This year my main complaint is that this conference has grown too big for the convention center we use.
For the last three years that I have been to this conference, it’s been held at the Hilton by Seatac airport. The last two years, it’s been a little tight, but manageable. This year though, man, what a difference a year makes. For anyone who has attended writers conferences, you know that one of the major thrusts of the conference is the agent and editor meetings.* Seeing that these appointments happen throughout the time of the conference, this means people have to leave classes early or come in late in order to make their appointments. Now, when the class in mostly empty, you barely notice, but when the room is darn near standing room only, it gets loud. In one of my classes, a person came or went every two minutes or so. Needless to say, I learned to sit in the front of the room, so I could hear everything being said and not be too distracted by the door opening and closing.
I must stress that I am not the least bit upset with the people for coming and going; they had agents to meet with and those meetings are only five minutes, so no sense in doing nothing for the hour and half that the classes run when you could be attending one. My complaint is: we need to move to a space that is more accommodating for the increased interest in the conference (better parking would be good, too).
The only other thing I can think of is something my husband brought up today. It would be great to see more community building activities at conferences. He pointed out that most of the time we were there people were either dealing with pitching their book or sitting in a classroom being lectured at by a presenter. This, though, is on people like me. I didn’t go volunteer to help set up writer roundtables, so I only have myself to blame. Speaking of which, I will be writing PNWA today to try to get of the conference committee, so I can arrange for activities that encourage writers to network and talk about their experiences. On that note, if anyone can make suggestions to me about good community building activities that could occur within the confines of a writers conference, please leave me a comment, and I’ll add it to my letter to the PNWA board.
*For those new to all of this, those are appointments that attendees have with various industry agents and editors. During the time of your meetings, you can pitch your book directly to an agent and/or editor.