Should more writers attend publishing conferences?

Porter Anderson offers up a solid overview of the latest Writer’s Digest Conference and Digital Book World events, and notes the separation between authors and publishers at the two, lamenting the former missing out on “the exposure they need to the facts, the figures, the charts, the debates, the genuine fiscal binds and occasional braggadocio of corporate insecurity.”

It’s a valid point, but one with no easy answer. The business of being an author is very different from that of being a publisher, but those lines have been increasingly blurred over the years as self-publishing opportunities have become more sophisticated, effectively turning authors into business people, a role some (many?) aren’t terribly comfortable with.

Should more writers attend publishing conferences? Definitely.

Should conferences change their business models to accommodate them? No.

What comes with authors’ shift to the business side is the reality that the water gets a lot deeper, particularly when it comes to attending conferences and registration fees. If you want to be a true self-publisher, there’s a lot more to it than uploading your file to Amazon, and that includes bearing larger expenses like conference registration fees.

Any author’s money is just as good as any publisher’s, and no conference organizer I know would turn it down. You want a seat at the table, buy a ticket like everyone else.


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