Let’s face it: writing is a solitary act. Fortunately, there are numerous conferences held every year around the country to allow writers, editors, publishers and clients to connect and network. From literary conferences attended by acclaimed novelists to events focused on a single writerly niche, these gatherings can be a great investment in your writing future, offering inspiration, motivation, and potential contacts for your freelance career. Here are just a few of the major writing conferences held each year:
Hosted by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the annual AWP conference and bookfair is held each spring in a different city and attracts over 10,000 attendees. AWP is more than just a great place to learn more about writing programs; the conference also features hundreds of panels on the writing life, plus readings and lectures from some of the most well-known writers working today.
Founded in 2000 as a casual meeting of SEO writers and webmasters at an actual pub in London, this conference has grown to attract thousands of social media experts, writers, and researchers. The 2012 conference, held in Las Vegas, featured more than 130 panels on SEO and digital marketing. While the “pub” in PubCon has gradually shifted to represent “publishing” versus an actual watering hole, the conference stays true to its roots and hosts nightly parties for writers, researchers, and publishers to meet, mingle, and make contacts.
SCBWI National Conference
Representing one of the most lucrative niches in publishing today, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators‘ National Conference brings together writers, editors and illustrators to share knowledge, contacts, and editorial expertise. SCBWI offers two conferences for their members, one in winter and one in summer. For an extra fee, unpublished writers and illustrators can meet with representatives from top publishing houses to receive feedback on pitches and manuscripts.
SABEW Annual Conference
This year marks the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ 50th annual conference. The organization was founded to support business writers and continues in that mission today. The annual conference includes a number of panels, receptions, and presentation of SABEW’s “Best in Business” award. Membership in the organization also includes access to exclusive networking lists, newsletters, and regularly scheduled professional development sessions held online and via conference call.
Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
The granddaddy of all creative writers’ conferences, Bread Loaf was founded in 1926 and is held annually on the campus of Middlebury College. Geared specifically towards creative writers looking to improve their craft and break into the world of literary publishing, Bread Loaf offers several opportunities to attend the ten day program of readings, lectures, and manuscript workshop. Those able to pay the full registration fee are invited to apply as “general contributors,” while select scholarships are made available to promising writers with a strong, previously unpublished manuscript sample.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.