Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Go to a Conference?

DL Larson, Morgan Mandel, Debra St. John
Book Beat Babes at Spring Fling
Now that I no longer have a day job, I'm more picky about which conferences I attend.

Conferences can be costly, especially when well known headliners are offered. Those people don't appear for nothing. Not only is the conference committee responsible for travel expenses for their featured guests, but also their rooms and speaking fees.

Also, decent venues don't come cheap. The committee usually needs to guaranty a certain amount of attendees, as well as people staying overnight, not to mention meals for those at the conference.

I understand how the expenses can add up, yet sometimes certain conferences can be more costly than others. Because of the cost, I've passed on some conferences I would have loved attending.

Still, I couldn't pass on 2014 Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling. For one thing, Chicago-North RWA is my chapter, and I wanted to show support. For another, The chapter rate of $160 for a two-day conference was decent compared to other conferences. The headliners were great, and I knew I'd take something back from hearing them. Also, it would be a great opportunity to network with authors I hadn't seen in a while. Since I've gone the indie route, pitches to editors and agents didn't interest me, but many people attending took advantage of that opportunity.

I was not disappointed. The conference ran professionally and smoothly. The headliners, who included Mary Balogh, Kristan Higgins and Lauren Dane,  gave spectacular workshops and speeches.

My favorite was Mary Balogh, an author of 100 books. I loved her wit. Not only that, her observation that writing is never easy made me feel I wasn't the only one who struggled at times to get my manuscripts completed.

Perseverance and determination are still key ingredients for writers to survive, even when they've already published more books than I could ever dream of writing.

I did get to network with authors I hadn't seen in a long while. I also got fed very well. The venue was beautiful.

Adam  Grabowski, the comedian during the gala dinner, actually made me and others around me laugh! That doesn't always happen.

An added plus was it took less than twenty minutes to get there from my house. Couldn't beat that convenience.

What I most got out of the conference was inspiration. Being among my own kind who suffer similar anxiety and setbacks made me realize I'm not alone. Sure, when I sit at my computer, I'm the one who needs to create my own book, but still, there are many others out there who are hard at work doing the same thing. It may not always come easy, but we can do it!

Find Morgan Mandel's books at

& her Amazon Author Page at


Twitter: @MorganMandel

What about you? Have you been to any good conferences? Or, don't you go to them?


  1. I really enjoyed Mary Balogh too. She was wonderful to listen to, and really charming and sweet as well.

    Being around other authors for two days was a great perk too. It was so great to touch base with people I haven't seen in ages.

    Thanks for being my carpool buddy, Morgan!

  2. It's wonderful to connect with successful authors like Mary Balogh who are not at all conceited! And, yes, I had a great time carpooling with Debra St. John for the conference, and also got a chance to see DL Larson for a bit between sessions.

  3. Hey! That's me!! :) So glad to see other BBB authors in attendance. I enjoyed the conference too ... but didn't get there until Sat. morning and I've never stayed for the gala dinner - too far to get home later! But I really missed not being there Friday night. I won't be doing that again. Sooooo good to see you gals. Great pic!

  4. Morgan,
    Sounds like a great conference, thank you for the feedback. I couldn't go this year, too much going on at home-but am going to the next one.

  5. Morgan, I was so glad to meet you at the conference. I had so much fun and getting to see those people you mentioned made it into a perfect fan girl experience. My ride was three hours as opposed to twenty minutes, but the hotel stay (complete with Starbucks and helpful staff and having my bed made) is a great part of the conference experience for me. Once again, it was great to see you!

    1. I was happy to see you as well, Liz. It's great to meet up with cyber friends like you, and bridge the connection into flesh and blood friends!