As all of you know and read, most of the M&M's were in Orlando for the National RWA Conference. My question has always been which is best large or small?
Big isn't always best. Now you read all about the accounting of Liz and Kari's fun. And had I been in the right frame of mind (totally different story itself) I would have been right there partying with them.
Am I saying that I didn't enjoy the conference? That I didn't find it beneficial? That I didn't walk away with lots to absorb? I didn't have any positive contact with industry professionals?
As always I learned a lot of very important craft and career information. Was it a bad time for me? Yes. Am I glad I went? Yes.
What I’m trying to say here is, like anything else you have to find what works for you. If you like the energy, the rubbing of shoulders with hundreds of industry professionals, the networking and the other opportunities of a big conference, then you should attend one.
This year there were 2100+ attendees, that’s a lot of competition for the agent/editors attention. Chances are you’re going to run into someone during your conference time, but will you actually have quality time to chat? Or even pitch something? Chances are a lot slimmer.
Small conferences give you a better chance to talk at length, not just pitch, with an agent and/or editor. There is less choice in workshops, but usually you can find a conference focused on the genre you write. If you write suspense, the New England Crime Bake would be a good choice.
The small conference is more intimate and less intimidating. In fact, if you think you’ll like the high energy of the National RWA Conference but have never attended one, a small conference would help you get your big toe wet to test the waters.
Conferences are one of the best opportunities to learn, network and meet other writers. How often you get to talk to someone who understands that you are not crazy even though you have voices in your head that talk to you?
As with anything writing related, do your research. RWA has a list of all the conferences coming up on the web site and in the RWR. Or you can Google writing conferences. Look at the agents and the editors attending, do they have the ones you’re targeting? Do they have workshops that would help your craft or help you with your career? Large or small, you need to do this. In our economy, it’s prudent to spend your money where you’ll get the biggest bang.
If you love the people, the glitz, the energy and all the famous authors and big names in the industry, and you can afford the conference; then I guess we’ll see you at National RWA in NYC in 2011!