Written by Karin Beery
Writing and editing are not the same thing—they require different talents and skills. Why, then, should editors attend writing conferences? Here are just a few reasons:
- Trends: What worked in fiction twenty years ago isn’t necessarily popular in today’s novels. Likewise, last year’s best-selling nonfiction might be the least sought-after genre today. Writers want to know these things, so they go to conferences to find out. Editors can also find out what’s happening so they can better guide their clients.
- Professional Connections: I don’t just mean connecting with authors. At writing conferences, you will also meet:
- Publishers: Many publishers work with freelance editors. Meeting them at conferences is a great way to get your foot in the door.
- Agents: Agents often receive manuscripts they love that need a little work. When they meet you at a conference, they know you’re invested in your work. This can turn into word-of-mouth referrals (I’ve received several from agents).
- Personal Connections: The publishing industry isn’t easy. An online support system is nice, but there’s something special about meeting people face to face. Like authors, editors also need people they can talk/vent to and pray with. Meeting those people at conferences can help you connect in deeper ways.
- Authors: It’s hard for authors to know who to trust with their manuscripts. Meeting an editor at a conference can help them see that editors are people too.
- Experience: Before I started editing, I worked in the hospitality industry. For four years, I managed a group of 4–16 employees. Some days were rough, and it was hard to motivate everyone to keep going. On those days I often did the least appealing jobs because I wanted everyone to know that I understood how it felt and would never ask them to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself. I earned a lot of respect that way.
The same is true for editors. Many editors never write books, so it’s hard to completely understand what an author is experiencing. That’s why conferences can be so helpful to non-writing editors. When you attend a writing conference, you’re stepping into an author’s shoes; you’re experiencing what they’ve experienced, which helps you better relate to them. That can make it easier for authors to trust you with their manuscripts.
If you’ve never attended a writing conference, I highly recommend it. Not only will it help you relate to your authors, you might learn a thing or two. 😊
Karin Beery owns Write Now Editing and is a general editor for Iron Stream Media and Brookstone Publishing Group. Her specialty is fiction substantive editing. She’s also a published author, writing hopeful fiction with a healthy dose of romance.