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

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

Ready to connect with literary agents, editors and other writers at a writers conference?

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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Northern Colorado Writers Conference

When: Annually in Spring

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!

5. Association of Writers and Writing Programs

When: Annually in Spring

Where: Various North American cities

Each year, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (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.

6. 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.”

7. 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 2012.

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.

8. Writing Day Workshops

When and Where: April, 2017 in Louisville, KY; and July, 2017 in 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.

9. Show Me Writers Masterclass

When: Annually in November

Where: Columbia, MO

Missouri Writers’ Guild and Mizzou Publishing present this conference for writers of all genres. Show Me Writers includes a pitchfest, one-on-one critique sessions, events for teens and roundtable sessions with professional writers.

10. Writer’s Winter Escape Cruise

When: Annually February-March

Where: Departs from Miami, FL for  Nassau, Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico

Join this unique writers’ conference… at sea.

For five nights, writers can enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea, Cozumel, Mexico and Nassau, Bahamas, while networking and learning about the publishing industry.

conferences for writers

Genre fiction

11. Romance Writers of America Annual Conference

When: Annually in July

Where: Location varies

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.

12. SleuthFest

When: Annually in February

Where: Boca Raton, Florida

SleuthFest is an annual conference for mystery, suspense and thriller writers sponsored by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

This conference includes writing and marketing workshops, networking events, and pitch sessions with guest agents and editors. It even includes hands-on forensic workshops!

13. 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.”

14. 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.

15. 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

16. BlogHer

When: Annually in Summer

Where: Various U.S. cities

“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.

17. BlogU

When: Annually in June

Where: College Park, 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.

18. 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 bagpipes.

“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

19. 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

20. American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference

When: Annually in Spring

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.

21. 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.

22. 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

23. 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.

24. WriteOnCon

When: Annually in August

Where: Online, WriteOnCon.org

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

25. 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.)

26. 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.

27. 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.

28. 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

29. Indie Author Fringe

When: Annually in March, June and October

Where: Online

This online conference for authors interested in self-publishing runs fringe to the London Book Fair, Book Expo America and Frankfurt Book Fair.

The conference is free and runs 24 sessions — one an hour for 24 hours. You can register to learn how to attend the next conference, and you can attend sessions live or catch up on your own time.

30. 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.

This post originally ran in September 2014. We updated it in December 2016 so it’s more useful and relevant for our readers!

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

Filed Under: Craft
Traveler and blogger Chris Guillebeau

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