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April 5, 2023

            I recently did a series on query letters and attending a conference. In this summary, I want to go over some final thoughts about the Las Vegas Writers Conference and conferences in general.


            There’s nothing like the thrill of being at a conference in person. The setup where I was always a volunteer, working the front desk, attending classes, eating the food. Most of all, interacting with other writers and the staff has been something I’ll never forget.

            Nowadays, especially since COVID, these conferences are no longer live for the most part. There are, of course, exceptions.

            Videoconferences are the thing now. Our regular writer’s group meetings have been on Zoom for a long time now, and I have to admit, on-line is very convenient.

            So, what’s the big difference?


            A live conference is meeting everyone face-to-face and there’s nothing quite like it. For sure, it’s more expensive, but getting to rub elbows with everyone is worth it, despite some waiting around, indecision of maybe what classes to take, dealing with the occasional idiot. I have to say in over a decade of attending conferences, they were overwhelmingly positive experiences despite an occasional glitch. That being said, especially for those of you coming from out of town, it takes time and money and a lot of extraneous hassles to attend.


            The difference in videoconference is that not only is it cheaper, but you can do it right from your home without even having to dress fancy. That means you don’t have to travel from A to B to get there. Most of the same things are available. The big difference is that you’re not physically there. There’s no chance to just bump into someone, sit at a dinner table and talk shop, or a host of other interactions not possible on line. Then again, it’s a lot cheaper to bring experts to the field, plus you can schedule one-on-one time with them if need be.


            While it’s a lot more money, I prefer the in-person event. The convenience of having the conference in my town is also a plus. The food is usually great, and the chances of a random encounter with an expert to pick their brain is much better.

            On the other hand, I can see why videoconferences are the thing right now. No chance of getting sick from whatever’s floating around out there. You can sit in front of the camera in your jammies and go through the same basic steps as a live event. You can chose your own food. No driving or flying. With a few exceptions, you can still get that one-on-one time with an expert. What isn’t available are spontaneous unscheduled events. To some this can be good or bad, especially if you feel awkward. It can be better to prepare for a scheduled meeting, rather than being caught off guard.


            One day, maybe the conferences will go live again. In the meantime, I can’t encourage you enough to attend one of these events, whether video or live. They both have their pluses and minuses but it all boils down to getting out there and learning, presenting your work, taking a leap to get published or learn how to do it better.

            Yup, attending a writer’s conference is something every writer needs to do, regardless of format.

            Happy writing!

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