The difference between writers’ conferences and authors’ conferences is basically volume.
Most writers attend writers’ conferences to make one vital connection with one agent who will pitch their book to one mainstream publisher, and then, presto, wham, bang, bong magically lands one of those long sought-after publishing contracts that will finally make their long-time-in-waiting manuscript into a published book. The primary interest of writers’ conference participants is selling the merits of one unpublished manuscript to one agent, with the goal of facilitating selling the rights to the one book to one traditional mainstream house. Once in a while it happens and a fruitful connection is made, but more often than not it doesn’t happen, and the wannabe author goes home with only a few subjective suggestions for yet another rewrite and the draft of still another one-page query letter to send off once again, to literary agents.
Writers with a published book attending an authors’ conference soon discover they are the ones the focus of the conference is on and the topics are all about teaching one and all proactive promotional techniques to sell more books – selling more and more books is what all authors want to achieve, regardless of with whom or how their book was published. It’s more fun and in the long run more rewarding conceiving concepts to promote your book to the masses, than to sharpen a hard sell directed at one agent, who then must do a successful resale to a publisher. Instead of pondering the profound points of a query letter, authors are polishing their elevator book pitch so the next time someone inquires as to what their book is about, they can provide a clear and concise answer in a minute or less. Attendees go home from an authors’ conference with a dozen or more fresh approaches for promoting their books.
Writers’ conferences tend to limit attendees having direct contact with participating presenters, editors and agents because private consultations are most often only available to the writers paying additional fees. All presenters and keynoters at good authors’ conferences welcome the opportunities to socialize and talk informally with any of the attending authors about their books, and freely share marketing concepts for authors to consider implementing when they return home.
Writing and endlessly pitching agents is a lonely task, while authors gathering together at a conference openly exchange book promotions that are working successfully to sell more books to more folks everywhere. Indeed, marketing your book can be hard work, but with ongoing efforts it’s much more rewarding than receiving one more rejection letter.
If you’re an author seriously interested in successfully marketing your book, you really need to give thought to attending an authors’ conference in the near future. You’ll be glad you did.
-John F. Harnish
Photos courtesy of John F. Harnish via www.authorsconference.com