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20 Networking Conferences Writers Can’t Afford to Miss This Year
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AnnaMarie Houlis
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If you're a writer, you should absolutely be attending writers' conferences. Writer conferences are perfect places to mingle and network with other writers, editors and publishers, learn from successful writers and other industry keynote speakers, and maybe even get your writing work recognized. 

Here are 20 writers' conferences you should know — and attend if you can!

1. San Francisco Writers Conference

Location: San Francisco, California

According to the website, the San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC) will welcome over 500 attendees and renowned keynote authors, presenters, editors and agents to combine the best of both the traditional publishing industry with the latest technology to empower authors to publish anywhere. The San Francisco Writers Conference is a four-day event that is especially appealing to fiction and nonfiction authors, though it attracts writers of all genres. Panels include topics like how to write a book, how to pitch a book proposal, how to turn your blog into a book and more.

2. Writer’s Digest Annual Conference

Location: New York City

The annual Writer's Digest Annual Conference covers tons of topics like how to build a sustainable writing career, how to develop your author brand, how to self publish and more. According to the site, the Writer's Digest Annual Conference "offers everything you need to advance your writing career creatively and professionally." You can gain invaluable tips to improve your craft, explore publishing options and learn how to establish a sustainable career in writing. There are educational workshops led by industry leaders like writers, editors and publishers who are there to answer your questions and help you hone in on your writing skills. There's also the legendary Pitch Slam, which is an opportunity to pitch your idea directly to agents and editors.

3. Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers Conference

Location: Middlebury, Vermont

The Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont is the oldest conferences in the United States, dating back to 1926. In fact, one of the founders was Robert Frost! It's technically a literary summer boot camp in Vermont's Green Mountains for 10 days. You can learn from lecturers on writing crafts, meet experienced editors, get your publishing questions answered and more.

4. Digital Author and Indie Publishing Conference

Location: Los Angeles, California

The Digital Author and Indie Publishing Conference in Los Angeles is ideally for independent, self-published authors — or those who want to me. You'll learn all about being your own book publisher, sharpening up your marketing and sale skills to sell your book and figuring out how to make a more passive income off of your book. Plus a whole lot more! Attendees can also take advantage of ProCritiques™ in which a portion of your work can be read and critiqued by advanced submission to professional editors, as well as Masters ProCritiques™ in which a portion of your work can be read and critiqued by advanced submission to literary agents and publishers, who will then meet with you in person at the conference to review the work!

5. Melbourne Writers Festival

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne's Writers Festival is for writers, readers and anyone else who loves some solid storytelling. Engage in live performances, music and art events, attend writing workshops, sit in on lectures and panel discussions and more.

6. Las Vegas Writers Conference

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas's Writers Conference is hosted by Henderson Writers Group annually. It's open to the public, and members can read their writing for critiques by the attendees of the conference. It's a great way to get your work recognized and receive valuable feedback on it.

7. Missouri Writers Guild Conference

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Missouri's Writers Guild Conference is hosted by the Missouri Writers Guild, which has been around for more than a century. It's an organization for professional writers across all genres in the Midwest. And the annual conference is for writers of all levels who want to attend both breakout sessions and masterclasses on all things writing.

8. Romance Writers of America Annual Conference

Location: Varies

Romance Writers of America is for — you guessed it — romance writers! There are tons of workshops and events to get your work polished up and put in front of others' eyes. The location varies every year.

9. Worldcon and North American Science Fiction Convention

Location: Varies

The World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) is an annual conference for science fiction and fantasy writers, though all kinds of author attend it every year. It's a five-day international gathering of writers, readers, editors, publishers, dealers and more.

10. SleuthFest

Location: Boca Raton, Florida

Sleuthfest is for mystery, suspense and thriller writers. It's hosted in Florida every year and is home to a number of writing and marketing workshops, a forensic track with current forensic techniques and hands-on workshops, pitch sessions with agents and editors, social events to mingle with agents, editors and authors, critiques of your 25-page manuscript submission, agent and Editor strategy sessions for your work in progress and so much more.

11. BlogHer Creators Summit

Location: Varies

BlogHer Creators Summit is the perfect place for women bloggers to come together to hear from thought leaders and influencers in the blogging world. You can sit in on panels and keynote speakers like successful bloggers about how they grew their audiences organically, how to implement SEO best practices, how to monetize your blog and more.

12. Society for Professional Journalists Spring Conference Series

Location: Varies

The Society for Professional Journalists Spring Conference Series takes place across 12 regions around the country. The series includes day-long professional development meetings that bring professionals of all levels, as well as students, together to discuss journalism in today's world. 

13. Killer Nashville

Location: Nashville, TN

Nashville's Killer conference is for mystery and thriller authors and screenwriters who focus on crime writing. Again, authors, writers and readers of all genres attend the event to learn more about the world of writing and hone in on their skills, too. In fact, Publishers Weekly noted that Killer Nashville plays "an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers [throughout] the nation’s book culture."

14. WriteOnCon

Location: Online at WriteOnCon.org

WriteOnCon is actually an online conference for writers that takes place at WrieOnCon.org. Specifically, it's a three-day online children’s book conference for writers and illustrators of picture books, middle grade and young adult. You can check out keynote events and engage in forums for free, as well as access the rest of the conference content for a little as $5. 

15. The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver's International Writers & Readers Festival is for writers and readers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, spoken work, journalism and more. It's a six-day event that brings people together to discuss their thoughts on different writing works, explore their ideas and create content together.

16. American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference

Location: Washington D.C.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference is a one-day conference that happens in the capital. Freelancers and other authors can go to learn how to manage their freelance business, get published, hone in on their writing skills and more.

17. Thrillerfest

Location: New York City

Thrillerfest is for thriller writers who can all come together to hear from major names in the thriller genre, get feedback on their work and network with other creative writers, authors, publishers, agents and more. In 2020, Thrillerfest is excited to present a blockbuster line-up featuring 2020 ThrillerMaster Diana Gabaldon, 2019 ThrillerMaster John Sandford, 2020 Silver Bullet Award recipient Michael Connelly, 2020 Spotlight Guest Veronica Roth and 2020 Spotlight Guest Joseph Finder. It's also celebrating the 2020 Thriller Legend, Writers House and its 2020 ThrillerFans Theresa Lee and Rosie Stroy.

18. Bread Loaf in Sicily Writers’ Conference

Location: Erice, Sicily, Italy

Who wouldn't want to attend a conference in Sicily, Italy? This one is a seven-day retreat in the ancient town of Erice — quite an inspiring place to create writing works. This conference is quite intimate, as it's limited to just five groups of six participants each who attend small-group workshops, classes and lectures.

19. WordFest

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

WordFest is a not-for-profit charitable arts organization that puts on a conference in Calgary, Canada for writers and readers. They can go for workshops, readings, panel discussions and more. According to its website, WordFest "connects Calgarians with life-changing experiences at more than 180 live events featuring authors and ideas." This year it'll be celebrating its 25th anniversary!

20. The London Book Fair

Location: London, United Kingdom

The London Book Fair is a place for writers to go and get a better understand of the ever-changing publishing world. They can learn about negotiating, marketing, sales and distribution techniques for their books, as well as hear from successful authors who've navigated all of that and more.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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