Since I returned from EpicCon, I've been thinking about conferences and why we writers attend them. I have strong hermit tendencies, so I have to nudge myself out and about, but when I do make myself emerge from seclusion, I'm always glad. Now, this particular conference was a special one for me. I'm the Vice President of Epic, the sponsors of EpicCon, plus I had a book up for an Eppie. And even better, my book won! How about that! So that was very cool. But beyond awards, there is real value in rubbing shoulders with others of your kind. Even before you get published, there is value in networking with other authors, not to mention the chance to meet editors and agents. EpicCon is also a small, friendly conference. It moves around the country, to give people a chance to attend. Next March it will be in Portland, but the date is a mystery... Everything I know about marketing and promotion, I learned from someone else.
I've met some amazing people in the years since my first book was released. I owe them a lot and the only way I know to repay that debt is to pay it forward. But beyond the networking and knowledge, there is an intangible benefit that is great, too. My daughter's fiance mentioned the energy he felt at our awards banquet. He was right. There is an energy that flows when like-minded people gather to share ideas and support. It lifts all boats... it lifts you. You can head home, tired, but excited about your writing again. So, don't be afraid to get out from behind your computer and meet other authors. Attend a conference. Attend a writers meeting. If you really can't get out, find an online conference, such as the Muse Online Conference, which is totally free, by the way. Sponsor: www.cartoon-coloring-page.com