7 Things I Learned at The Las Vegas Writers Conference

I attended the Las Vegas Writers Conference (LVWC) on April 19-21. I had a great time and can’t wait to go again next year. Being that it was my first conference and I did not have a finished novel, I spent most of my time taking classes and soaking up every bit of information I could. Here are 7 things I learned while I was there.

1. I discovered what genre my work fits into.

And I wasn’t the only one. Others I talked to were just as confused as I was about what genre their work fit into and found answers at the conference. This is the great thing about being able to talk to the publishing folk in a relaxed setting as I mentioned here.

After nearly eight months of writing my novel and trying to figure out what genre it is, I finally found out at the conference. I was talking with a publisher during a break between classes and she asked me what I was writing. I told her I didn’t know what genre it fit into and then proceeded to tell her what the book was about. After listening to me, she told me it sounded like a suspense novel, but of course she couldn’t say for sure without reading it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a suspense novel and now when I edit, I can make sure to bring out more of the suspense in the novel.

2. Facebook is not as valuable to an author as Twitter.

One of the reasons Twitter is more important is that Facebook updates are not as easy to read and they can get lost. Speaking from my own experience using Facebook, this is very true. I don’t look at Facebook often and so I rarely see posts. I never go back to look for things either. It is also extremely easy just to block people so your news feed doesn’t get so cluttered, which I do as well.

With Twitter, it is easier to get more people to follow you because you are not “friending” them. Also, the more you retweet, talk to, and mention, the more exposure you get to others who may want to follow you.

3. When trying to get published, start small.

You may get paid less, but you will be working your way up by creating experience and contacts for long-term work. Less pay also equals less competition which gives you a better chance of getting published. And of course, if your trying to find an agent, look for new agents trying to build their lists.

4. If you attend a conference, stay where it’s being held.

This is more for people who live in the area where a conference is being held. I live about 40 minutes away from where the LVWC was held and so I decided to commute. The conference cost a lot of money and I didn’t really have the money to stay at a hotel for two days. Plus I thought it would be easier and less stressful to stay home. What I didn’t foresee is how tired I would be from taking classes all day. The drive out there was stressful and tiring, then I had to get up about 3 hours earlier than normal yet I wasn’t going to bed any earlier. I was too exhausted to attend the dinner events and too tired to take any of the early classes. Needless to say, I missed out on a quite a few classes and networking opportunities. I didn’t really feel like I was apart of the conference. Next time, I plan to stay there.

5. Take time to network.

It’s hard to get out of our comfort zone and talk to people, especially if we’re not that social to begin with. I, probably like many of you, am an introvert and socializing exhausts me. I didn’t really get into a groove until the third day and by then, the conference was almost over. I did talk to quite a few people though and thoroughly enjoyed meeting them and learning about them. In fact, I met people I had a lot in common with.

6. Time management is not as hard as I thought it was.

The most important lesson I took away from my time management class was to put my writing first. Don’t do twenty other things before you start writing because you’ll never get to your writing. Put your writing first! And Chuck Sambuchino said that while there is no secret to getting published, the one piece of advice that comes close is: put down the remote.

7. And finally… A lot of the bodies in Las Vegas that come to the medical examiner are green.

This was just a really weird fact we learned when the medical panel spoke to us during lunch. Apparently high temperatures are not good for preserving a body and they turn green.

There are so many more things I learned, but it would take up too much space to write it all down, that is if you were even able to keep reading. Even though I didn’t get all I could have out of this conference if I would have stayed there, I had a wonderful time and recommend to anyone thinking about trying out a conference to go for it!

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About T. R. Kolbe

I have been writing since July 2010. I wrote one novel although I haven't finished editing it and I don't know that I will. I have also completed 3 short stories and have 3 more that I am working on.
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