Friday, October 24, 2014

Lessons from Emerald City Writers Conference #writing

Another conference in the bag! 

I have a different focus for each writers conference and this year's ECWC was dedicated to learning as much as I could about marketing and author platforms. I have a notebook of things to turn into an actionable plan. It should keep me busy for weeks!

As usual, one of the biggest payoffs came from a random conversation in the hall with a stranger. Those moments are why I pay to attend a weekend of workshops I could find online for much less. Sometimes, networking is worth the hundreds (thousands?) of dollars spent to participate in an event that doesn't always pay off in book sales.

I also learned a couple of things that weren't on my list. That's nothing new, either. 

1. A knowledgeable author isn't necessarily an expert. Yes, they sound convincing, their presentation is well thought out, and it all seems like a great idea because the method obviously works for them. That doesn't mean it's the only way to do things. Consider their suggestions, but take the time to get other opinions before rearranging your writing life or author platform. Some of what they're telling you may be personal preference rather than necessary steps for success and it's likely you'll run into contradictory advice. 

For example, one presenter told me to drop my blog host and move everything to another one because Blogger will work against me when trying to increase my exposure. A day later, a different presenter told me the opposite. Blogger is Google and Google rules online searches so, if you're not on Blogger you need to be. See what I mean?

2. Attitude is everything. It might not be the best idea to spend the day in craft workshops if you're already in the dumps about your writing. Listening to successful authors tell you everything you did wrong in your last book isn't going to be a morale boost. If your head isn't in the right place it could do you more harm than good.

3. Homophobia happens. Yes, even in Seattle there are writers groups that determinedly, consistently, and unashamedly discriminate against LGBT genres and the authors who write them. It happens. 

What's the most valuable lesson you've learned from (or about) conferences this year?

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