Writers' Conferences

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2013!

The following conference list is by no means inclusive, but it’s a good start if you’re looking for a conference or two to attend this year. The conferences are listed chronologically, with a separate section at the bottom for conferences that focus exclusively on those who write for children. You can also find and follow the updates to this list from the Writers’ Resources page on this blog site. So, please check back periodically, as I try to update conferences as I learn about new ones.

There are several listed for January, so if you’re looking for an excuse to go somewhere warm for a while, a writers’ conference might be just the thing! I know the Aloha Writers Conference in Maui sure sounds good right about now!

Almost all conferences now have workshops on using social media, marketing, changes in publishing, and building a platform, so even if a conference you like may not focus on your particular genre, it may be worth attending if you need help in any of the above areas. If you’re attending specifically to meet with agents or editors, then, of course, you’ll want to find a conference with representatives in your genre.

[Note: If known, the following categories of writing represented at a conference are designated as such: F-fiction; NF-general nonfiction categories; CNF-creative nonfiction only; D-devotionals; M-memoirs; C-children’s; P-poetry; YA-young adult. The lists may not be all-inclusive and do not include specific genres, such as mystery writing, chick lit, sci-fi, and so forth.]

2013 Writers’ Conference List

American Christian Writers: several locations and dates during the year, including both conferences and mentoring retreats: F/NF/C/D/YA

CLASS Seminars: several locations and dates during the year; writing and speaking workshops

Jan. 6-12: Blue Flower Arts Winter Writers’ Conference; New Smyrna Beach, FL: F/CNF/P

Jan. 18-21: Aloha Writers Conference; Maui, HI: F/NF/C/YA/M/P (first annual!)

Jan. 18-21: Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway; New Jersey: F/CNF/M/P/YA

Jan. 25-28:  Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference; Concord, MA: poetry conference focused entirely on book-length and chapbook-length manuscripts.

Jan. 26-27: Cocoa Beach Writers’ Conference; Cocoa Beach, FL:

Feb. 14-17: Writing for the Soul Conference; Colorado Springs, CO: Christian writers’ conference sponsored by Jerry Jenkins; F/NF

Feb. 14-17: San Francisco Writers Conference; San Francisco, CA

Fe. 15-18: Southern California Writers Conference; San Diego, CA: F/NF

April 18-20: Las Vegas Writers’ Conference; Las Vegas, NV

May 15-18: Colorado Christian Writers Conference; Estes Park, CO: F/NF/C/YA/D

May 4-5: DFW Writers Conference; Hurst, TX: F/CNF/C/YA

May 19-23: Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference; Ridgecrest Conference Center, NC: F/NF/C/YA/D/P

June 5-8: Write-to-Publish Christian Writers Conference; Wheaton College, IL: F/NF/C/YA/D/P

June 8-13: Santa Barbara Writers Conference; Santa Barbara, CA: F/NF/C/YA/M/P

June 27-29: Jackson Hole Writers Conference; Jackson Hole, WY: F/CNF/YA/P

July 31-Aug. 3: Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference; Philadelphia, PA: F/NF/C/YA/D

Sept. 12-15: American Christian Fiction Writers; Indianapolis, IN:  F/YA

September 20-22: Southern California Writers’ Conference; Los Angeles, CA: F/NF

Oct. 11-12: East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers’ Conference; Atlanta, GA: F/NF/C/YA/D


Children’s Writers Conferences

Feb. 1-3: SCBWI Annual Winter Conference; New York, NY

March 15-16: Write2Ignite!; North Greenville University, Tigerville, SC

June 20-23: Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference; (Book Passages); Corte Madera, CA

August 2-5: SCBWI Annual Summer Conference; Los Angeles, CA

October 4-6: Nancy Sondel’s Pacific Coast Children’s Writers’ Workshop; Santa Cruz, CA

I’ve recently researched some upcoming writers’ conferences for the new year. The list includes conferences from January through August so far. I will continue to update the list as new ones are added or definite dates have been confirmed.

In a separate category are conferences targeted specifically to those who write for children. Most of these, but not all, are under the umbrella of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. They include both their two national annual conferences as well as some various regional events around the country. You do not need to be a member of SCBWI to attend, although you will get a better rate if you are.

Please check out my Writers’ Resources page to view the conference list. Don’t wait too long–some take place later this month!

I realize that money is tight for many, and time is even tighter. But I encourage all of you who want to learn more about the art of writing (in any form) or who need to make some good industry connections for 2012, to choose one or two of these conferences to attend.

If you can find a local one in your area you may be able to save money if you don’t have to stay overnight or fly to get there. If not, perhaps you could work a conference around a vacation. However you need to do it, I highly recommend going to at least one this year. You will always learn something, and you just never know who you might meet–your next agent or publisher perhaps!

Instead of posting an article, I decided it was time to update the 2011 writers’ conferences throughout the country. Click on the Writers’ Resources tab for an updated look at conferences from California to New York in genres ranging from writing thrillers to writing poetry!

And, while you’re at it, please check out the Writing Opportunity tab. I still need a handful of stories from Christian grandparents. If you don’t qualify, please pass the opportunity on to someone who might!

Once again, I’ve compiled a list of writers’ conferences for the upcoming year and posted them on my Writers’ Resources page. They are listed by date and include a little of everything: writing for children, Christian conferences, fiction-focused workshops, and general workshops. They range in length from a half day to four days, and can be found from coast to coast.

I plan on adding more as I discover new ones, so please check back if you’re interested in attending a conference or two this year. Also, for tips on what to expect from writers’ conferences and how to prepare for them, please check out an earlier post entitled, “Preparing for a Writers’ Conference.”

I recently taught on preparing for and attending writers’ conferences, and I’ve had several people ask me which conferences are on the horizon. While there are far too many to list, I chose some that are taking place this summer and into the fall. These are ordered by date without any categorization, so you’ll have to go the website for specific information. Most are general conferences, meaning they cater to all levels of writers as well as various genres.

If any of these links do not work, please let me know!

Highlights Foundation Children Writers Workshops, June through November, New York, NY

Jackson Hole Writers Conference, June 24-27, Jackson Hole, WY

Antioch Writers Workshop, 7/10-16, Yellow Springs, OH

Sewanee Writers’ Conference, 7/13-25, Sewanee, TN

Pacific Northwest Writers Summer Conference, 7/22-25, Seattle, WA

Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, 7/29-8/1, Ft. Bragg, CA

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, 8/12-14, Philadelphia, PA

Writer’s Digest Editors’ Intensive, 9/11-12, Cincinnati, OH

Orcas Island Writers Festival, 9/17-19, Orcas Island, WA

American Christian Fiction Writers National Conference, 9/17-20, Indianapolis, IN

Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, 9/27-10/1, Muskegon, MI

Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference, 10/1-3, Edmonds, WA

Flathead River Writers Conference, 10/2-3, Kalispell, Montana

New York Writers Workshop: Pitch Conference and Workshops, 10/8-10, New York, NY

South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference, 10/22-24, Myrtle Beach, SC

If anyone knows of any that I missed that you absolutely love, forward the information and let us know why you love it!

A lot of my writer friends right now are talking about conferences that they have selected to attend in 2010. Some are brand new to the conference circuit; others are veterans. However you might classify yourself, it never hurts to take time to prepare. Here are a few steps you’ll want to take beforehand:

1. Research the publishers, editors, and authors who will be present. If you have a finished manuscript or proposal you want to talk with an editor or publisher about, make sure that the people you will meet at the conference are the right ones for you to talk with and that the publisher is looking for what you have to offer. Spending a few minutes browsing the publishers’ websites will help you determine if that house is right for you.

If you know that your book will be perfect for a particular publisher, but the only editor represented by that publisher works with a different line of books (fiction vs. nonfiction, for instance), talk to that person anyway. Editors will typically know enough to say whether your manuscript should be forwarded to another department within their house.

Take advantage of authors who are there as well. Authors who are on faculty will have enough experience with writing and publishing to help tweak your work and offer good advice.

2. Don’t bring your entire manuscript or proposal. No one will have the time at the conference to read through a lengthy manuscript. Instead bring a sample of that work and a one-sheet proposal to give an editor an idea of what your book is about.

3. Prepare your conference schedule. As the conference draws near, the conference director will typically have a workshop schedule finalized. Take time to review the schedule, deciding on which workshops you want to attend and which editors you want to meet with. Often, if you can’t get an appointment with the editor you need to see, that person may be teaching a class you can attend. You may be able to schedule an informal time to meet with him then.

With conferences, a little preparation goes  a long way to help you feel confident when approaching editors. For information on how to enjoy your conference experience, please see my recent article at the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference blog.  For other general information on attending writers’ conferences, you can view a previous post here.

Just wanted to add a quick post about writers’ conferences before continuing with my Writing Life posts.

If you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, perhaps this could be your year! Whether you’re a total novice or advanced writer, you’re sure to come back with some nugget or connection that will make attending a conference worth your while.

Nowadays, there are so many conferences to choose from, you will most likely find one that caters to your specific writing niche or genre. Often, writers who don’t currently have a manuscript in the works will hesitate attending a conference because they feel they aren’t prepared. My advice is, even if you aren’t currently working on anything, if you find a conference that’s a good fit for your genre, there are several reasons you should still attend:

Networking, networking, networking! That’s really what’s it’s all about in this business anyway, right? You never know who you’ll end up meeting at conferences. I’ve heard stories about writers meeting others writers and becoming co-authors, writers meeting editors and selling their ideas for further review (even without manuscript in hand), and writers meeting publishers who they later submitted–and sold to.

Advancing your craft. As a writer, you should always be learning something new about your craft. Conferences offer hands-on writing experiences as well as workshops to help you stay on top of new publishing trends–something we all need to know about.

Writing time. If you’re like most writers, one of the toughest things is actually finding quality time to write. Although writers’ conferences are typically jam packed with activities, there’s still time to be found for writing. Usually, conferences are held in picturesque, resort-like locations, which are perfect for finding peace and solitude to ignite your creativity.

Ideas. If I get nothing else out of a conference, I always seem to come back with a boatload of new ideas. Ideas about new markets, ideas about new ways of approaching editors and submitting work, or ideas about writing itself. And we can never have too many ideas!

One of the hardest parts about attending a conference is knowing which one to go to. A good start is to find those that are specific to your genre and have a wide variety of faculty to meet with– editors, other writers, publishing staff, agents, marketing experts, etc.

I have compiled a list of various 2010 conferences throughout the U.S. on my Writers’ Resources page. You might also want to check out the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference where I will be teaching March 4-6. Take a look at their blog to read faculty posts for ideas of what to expect at the conference as well as some helpful tips if you do plan on attending.

Happy conferencing!