29 Fantastic Writer’s Conferences for Authors, Bloggers and Freelancers

Writers conferences you should attend this year
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Ready to connect with literary agents, editors and other writers at a writers conference? Summer in particular is packed with writers’ conferences across the United States, but these events run throughout the year.

If you’re tired of learning about interesting opportunities just a little too late, bookmark this list of annual writers conferences for future planning, so you can join in on the mingling, learning, and inspiration in years to come!

General Interest

Writer’s Digest Conference

When: Annually in August

Where: New York City

The Writer’s Digest editors bring you this annual conference with resources for craft, career and creative inspiration. More than 50 agents and editors participate in the infamous Pitch Slam, and dozens of industry experts lead educational sessions.

San Francisco Writers Conference

When: Annually in February

Where: San Francisco, CA

Held annually in February, this conference is a “celebration of craft, commerce and community.” Connect with industry experts, bestselling authors, agents, editors and leaders in both self-publishing and traditional publishing.

San Francisco Writing for Change Conference

When: Annually in September

Where: San Francisco, CA

This annual one-day conference asks nonfiction writers, “Can your book change the world?” The conference brings together writers and industry experts to teach nonfiction writers about writing, publishing, marketing and technology.

Northern Colorado Writers Conference

When: Annually in March

Where: Fort Collins, CO

The Northern Colorado Writers group provides support and encouragement to writers of all genres and levels through this annual conference, as well as through monthly meetings, classes and other networking and social events.

The event is limited to 130 attendees, so you want to snag your registration fast!

Association of Writers and Writing Programs

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Various North American cities

Each year, AWP hosts the Annual Conference & Bookfair in a different city. The event celebrates authors, teachers, students, writing programs, literary centers and publishers in the region hosting the conference. With more than 13 thousand writers and readers attending in 2014, AWP is the largest literary conference in North America.

Las Vegas Writers Conference

When: Annually in April

Where: Las Vegas, NV

Henderson Writers Group hosts this annual conference for writers. In their own words:

“Our goal is to help aspiring writers who desire to see their works published. In 2003, the group hosted the first of our annual Las Vegas Writer’s Conferences, bringing top agents and publishers from across the country to the Vegas valley.

“Henderson Writers Group  is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide a networking and critiquing forum for writers of all skill levels with resources devoted to education and craft development.”

Midwest Writers Workshop

When: Annually in July

Where: Muncie, IN

“This is widely regarded as being one of the Midwest’s premiere events,” says Chuck Sambuchino, who spoke at the event in 2013.

The Midwest Writers Workshop gives writers the opportunity improve their craft, mingle with industry experts and successful writers, and network and socialize with peers and colleagues.

Writing Day Workshops

When: November, 2014 and February, 2015 (various dates)

Where: Indianapolis, IN; Boulder and Denver, CO; Phoenix and Tucson, AZ; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN

Each of these day-long workshops offers a crash course on how to get your book published, with classes and presentations on everything from writing queries to working with an agent to marketing your book.

Genre Fiction

Romance Writers of America Annual Conference

When: Annually in July

Where: San Antonio, TX

Romance writers gather at this annual genre conference to learn more about the business of being an author. Get an opportunity to meet and mingle with budding and successful romance authors, as well as workshops and events to boost your author career.

Love is Murder

When: Annually in February

Where: Chicago, IL

Dozens of panel discussions, meet-and-greet book signings, presentations, exhibitors, book discussions, activities, entertainment, networking and pitch opportunities make this conference a must for mystery/romantic suspense/thriller authors, fans, and readers.

“There’s something about being surrounded by crime fiction readers and writers that makes me buzz with energy. Let me tell you, I have enough energy without the extra buzz. I get downright giddy and awkward at these things.” – Julie Anne Lindsey, romance/mystery/YA author

Worldcon and North American Science Fiction Convention

When: Annually

Where: Various locations around the world

The World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) is an annual gathering of the science fiction and fantasy community, held in a different location around the world each year. When Worldcon is held outside of North America, the corresponding NASFC is held in North America.

This five-day international conference is attended by thousands of writers, artists, fans, editors, publishers, academics, and dealers. The event embraces “science fiction in all the forms in which it appears, including film, TV, art, comics, anime and manga, and gaming.”

Killer Nashville

When: Annually in August

Where: Nashville, TN

While attractive to mystery/thriller authors and screenwriters for its unique crime-focused sessions, Killer Nashville welcomes writers of all levels and genres. Conference sessions fall under seven categories: General Writing, Genre-specific Writing, Publishing, Publicity, Screenwriting, Sessions for Fans, and Forensics.

“Imagine hearing a CIA Analyst, an FBI agent on terrorism, Dr Bill Bass on The Body Farm, bestselling CJ Box on how he juggles his writing and plans his days, Heyward Gould on screenplays, and so much more. They even had a crime scene, with awards to those those who studied the clues and figured out the mystery,” mystery author C. Hope Clark reflected on her 2012 Killer Nashville experience.

Thrillerfest

When: Annually in July

Where: New York City

“It is the only conference where I really feel at home — and [International Thriller Writers] is truly the tribe I belong to . . . I can sit in the bar talking about ways to murder people and weapons of choice and not feel weird. I can learn from some of the biggest names in the business, whose hours of writing experience number in the many thousands.

“The education program is absolutely the best in the thriller business. I can fangirl like a geek with big name authors who are actually just a load of bookish geeks too. I can have a drink with people I have only previously worshipped from afar. I also feel absolutely accepted as an indie, with no judgement around my business choices . . . I love ITW and I absolutely loved Thrillerfest!” says Joanna Penn (thriller author J.F. Penn) at The Creative Penn.

Blogging

BlogHer

When: Annually in July

Where: Silicon Valley in California

“During keynote speaker presentations some people will snicker under their breath, while others will find themselves crying. Which only goes to demonstrate the subjectivity of the entire business of blogging. You can’t appeal to everyone,” says Janie Emaus in her post Top 10 Things I Learned at Last Year’s BlogHer Conference.

BlogU

When: The first conference took place in June 2014

Where: Baltimore, MD

BlogU is a conference presented by The Blog University for women, moms, bloggers and writers. Speakers are bestselling authors, powerhouse bloggers and strong women across industries.

World Domination Summit

When: Annually in July

Where: Portland, OR

“One phrase we always throw around in our meetings is ‘surprise and delight.’ How can we give people something they aren’t expecting, even if it’s really small?

“Things like spending extra money to ensure it’s something people will actually use, having volunteers go around our registration line with sunscreen, or enlisting the help of the unipiper to cruise through the ‘Portland Experience’ with his flaming bag pipes.

“It could also be big things like giving every attendee a $100 bill, like we did in 2012, or this year [2014] when Chris knew where every single person was in the audience and gave away a few special experiences to help attendees fulfill a lifelong dream of theirs,” says Sean Ogle, a WDS organizer, in his post 8 Lessons Learned from Producing an Event for 3K People

South by Southwest

When: Annually in March

Where: Austin, TX

South by Southwest has become the country’s premier event for the music, comedy, film and digital technology industries — basically, any creative person or fan! Bloggers should keep an eye on the details for SXSW Interactive, the festival’s “incubator for cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity.”

“What I love about SXSW — it always brings out my spontaneous side. I don’t make any plans until five minutes beforehand, and I love it,” says Jenny Blake in a post on LifeAfterCollege.org, The Number One Tip for SXSW Newbie.

Freelancing

American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference

When: Annually in April

Where: New York City

More than 150 speakers and 650 attendees join this annual event to “hobnob with agents who are looking for the next bestseller and editors who are eager to buy stories.” Speakers and events cover writing business topics like storytelling, custom content, self-publishing and negotiating.

Society for Professional Journalists Spring Conference Series

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Various U.S. cities

These day-long professional development meetings take place across 12 regions throughout the U.S. They draw pros, students and educators for networking and training in topics ranging from writing skills to using new technologies.

Society of American Business Editors and Writers

When: Annually in Fall and Spring

Where: Fall in New York City, Spring in Various U.S. cities

Learn about new media for journalists, writing for various industries, managing your freelancing business, and more in this two-day conference for journalists and business writers and editors.

Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating

SCBWI Annual Conferences

When: Various dates

Where: Various locations

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators hosts a slew of regional conferences around the world throughout the year, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles each August, and the Annual Winter Conference in New York each February.

WriteOnCon

When: Annually in August

Where: Online, WriteOnCon.com

WriteOnCon is a free, online-only writers’ conference for children’s writers. Publisher’s Weekly describes the features of this unique virtual conference experience:

“Without incurring travel expenses, lining up childcare and battling crowds, more than 11,000 aspiring children’s and young adult authors attended WriteOnCon, a free online writing conference . . . From the comfort of home, they were able to log onto the conference’s Web site and view blogs, vlogs, panel discussions, workshops and live streaming presented by literary agents, editors and published authors.”

Christian Writing

Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference

When: Annually in May

Where: near Asheville, NC

Held annually at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center nestled in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference is the premier training and networking event for both seasoned and aspiring writers and speakers.

International (Outside of U.S.)

The London Book Fair

When: Annually in Spring

Where: London, UK

In their own words: “The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.”

LBF brings together authors, publishers, and readers in the cultural hub of London to explore and understand the rapidly-changing publishing world.

Surrey International Writers’ Conference

When: Annually in October

Where: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

The Surrey International Writers’ Conference is the “most comprehensive conference of its kind in Canada.” Open to writers of all levels and genres, the conference offers an opportunity to show off your work to the international literary marketplace as well as to hone your craft and business skills.

The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival

When: Annually in October

Where: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

In the cultural heart of Vancouver, B.C., on Granville Island, this festival invites authors, poets, spoken word performers, and graphic novelists to celebrate the art of the story. It takes place for six days each October and continues throughout the year through the Incite reading series.

In their own words: “The Vancouver Writers Fest turns reading into a community experience, bringing people together to share thoughts, explore ideas and witness brilliant conversations.”

Indie Publishing and Self-Publishing

IndieReCon LIVE!

When: The first live conference is in October 2014

Where: Sandy, UT and online at indierecon.org

October 2014 marks the first IndieReCon LIVE! in Sandy, Utah, coming after two successful online conferences in 2013 and February 2014. This first live conference will feature a book rave open to the public, classes and an award ceremony for self-published authors at all experience levels.

Business of Writing International Summit

When: Annually in August

Where: Louisville, KY

The Summit brings together industry experts from around the world to deliver content-rich, timely and relevant presentations that provide attendees with the tools and resources they need to build their platforms, grow their book sales and be successful in the new world of publishing.

Self-Publishing Book Expo

When: Annually in November

Where: New York City

The expo features informational sessions on self-publishing topics ranging from formatting to marketing, along with genre-specific workshops. It’s also a place for authors to show off and sell their books to the public, and for companies to show off their goods and services for authors.

Have you been to any of these writers conferences? Or did we miss your favorite event? Share your advice in the comments!

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Dana Sitar is a freelance blogger and a writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).... .

Website | @danasitar

Dana Sitar
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Comments

  1. Colette Garmer says:

    Pennwriters.org has an award winning conference every May. Located in alternating cities of Pittsburgh and Lancaster. The website is getting an impressive revamp installed soon.

  2. For writers (and readers) of historical fiction: The Historical Novel Society’s next North American conference will happen in Denver, June 26-28, 2015. Go to http://www.hns-conference.org for details and to sign up for email alerts. Registration is set to open November 1, 2014. Come and mingle with your favorite historical novelists!

  3. The World Fantasy Convention is in a different city each year in late October, early November. This year it’s in Arlington, VA (sold out). Next year it’ll be in Saratoga Springs, NY and attended by writers, authors, agents, editors and publishers.

  4. BlogHer isn’t always in Silicon Valley. They alter the cities. In 2013 it was in New York!

  5. TheMuseOnlineWritersConference is online every October for free for all writers and authors with free pitch sessions and the works. Giving workshops of all kinds of all flavors to writers and players in the field of authordom.

    There is still time to register. 🙂
    and did you hear? it is free!! 🙂

  6. Thanks for including the Northern Colorado Writers conference in your list. We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2015 and going all out for the event.

  7. I highly recommend the Philadelphia Writers Conference (PWC) which is a small conference held every June in the Historic District of Philadelphia. in addition to workshops in a wide variety of genres it offers opportunities to pitch to agents and editors. It’s well worth the cost.

  8. The Sirens Conference is held in October every year in various locations. It celebrates feminist fantasy fiction on a different theme every year. This October will be the 6th conference. It is a beautiful and supportive group where the key-note sits at the same table with the reader, librarian and emerging writer. No barriers, beautiful locales, great books. So fun!

  9. Don’t forget the UW Writer’s Institute in Madison, WI. In 2014 it’s the last weekend in March. Reasonable, informative, and accessible to those of us in the central part of the country. Guest speakers, agent pitches, and excellent workshops.

  10. Does anyone know of any conferences in or around the Tampa, FL area?

  11. Push to Publish, which is the second weekend in October each year, is run and organized by Philadelphia Stories, a literary magazine in Philadelphia. This a very reasonably priced conference, which attracts writers of genres. Last year there were 10 agents in attendance. This conference has been going strong for nearly 10 years and is certainly worthy of being included on this list. Thanks!

  12. Margaret Adams says:

    Good evening I just wanted to find out if you have any seminars happening in Cape Town South Africa if not how I get us on the map.

    Kind regards

    Marge Adams

  13. I’d also like to add UtopYA Con held in Nashville, TN. This year it’s being held from June 18-21, at Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. We’re in our 4th year and have quadrupled in attendance thanks to the book community of readers, authors, and bloggers. We have three days’ worth of educational panels (on all topics ranging from publishing to marketing to finances and more), as well as the popular UtopYA Awards, daily exhibitions where readers meet their favorite authors, and an open to the public signing that Saturday where we accept $5 or book donations for local charity Book ‘Em.

  14. The Word Guild in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, as well as the Philadelphia Christian Writers Convention are both great opportunities for writers, agents, and editors.

  15. The St. Davids Christian Writers Conference is held every year in June in Grove City, PA. A great, inspiring and uplifting conference filled with lots of good editors, publishers and writers! Check out our tentative schedule for next year! http://stdavidswriters.com/

  16. I wanted to share the Nonfiction Writers Conference. We launched in 2010 and host a 3-day event each May–and the entire event is conducted online! Past speakers include Julia Cameron, Dan Millman, Guy Kawasaki, Dan Poynter, Mark Coker and many other industry luminaries!

  17. HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers is now in its second year. The 2016 event is in August. Please consider if you do an updated list. 🙂

  18. Thank you so much for including BlogU on your list! We are looking forward to our third year. This year our conference will be held June 10-12 at the University of Maryland. It’s going to be the best one yet! We would love to see you there!

  19. Is there any book conferences, book events, or book cons, around or in Seattle WA, even Spokane would work…

  20. The Philadelphia Writers Conference, (PWC), is a great conference. It’s a small conference held annually and has workshops in many genres. It’s good for beginners as well as for those with experience.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Favorite 29 writer’s conferences […]

  2. […] Grand Prize winner gets $5,000, a feature in Writer’s Digest magazine, a paid trip to a writing conference and more. Runners-up earn prizes in first through tenth […]

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  5. […] Write Life has a list of annual conferences, but this list isn’t complete. Do a search for your state to come up for more […]

  6. […] 29 Fantastic Writing Conferences for Authors, Bloggers and Freelancers This one is for American writers ready to connect with literary agents, editors and other writers at conferences. […]

  7. […] Grand Prize winner gets $5,000, a feature in Writer’s Digest magazine, a paid trip to a writing conference and more. Runners-up earn prizes in first through tenth […]

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