I’d Go to a Conference to Meet Neil Gaiman

An excellent post by Neil Gaiman about why conferences, workshops, and other writing events aren’t around to get you published. One point:

“We were doing that because we wanted to meet people like us. Because we wanted to attend the panels and learn. Because we were fans of the people who would be at the convention and wanted to listen to them.”

Although conferences and workshops can be very useful tools in developing your craft, they’re also for fostering a sense of community, which is fantastic. And maybe the people you meet will be able to suggest agents to get in touch with or grants to apply for. Maybe you will get published because of someone you met at a conference.

But I think this plays into the overall idea of there being no guarantees in writing. Even if you meet all the right people and have all the right tweets, it doesn’t mean you have earned a spot on a bookshelf somewhere. The best you can do is write your best work. The work that needs to be in some reader’s hands. Even then there are no guarantees, but it makes success a lot more likely in case you do happen to meet that right agent/editor.

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