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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: writers conferences, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. The Introvert’s Guide to Conferences

woman hiding behind bookOkay, so you notice there’s no shortage of advice out there about how to make the most of a conference. But what about those of us who are introverts? It can be even more difficult for us to navigate these social situations. Oh, how we envy our extrovert friends! Are there any special tips for people like us?

Well, yes, there are. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Change your mindset from “me” to “them.” You’re at the conference to learn and to network, but paradoxically, the best way to do that is to focus on the needs of others. Set your own discomfort aside, and look for others who may also be uncomfortable, and see how you can make things easier for them. Even if you’re talking with an agent or editor, focus on them instead of yourself. Ask questions about their experience. See if there’s anything they need. This is one of the best ways for an introvert to get out of their shell.

2. Research before the conference. If there are authors, editors, or agents you’re interested in talking with, Google them ahead of time to get some ideas for possible topics of conversation. They won’t seem like total strangers, and you won’t feel like an idiot in trying to have a conversation.

3. Reach out before the conference. There may be some people to whom you can send a quick email or Facebook message, inviting them to coffee, asking if they’d like to sit with you at a meal, or otherwise planning ahead for some of your social interactions. This is especially important if you’ve had online communication with people but don’t know them offline. You’ll feel more comfortable if you have some planned meetings with others.

4. Have some questions or opening lines ready. Think through the range of people you will likely meet, and write down a number of conversation openers that will help you overcome any awkwardness when meeting someone. Try to avoid yes/no questions, and make sure you listen carefully to the answers, which will give you clues for continuing the conversation. Some possible conversation-starters:

  • What’s your favorite part of the conference so far? (Or, what are you most looking forward to at the conference?)
  • What brings you to this conference?
  • What do you find most valuable about these conferences?
  • What did you think of today’s keynote speaker?
  • Can you tell me a little about your work?

5. Also, have some answers of your own ready. Plan some concise and fascinating answers to questions like, “So, what do you write?” and “Tell me about yourself.” You don’t want to be tongue-tied at those moments!

6. Prepare your book pitch. Make sure you’ve organized your thoughts about the book(s) you’re pitching, so you can easily give a 1 or 2 minute spiel when asked.

7. Approach it with a friend. Make sure you and your friend encourage each other to talk to new people. Be each other’s wingman and moral support—DON’T use each other as a crutch and don’t just talk to each other. You each may know different people, so plan to introduce your friend to people you know, and she can do the same for you. You can also highlight each other’s accomplishments in a conversation.

8. Be a part of the conference. Volunteer to help! A great way to overcome introvert tendencies is to put yourself in a place where people are coming to you for help or answers to questions. When you’re volunteering, be as friendly and outgoing as you can, allowing for serendipitous connections.

9. Rejuvenate yourself as needed. If, as an introvert, you need solitude to get re-energized, plan time for this. Whether it’s quiet time in your hotel room, a half-hour in the hotel gym or a walk outside, make self-care a priority in your schedule.

Readers, anything to add? Any questions about conferences?



Are you an introvert? Going to a conference? This post is for you! Click to Tweet.

Advance preparation is the key to successfully navigating a conference. Click to Tweet.

[Image copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo]

The post The Introvert’s Guide to Conferences appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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2. Conference Spotlight: The Minnesota Writing Workshop in St. Paul (Sept. 6, 2014)

Coming up fast on September 6, 2014 is my appearance at the Minnesota Writing Workshop. (This is my first time teaching in Minnesota, so I am pumped.) This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Sept. 6, 2014, at Subtext Books in St. Paul, MN. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and instruction designed to give you the best advice concerning how to get your writing & books published. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres and writers for all age groups are welcome.


Screen shot 2014-06-22 at 7.43.49 PM

This is an image of the 2014 event venue, Subtext Books.



It’s a one-day event on Saturday, September 6, 2014, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., held at Subtext Books, 165 Western Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102.


  • “Your Publishing Options Today”
  • “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Queries & Pitching”
  • “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest” (This is where attendees submit their first page anonymously, and the pages get read aloud to agents & editors who critique them.)
  • “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Author Platform & Social Media Explained”
  • “How to Get Published: 10 Professional Writing Practices That You Need to Know NOW to Find Success as a Writer”

Read more description about the classes on the official event page here.


All three literary agents from Red Sofa Literary will be in attendance at the event, and some of them will be taking part in the “Writers Got Talent” critique fest event at 1:15 p.m. Following their appearance on that panel, they will be available for 10-minute one-on-one meetings with some writers until the event ends at 5 p.m. These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind. (Please note that Agent Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained on the event page.)

Registration info as well as much more information is available on the official MWW event page here.





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3. WD Has Awesome Writers’ Conferences in both NYC and LA in August 2014. The NYC Event Has a 50-Agent Pitch Slam!

As we do each year, Writer’s Digest is putting on some awesome (and HUGE) writers conferences on both coasts of the country. These conferences bring together writers from all over the country, and lead to all kinds of good things, like signing with an agent, meeting your writer friends for life, keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry, and/or simply recharging your writing bat. Read on for more info. We hope to see you there.


This event happens from Friday, August 1, through Sunday, August 3, 2014, at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, 45 E. 45th St, NYC, NY 10017. (There is a conference room rate, which you can learn more about here.)

There are many, many instructional sessions and panels at the event – on topics such as:

  • “How to Write a Page-Turner”
  • “Ask the Editors” (an open Q&A with NYC editors)
  • “Ask the Agents” (an open Q&A with NYC agents)
  • “How to Use Crowdfunding For Your Book”
  • “Writing From Personal Experience”
  • “How to Sell Your First 1000 Copies”
  • Harlen Coben, a man with more than 50 million copies of his books in print, is a keynote speaker
  • And many, many, many more. All classes details on the website schedule.

Get an agent: Like I mentioned, the big draw to the NYC event is the massive Agent Pitch Slam, which sees agents signing a few writers every single year without fail. Following previous events, agencies that have signed new writers have included ICM Partners, FinePrint Literary Management, Andrea Hurst & Associates, Rita Rosenkranz Literary, Stonesong, Movable Type Literary, and more. You can see a list of the 2014 pitch slam agents (and editors) online here.

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This second event — our “Novel Writing Conference” — happens from Friday, August 15, through Sunday, August 17, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in LA, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, LA, CA 90067. There is a west coast event room rate, which you can find here.

NY Times best-selling authors David Morrell and Jonathan Maberry will be teaching special workshops as add-ons for attendees. Maberry will also be speaking as a keynote to all attendees. You can see the entire schedule here. The whole weekend is packed with instruction and advice to give you the tools needed to move your novel forward.

To keep the focus on instruction, there is no giant pitch slam at the west coast novel-writing event. That said, there will be 4-5 agents in attendance at our “Ask the Agents” panel who will also be meeting with writers for one-on-one pitch appointments (optional add-ons for writers) throughout the day.

There is a ton more information about our west coast conference. See it all here.

Screen shot 2014-06-22 at 9.22.07 PM



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4. Live Near Cincinnati? Learn About Writing & Publishing For Free at the Downtown Library on July 15, July 22 and July 29

I have the amazing opportunity to teach 3 summer evening workshops at the downtown branch of the Cincinnati Library in July 2014. Come out and learn! The flyer below will answer all your questions, but here is the gist. All events are two hours long (approx.) and free of charge. Attendees are welcome to ask questions. You don’t have to sign up. Just come to the downtown branch (address on the flyer below) and settle in for some learning. Here are the class details:

1. Your Publishing Options Today: Traditional Publishing & Self-Publishing Paths Explained. 7-9 pm, Tuesday, July 15.

2. How to Get Published: 10 Professional Writing Practices You Can Embrace to Give Yourself the Best Chance of Success. 7-9 pm, Tuesday, July 22.

3. How to Write & Sell Articles to Magazines, Websites and Newspapers: Building Your Freelance Portfolio. 7-9 pm, Tuesday, July 29.


Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 12.32.49 PM

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5. Live Near Little Rock, AR? Come See Me Speak on May 3!

I am speaking at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR, on May 3, 2014. It’s the Arkansas Writers MFA Spring Publishing Conference

. The university was nice enough to invite me down to speak for a day. It’s a quick, simple day of sessions that can help writers, and includes my talks on:
  • How to Get Published: What Writers Can Do For Their Career Right Now
  • Everything You Need to Know About Literary Agents and Query Letters
  • Book Publishing Options Today: Your Paths Explained

Register here!


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I Will Speak At These Great Writing Events in 2014:Capitol City Writing Retreat (Lansing, MI)

  • Feb. 1, 2014: Pennwriters Pittsburgh Chapter Event
  • (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • March 28-29, 2014: Northern Colorado Writers Conference
  • (Fort Collins, CO)
  • March 30 – April 4, 2014: Worship Write With God: Christian Writers Retreat
  • (Asheville, NC)
  • April 11-13, 2014: Missouri Writers Guild Conference
  • (St. Louis, MO)
  • May 3, 2014: University of Central Arkansas MFA Literary Event
  • (Little Rock/Conroy, AR)
  • June 6-8, 2014: Wyoming Writers Conference
  • (Sheridan, WY)
  • July 13-16, 2014: Southeastern Writers Conference
  • (St. Simon’s Island, GA)
  • Aug. 1-3, 2014: Writer’s Digest Conference
  • (New York, NY)
  • Aug. 5-10, 2014: Texas Writing Retreat
  • (outside Houston, TX)
  • October 2014: Books by the Banks Book Festival
  • (Cincinnati, OH)
  • November 2014: Atlanta Writers Fall Conference (Atlanta, GA)

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    6. What’s Your Book About?

    PubSmartI have a post up at PubSmart today. In case you haven’t heard, PubSmart is a new writers’ conference debuting this April in Charleston, SC, with the goal of bringing together self publishing, traditional, small press and hybrid. PubSmart is about introducing new models that lead to smart decisions about how to seize opportunities in today’s transformed book marketplace. I’m thrilled to be on the faculty of this terrific new conference! Keynote speakers are Hugh Howey and Jane Friedman, and the faculty includes heavy hitters from all walks of today’s expanded publishing world.Learn more on the PubSmartCon website.
    Here’s a preview of my post:

    What’s Your Book About?

    Everyone attends conference for their own reasons—to learn, to network, to get a break from home. One of the primary advantages of a conference is the opportunity to talk to people, including fellow writers and others in the industry. Naturally, one thing you’ll want to talk about is your work, whether you’re in a formal pitch session or just hanging out having drinks. But talking about our work is sometimes challenging! So here are seven tips for discussing your book(s) effectively.
    1. Be prepared. You never know when you’re going to come across someone who will ask, “So what’s your book about?” Mealtimes, hallway chatting, elevator rides, and designated pitch sessions. Prepare ahead of time so you’ll never be caught stammering, “Well, it’s um… it’s kind of an… uh…”
    2. While preparing, remember that you’re going to be talking to someone. There are differences between verbal and written pitches. Your speaking voice is different from your writing voice. Make sure you don’t prepare something that sounds too “canned” i.e. written.
    Click HERE to read the complete post.
    →And don’t forget our special Facebook event today! Books for writers specially priced at 99 cents, plus all-day chats happening with the authors of these books. Click here for more info.



    The post What’s Your Book About? appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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    7. Pitching Your Projects

    Rockies pitcherI’ve posted on this topic numerous times, but since I’m going to a conference this week and will be hearing dozens of pitches, I wanted to go over (once again) some tips for pitching to agents and editors. We can probably all agree on the “don’ts” of pitching your project. Don’t pitch in the bathroom. Don’t pitch a novel that’s nowhere near ready. Don’t pitch with your mouth full. What are some positive tips we can all use?

    I think the secret to making a great pitch is to start with a bit of context or background, then tell me about your book. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, considering your time restraints. But take a moment to introduce yourself and your project before pitching.

    Too often, people sit down and nervously launch into some kind of story and I find myself dizzy with confusion. I sit there like a deer in the headlights and then I say something like, “Let’s back up. What’s your name? And is this fiction or nonfiction?”

    To me, the best pitches include the following information without me having to ask for it:

    My name is _____ and I wanted to meet with you because _____.

    I’m writing ______ (what genre).

    My publishing history includes _____(number of books, genres).

    Today I want to tell you about my book called _____ .

    Then, launch into your pitch. This should be 2 to 3 minutes long, MAX, allowing time for the agent or editor to ask questions. Have a 1-minute pitch prepared, too, in case of mealtime or elevator pitches.

    Here are some guidelines:

    → Don’t try to tell the whole story. Start with the plot catalyst, the event that gets the story started.

    → Then give the set-up, i.e. what happens in the first 30 to 50 pages that drives the reader into the rest of the book. Include the pressing story question or the major story conflict.

    → Fill out your pitch with any of the following: plot elements, character information, setting, backstory, or theme. You want to include just enough information to really intrigue your listener. Note that your pitch doesn’t have to be all “plot.” If your story is more character driven, then fill out your pitch with interesting character details. If the setting is an important element, talk about that. If the backstory plays heavily, round out your pitch with that. Be intentional in how you structure your pitch.

    → Finish by giving an idea of the climactic scenes and the story resolution.

    → Try not to tell too much of the story in the pitch. The pitch is supposed to get somebody interested, not tell the whole story. Stick to the high points, but be sure to tell enough that you don’t leave your listener confused.

    → Include only a couple of characters.

    → Include one plot thread, or two if they’re closely intertwined. You can hint at the existence of other characters and plot lines.

    Be prepared to answer questions that could include things like:
    → How does your story end?
    → What published author’s style would you compare your writing to?
    → Who are your favorite authors in your genre?
    → Is this a series? And if so, what are the subsequent books about?
    → Have you worked with a critique group or a professional editor?
    → Have you pitched this to publishers in the past? If so, what was the response?

    Important: Know all the key points of your pitch, but don’t memorize your pitch verbatim. You want to be ready to speak it aloud and sound natural, whether during a planned meeting, a meal, in an elevator or a random encounter. Having your pitches prepared ahead of time (and adjusting them as necessary if you learn new things in workshops) will raise your confidence level.

    And most important: To help raise your confidence and lower the nervousness, realize that agents and editors are regular people just like you. We clean our toilets, we change our kids’ poopy diapers, we stress over what to wear and whether we’re having a bad hair day. Also, we REALLY like chocolate. How much more normal could we be?

    Have you had any mortifying experiences pitching at conferences? Any great experiences? If you haven’t pitched verbally before, what’s your biggest fear?

    Comment below or by clicking: HERE.



    Pitching: Start with context or background, THEN tell me about your book. Click to Tweet.

    Too often, author pitches leave me feeling like a deer in the headlights. Click to Tweet.

    The pitch is supposed to get somebody interested, NOT tell the whole story. Click to Tweet.


    The post Pitching Your Projects appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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    8. Welcoming Carmen Agra Deedy to Moonlight Ridge


    Welcome to the SCBWI
    Springmingle '13 blog tour.
    I'm so happy to introduce one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming 2013 Springmingle,
    Carmen Agra Deedy 

    Children's book author and storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy was born in Havana, Cuba, came to live in the United States as a child, and grew up in Decatur, Georgia. She has won more than a dozen awards for her work, including the 2001 Christopher Award and the 2001 Jane Addams Peace Association Honor Book Award .
    1. Carmen, tell us a little about yourself. What made you decide to become a writer?

    It wasn’t, in the strictest sense, a decision; I’d be more apt to call it a glorious moment of self-delusion. It lasted just long enough for me to cheerfully stamp, address, and post a manuscript to a regional publisher.

    Watching the envelope irretrievably disappear through the Post Office slot, I instantly succumbed to the clammy hands, dry mouth, and heart palpitations that are the plague of presumptuous young writers. What had I done? And why did I do it?

    Well, I did it because I had written a little story for my daughters and they thought it might make a fun picture book (pause for eye roll). Had I known how ridiculous the odds were, it’s unlikely I’d have ever submitted my story. To this day I bless Susan Thurman, then editor at Peachtree Publishers, for championing the sweet, but painfully unpolished, manuscript that would become Agatha’s Feather Bed. 

     2. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received as a writer?

    During a recent visit to an elementary school in South Carolina, a parent told me she did not care for Martina the Beautiful Cockroach. You expect (and even welcome) this kind of candid remark from children. Adults, however, are generally subtler when registering disapproval.
    “Do you, um, hate cockroaches in general?” I asked.
    “Nope,” she said, “Just this one.”
    Oh, boy.
    Then she presented me with a tattered copy of the offending book and explained, “This is my kid’s favorite book. I’ve had to read it every night for the past five months. I can’t even cheat and skip a page because she’s memorized all the words. You know I hate you, right?”
    “Ah,” I said, blushing, “Thank you.”
    “You’re welcome,” she said.

    3. Where, and when, do you write? What are your writing rituals?

    Travel and family life make it difficult for me to adhere to a strict writing regimen. I write when I can and where I can. Sometimes it’s in my studio, but often it’s in an airport terminal (when my flight has been delayed, yet again).

    When I can wrangle a substantial stretch of time to write, which usually means gong away for a few days––that’s when I get real work down.
    My rituals during that time?
    Well, I write. Then I sleep. Then I edit. Then I snack. Then I write some more. This is followed by another nap. Then I write. Then I eat. Then I do a little research. After which I might go for a walk. More snacking, followed by more writing. Then I sleep.
    Thus ends Day One.
    If I’m lucky, I’ll have four or five days of this.

    I love this schedule, Carmen!

    4. Do you like to read adult fiction? What have you read recently that you enjoyed?

    I’m going back and rereading some favorite books. I recently reread Nicholas Basbanes’ wonderful book on libraries, Patience and Fortitude (part of trilogy, and a must-read for book and library lovers). I’m now rereading Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy. The man is a storytelling genius and master of the heart-shattering phrase.

     5. What is your favorite work of fiction, adult or children's, and why?

    A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, simply because it’s the best book of it’s kind in the world. It’s very nearly the perfect story.

    6. Do you have a favorite among the books that you have written? Tell us about it.

    I can’t say I do. In any event, having a favorite book is akin to having a favorite child, isn’t it? If you had one, you could never tell.

    7. What can you tell us about your story-telling performances? Can we find any of your live performances on the Web? Can you tell us a little about your favorite story?

    Only that I love hearing a good story more than almost any other enjoyment I can think of. If I ever tell a good story, it’s because I want others to feel the wonder I’ve experienced repeatedly throughout my life as I’ve met, and listened to, great storytellers.

    The only story of mine that I really like on the web is the 2002 National Book Festival presentation at the Library of Congress.
    It’s about my favorite book (see question #5).

    Well, my NEW favorite story is part of a collection of stories I’ve been telling children for several years now, titled Dill and Corky.
    They are loosely based on my own blissfully feral childhood, a childhood that was shared with my best friend, Dill. The latest story, still on the assembly line, is about Dill’s Uncle Stubby, a marginally literate WWII vet who solemnly officiated at a snake funeral. You asked.

    This sounds like a delightful story! I look forward to reading this one!

    8. Did your parents tell you stories when you were a child?

    Both my parents told us stories, but my father is a prolific storyteller with a gift for timing and an uncanny understanding of human nature.

    9. What about illustrations for your book? Have you chosen any of your illustrators, or does the publisher do this? Do you have any favorite illustrations that you'd like to tell us about?

    I’ve certainly asked to work with certain illustrators, but it’s ultimately in the hands of the publisher to acquiesce or deny such a request. Chocolate helps.

     10. What is the most important thing you feel you can accomplish with your writing?

    I would love to one day write a story that a child found so irresistible that he or she (despite the dangers of parental discovery and possible confiscation of said contraband) read this book under the covers with a flashlight.
    That would pretty much be the End All for me.

    11. We are all looking forward to your Keynote Speaker address at SCBWI Springmingle. Can you tell us about your experience with SCBWI?

    Thank you! And I’m looking forward to being with so many talented writers and illustrators––––one of the greatest benefits to a SCBWI membership!

    Thanks so much, Carmen.
    February 22-24
    Atlanta, Georgia


    9 Comments on Welcoming Carmen Agra Deedy to Moonlight Ridge, last added: 1/31/2013
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    9. My Adventures in … Clarksville, TN (2012)

    June 2012 marked my fourth time speaking at the Clarksville Writers Conference in Tennessee. Organized by Pat Winn, this event is always attended by great people who are ridiculously great to talk to. I debuted two new speeches — “Your Publishing Options Today” as well as “Create Your Writer Platform,” the latter of which was based off my book coming out in fall 2012. I’ve included some pictures below from the event (all images provided by Bill Larson and Clarksville Online). If you have a chance to go in 2013, I highly recommend it!



    Teaching on publishing options today.



    The "whiteboard point" is a trusted move for instructors everywhere.


    Other authors signing books at the (famously loved and revered) banquet.



    I Will Speak At These Great Writing Events in 2012:

    10. My Adventures in … Lexington, KY (2012)

    I just returned from the (brand new) Books-in-Progress Writers Conference at the Carnegie Literacy Center in Lexington, KY. This was the third time I have been fortunate enough to present at the center (it’s not far from my home in Cincinnati), and it was a great experience. The Carnegie Center seems to be an incredible resource of writers and artists in the area. When you walk in the doors, the first two things you notice is 1) the beauty and ambiance of the building, and 2) that they encourage you to take a free book every time you stop by!



    Me instructing the Lexington crowd on how to get published. Photo credit to the Carnegie Literacy Center.



    I gave three speeches — one on pitching, one on platform, and one on how to get published. The platform speech was relatively new (adopted from my book, Create Your Writer Platform) and seemed to go well.

    Following the three speeches and some tasty lunch at a sandwich place down the block, I sat down with agents Sorche Fairbank (my OWN agent, as a matter of fact) and Janet Reid of FinePrint Literary to do some “Conference Idol” where we had a manuscript’s first page read to us and we gave thoughts.

    All in all, it was a great experience, and I cannot say enough good things about the Carnegie Center. This is definitely a great place for Kentucky to have.




    I Will Speak At These Great Writing Events in 2012:


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    11. Writers Conference Spotlight: 2012 Crested Butte Writers Conference (Colorado, June 22-24, 2012)

    I am very excited to instruct at the 2012 Crested Butte Writers Conference. It’s held in the beautiful town of Crested Butte, CO, from June 22-24, 2012. The event is described as “a small conference designed to be friendly and cozy with the caliber of a large conference.”






    This event is held from June 22-24, 2012 — nestled in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado. It’s an intimate event in a beautiful location.


    You can see all the instructors online. There are four literary agents in attendance taking pitches:

    1. Hannah Bowman joined Liza Dawson Associates in 2011. She specializes in commercial fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy, women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, romance, and young adult. Hannah is also interested in nonfiction, particularly in the areas of mathematics, science, and religion.

    2. Lisa Gallagher is a literary agent at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in New York. She is actively seeking new clients both in fiction and nonfiction, who are great storytellers, delivering both narrative urgency and dramatic tension, combined with multifaceted characters and a transporting sense of place.

    3. Mary Kole (Andrea Brown Literary) is considering food books, food memoirs, cookbooks, adult literary fiction, and, for the children’s market, young adult and middle grade fiction and truly exceptional picture books from authors, illustrators, and author/illustrators.She prefers upmarket premises with literary spark and commercial appeal. Her favorite genres are character-driven fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, thriller, horror, adventure, humor, contemporary/realistic, romance and mystery.

    4. Ken Sherman is the President of Ken Sherman and Associates, a Los Angeles-based literary agency. An agent for more than twenty years, Ken represents screen, television and book writers, and also sells film and television rights to books as well as life rights.


    • Sandy Contest finalists share their experiences on a panel at the awards luncheon
    • Genre-Specific Informal Get-Together
    • Readings at Elevation Hotel lobby – “We gather one evening to kick off our shoes, sip a drink, while sitting back and enjoying short readings from our Sandy Finalists and local poets and talented writers.”
    • Pitch & Pages – unique efficient method of granting agent/ editor appointments
    • Advanced Read and Critique Masters Add-on Class – Thursday afternoon critique opportunity with attending agents and editors as well as other class participants
    • Plenty of free time to network and explore the area while making new writing friends

    See all event details online.



    I Will Speak At These Great Writing Events in 2012:

    12. Writer’s Digest Conference West in Los Angeles (Oct. 19-21, 2012) Has Sessions, Agents, Pitches and More

    After the great success Writer’s Digest has had organizing its event in New York City, we are very excited to be expanding to the West Coast as of 2012. Writer’s Digest Conference West is a new event in Los Angeles set for October 19-21, 2012. All the good stuff you have come to expect from a WD conference will be here — sessions, agents, bootcamps, the Pitch Slam, and more.






    Join us at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Los Angeles, CA, October 19 – 21, 2012, for all of the informative sessions you’ve come to love from WD Conference, now on the West Coast. Register now and start making your travel plans today. If you register before July 19, 2012, you can get an early bird discount.

    This is the first year for a West Coast WD Conference, and we’re excited to bring you the very best sessions, speakers and publishing advice, set against inspiring views of Los Angeles. Get real-world advice on getting published in today’s ever-changing market, with a focus on sharpening your writing skills, polishing your pitch and selling your work.


    Be sure to attend the Pitch Slam, a fast-paced, three-hour event with agents who are actively looking for new writers to represent. We’re adding new agents every day and expect to have at least 20 in attendance.

    GET THIS: To date, at least 8 writers who have attended past WD events have told us they signed with agents they pitched at the Pitch Slam. If that isn’t enough reason to come, I do not know what is. The Pitch Slam unquestionably works. Start on the conference website and click on “Success Stories” on the right side.

    Who’s Speaking?

    Learn from the best at this year’s Writer’s Digest Conference West. Get helpful insights from bestselling authors and award-winning writers like James Scott Bell, Steven James, Elizabeth Sims and many others, plus well-known industry experts.

    Featured Sessions

    Ask the Agent Panel
    Friday, October 19 · 5:10 – 6:30 pm
    This is a Q&A session for you to ask literary agents practically any publishing question. Find out what they really think about query letters, live pitches, self-publishing and more.

    Crafting the Perfect Pitch
    Friday, October 19 · 6:40 – 7:30 pm
    Attending the Pitch Slam? This is a can’t-miss session. Get insights on how to perfectly prep your pitch (and your work) and learn how to get comfortable and stay confident so you can make a great first impression.

    A Self-Publishing Author’s Guide to Contracts with Dana Newman
    Sunday, October 21 · 10:00 – 10:50 am
    Thinking about going it alone? This session is critical for authors who are looking for success in the self-publishing world. Learn details about the basics and the fine points of literary agency agreements, collaboration agreements and much more.

    Register for these, and all of our other sessions here.


    I Will Speak At These Great Writing Events in 2012:

    13. The Opportunities of Self-Publishing E-Books — Tips From the San Francisco Writers Conference

    With each passing year, the prevalence of self publishing topics at writing conferences continues to grow. The 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference held true to that trend. By my count, one-sixth of the seminars centered around the topic of self-publishing. The anticipated industry evolution is no longer coming; it’s here. Data provided by leading experts speaking at the conference like Mike Coker, founder of Smashwords, is clear: 2011 saw explosive growth in ebook sales and 2012 is forecasted as another record breaking year. So when I saw a seminar about the transition from traditional publishing to self publishing on the conference agenda, I arranged my schedule accordingly. Evidently, so did many others; the venue was standing room only. A sign of the times. Read more

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    14. Event Spotlight: The Homeric Writers’ Retreat and Workshop on the Isle of Ithaca (Aug. 2-8, 2012 in Greece)

    If you're considering a writing event this year, but are looking for just as much of an opportunity to sit down and write as you are to learn from presenters, then join me at the Homeric Writers' Retreat and Workshop from Aug. 2-8, 2012. It's held on the beautiful Greek isle of Ithaca -- a perfect place to soak in the sunshine and let the creative juices flow. And in addition to the amazing scenery to help you write, there are a few daily sessions as well as several personalized critiques (manuscript pages, query, synopsis, proposal) for all attendees, taught and given by publishing pros. Read more

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    15. My Adventures in … Hampton Roads

    This past weekend, I was on the faculty of the Hampton Roads Writers Conference in Virginia Beach, VA. Sadly, it rained the whole time and I did not get to see the beach. Happily, the conference was fun and I met some really nice people. The hotel also had unlimited delicious cookies and I indulged in quite a few to say the least. (I may or may not weight 10 pounds more than when I arrived.) Read more

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    16. My Adventures in ... Jackson Hole, WY (2011)

    I just got back from a pair of writing events (and I'm sorry I haven't blogged in forever). The first event was speaking at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference in Jackson Hole, WY. I attended in 2009 and was excited to return. Jackson is just such an amazingly beautiful place. Very much like Aspen out west, it's got lots of little cute shops, but at the same time it's in the mountains and you can get gored by buffalo if you wander out of town. (It's happened. No one's seen Mr. Reynolds for weeks.)

    If you are looking for a conference in a scenic location in 2012, I highly suggest you check this event out. You get to turn in your work for multiple critiques from authors/agents/editors.

    Above: My Thursday keynote kickoffed the event.
    I rocked a vest to commemorate the occasion.

    Following the Thursday speech, attendees meet
    and mingle in the Arts Center. The event draws
    anywhere from 90-150 people.

    On the road out of town, I saw me some buffalo.
    Last time I was here I saw elk, moose and a
    bald eagle.

    Above: Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Quite a sight.
    I got to hike around Yellowstone and see all the
    hot springs, etc. Awesome. Totally worth it.

    Above: Grand Teton National Park looking
    spectacular in the summertime.

    Above: My Friday night speech was a two-hour marathon
    of info on agents. Here I am, wearing a black
    shirt, bathed in red light so people were
    scared of me.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:
    17. Live in the Pacific Northwest? Check out the PNWA Conference in Seattle (Aug. 4-7, 2011)

    I'm very excited about my first year on the faculty at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Writers Conference. The 2011 conference is from Aug. 4-7 in Seattle. This is a very large conference that brings in a ton of agents and editors. If you live anywhere in the area, keep reading to learn more.



    The 2011 PNWA Writers Conference is from Aug 4-7, at the Bellevue Hyatt. They expect to have more than 500 people there.


    For starters, these agents below. See the Agent Page on the PNWA website to see all the categories each agent represents.

         LAUREN E. ABRAMO, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
         LORETTA BARRETT, Loretta Barrett Books, Inc.
         FOLADE BELL, Serendipity Literary Agency
         AMY BOGGS, Donald Maass Literary Agency
         REGINA BROOKS, Serendipity, LLC
         AMY BURKHARDT, Kimberly Cameron & Associates
          MINJU CHANG, BookStop Literary Agency
         GINGER CLARK, Curtis Brown, LTD
         VICKIE MOTTER, Andrea Hurst Literary Agency
         KEN SHERMAN, Ken Sherman & Associates
         CHERRY WEINER, Cherry Weiner Literary Agency
         ...and more.

    Keynote: Steve Berry is the New York Times bestselling author of The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, and The Templar Legacy. He has 12 million books in print.


    This year, there are more workshop choices than ever before, with the workshops divided into the following categories: Storytelling, Road to Publication, and Marketing & Publishing in the Digital Age. Note that the conference does not charge for any agent or editor appointments. Sign ups are at the conference.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:
    18. My Adventures in ... Pittsburgh

    I just got back from the annual PennWriters Conference, which was held this year outside of Pittsburgh. Great event with wonderful people. And being born and raised in PA myself (mostly in Erie), it was nice to be back in my home state.

    I did a panel on small book publishers, a session on writing for magazines, met with a lot of writers, and did a formal book signing. All in all, it was a lot of fun. If you live in PA, seriously consider joining your area's PennWriters group and attending this conference in 2012.

    Below find a picture of the skyline that I took while riding the Duquesne Incline, which is this big train cart that essentially slides up a mountain so you can see the entire city. It was kind of scary to be on that rickety thing, but the view was quite something.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:

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    19. Live Near Clarksville, TN? Check out the Clarksville Writers Conference (July 14-15, 2011)

    I've attended the Clarksville Writers Conference twice now, and it just such a great event that I had to come a third time. This year's event is July 14-15, 2011, and there will be editors, agents, and authors in attendance. If you live anywhere near Clarksville, keep reading to learn more.


    This conference, held every year at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, prides itself on being affordable and inviting. Appointments to meet any attending literary agents are free. There is always a mix of speakers -- from local authors who can speak of their writing journey, to out-of-town editors and agents.

    • William R. Ferris, co-editor of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, chairman emeritus of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and author or editor of over ten books including Local Color and Images of the South: Visits with Eudora Welty and Walker Evans
    • Blas Falconer, poet, creative writing teacher and author of The Perfect Hour and A Question of Gravity and Light
    • Beth Ann Fennelly, award-winning poet, nonfiction writer and author of Unmentionables, Tender Hooks and Open House
    • William Gay, Southern Gothic novelist, short story writer and author of Twilight, Provinces of Night and The Long Home
    • Amy Greene, author of the novel Bloodroot and the forthcoming Long Man
    • Gordon Warnock, literary agent with Sacramento-based Andrea Hurst & Associates Literary Management
    • and more.

    Learn more and register here.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:
    20. The Secret to Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference

    Knowing that in a seven short days I will leave Boston behind and return to Florida’s sticky heat, I breathe in and enjoy the cool morning air. In through my nose, out through my mouth. I have to soak it up while I can. This is my thought as I sit in the orientation of my first Solstice Writers’ Conference. I also feel oddly unencumbered, as if I have forgotten something. I didn’t have to wake anyone this morning, didn’t have to start a load of laundry or field breakfast requests. Instead, I rolled out of my lumpy dormitory bed—my home for the next week—and ate eggs and sausages prepared for me in the campus cafeteria. I sit back, flanked by two friends that I met at an earlier writers’ conference, and wait for the conference director to address the group.

    Lori is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before.


    Guest column by Lori Roy, author of Bent Road
    (March 2011, Dutton), a novel set in the 60s with
    elements of midwestern gothic and noir. The book
    was called "a remarkably assured debut novel" by
    author Dennis Lehane (
    Mystic River), while Publishers
    Weekly gave it a starred review and called it "an
    outstanding debut ... sure to make several 2011
    must-read lists." See Lori's website here.

    Writers’ conferences are a bit like wandering through a bar in a college town. What’s your major? … the college bar. Which class are you in? … (novel, short story, nonfiction) the conference. When do you graduate? … the college bar. Have you gone yet? … (meaning has your work been critiqued in class yet?) the conference. Where are you from? … the college bar. Where are you from?… the conference. And like in college, when attending a conference, a participant has an assignment. Each writer must submit 25 pages that will be read and critiqued by eleven or so classmates. For many attendees, this is why they have boarded a plane, hired a babysitter, purchased new luggage. They have hopes of finding a cure for their weary manuscript.

    When a particular writer’s turn in class rolls around, she will sit quietly, barred from speaking during the discussion. The other writers will flip through her manuscript page by page and talk about and debate what is wrong with her work and what is right. But mostly what is wrong, or maybe it just feels that way. When it is over, usually lasts about 45 minutes, the writer takes a deep breath and says thank you for the flogging. Another thing I’ve learned along the way—if this process doesn’t sting, at least a little, it probably isn’t working. Later that night, while sipping wine following the nightly readings, people will ask, have you gone yet? The writer will say yes. How did it go? I learned a lot, the writer might say. And drink another glass of Cabernet.

    The conference director arrives at precisely 9:30. She begins by announcing a room change and goes on to remind us that coffee cups are not to leave the cafeteria and that the library will close early on Sunday. Lastly, she welcomes and introduces the teachin

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    21. Live Near Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky? Come Meet Me at the Boone County Library on April 5, 2011

    If you live anywhere near Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, come out to meet me for my speech on "Everything You Need to Know About Agents," as well as "Query Letters." It all goes down at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at the Florence Branch of the Boone County Library, located at 7425 US 42, Florence, KY. The speech lasts an hour and a half, and Q&A is welcome and encouraged. You can formally register here.

    Website description: "Get a thorough crash course in finding a literary agent from Chuck Sambuchino, editor of Guide to Literary Agents and author of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack. After quickly going over what an agent is and what agents do for writers, learn resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives. Q&A with the speaker encouraged, so bring your questions."

    I am not sure if the event is free or not, but I have to assume it is. Register here. Sign-ups are required and it seems like the maximum number of spots remaining is 25 as of right now. You can register by phone at 859-342-2665.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:

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    22. Using Conferences to Your Querying Advantage

    Conferences can be great places to learn, but let’s face it, when you’re unagented and have a completed manuscript, your main agenda may not be the workshops. I’ve attended several conferences, both as a pre-published writer and a published one. The truth is, my main goal has remained the same: Networking.

    Denise is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before.


    Denise Jaden's debut YA novel, Losing Faith, was
    released in Sept. 10 from Simon Pulse. She is, or
    has been, everything from a professional Polynesian
    dancer and fitness competitor to a mushroom farmer
    and church secretary. Denise's writing has appeared
     in Mississippi Crow Magazine (Spring, 2008) and
    The Greensilk Journal. She lives just outside
    Vancouver, Canada. See her website here.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love learning, and always come home from conferences with my writing-tools arsenal filled a little fuller. But I met my editor at a conference, and I can quite honestly say that she probably would not be my editor if I hadn’t. You see, my editor was a senior editor when she made an offer on my book (she’s recently been promoted to executive editor), and since my agent was the new girl on the block at the time, she had targeted my manuscript mainly to either junior editors or editors one of us had been in contact with. My agent likely would not have targeted a senior editor at Simon Pulse if I had not had prior contact with her.

    So I’m a big believer in networking at writing conferences. I’ve compiled a list of helpful hints that may be useful at your next event.

    1. Show up like you mean business. Get to the conference early enough to get the lay of the land. Dress appropriately and memorably, so when you meet someone in the morning, you won’t have to re-introduce yourself in the afternoon.

    2. Meet as many people as possible. Whether you’re at lunch or in a long line up waiting for a pitch appointment, there’s almost always someone nearby to chat with. You never know who you will meet. I’ve met people in line who I’ve stayed friends with online for years, people who are supporting me now that I have a book coming out, people who have recommended me to their agents. I’ve met agents at lunch and editors in the hallways. Be nice and friendly wherever you go, and you’ll end up with a whole new list of friends and contacts and Tweeps that you’ll be thankful for in the future.

    3. Know the schedule ahead of time. Figure out which agents and editors

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    23. Conference Spotlight: Kentucky Writers Conference & Southern Kentucky Book Fest (Back to Back, April 15-16, 2011)

    Let's just cut right to the chase. The Kentucky Writers Conference is FREE. You heard me: Free. It's a one-day free event on Friday, April 15, 2011 -- the day before the (huge) Southern Kentucky Book Fest.


    The Kentucky Writers Conference is a free one-day event held from 9 am to 3:30 pm, Friday, April 16, 2011, at Carroll Knicely Conference Center, 654 Campbell Lane, Bowling Green, KY.


    Authors who will be participating in the Book Fest on Saturday, April 16 (including me!) will give attendees at the Writers Conference the benefit of their wisdom on Friday, April 15.

    Free workshops on the following topics:
    • memoir writing
    • finding a literary agent
    • shaping scenes
    • writing a query letter
    • using humor in writing
    Sessions run for 75 minutes. The conference is open to anyone who would like to attend, including high school students, college students, teachers, and the general public. No registration is required; however, if you are bringing a class please let the organizer know. (The organizer is Kristie Lowry, 270-745-4502; [email protected]

    Also, I will be presenting a special Saturday session as a conference speaker in the middle of the book fest day. On Saturday, April 16 at 1 pm, I will present “How to Get Published: Professional Writing Practices and What Editors Want” in the Carroll Knicely Conference Center Auditorium. As with all conference sessions, this presentation will be free.

    Kentucky Writers Conference program booklets will be available at Barnes & Noble and Warren County Library locations in March, and they can also be viewed through the website at that time. For more information, please contact Kristie.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:

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    24. My Lexington Presentation Rescheduled for March 26, 2011

    I got the flu this past week and had to cancel my Feb. 26 presentation at the Carnegie Center in Lexington. Luckily, the Carnegie staffers were kind enough to reschedule it for Saturday, March 26, 2011. If you were planning on making the February event, please come to the March event instead! All attendees get a free WD bookazine!

    On March 26, 2011, I will presenting at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, KY, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. I will speak on "Everything You Need to Know About Getting an Agent" as well as "Query Letters." I will also answer any questions that attendees have. If you're looking for a literary agent and have questions, come out and see me!


    Attendees are encouraged to sign up in advance. If you click on this (updated) webpage, you can register in advance. Also, I believe you can call and sign up via telephone easily (during work hours EST). The center's number is 859-254-4175. There is a second class that Saturday, March 26 (starting at noon), and those who attend both get a discount.


    In addition to answering any questions you may have about agents, querying, and the publishing process, we will discuss the following:
    • The 3 major tasks of any agent
    • How to write a query letter
    • How to find agents and discover what they've sold
    • How to write a synopsis for fiction or memoir
    • How to put together a book proposal for nonfiction
    • Word count
    • How to prevent getting scammed
    • How to craft a pitch
    • And more

    I hope to see you there! I taught at the Carnegie Center in 2010 and had a lot of fun. I will bring a few door prizes to hand out to some lucky attendees.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2010-2011:
    25. Conference Spotlight: Jackson Hole Writers Conference (June 23-26, 2011)

    I've been to the Jackson Hole Writers Conference before, and let me tell you: It is probably the most beautiful location for any conference I've ever seen. The Grand Tetons, the cute little shops, all the hiking trails. The location, combined with a great faculty of agents, editors and authors, makes a compelling case as to why you should think about going to the 2011 Conference. If you were looking for a conference that doubles as a scenic vacation, this is as good as it gets.


    The conference is from June 23-26, 2011, in Jackson, WY, held at the Center for the Arts.

    Last time I was at the conference, my wife and
    I went on a hot air balloon ride. Extraordinary.


    1. Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis, Inc.
    2. Amy Williams, McCormick & Williams.
    3. Seth Fishman, The Gernert Company 
    4. Kirby Kim, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
    There are also plenty of authors in attendance as well as editors (including me!)


    I know that a big part of this conference is the manuscript critiques. You have the option to submit your work for critique, and get it seen by three different people, getting three different opinions for on your writing. This, summed up in one word, can be invaluable. See all conference info here.

    I Will Be Speaking At These Great Writing Events in 2011:

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