Writing Seminars and Why I Hate Them

We have all been invited to attend a writing seminar in some form or another. The glitzy brochure in the mailbox offers “secret” advice from Author experts, or “exclusive” consultation with an “award-winning author”, etc. Meanwhile, a quick Google search will reveal that these so-called experts have barely sold 1,000 copies of their self-help book, with no real experience to offer the attendees of their overly expensive conference in a cheap hotel.

So why do people shell out hundreds of dollars for this obvious con? Simply because they aren’t willing to do the hard work themselves. It’s much easier to have an “expert” stand on a stage and give you a step-by-step process to becoming a successful author, even if they’re sharing the most obvious of advice. But because you paid $125 for this ticket, you believe that it is exclusive.

False.

I’m not saying that every single writing seminar is a fraud, but what I am saying is that all the information you need is readily available for FREE. I hate Writing Seminar’s because they are a way for little known author’s to con desperate writers into giving them money in exchange for “wisdom”. I’ve been to several such seminars, and they all repeat the same basic information. But if a $150 seminar is what it takes to get you on your feet, then more power to you. In the meantime, here’s a few articles I’ve found extremely helpful on my journey to the Editor’s desk:

Ten ways to become a Successful Writer:

http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/16077/writing/ten_ways_to_become_a_successful_writer.html

Be a Happy and Successful Author:

http://www.squidoo.com/happyandsuccessfulauthor

15 Practical Author Tips:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html

Become an Author: http://www.ehow.com/how_2308324_become-author.html

Finding a Literary Agent: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/

There are many, many such articles with wonderful tips on becoming a best-selling author, writer, journalist, etc. The point is, avoid writing seminars at all costs. Save your money, put your research skills to work, and educate yourself on the world of literature.

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4 thoughts on “Writing Seminars and Why I Hate Them

  1. Greetings Zack,
    I understand your comments, but…
    I try to attend a writer’s conference every year. For the last 5 out of six years I’ve attended MysteryFlorida on Lido Key (off the coast of Sarasota). This year I attended Sleuthfest in Orlando.

    I have made many valuable contacts with agents, publishers, and publicists. Especially valuable were the contacts with other authors. I enjoy hearing of their trials and successes, what worked, and what didn’t. No, not every writer is a “Best Selling Author” on the NY Times List, but they all have had experiences I can learn from. I’ve met Jefferey Deaver, Chris Grabhorn, Heather Graham, Michael Connelly, and several of my favorite “Small-time” authors. It doesn’t matter to me whether they sell 10 copies or 10,000, many of them are great people.

    In any industry it is important to “rub elbows” with others in the business. There is so much info on the net, but how do you know what’s for real? I had a small handbook printed by a company that has a strong web presence. It was a total disaster.

    At Sleuthfest I pitched my story to a publisher. He told me exactly how to send the ms. so it would bypass their readers and go directly to him. I ran in to an author I’d met a few years ago and asked if he would read my work, and if he liked it give me a “blurb” for the back cover. He agreed. I have several other well-known authors who will do the same, I’m sure. You can’t get that type of personal contact online. I ran into the publisher later at the conference and he told me the author I’d talked to had mentioned me to him..

    Enough ranting. Bottom line is that probably some are worth it, and others not.

    • I’m glad to see that you’ve had such success with your seminars! Unfortunately, myself and other authors I’ve spoken with haven’t witnessed the same “elbow rubbing” that you have. Obviously, many of the larger conferences are great opportunities to meet and greet authors, publishers, agents, etc. But this blog was meant for the small-time authors who try to “get rich quick” by shamelessly charging the attendees an arm and a leg to hear them share “industry secrets” that really aren’t that secretive. This has been my experience, at least, and the consensus among other authors is that small-time conferences should be avoided. The larger festivals and such are great tools for meeting new people, and I probably should have included that in my post. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I am attending a writing seminar in April. But its sponsored by the library so its free. I don[t expect to learn much but I am looking forward to networking with other local writers.

    Thanks for all the links.

    • Yes, the Library ones are ok. But I wouldn’t pay money for a conference, as I’ve stated above. You can learn a lot from the internet, like I did. Thanks for the comment!

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