Just a few observations after my panel appearances at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference on Tuesday, June 11 and at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15.
Venues: Santa Barbara was much more upscale. It was held at a lovely hotel that overlooks the beach. GLA was obviously done on a budget at LA Valley College. The meetings were held in classrooms instead of conference rooms.
Panels: However, I think the panels went well for both. In Santa Barbara I was a panel member discussing building a platform with a master moderator, Marla Miller, presiding. At the GLA I moderated three panels: memoir, platform, and poetry. Excellent experts were on all panels so we had lively discussions and lots of questions from the audience. Since the poetry workshop was a roundtable everyone participated in a give and take discussion throughout. In the end I think we provided useful information with lots of good takeaways in everyone of the panels I participated in.
Writers Conferences Are Not Good Book Selling Opportunities: Even though conference attendees were asked to support the presenter by buying their books – since that is the only way they get paid – that really didn’t happen. I sold one book at each conference – of course two more in sales than I would have had, had I stayed home. Writers are not book buyers. At least not when they are at a conference.
Bottom Line: What I gained instead was more people knowing about my book and me. Being a conference presenter afforded me a great networking opportunity, and it added to my platform. That’s all good.