Event Alternatives: Conferences and Festivals

Writing conferences are a super fun way to get to hang out with your favorite authors. If you find out that an author whose books you love is going to be at a writing conference near you it is definitely worth checking to see if there will be a signing open to the public. I’ve been to two conferences and both times there was an event open to the public on the opening night.
It’s really cool to go to these events because there are usually tons of other authors there. Why do you care about other authors when you’re only there for yours? Well more than likely you are going to love the books that are also being presented. They are all there for a reason and more than likely you will love their book just as much as the one you went for.
If you have the chance to attend a book festival I highly recommend it. I usually attend the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn. The event is three days of jam-packed fun. There are TONS of authors there, tons of panels and tons of signings. If you’re lucky like me you can meet up with others in the blogging community. We live so far away from each other normally that special events like this let us all catch up.
The key to large events like this is planning everything beforehand. They release a list of authors and their panel and signing times prior to the event. Get a copy of it and highlight the ones that you are interested in. If you do not plan then you are probably going to miss out on things you wanted to see. One year Margaret Peterson Haddix was there and I hadn’t checked so I got to meet her but I got none of my books signed (and I own all of her books).
I’ve also been to Yallfest twice. It’s in Charleston, South Carolina. The first time I went everything was pretty much the same as SFB. The second time however, there were WAY more people there and all I did was stand in lines for 6 hours straight. It was extremely disappointing and since this happened I have no been back there. Unless there is significant change in the process I probably won’t ever return. There were four people in the group that I was in and for six hours all we did was standing either inside a tiny space or outside in the sun. It was not fun at all.
Do some research on wherever you chose to go. Chances are there will probably be a blog post just like this one talking about the experience. Remember to have fun wherever you chose to go! If you guys have other favorite festivals or conferences you like to attend let me know!