Last year I attended both the Hawaii Writer's Conference and the retreat. I had an excellent time at both. So why am I only going to the retreat this year? Several reasons came into play. Last year's retreat was a huge eye opener for me. My writing skills increased by leaps and bounds and I met a lot of great people that I still stay in touch with today. The book I took to work on went from being a good idea to a publishable piece of work that is now represented and is being presented by an agent to editors. Achieving that was priceless.
The conference was an excellent opportunity to meet people in the industry and make connections, which I did do. A conference is a lot of lectures and success stories with the chance to pitch your work to agents and editors thrown in. The agent I met in Hawaii last year is now considering my YA novel.
So why am I only going to the retreat when it sounds like you get your money's worth out of both? Cost aside, I decided to go to just the retreat because I wanted to improve my writing skills even further. I want to be the best I can be. I don't want to just get published, I want to hit the bestseller list and have my books in print for a very long time! To do that I have to take the time to learn from the best. The fact that I have an agent for my adult fantasy series and that another is considering my YA novel did have a bit to do with my decision. If you don't need to meet an agent then the conference isn't as much of a necessity. However, I'm kicking myself for not attending to pitch my books to a few editors there who are looking for this particular kind of book. But there will be other conferences throughout the year. When it comes to retreats the Hawaii retreat is the best I've found and I wouldn't miss it this year for anything!
If you've heard of any great retreats or conferences leave me a comment!