Monday, February 27, 2012

PPWC Value by Grant McKenzie

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference has a reputation for being the friendliest writers conference. I have discovered that PPWC is friendly to your pocketbook, as well. I did a little research on some other writers conferences around the nation, just to see where PPWC stood. Turns out, it is one of the most economical conferences in the country, if not the most economical. I didn’t look at ALL the conferences, so I can’t be completely certain, but read on and you’ll be sure to come to the same conclusion I did.

First, let me tell you how I chose which conferences to look at. One or two are currently being advertised on LinkedIn events (along with PPWC), but the majority came from reviews at Writers Digest. These are big name conferences and are considered the same caliber as PPWC. In fact, one conference has literary agent Donald Maass as a keynote speaker and another has bestselling author Susan Wiggs, both of whom will be part of the 2012 PPWC faculty.

I looked at several aspects of all of these conferences, such as fees, add-on days, meals, etc., to see how they compared in those categories, and then I tallied up an overall comparison to see where PPWC would rate. Here is what I discovered:

Rates: This is most likely the first thing people look at when comparing conferences. I looked at two one-day conferences, two two-day conferences and four other three-day conferences. With no adjustment for the number of days (just using each conference’s advertised fee), the average price of a conference is $396.50. If you just look at three day conferences, the average jumps to $443 dollars. The fees for three-day conference ranged from $310 - $595. One two-day conference was $645.  PPWC has, and maintains, one of the lowest rates available.

Add-On Days: This year, PPWC is holding four day-long workshops, including one presented by Donald Maass. PPWC’s rate is $135 for just the Thursday workshops or $85 with full conference. For most of the conferences reviewed, the rates ranged from $99 for an evening (3-hour) workshop to $249 for a full day. One conference charged $199 in addition to their $525 conference fee for a half-day add-on workshop. PPWC has the best value for add-on workshops.

One-On-One:  Most conferences offer some kind of one-one-one time with editors, agents, or other faculty. This time ranges from short pitch/critiques sessions to hour-long manuscript critiques. Most conferences include short pitch sessions like those offered by PPWC or short critique sessions like PPWC’s Read & Critique. About half the conferences I looked at charged extra for one-on-one appointments, but these were usually critiques (not pitches) and lasted from 10 minutes to a full hour. Fees ranged from $30-$140. PPWC rates evenly with other conferences for one-on-one appointments.

Meals: PPWC 2012 offers its attendees two continental breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners. The lunches and dinners all feature keynote speakers like authors Robert Crais and Jeffery Deaver. No other conference even comes close. The closest offers three continental breakfasts, two ‘afternoon snacks,’ and two dinners, with keynotes. PPWC offers the best deal by far for meals among writers’ conferences.

Overall: Taking all of this into consideration and doing a bit of statistical manipulation (I am a rocket scientist, after all), I came up with a measure of value to compare everything each conference had to offer. PPWC is about 15% more valuable than its nearest competitor and 70% more valuable than the average of all the conferences I examined.

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference has as much or more to offer than any other writers conference out there, and does it at a lower price.

About the Writer:  Grant McKenzie is a renaissance man. A genuine rocket scientist and self-made chandler, Grant also enjoys writing poetry, fantasy, historical fiction, and non-fiction. He has ghostwritten a business/leadership book and is working on a YA fantasy novel for himself. Grant currently serves PPW as the registrar for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, as well as other non-conference events.