31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 8: Conference Research

Conferences and workshops and training oh my

We’ve worked on the wording about ourselves this challenge. Now let’s look outward on how we can interact with others. We’ll do that by being of service. Today we broaden our view and help our fellow writer or reader grow, so that our own author platform can grow.

There are a ton of conferences, webinars, retreats, and training courses out there. Most are online. As a writer, you should already be aware of writing conferences yourself, so talking to fellow writers makes this a snap (and if you’re not already aware of the events, you’ll be helping yourself today too). Or maybe you want to look into conferences that can help your reader, like ESL or Book Fairs, or things your main characters are interested in, like whales or shyness. Maybe you write non-fiction and can look into events based on that topic.

Research educational opportunities for your followers.

Day 8 entails searching for conferences/classes/workshops et al that are specifically, say, for your audience’s age range and your genre. It sets you up as a reliable resource.

Google, for example, “2024 nonfiction picture book conferences” and see what comes up. Do the events look legit? Only mention what you think looks decent. It can be hard to tell, I know. Be careful when looking up classes and sessions. Scan through what you think might be the highest-quality training based not only on who is hosting the conference/event but who is presenting. Look for tried and true, national author groups/clubs like Children’s Book Insider, SCBWI, Authors Guild, Serious Writer, etc. Contact people you know that have attended the events and get their feedback before posting. Don’t blindly hand your recommendation (or suggest readers hand their money over).** (see Note)

Once you get a feel for what’s out there, in that first search, keep going and google variations like “2024 nonfiction picture book webinars,” “…online classes,” “…online training” etc., and do the same vetting process. Read carefully. Ask yourself…Which might offer the biggest bang for the buck? Do they offer refunds? (I’ve honestly found those that do tend to be the worst offenders for some reason. Could just be my experience.)

I bet you’ll find events you never heard of, or events you’ve been meaning to try but completely forgot about. Yeay you!

**A note of caution:

It’s easy to make yourself look good online. It’s easy for people with no experience to convince you they have it, and convince you to give them your money for a consult or class. It can be hard to verify what they say about their qualifications is true. It might never occur to you to verify it.

For example, I was surprised to find a writer’s service that has a quote from me on their home page, as if I am endorsing their training. I have never taken their class, I do not know them, they did not ask me for permission. BUT — they must have looked up public quotes that fit what the training covers, and since it’s public, they are legally allowed to use it, I guess. If you look carefully, it does not say I took the class. It does not say I am referring to their training in that quote. So it’s not “false.” Is it ethical, though? No.

In another example, I know an online business that claims to have launched MANY careers when in fact those authors’ successes had nothing to do with those classes–the authors were published before taking the classes!

A third example is actually something I come across almost daily. First-time authors and even those NEVER PUBLISHED are offering consults, sessions, and conference-like courses on how to get published. It baffles me they get away with it. They look so good online. They might be OK. But are they really the level of expert you want to listen to?

Do your research. Beware “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” Shop wisely.

Recap: Research conferences, workshops, and learning opportunities that are of interest to you and/or your audience. Make a list of the ones you would want to or would want to suggest they attend. Add them to your handy notebook (as noted in the prep post). Publish that list, or a link to that list, across your social media outlets.

You’ll look like a hero!

Your friends will thank you.

And you will thank yourself.

[Oh, and don’t forget to follow 10 new people today!]