Here's my dealio. I am 34 years old, the mother of two small boys, and I'm roughly six-months-pregnant (I also use the word, dealio, apparently), so I never get to attend writing conferences. But oh, at this point, I'd give my right arm to go to one. There's so much to be gained from attending a writing conference: connections, knowledge, inspiration, not to mention talking to fellow writers about craft!
All major writer associations have regional and national conferences. So,
if you're not a member of RWA or SCBWI (for example), consider paying
the annual membership fee as it will get you a discount. Conferences can cost anywhere from $100 and up depending on the workshops and faculty in attendance. Some conferences are one-day intensives, others can be a month-long. Every author should go to at least one writer conference (I'm still working on that, myself).
The following list is just a sampling of what's available. Hopefully, this list will give you the impetus to search for conferences that fit your schedule, budget and genre. And please, if you know of an awesome writer conference, mention it in the comments section, particularly if you are aware of small, cost-effective regional conferences. Share!
And as a reward for sharing your knowledge, I'm giving away an ARC of one of the most highly anticipated YA novels of 2014 -- Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle! Oh yeah, baby. You must comment to win (leave some way for me to contact you in your comment)! We love hearing from our readers.
SCBWI (February 21-23 in New York) Registration is open. Cost: $435 for members; $535 for non-members
SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Plenty of networking and learning opportunities for writers of children's literature (PB to YA) are available here. Faculty include: Jack Gantos, Elizabeth Wein, Tomie dePaola, and Sharon Draper, just to name a few. If you seriously write children's literature and can afford to attend, consider signing up. If not now, definitely next year.
Atlanta Writers Conference (May 9-10 in Atlanta, GA) Registration is open. Cost: a la carte pricing starting at $30; $500 for everything
The conference consists of several parts, everything from one-on-one critique sessions to pitch sessions to workshops and query letter critiques. The a la carte pricing means you need only pay for what you need.
Southampton Writers Conference (July 9-20; Children's Literature July 16-20 in Southampton, NY) Registration is open. Cost: $700+
This is an intensive, writers conference. Applicants are admitted based on the promise of a writing sample. However, applicants who are accepted get to take workshops with famed authors such as Libba Bray, Peter Lerangis, and Julia Glass.
Writers' Police Academy (September 4-7 in Jamestown, NC) Registration opens January 26th at noon. Cost: $290. Sisters in Crime members pay $135.
Regardless of whether you write YA or NA, if you write about crime, this conference is for you. Learn the same material taught to EMS, paramedics, detectives and law enforcement while gaining writing insight from best-sellers Michael Connelly and Lisa Gardner.
New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book Conference (October 17-18 in Iselin, NJ)
Registration will open soon. Cost: $200 for members, $220 for non-members.
Attendants will have an opportunity to network with agents, authors and editors in all romance genres. There will be writer workshops and a book fair.
WriteOnCon (2014 TBD online) Registration: TBD Cost: FREE
WriteOnCon is a free, online conference for children's literature writers (everything from PB to NA). Check out the archives page to see previous conference events. Follow them on Facebook for updates on the 2014 conference dates and events.