Jul 28, 2010

8 Reasons To Attend Writers Festivals

Promotion from Previous Melbourne Writers Festival

Writers Festivals - what's the appeal? Hate crowds and not much of a mingler, plus, time is such a valuable commodity in our society, I'm very frugal with mine. This is why my form of socialising and undertaking courses is usually done online. But...

Writers Festivals. I want to attend. I've never been and it seems a mysteriously creative and joyful event. There are workshops, seminars and festivities (otherwise it wouldn't be called a festival - right?). As mentioned in, A Writer's To Do List, I've decided to go to the Brisbane Writers Festival. It's going to be a bit costy with the workshops and travel expenses, but I think the festival will get me writing more productively.

Festivals provide:
  1. Deadlines - The date of the festival is set, so, I'll want to have my WIP edits done and as much written for my next MS as possible. I always work better with deadlines (as you can see from No Time To Finish That Novel?)
  2. Enthusiasm - This is so exciting for me (my first festival)..
  3. Professionalism - I'll feel like a real writer (maybe I'll get a name tag!), I like tricks that make me feel like a writer - see my post Getting in the Mood.
  4. Contacts - Festivals provide a great opportunity to network with authors, agents and publishers.
  5. Industry Knowledge - I'll learn how the querying process and publishing business works. I'm almost up to the query process, and found some great links: Q is for Query
  6. Role Models - Speakers provide examples of how they overcame the common obstacles to become published. I often look to established authors for great examples, see Effective Websites for Authors
  7. Marketing Advice - Writers need to do more than just write their books now, so I'll learn a lot of tips on how to market myself as an author and my work. For more on marketing see earlier posts: Give Readers Something More and Niche Markets = Loyal Readers.
  8. Socialising - I'm sure to meet other writers and bloggers and form life-long friendships.
Have you attended a writers festival, and if so, what did you get out of it? Have a link to a festival you want to share? Mine is The Brisbane Writers Festival.


  1. I'm really excited for you with the festival. If I told my husband, I'm sure he would make me go to it. Hmm...maybe I should go to the festival? I've not been to one either but I know their benefits from reading about other writers' experiences. hmm....

  2. Sounds like so much fun. We don't have anything like this near my city. I'd love to attend one. I think it would be great to soak up all that knowledge and experience :)

  3. I have never attended one. In fact, the thought of it scares me to death... all those people!

    However, I know I should. I'm trying to build up the courage.


  4. The Writers'Festival sounds so exciting. I have my fingers crossed that you get a badge with your name on it, maybe you could add AUTHOR underneath it ;)

  5. I've been to a few. After the first one, I got really intimidated because I think I went with the mindset of thinking that I was one of very few writers. To be surrounded by a sea of other writers made me want to vomit. Now, when I go, I tell myself to just hang around for a little while and not overdo it.

  6. Lynda - Wow, my hubby would think 'here's a pen, a piece of paper, what else do you you need to write?" At first he raised an eyebrow at the expense (and the fact that I want to attend one in a different State), but he always gives in :-)

    Jemi - Do it! Go festival - It will be fun (I hope).

    Clarissa - Truth - I'm a little scared too.

    Elaine - I could always make my own badge - oooh and decoupage it!

    Davin - I have many phobias (spiders, planes, fertilised eggs being able to split in two and create identical people, et, etc) one of them is vomiting - thanks, now I'm worried ;-j I won't overdue it, I'm only attending one day of conferences this time and the other days I'll just wander around and check out the free entertainment :-)

  7. I've attended several workshops. Knowledge was a great gift. Made some contacts that way, too.

    I've attended teh local writers conference and another in Portland last fall.

    This year, I'm attending Willamette Writers in Portland [9 days - I"m pitching my 1st novel - deadlines are great motivation] and I will be attending a sci-fi convention in Portland in November. It has a writers workshop component & I'll get some advice on making my short stories better.

    I hope to make more contacts & I hope to sell a novel. :)

    Meeting & speaking with other writers is great.

  8. You must be so excited and it sounds like you have the right attitude and expectations so you will really benefit from the experience. I have never attended a writer's conference, workshop, or festival, but I plan to attend Thriller Fest this summer in NYC. I know what you mean about the expense, but I feel that the benefit justifies the cost.

    With the exception of one person ( a blog I ran across a few days ago-cannot remember the name) I have only heard good experiences and positive comments from other writers both published and unpublished who have attended these events.