Top Ten Things Not to do if You Attend a Writer’s Conference

Since I’m at a Writer’s conference right now, I decided to look up my post from last year and check to see if there are any pointers I should follow. I decided to re-publish the post from last year since I really couldn’t improve on it. Hope you like it.


a writer's conference

Top Ten Things Not to do if You Attend a Writer’s Conference

10. If you attend a writer’s conference, do not think you need to impress the faculty with your knowledge of the writing craft. If you do, at best you will sound ridiculous teaching best-selling authors about writing. At worst, one of the best-selling authors may ask you how many books you have sold.

9.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not volunteer to be the first to read your story out loud. If you do, at best you will finish your reading and no one will applaud since you obviously did not hear the instructions. At worst, you will finish your reading and the instructor will use you as the example of what not to read aloud.

8.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not continually ask questions in the form of personal anecdotes. If you do, at best you will demonstrate to faculty and fellow attendees how insecure you really are in your writing. At worst, you may find the faculty intentionally ignoring your raised hand during Q&A to the delight of your fellow authors.

7.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not think one of the agents attending will remember and represent you if you try to monopolize their time. If you do, at best you might find that agent has decided to go home early and will remember you forever. At worst, the agent will believe you to be a stalker and report you to the police and remember you forever.

6.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not try to maneuver yourself next to best-selling authors at the social events. If you do, at best you will eventually be discovered and the authors will know you for a not so good reason. At worst, you will be the laughing-stock at the faculty gathering prior to each event which will result in an informal shunning procedure.

5.   If you attend a writer’s conference, do not believe you become even more interesting to best-selling authors after too many glasses of wine. If you do, at best you will be the only one at the conference who believes you to be a serious author. At worst, you may just go over the line and need help getting to your room which will leave a lasting impression on all those who witness the event as well as those who may not want to sign a contract with someone who has a drinking problem.

4.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not jump to the front of the serving lines to be the first to grab your food so you will be ready to squeeze into the spot next to John Lescroart. If you do, at best you may have the conference attendees believing you have some kind of eating disorder. At worst, you might be sending a message to the conference that you will do all most anything to get ahead and will be able to count with one finger the number of people who might be willing to help you

3.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not assume all the conference attendees can learn from your experience. If you do, at best you will eventually have difficulty finding people who will talk to you. At worst, you might be really humiliated when you discover the attendees you are trying to impress have signed with major publishing houses and dearly want to stay away from you.

2.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not think others will be impressed by your numbers of followers on social media. If you do you, at best you may find out some successful authors do not personally do social media and will not be impressed. At worst, you will find that your numbers no matter how large are still smaller than others in attendance.

1.  If you attend a writer’s conference, do not promise to send e-mails and to keep in touch after the conference and then fail to do so. If you do, at best the attendees will forget about you and it will be your loss. At worst, you will be remembered as one who doesn’t follow through and at some point in the future you may have to live down that trait.



  1. LOL… Sounds like a recipe for disaster, at least for me. And that’s without your list of what not to do! 😀 So you’re at a writer’s conference? Have a great time! Hugs.

    1. Thank you. Wrapping up today.

  2. That’s a lot of “ifs”, for me, but stranger things have happened…

    1. A sea of if’s for sure.

  3. Great advice here, John. Enjoy the conference!

  4. Great list John. This could easily be adapted to a technical conference or probably any place where people gather.

    1. I think people are all the same where ever they are. Thanks Dan

  5. Just as funny now as it was before. See anybody attempt #6?

    1. That was the biggest. “OOhhh Mr. Winslow I just love your book.”

      1. I see it online all the time. A lot of starting authors think hitching their wagon to a big name will be their in. Not sure if I’ve ever seen it work.

      2. Usually the opposite. “get away from me.”

      3. Author’s first restraining order. A proud moment indeed.

  6. Have a great time, John! Wouldn’t it be fun to share your list with the other attendees 🙂

    1. There are some who would see themselves and others who would be totally oblivious. I think you can guess each. Thanks. I think I will wait until I’m a famous author and use it as part of my presentation.

  7. Summary – Don’t attend any conference focusing on yourself. Enjoy the conference!

      1. But we can spot the opposite!

  8. Reblogged this on Kim's Author Support Page and commented:
    I knew I would like this one just by the title. Thanks, John!

    1. Thank you, Kim, and thank you so much for the reblog

  9. Reblogged this on Stevie Turner, Indie Author. and commented:
    Thanks for this. I will be attending one in October. This is valuable information!

    1. Thank you so much for the reblog Stevie.

  10. Have fun, and be sure to follow your own advice.

    1. I certainly will. “Oh, Mr. Lescroart I just love your books.”

  11. Have fun, John. These are spot on.Apparently you did your research before getting there. Good luck to you.

    1. Thanks. I am actually heading home now.

  12. I hadn’t seen this one before, John, and I’ve got to say it should be required reading for anyone going to a writer’s conference. Sometimes those things can be wonderful experiences; other times, they feel more like a waste of money. Good luck with yours!!

    1. This one is the best. The faculty is made up of best selling authors.

  13. That was good fun, thank you, John – and also your readers for all the delight comments!:-)

    1. Very nice of you to visit and comment. Thank you

  14. Is this the Marin conference again? A little warmer this year, eh?

    1. Lats year was Hot. This year was just right.

  15. Excellent advice – I think I would be safe, because I would sit in the back of the room…far away from the wine!

  16. Should such an event ever occur to me John, I will carry your advice with me. Very enjoyable.

    1. Yes and a water bottle so you have at least one practical tool.

      1. Why do I get the impression there is a degree of cynicism in your comment?? You have obviously been to a few of these gatherings.

      2. Yes, I have. I was thinking my advice might not be all that valuable.

  17. Great advice and just in time for the Annual Bloggers Bash I am attending on Saturday. Thanks John 🙂

    1. I knew it would come in handy. I wish I could attend. Have fun.

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