Written by Karin Beery

Two months ago, we talked about why editors need writing conferences, but why do editors need editing conferences? Before we talk about that, let’s look at some of the reasons I’ve heard as to why editors avoid editing conferences.

  • They’re too expensive.
  • I won’t get any work from it, so why bother?
  • I can learn the same thing from a book/online.
  • I’m too introverted.

There’s some legitimacy to each of these concerns, but I’d like to present a different perspective. These thoughts won’t necessarily counter each issue above, but I hope they’ll tip the scale to show that the benefits of an editing conference could outweigh the concerns.

  • Professional connections. No, there aren’t many writers at editing conferences, but there are editors who offer different services. For example, I don’t offer nonfiction copyediting or proofreading, but I’ve met many editors at conferences who do. If an author asks me for a nonfiction proofread, I’m happy to send them the names of people I’ve met at conferences.
  • Publishing connections. No, there aren’t many writers at editing conferences, but there are publishers. Many of those publishers work with freelance editors. Meeting publishers in person gives editors an advantage over those editors who send unsolicited emails.
  • Personal connections. Even the most introverted introvert needs to work with other people in the publishing industry. The professional and publishing connections can definitely help elevate your career, but what do you do when an editing project goes off the rails and you can’t figure out how to get it back on track? Or when a client loses his or her temper or accuses you of untrue things? Many family members and friends will listen and offer advice, but there’s something special about talking with someone else who gets it—there’s something comforting and encouraging when your friend has actually been in your situation and can sympathize with you, not just empathize. You meet those people at editing conferences.
  • Shop talk. It’s hard to describe the energy emanating from a room full of editors discussing the history and application of capitalized deity pronouns in literature. Most people will roll their eyes at that statement. Editors want to know more. At editing conferences, attendees won’t just humor you, they want to talk about the Oxford comma, plural pronouns used for singular subjects, and the interrobang.

Will an editing conference help you find writers who want to work exclusively with you for the next ten years? Not likely. But it will give you the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals in an environment most people would consider nerdy. Not editors, though. For an editor, attending a good editing conference is like going home, and once you find it, you’ll count down the days until your next visit.

Karin Beery owns Write Now Editing, where she helps authors turn good manuscripts into great books. She is also a general editor for Iron Stream Media and Brookstone Publishing Group, a PEN Institute instructor, and a regular presenter at state and national writing conferences.  When she’s not editing or teaching, she writes hopeful fiction with a healthy dose of romance.