A few months ago I accomplished a major “bucket-list” item: I attended a large writer’s conference in New York City. That’s me at the 2016 Writers Digest Conference holding up a glass of white wine after I successfully pitched CIRCLE OF THE SILVER BIRCH TREES, my debut 94,000 word multigenerational family saga/women’s fiction novel to six agents at the conference’s pitch slam. I’m posing with other writers (and fellow pitch slammers) – one of whom has since become a fantastic long-distance critique partner.
To all of the writer’s out there aspiring to be published and inspired – I can’t say enough good things about the Writers Digest Conference. Although the 800 conference attendees were writers of various genres including literary fiction, children’s literature, horror, women’s fiction, historical romance, nonfiction and screenplays, there seemed to be something for everyone. I attended highly informative sessions about pitching, social media, platform building, an insider’s perspective on the business of publishing, and the multitude of publishing options for today’s writer. I enjoyed craft sessions about character building and historical fiction writing. I’ll even admit that I teared up when keynote speakers Kwame Alexander and David Baldacci shared moving stories about their journeys as writers. And as someone who has never won anything, I was excited to win a magnetic poetry kit door prize!
I also registered for the optional Pitch Slam, during which I could have as many three minute face-to-face pitch sessions as possible in one hour with agents seated around a hotel ballroom in alphabetical order. I did my homework and chose my top ten agents. Standing in line with about 100 other writers in the minutes leading up to the Pitch Slam was a bit nerve-wracking – but the session was so well planned and executed that I enjoyed it more than I ever expected. I had written my 90 second pitch on flash cards, which worked great in easing my nerves. The agents I pitched to were super professional and genuinely engaged. I received several business cards and requests to follow-up with more material via email. I am in communication with them all at the moment…
Wondering if you should attend a writer’s conference? I recommend this conference to writers of all genres looking to take their work to the next level. Registration for the Writers Digest August 2017 Conference is now open.
You worked soo hard to prepare, and I know how well you were received. Lots of XXOOs, Sally
Thanks, Sally! I appreciate all of your help in my preparations:)
Thank you for the inspiration!!
Are there any other similar conferences that you would recommend before the next Writer’s Conference? I’m excited to go to one in person.
Thank you for your comment. I have also attended a Pennwriters conference and a conference hosted by a local MFA program. I found all three conferences that I’ve attended helpful in different ways. The Writers Digest conference was great for the pitch slam and casting a wide networking and learning web. The Pennwriters conference was the first conference I attended – it offered more low key sessions and a smaller crowd, which was just what I needed my first time attending such an event. The MFA program conference was focused on creative non-fiction, and provided lots of good information about non-fiction style and publishing opportunities plus since it was local, I met a lot of other writers living in my city. I think choosing the right conference really depends what you are looking to experience and gain. I think it also depends on your genre – I have several colleagues who write for children and they’ve had great experiences at both local and national SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conferences. Here’s a link from my favorite writing blog that lists several upcoming events across the US: https://thewritelife.com/writers-conferences/
Much appreciated 🙂
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Good things are headed your way for 2017. Your writing is captivating and I cannot wait to read the published story!
Thank you, Carole!