Speaking with my volunteer SCBWI RA hat on for a moment, I recently had to put the kibosh on our Canada East spring conference because not enough people signed up. This made me sad.
I don't think there was any one reason for the lack of registrations this year. It seemed like a weird confluence of individuals just not being able to make it this time. We had a killer lineup of speakers. It was frustrating but no worries, I get it, stuff happens. It got me thinking though.
Here's the thing. There are so many resources available now on the internet for writers and illustrators. You can find out how to write a query letter from a whole bunch of agent blogs. You can read the latest tips on which editors are looking for what types of submissions. You can even find out what type of font and type size some people prefer to get submission in. It's mind boggling the stuff out there if you know how to find it.
So why go to a conference at all?
Okay, I know why I go. But I don't care about that right now. Let's assume you could get to the place, afford the place, and have whatever babysitting or time off work or other support you'd need to be able to go. What do you look for in a conference? Is there anything you get from it/hope to get from it that you can't get from someplace on the internet? Has the internet made a difference to what you look to get out of a conference? I'd like to know.