Your Secret Weapon for Success: Conference Networking


In a little less than two months, Writer’s Digest will be launching the first ever Writer’s Digest Conference West. It’ll be our biggest event yet with more speakers, bigger names, a larger venue, and more opportunities to interact, including a massive book signing and cocktail party.

Though the last two items on that list may sound like the least beneficial – at least when compared to the educational sessions, panel discussions, and keynote speeches – they’re actually two of the most important. Information about the craft, getting published, building a platform – you can find that in books, magazines, online courses, podcasts, and more. None of those options come with the same energy or interactive experience you’ll get from a conference, of course, but the information is out there.

The one thing you can only do at a conference is meet people in person, face-to-face. Social media allows writers to replicate some aspects of network-building, but there’s no substitute for the immediacy and spontaneity of a live conversation over coffee or on the run between sessions. Conferences enable you to share ideas, discuss sessions and learn about other writers’ experiences first-hand, without being “linked in” or online. You’ll connect with editors, agents, and instructors in a way that social media doesn’t allow for. And if you query them in the future, they’ll be more likely to pay attention if you reference the fact that you connected at a recent conference.

And those cocktail parties and signings? They’re like gold if you take the time to work the room. If you’re the shy, take a deep breath and start introducing yourself. Conference goers are generally the friendliest, most generous people you’ll meet. They’re eager to learn and share their experiences. Ask people what they’re working on, and see if you can learn from them.

Ultimately, you’ll walk away from a conference with renewed energy and the drive you need to finish your project or promote the project you’ve already published.

Check out the Writer’s Digest conference site for more information. We’ve set up a special track specifically for indie authors, including sessions on legal issues, the best practices of successful self-published authors (presented by Keith Ogorek of Abbott Press and Author Solutions), and a massive panel of indie authors and self-publishing specialists, including Abbott Press Mark of Quality winner K.C. Sherwood.

I’ll be there too, of course, so make sure to introduce yourself if you attend. I’m always networking as well, and looking forward to trading ideas and experiences with you.