Writer Conferences

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bcomet
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Writer Conferences

Post by bcomet » March 2nd, 2010, 9:19 am

I thought it would be of interest to learn what conferences writers on these forums attend.
It would be helpful if you included:
type of conference,
where they were or will be,
what their experiences were,
expenses (including hotel and tips),
and recommendations.

I also thought it would be fun, if writers from this forum could figure out how to meet each other
or arrange to, or have a way to know who might be going anyway, when attending various conferences.

bcomet
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by bcomet » March 2nd, 2010, 9:29 am

At present, I am looking for Midwest conferences that are more on the affordable side.
I am interested in the World Fantasy Convention to be held in 2010 in Columbus , Ohio.
Does anyone have experiences from this convention? If so, it would be great to hear about it.

LGS
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by LGS » March 2nd, 2010, 9:53 am

I'm attending the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference in Colorado Springs, CO in April. It's a three day conference, culminating in a workshop with Donald Maass on Sunday. I haven't been to this one before, but I'm looking forward to it. Networking with other writers, agents, and editors can really charge your batteries.

It's smaller than some of the other conferences I've been to like the big SCBWI conference in LA - nine hundred people can show up to that one. But smaller can be better. At PPWC there are opportunities to read the first few pages of a manuscript to a small group and get immediate feedback, something I'm nervous about but also needing at this point, as I'm finishing up my first draft on my second novel.

Anyone else going to PPWC?

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brian_crawford
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by brian_crawford » March 2nd, 2010, 10:21 am

Over President's Day weekend, I attended my second San Francisco Writers Conference. It was exhausting. All the networking, pitching and self-promoting wore me down. For an introvert like me, it was like being at a high school reunion for 36 hours. Sober. With a cold sore.

But I persevered. Despite the grueling schedule and social awkwardness, the conference was a huge success for me. I pitched my book DOUBLE-BLIND to seven literary agents and one editor, and all of them were interested. They all requested sample pages. One agent requested the entire manuscript!

I have a few words of advice for anyone who’s going to pitch a book in two minutes or less:

Keep it short.
Keep it ridiculously short.
Speak slowly.
Speak loudly.
Make eye contact (this means don’t read off a piece of paper).
Know what genre your book belongs to.
Only mention your point-of-view characters.
Repeat your key message at least once.
Now cut some words and make it even shorter.

Remember that each agent will get pitched at least 100 times over the weekend. If you try to go into the subplot about the nephew’s drug problem and the gardener’s affair, eyes will glaze over. With a shorter pitch, you leave the agents a chance to ask questions. And once they start asking questions, it’s no longer a pitch; it’s a dialogue. They’re just looking for a glimpse, a feeling. Something they could turn around and pitch to a publishing house – and sell.

r louis scott
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by r louis scott » March 2nd, 2010, 10:35 am

This thread is pretty timely for me, as I am on the organizing board for the Historical Novel Society Fourth North American Conference. We have just announced San Diego California as the site for out next conference to be held in June of 2011. Even though registration won't be open until November of this year, I am starting to spread the word now since I know that attending conferences like this requires a great deal of planning and not a little saving. The HNS Conference is limited to 300 attendees and we have had some great speakers and programs. You can find out all about the previous conferences by going to historicalnovelsociety.org and clicking on the "Annual Conferences" tab.

The HNS Conference in Salt Lake City, 2005, was my first exposure to a writer's conference and I was amazed at what I learned. Since then I have attended several others and it is a great way to expand your personal network. I'm hoping to attend the Surrey Conference this year if things work out for it. There is absolutely nothing like sitting at a table with an editor bemoaning the ones that got away, or hanging out at the bar with a writer whose books you love.

I would say that if the opportunity arises, a writer's conference can be a great eye-opener and a wonderful chance to meet and talk with like-minded people. Yes, they can end up being expensive when you add up air fare, conference fees, and accomodations, but I think every aspiring writer should attend at least one.

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charlotte49ers
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by charlotte49ers » March 2nd, 2010, 10:53 am

I reeeaallly want to go to SCBWI in LA this summer, but with airfare from Georgia to Cali, hotel, food, etc., I don't know if I can swing it (elementary school teacher after all). I'm going to try and save up for either NYC this coming winter or the LA one the following year, but I'm pretty bummed I can't go this year. :(

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maybegenius
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by maybegenius » June 8th, 2010, 10:07 pm

Resurrecting this thread to ask if anyone's attending any conferences this summer?

I'm going to be at the SCBWI conference in L.A., and I'm getting pretty excited about it. It'll be my first conference, and I have high hopes. Will anyone else be there?
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Sommer Leigh
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 9th, 2010, 8:27 am

If you write sci-fi/fantasy, a sometimes overlooked resource are the writer's workshops hosted at sci-fi conventions. I know it sounds kind of corny, but most of the workshops I've seen are actually well put together and involve at least one, usually more, published authors of this genre. Some are more successful authors than others. I haven't participated in one in a long time, but I know people who organize them at some of the Midwest conventions and they are good for getting opinions, critiques, and meeting other would-be authors looking to network with other would-be authors. This is a good way to find people in your genre willing to read your WIP and give you feedback. Most of the workshops require you to submit your partial or short story a couple of months before the workshop so that the authors involved have plenty of time to read and critique your submission. The workshops are usually on sunday of the conventions and can last between two hours and eight hours where the authors talk through your critique and often coach each participant in ways to fix the problems they saw. It's neat.
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EvelynEhrlich
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by EvelynEhrlich » June 9th, 2010, 5:29 pm

maybegenius, I'll be at SCBWI in LA at the end of July. Anyone else going? We could all meet up.

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maybegenius
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by maybegenius » June 9th, 2010, 10:47 pm

EvelynEhrlich wrote:maybegenius, I'll be at SCBWI in LA at the end of July. Anyone else going? We could all meet up.
I think kayemevans may be going as well? I'd be happy to meet up with some folks while there :)
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Jessica Peter
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by Jessica Peter » June 12th, 2010, 8:33 pm

I tend to prefer SFF conventions that are local to me (Southern Ontario, Canada) and usually have some great writing panels. The writing conferences/conventions here tend toward the literary side, and I'm a "genre" gal through and through. Ad Astra is probably the best for this, although Polaris is decent and even the massive Fan Expo has the odd panel of interest. That said, this summer I did my first book-specific convention, Romantic Times in Columbus Ohio. What an amazing experience it was!
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terryd
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by terryd » June 15th, 2010, 10:19 pm

Squaw Valley is fantastic, as is the Tin House workshop in Portland, OR. I finished a short story collection (as yet unsold) after attending Squaw, and my current about-to-be released novel after Tin House.

Conferences are soooooooooooooooooooo motivating.

r louis scott
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by r louis scott » June 16th, 2010, 10:17 am

terryd wrote: Conferences are soooooooooooooooooooo motivating.
This is so true. I'm thinking very hard about attending the Surrey Writers' Conference this year not only for the opportunity to renew several acquaintances but to get recharged. I don't belong to any "real life" writers' groups and sometimes you just need the immediacy that face to face contact with others in your position can provide.

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Heather B
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by Heather B » July 9th, 2010, 5:12 am

I'm attending WorldCon in September and it will be my first conference. Pretty excited, especially since there is little in the way of conferences in Australia. Has anyone been to a WorldCon before? From what I can gather they are held annually all over the world.
There's no program released yet, so I really have zero clue of what to expect.
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midenianscholar
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Re: Writer Conferences

Post by midenianscholar » July 12th, 2010, 2:09 pm

I'll be volunteering at the Southern Women Writer Conference at Berry College in GA. I think it takes place in September. I volunteered last year and had a lot of fun, even though I didn't get to go to many of the events.

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