Tuesday, March 27, 2012


by Jenna Weart

Would you like to meet editors and agents? Schmooze with fellow writers? Learn about craft, marketing, or promotion? Some annual events in our area can provide what you need. Based on my experiences in previous years, I'd recommend the ones described below; although, none of them are right for everyone. You'll need to check the websites and decide which conference(s) is right for you.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference, in Manhattan, is probably the world’s premiere conference for journalists. Some writers make transcontinental trips to attend.. Senior editors and other top panelists rapidly share knowledge and ideas during a stimulating day. Although it‘s oriented toward nonfiction, the tech track and some other topics can be useful for novelists. Sree, a computer expert, is excellent.  You might talk briefly to an agent or editor before a panel leaves a table.  For information, visit http://www.asja.org/.

Mystery Writers of America Symposium, in Manhattan, offers fewer panels, so some years the topics might interest you and other years, not. Mary Higgins Clark, Steven King, and Janet Evanovich have spoken there. The audience includes award winners and beginners. Last year's non-member price was $125.  The agents and editors party is open only to members (who may be writers or fans), and space is limited. Some people have met agents there, but the agents are vastly out-numbered by writers, and some agents beeline to editors.  For info, visit http://www.mysterywriters.org/.

The most gracious place to make contacts is the Long Island Romance Writers Luncheon, scheduled for June 8 at The Fox Hollow near the Suffolk and Nassau Counties border. The ladies' hospitality could qualify them to be heroines of a high-society romance. The reception and lunch give opportunities for leisurely social conversations with editors and agents. For more info, visit http://www.lirw.org/.

An excellent venue for agents is our chapter's Golden Apple Awards,reception, scheduled this year for Sept. 13. The culinary delicacies are an attraction, but obviously agents come mostly to meet our talented members. For more info, visit http://www.rwanyc.com/.

The New Jersey Romance Writers “Put your heart in a book” Conference will be in October.  The one I attended was well organized, with a large choice of workshops. I learned something from all of them, but the quality varied. You get a ten-minute conversation with an agent. At least one of our members, Lis Eng, met her editor there. (The Wild Rose Press offered her a contract.) If you want a particular agent or editor, sign up early. For more info, visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/.

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators holds its New York conference in January. It has top speakers, but since topics include everything from picture books to teen novels, not all the sessions can be right for you. If you're writing for readers below age sixteen, consider joining this worldwide organization. For more info, visit http://www.scbwi.org/.

Will an event be worth the price to you? Or can you learn enough by ordering tapes or discs? The websites can help you decide. At Shawguides.com you can find a list of more conferences, near and far.♥

Jenna Weart's enjoyment of writers' conferences began with one, years ago, for reporters for high school newspapers. She has worked as a journalist and a teacher. Although she is currently revising a historical novel, she's published stories in Woman's World, USA, and in That's Life! Fast Fiction, Australia.

1 comment:

  1. Some terrific and diverse options, Jenna - our member Michael Molloy also has reviewed the Writers Digest conference in NYC, and Thriller Fest meets here, as does Book Expo, NYC Comic Con, and there are numerous digital publishing industry gatherings here for the tech minded. Also we have the regional Connecticut RWA chapter one-day conference, too. Thanks for sharing your take!