Writers work in isolation. It’s the nature of the job; what it takes to write. But a part of the job–a large part of business–is to know your marketplace. Understand your reader. Give your audience what they are seeking. You can’t do that behind a desk; behind a book.
One of the many ways to get out there is to attend writer conferences. There you will meet writers like yourself. It’s a great way to find camaraderie, meet writers in the same genre, know who is querying the same agents, and writing to the same audience. Yes, it’s your competition. But they are also your source of information and contacts. Don’t underestimate the value of a circle of writers. Some of my closest contacts, and friendships, came from attending writer conferences.
But writer conferences only go so far. They don’t take you out. They don’t allow the experience to be with people–your readers–and understand what makes them tick; what piques their interest? Attending local events, social venues, speaking engagements, fairs, conferences is a great way to be among real people, authentic reactions, personal experiences. It puts a face to the marketplace–your audience. A chance to engage and get to know the readers you write for.
I attended The Conscious Life Expoin Los Angeles. But I am a fiction writer… why would I attend a metaphysical conference? My latest book’s main character speaks to dead people. This gave me an opportunity to meet real mediums, interact in a world that was foreign; understand my character from experience, not just imagination. But among all the workshops, I found Suzy Prudden. She is not only a society icon but also a prize winning international speaker and best-selling author. She was fascinating, and I learned much in her hour-long presentation about writing, reaching audience, and marketing. What is my point? That even in the most unusual conference, I found a connection to writing. I also found fodder from the people attending, the music played, the art displayed. I exposed myself to the world at large…getting out.
OUT & ABOUT
The industry spouts, writers must read! That you can’t be a good writer unless you read a lot. I say, you can’t be a good writer unless you get out. There are many well-read writers. They shame me with my lack of keeping up with who is writing what. But there is nothing more valuable than being in the world, experiencing what is going on around you, knowing how people interact, speak, what excites them. Don’t underestimate the value of happenings going on around in your local city or community that isn’t writer centric. Attend AlienCon to know what Science-Fi readers are interested in. Go to a local Renaissance Fair to experience real jousting for your 15th century historical. Or, experience a metaphysical conference to understand a character’s intuitive characteristics. Step out behind the desk, get out, and have some fun along the way.