Thursday, October 2, 2014

Yes, You Need the Conference Recording

by Rick Barry

          I didn't used to buy recordings of writers conferences. My thinking was, "Hey, I was there. I already heard the sessions I wanted most." Big mistake.
          Unless you have a superhuman memory that retains every thought, there's no way you can fully grasp and keep all the explanations, insights, and tips that you heard at a conference. Sure, you took notes on some key points, but how often do you pull out those notes and review them in following months? (Neither do I.) By listening to recordings of the workshops later, the concepts in them will sink deeper into your understanding and memory.
          Another bonus of owning the recordings (typically in MP3 format, but sometimes on CD) is that information you didn't need last week can become truly helpful next month or next year. (There's nothing like selling a manuscript to make you wish you had attended that session on marketing or the author/editor relationship!)
          "But I never sit in one place long enough to listen to the recordings." I don't either. My favorite place to review writers conference is in the car, while driving. This is a fantastic way to use otherwise wasted time traveling to work or to pick up the kids at school.
          "Well, my car is older. The radio doesn't have a port for a flash drive." Same here! My good ol'
A simple, inexpensive MP3 player/FM transmitter.
2005 Buick LeSabre (I know--"old person's car") has a fine radio, but no USB port. The solution is simple. For about $10 you can buy an MP3 player FM transmitter for your car. Simply plug the transmitter into the spot for the cigarette lighter, insert your conference flash drive into the device, set your car FM radio to a number that has no radio station on it, and then tune the FM transmitter to broadcast on that frequency. Boom! Suddenly your radio can pick up the workshops from the transmitter. With a click of the up/down buttons, you can cycle from workshop to workshop without even taking your eyes from the road.
          "But I haven't even attended a writers conference." Well, this way you can still gain many of the benefits of a conference without having been there. No, you won't be able to sit down with editors or agents to pitch your book idea. Neither will you have the fun of networking with other writers. But you'll still reap a boatload of information and inspiration at a fraction of the cost of attending. Most of my conference recordings come from the American Christian Fiction Writers conferences. Anyone can order flash drives loaded with sessions from past conferences here:

          Have I convinced you yet? If so, start listening. Your writing and submitting are bound to improve!

Rick Barry has freelanced hundreds of articles and short stories, had two novels published, and recently sold a third novel to Kregel Publications!          


  1. Actually, I do review notes of conferences I've been to. But then, I've never been normal.

  2. Way to go, Jeff! I glance at mine right after a conference, but not months later. Such a great use of driving time to listen to workshops. Each time, different aspects of the lesson seem to stand out better than previously.

  3. This is such a Blessing, having these resources. As a non FT writer, and the fact I spend many hours in the car for my job, these audio resources prove invalauable. Thanks Rick for reminding us!