Yes, you should go to that writer’s conference. Here’s why.

Posted by Wrightspeak  /   December 29, 2013  /   Posted in On the Road, The Latest  /   4,407 Comments
BEA. Photo by Julian Pencilliah.

Photo by Julian Pencilliah.

Maybe you’ve heard about the Book Expo of America, the yearly four-day networking event that is usually attended by more than 500 authors and 1,000 visitors on average (the 2014 event is scheduled to run from May 28th to May 31st in New York City). New and inexperienced authors may wonder: What are the benefits of attending the BEA conference? Wrightspeak took an in depth look at what the BEA and other writer’s conferences have to offer novice and seasoned authors and publishers.

For self-published authors, conferences can be a great way to grow their fan base and show off their sales track record to top houses. As an unpublished author, conferences offer workshop opportunities, which can be great research experiences for writers. There’s also time for networking at these conference: writers can learn from perspective publishers and mingle with fellow writers. Conference attendees at international conferences may also learn about ways to sell foreign book rights.

Small publishers looking to further their book exposure can take publishing consultant Jerry D. Simmons’s advice and come prepared with a detailed company plan, book cover images for their booth to show prospective authors what they can offer.

As Simmons mentions, attendees should not go in with the expectation that they can have a “cold call” meeting with an editor, publisher or company. Attending and selling your book at these conferences is about getting your foot in the door and building a name for yourself in the larger market. Editors, agents and publishers utilize their time more effectively by networking with new clients than by reading over manuscripts.

Even so, authors should still come prepared with an explanation of their book and a copy of the manuscript, just in case according to Scott Huffman of Folio Literary Management. To keep reading, here are 25 (hilarious, yet true) things authors should know about conferences by author Chuck Wendig.

If you’re thinking about selling your book at the Book Expo of America, register for the New Title Showcase. It’s a bit pricey, but could help authors that cannot physically attend the conference. Each title in the showcase is listed in the New Title Showcase Catalog, along with the author’s contact information. For individuals who can attend the conference, the BEA offers several networking opportunities where authors can meet with industry professionals and get in-depth tips, advice and strategies for launching titles.

This article was written by Ja’Neil Jackson, a Wrightspeak intern.