I've been in a bit of a quandary lately. You know I've been a huge proponent of conferences. Big or little, I felt they all had good reasons to attend them.
Now -- I'm taking a step back. I listened to an editor from a large publishing firm the other day. He said in the last five years of speaking at conferences and doing conference critiques for authors, that he only had 'discovered' four authors. That's a hideous number. An extremely poor 'success' rate.
One of the reasons I attend conferences is the hope that I might be 'found' at one of the critique sessions. That an agent or editor that I'm pitching my book to will say, 'Sounds awesome. I'm ready to sign you.'
If agents and editors and publishers rarely sign a conference attendee, that's going to make me rethink my conference dollar. I'm going to be picky about what conference I attend and why. I'm definitely going to rethink my 'critique' budget.
Saying all that, I'm still going to conference. Networking and making new friends and just mingling with 'artistic' vibes makes conferences worthwhile.
I'll just be more discerning.
Life is interesting.
PS - Being a cynical person, I am trying to remember that the folks I know who are part of the 'conference' system are good-hearted, want only the best for the attendees, and have a love of writing that is close to mine.