thinking of going to Pittsburg in November to pitch my book at a Writers Digest Conference. I wish you much luck!

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  15. I've been to several writer's conferences over the years. This one sounds awesome. It is great to connect in person with people who understand our language. I'll be at Murder and Mayhem in Chicago this Saturday. It's just one day, but a dynamic group of writers.

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  16. My writing community is online - I haven't been for any writer's conferences. I enjoy the IWSG too, and also Yeah Write but am intrigued by the idea of attending writing webinars. Enjoy Pittsburgh and I'm sure we'll have the benefit of some of your insights when you write about them on this blog.

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  17. Hi Susan - sounds ideal and obviously now you've been involved for so long, you'll be able to work out the best people to speak to or areas to visit ... enjoy and we'll learn from you. I enjoy the online vibes I get through reading bloggers I respect - cheers Hilary

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  18. I have never attended a writers conference mainly because they are always held too far from my home and because of the expense. When we were in business, I loved attending trade shows to get new ideas and to be inspired. I know I would learn a lot and meet new people, but the expense doesn't warrant the experience. I am considering spearheading a writers and readers conference in my small town and bring the excitement about books to folks in our area. Hopefully I can get fellow writers in West Michigan to help me. !! Enjoy the conference and share the fun and education on your blog with us.
    JQ Rose

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  19. I belong to one writers' group that meets monthly and sponsors speakers/authors/workshops at local venues. I also participate in two online writers' groups (including this one). That's about all the time I have. I do agree that younger writers lean toward online groups.

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  20. Enjoy your conference. I used to enjoy the ones I went to when I was working. However, I too was being paid and didn't have to pay the expenses of going. I imagine young writers have to stay in their jobs and can't afford the travel and associated expenses

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  21. I'm burned out on the bigger conferences and conventions, but I do enjoy small writerly group gatherings for coffee and discussion...and of course, my fabulous critique group. That said, there's nothing like that face-to-face contact with an agent or editor when you have something to sell.

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  22. I usually attend a couple of conferences a year - I love them for the networking, and the ability to connect in real life with people I've met and befriended online.

    I'm also a member of several writing groups on Facebook. One of those actively promotes one of the conferences I attend, and I think that's a good way of getting younger people attending the conference.

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  23. Although I've attended writing classes before, I've never been to a writer's conference. I would like to go to one someday soon, though; I like the idea of being around other people who love books and writing as much as I do.

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  24. I belong to South Jersey Writers Group, a conscientious group of writers who all support each other. We have guest lecturers and writing workshops. It's a great group. I've only been to 2 writing workshops which were fun and I learned lots. I've taken 2 online courses and I try to connect to other writers online, like IWSG and Toolbox writers. All the best to you, Susan!

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