First, I confess. I love attending writing conferences. Big ones, little ones, not so big ones. Doesn't matter, I love 'em all. Writing conferences combine two of my favorite things - chatting with writers and learning more about writing. They're like mini vacations except when I get home, I want to write and put all that new knowledge to use.
Even if you are just starting out, I encourage you to find a nearby writer's conference and attend. While you may not be ready to pitch to an agent or editor, you'll learn a lot and meet some great writers.
Here's a few tips to make your conference experience the best it can be.
Know what you want to get from attending. Do you want to pitch your book, attend the workshops or just network?
Study the scheduled classes/workshops and decide which you most want to attend. This saves you from having to decide at the last minute between two workshops.
Pitching to an agent or editor? Then be sure to research that person and find out what they are looking for. Pitching a horror novel to a romance agent is waste of time.
Listen as much as possible. But don't take everything as fact.
Don't sit on the sidelines. Take part in things. Chat with the speakers and other authors. If you see someone that looks lost, befriend them and have fun together.
Collect business cards and make notes of important information on the backside for later.
To find a conference near you, check out Shaw Guides. You can also google your state with the words writing conferences.