Friday, May 25, 2012

Buying Your Way to Publication

What amount of money do you think writers should be willing to spend on conferences and courses to better their writing?

I must admit, this topic got me really fired up yesterday! There was a post on the Dystel and Goderich blog a few days ago in which agent extraordinaire Jim McCarthy announced that he would be participating in a webinar. He posed the question of how much writers spend on conferences and such to develop their writing. I take absolutely no issue with his post. My beef is with the responses. A vast majority of them stated that they had spent $2,000 or more, several stating figures of $20,000-$25,000.

One or two even went on to state or imply that writers not willing to shell out cash aren't serious about their writing and won't get published! I have to pause a moment here, because that opinion still makes my blood pressure sky rocket.

 My total monetary contribution to my dream has been about $20-$30 spent on some used writing books, some notebooks and pens- oh and I purchased the cheapest laptop I could buy and coughed up the money for an internet connection (long story). There are tons sources out there for free, reliable information all over the internet. I read. And I WRITE. Anyone who would imply that I'm not serious or committed obviously doesn't know me!  Whats more, I KNOW that my writing is improving. Yes, it still has a long way to go, but that's just the process...for anyone.

 I'm not saying that conferences and workshops and webinars aren't worth the money. I just choose not to attend. I have a family to support. We barely make ends meet. I don't HAVE the stinking money, even if I wanted to spend a butt load on classes. Breathe....

What I am saying here is this: I love writing. I work my butt off to get better every day. I have a good head on my shoulders and am willing to do the work. I think that is worth more than all the classes in the world. You can't buy the ability to write a good novel. If you could, every dumb ass with money would be a famous novelist.

 Jim's webinar is bound to be filled with awesome info. I think everyone who attends will come away with lots of increased knowledge.  But I don't have $90 to spend. Plain and simple. The original post is located here.  I'm interested to know what you think.


  1. I say, if someone wants to spend $20K to better their writing, then that's fantastic. Maybe they'll learn the ins and outs more quickly? Maybe they'll rub elbows with some agents or publishers? It won't make them more creative, or more driven, or more passionate. And honestly? I'd rather spend my time writing than travelling around to conferences and listening to webinars. It's free! And I can do it at home with my family.

    I've taken a class at the local college, participated in a small writing group, and read a few books. By far I think most of my knowledge has come from both giving and receiving critiques.

    Like you, I'm a sponge. I soak everything in. I don't dismiss any critique as crap or misguided, even if it mostly is - everyone has something to say no matter how big or small.

    So yeah. I totally agree.

  2. I've done a few conferences, though mostly I just attend some of the writer-centric panels at the genre cons I go to strictly as a fan.

    But I think you hit it on the head. You need to WRITE. It's easy to spend money on books and seminars that are supposed to teach you how to write, but it's much harder to spend the TIME actually doing the writing.

    Yet without that butt-in-chair time, all that extra training is useless. Reading books on writing won't turn you into a successful novelist any more than reading books on running will get you through the Boston marathon.

    So yeah... Butt In Chair. (Though a little time running might help too.)


I'd love to hear your musings :)