QUICK! WHAT DOES A WRITING CONFERENCE OFFER?
- Big name authors discussing their genres and journeys.
- Experts teaching literary craft.
- Agents and editors sharing insider FAQs about the publishing industry.
Also, ballrooms filled with fellow writers, a chance to pitch your book or have your first pages critiqued, a bookstore to sell your latest work, networking opportunities galore … and, of course, too much mediocre hotel food.
All at a fairly steep cost, right? Even a local-to-you writing conference is likely to set you back $500. Add travel and lodging for an away-from-home weekend, and you’re looking at twice that, or more.
But if you believe the golden information gleaned from authors and industry experts forms the heart of a writing conference, I’ve got great news! You can get that delivered right to your door—every month, at the tiniest fraction of the cost!
All you need is a subscription to a top-notch writing magazine. Here are four excellent magazines for your consideration:
In each issue, these magazines provide a plethora of topics you’d expect to see presented at a writing conference—like agent spotlights, new-author features, craft articles, and industry guidelines. And these pieces are written by the same experts you’d expect to see on a discussion panel or speaking from a conference platform!
For instance, articles in the most recent issue of WRITER’S DIGEST (just arrived in my mailbox last week) include,
- The Art of Breaking Character: when, why, and how to have your characters act, um, uncharacteristically.
- Steering the Ship: twelve tips for researching a nonfiction project.
- The Frugal Writer’s Guide to Everything: ways to save big money on literary expenses. (Hey! This blog post is right in line with my pal Elizabeth Sims’s article!)
- The Power and Peril of Prologue: when, how, and why to use a prologue—and what risks you run with agents and editors by doing so. (This in-depth, super-helpful article is by another pal, Ryan Van Cleave!)
- The WD Interview: with Pulitzer Prize-winning author of LESS, Andrew Sean Greer. (No, Andrew’s not a pal—but I did love LESS!)
And that’s only half the full-length articles this month. There are also ten columns, the Writer’s Workbook feature, and Inkwell, with its writers’ guide to editors.
It will take me most of the month to digest (ha!) every morsel of this month’s WRITER’S DIGEST—chewing on its contents in bite-sized pieces that are easier to process (for me, anyway) than the weekend binge of a writing conference.
Top Writing Coach Tip
Here’s what I suggest:
1) Subscribe to a great literary magazine. 2) Read all the articles in each issue (you never know what information will come in handy!). 3) Earmark pieces that are relevant to your current project(s). 4) Discuss what you learn with writer friends (over coffee, and you’ve got the makings of a mini-conference!). 5) Feel reassured you’re keeping your writer self current on what’s going on in the writing world.
Of course, attending writing conferences is great, too! There’s lots of interactive magic afoot in those ballrooms. Just don’t get your hopes up about the food.
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