Conference Reviews

Review: RMFW Colorado Gold Conference

I’m baaaaack! Sorry for missing last week, but I was busy busy busy at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold conference. 😀 Quite the mouthful, isn’t it? But woah, it was amazing!!!

Let’s talk about the differences between this conference and DFWCon!

  • Colorado Gold had an older crowd. The average age of attendees was probably 45. I found people my age (26), but no one much younger, and I didn’t see a single teenager.
    • DFWCon, contrarily, hosted a scholarship for teenage writers, and had tons of people in their 20s. This attributed to the competitive atmosphere I noticed there–lots of millennials desperate for the freeing lifestyle of being a writer. Lots of millennials sitting in misery when an agent didn’t request pages of their book.
      • An observation from my Top Ten DFWCon post was this: “I will say that I noticed some of the people attending seemed desperate, like ‘This is it, and if I fail, I’ll never ever be published.'”
      • I didn’t notice ANY of that at Colorado Gold, which was awesome. People were excited about their pitch sessions, but a lot of writers attending are established, with agents and published novels behind them. So that competitive undertone was nonexistent here! 🙂
  • Having a conference in the ballroom level of your hotel, rather than in the conference center across the street, was AMAZING.
    • Since our hotel room was just a short elevator ride away, we were able to stop by whenever and drop off books or notes. This was such a small thing to consider, but made a big difference in an already exhausting weekend!
    • TIP: When attending a conference, request a hotel room near the elevators. Those extra fifty steps will save you LOADS of valuable time! 
  • Colorado Gold was set in Stapleton, a suburb of Denver, which doesn’t lend for a walking atmosphere.
    • DFWCon, contrarily, was downtown Fort Worth. It was easy to grab your friends, leave the hotel, and find some great restaurants for downtown eating!
    • However, since the hotel bar was really your only option at Colorado Gold, it fostered a friendly atmosphere after a long day of panels. It was pretty much guaranteed that anyone I met at the hotel was a conference-goer, which means I always had a conversation topic. 😀
      • Plus, Colorado Gold had AMAZING food this year. Omg. So freaking delicious.
  • The quality of the panels was incredible. They were equally great at DFWCon, but I feel like Colorado Gold’s were more advanced overall.
    • Of course, that’s pretty in-line with the older, more experienced crowd that attended Colorado Gold. They had to offer panels that would appeal to published authors… so that’s really where we get deep into the craft of writing, which I absolutely adore learning about!
  • The pitch sessions were incredibly well-organized, but didn’t feel like the focus of the conference.
    • At DFWCon, the pitches were front and center, always on your mind. You could buy more, and they did them in a big ballroom right next to the room where we ate lunch. This ensured you could NEVER forget about them… which made a lot of people really nervous.
    • At Colorado Gold, the pitches were more subdued. They happened both days, but way up on the 3rd floor of the hotel. Since most of the panels were on the ballroom level in the basement, it was easy to forget about the pitches and focus on the information you’re consuming during the panels.
  • And finally, opportunities to talk with agents were limitless!! Since everyone was staying at the hotel, you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting someone important. If you knew who to look for, you could easily share an elevator ride with Carrie Howland, or have drinks with Kristin Nelson.
    • I didn’t really see that at DFWCon. They hosted an “agent mixer” Saturday night, where the prime purpose was to foster relationships with agents in a causal setting. But since it started at 7pm, it wasn’t casual–everyone organized their nights around it. Which again lends to nerves skyrocketing all day as 7pm creeps ever closer…
    • As a result, a lot of people skipped entirely to focus on the hotel bar and quiet time in their rooms instead. Missed opportunities that simply didn’t happen at Colorado Gold if you were even a little engaged in the festivities.

So there you have it! Overall, I don’t feel like time spent at any conference is time wasted. But I definitely think the laid-back feel of Colorado Gold, coupled with the advanced level of panels and the easygoing people attending, made it the big winner of my conference experiences.

Have you ever attended a writers conference? What did you think? Do you wish you could try a new one, or are you a regular at one in particular? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!! As always, you can also DM or email me and start a conversation!!


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