Writers’ conferences have long been a source of networking and support for authors looking to hone their crafts and develop their business acumen for life in the publishing industry. One of the biggest lures to attract writers to conferences has always been well-known keynote speakers selected from top literary agents and publishers. Even better, many conferences offer authors the chance to meet an agent face-to-face and submit their manuscripts for critique…for a hefty fee, of course.
But now that authors are reimagining what publishing success looks like, conference organizers are finding that paying hundreds of dollars to have an agent peruse their work simply isn’t the draw it used to be back when several rounds of gatekeepers controlled the puppet strings on a book. Now, drawing companies like Pubslush, authors like Hugh Howey, and industry watchers like Porter Anderson are a bigger incentive to career-minded writers for the information they can share.
PubSmartCon, a writers’ conference held in Charleston, SC, next month, has shifted the focus away from desperately seeking an agent or publisher and chosen to focus instead of building in time for authors to network, both with big names in the industry and with their fellow in-the-trenches writers to uncover their keys to success.
Miral Sattar, CEO of BiblioCrunch who will be speaking and exhibiting at the event, said, “Authors are looking for conferences that help them get the tools and skills to successfully sekf-publish and market their books. They are forgoing conferences that charge them several hundred dollars.” These authors also have vital resources such as Meetups and free conferences like February’s IndieRecon, which had over 18,000 attendees.
“Publishers are also looking to successful indie authors to learn how to market self-published books,” continued Sattar.
While still offering authors looking for information and critiques from the traditional industry an outlet for discovery, PubSmartCon has encouraged experts and authors from every dimension of publishing to come together at the event. With 50 faculty members and 30 exhibitors from companies within the industry taking part, the event is looking towards being an all-encompassing solution for authors, regardless of their publishing plans.