This weeks theme is on conferences, and if you go to them, which ones you go, to , or don’t, and why. Well, my take might be a bit different than some because I live in Canada, and not anywhere near the border. If I lived in Vancouver, Toronto, or Calgary-anywhere with a big airport that had plenty of flights to choose from, I might attend more conferences. But, since it takes a minimum of 2 flights for me to get to pretty much anywhere outside Canada, that often means travel all day. As in, be at the airport by 4 AM my time, (International check-in and security take longer than regular) and arrive at wherever i’m going no earlier than 4 PM their time. No, its not usually 12 hours flying time, but there are layovers between flights…you get the idea.
This type of travel usually means an extra night (or two) for sure wherever I’m going, and that means a higher cost. Plus there’s exchange rates, and the cost of the flight itself. I’ve yet to fly to anywhere in the states and have it cost less than $700.
So, you can see why I tend to only hit one conference a year. I’d love to go to more. I’m a people person, and I love to talk writing and books to anyone who’ll listen, never mind simply being social, so yeah, if I could, I’d attend a lot more.
Since I limit myself to one conference a year, I tend to be pretty picky. I want a bang for my buck.
That doesn’t just mean conference-wise. Over the last couple of years location has really helped me decide where to go. By adding extra time to my schedule, either before or after the conference, I’ve been combining conference-time with writer retreats. For the past 2 years Ive atteneded the Novelist Inc conference in St.Pete Florida, and it was fabulous. Not just because of the location, but because NINC is a professional organization for authors, and it strives to be on top of whats happening in the industry. When the conference part was over, feeling rejuvenated and motivated, myself and a couple of friends stayed a few extra days to get some work done in a great locale.
RT, or Romantic Times conference is another favorite of mine, because it’s got tons to offer to readers and writers of all levels. Plus, it’s a bit of a party, which I always enjoy.
One conference I’ve been to, and would like to attend again someday is the Surrey International Writers Confernce. It’s here in Canada, in Surrey, B.C so I love that. SIWC was the first con I ever attended, back in 2004. I enjoyed it because it was multi-genre, and I really got a lot out of it.
This year I’m going to the Authors After Dark confernce in New Orleans. It’s my first ‘smaller’ conference, and I’m super excited. Not only because it’s in New Orleans, (and yes, I’m taking extra days there. ) but because it is a smaller one, and it’s geared to wards social3i2zing with readers. I want to hang with peeps and talk books, any and all books, and meet readers who love to read steamy romance. The organizers have done plenty to offer a variety for everyone, and I plan to enjoy.
So, as you can see, I like to combine my learning and working with some enjoyment to. I think one of the best things in the world is to be able to do what you love, and love what you do, and attending conferences, and being able to choose where and when I want to attend them, is part of what I love about being an author.