I've just returned from the Silken Sands Writers Conference in Pensacola, Florida. The conference is held every other year (they alternate years with the Southern Magic Conference given by the Birmingham Chapter of Romance Writers of America).
I had the most wonderful time at the conference and learned a great deal. Although the Gulf Coast Chapter Romance Writers of America is a close-knit group, everyone at the conference was very friendly and made me feel welcome.
The conference was attended by heavy hitting industry professionals who made presentations and/or participated in agent/editor consultations. I pitched my romantic suspense novel and received no less than three requests to see it – two from top publishers and one from a top agent.
The seminars at the conference were very informative and wonderfully presented. I learned the best way to create new worlds for science fiction and fantasy novels, how to self-edit my manuscripts so that they have the best chance of getting published, how to keep my muse happy, how to find time to write in my chaotic schedule, and so much more. I'll be able to use what I learned at the conference right away since I now have to timely whip my manuscripts into shape and send them off the agents and editors who have requested to see them. I also plan to write a fantasy novel for this year's National November Writing Month.
The best part of the weekend though was the chance to network and get to know industry professionals and writers in various stages of their careers – from the not yet published to bestsellers. Talking with the other writers helped me to learn about resources that will take my writing to the next level and to make new friends. I will definitely be back in 2012.