A note from Susie May: Alena Tauriainen is one of my favorite aspiring authors – she’s a hard worker, creative and has a heart to press on in this journey. She is also the MBT Retreats Hostess and writes a series for the MBT Blog called, “The Next Step,” about the small steps an aspiring author makes every day that add up to a finished novel. I asked her to blog today on her perspective on attending a writers conferences when you’re early in the journey. Thank you, Alena!
Many of my writing friends told me attending a writing conference was the next step on my writing journey.
I shrugged them off.
After all, I was learning to schedule time in to write, reading blogs and other various articles to get better at the craft of writing. Did I really need to attend a conference?
On a lark I went to the ACFW page to find out just some basic information about their conference. Just to see.
But when I saw how much it cost, that cinched it. I didn’t think the airline would accept an IOU and I’m pretty certain ACFW wouldn’t either.
My day job is a bookkeeper for the family business so I need to know exactly how much something is going to cost before I commit. Who wants to show up somewhere and not have enough money?
Most people attending a conference for the first time don’t include all of the costs because they don’t know what those costs may be. Just getting there is not enough; you must be prepared when you go. It’s so much more than just the registration fee and the airlines.
Some hidden costs to look for when you attend a conference:
- Extra meals and tips. You need to bring ones to tip the shuttle drivers, hotel staff and taxi drivers.
- Starbucks coffee or tea, soda. You’ll spend time “out of conference” talking to peers, agents and editors, so bring along enough money to pay for your coffee – and maybe theirs too!
- Snacks. Although you’ll eat at a conference, you may want those late night munchies.
- Learning Materials / Book Purchases/ CDs-MP3s. You may attend the class of a speaker whose book you must have. Sometimes these books are difficult to find after the conference.
Recently, the staff at MBT worked to produce The Truth About Conferences. This book explains every aspect of attending a conference from budgeting for a conference to pitching and networking after the conference. I highly recommend this read before you attend a conference. It will help make sure you get the most out of the investment!
I did make it to ACFW, but I attended a MBT Retreat first to get my feet wet and that helped. I hope to see you at the MBT Booth at ACFW in Dallas next week!