Everyone loves a good investment. Stocks, bonds, 401(k)s. We love hearing about how average Joe’s who invested $10,000 in GameStop in January are now worth $116,565. That’s a 1,066% return. Go Joe! Unfortunately, predicting return on Wall Street investments has never been easy.
As a writer who’s bootstrapping it, you may find yourself simply dreaming of having $10,000 to invest. The good news is that there are investment options with a much lower barrier to entry…yet with magnificent returns – and they’re just for writers.
Online courses, YouTube videos, local writing groups, a college Creative Writing course, even an MFA are all worthy investments with great payoffs.
But there is one investment that can’t be beat: A writer’s conference.
At a writer’s conference, for an invest of $50-$1000, depending on the conference and amenities, you’ll receive:
- The absolute latest knowledge in the publishing industry
- Step-by-step examples of marketing techniques that actually work for selling your book
- Small, personal classes on how to write and sell a novel taught by editors and writers in the field
- One-on-one pitching to agents actively looking for upcoming authors – with the added bonus of completely by-passing not only slush piles, but also inboxes
- Extreme discounts on services and tools
- The privilege to form lifetime relationships with other authors.
I know the value of a writer’s conference from first-hand experience. In the past 25 years, I have taken dozens of online courses, watched hundreds of YouTube videos, participated in local writing groups and masterminds, taken college courses, and even completed an MFA in Writing. But what investment has had the greatest return on an annual basis? Writer’s conferences. Hands down. It’s no wonder I counsel writers to attend one a quarter, every year.
I find myself stumped at trying to think of a conference I’ve attended that didn’t pay for itself in good training (at the very least) or book publishing deals (at the very most).
Here’s where I could tell you about the time I:
- Pitched a book to an editor and received a deal for an 8-book series
- Had lunch with a magazine editor that resulted in writing a paid, monthly column in their magazine–for decades
- Won a writing contest that had a Writer’s Digest editor seek me out to write an article
- Discovered software that not only allowed me to self-publish my own books, but for which I’ve received thousands of dollars to use as a tool for publishing other people’s books
- Met a complete stranger who became a best friend I have a writing mastermind with to this day.
Past performance may not indicate future results, but if writer’s conferences were stocks, I’d be all-in.
P.S. Looking for a good conference? I’d love to see you at WriterCon, the best writer’s conference in the Midwest. It’s the place to go, Joe.