What you get out of an author's conference depends in large part on why you went in the first place. Are you looking for a great learning experience to improve your craft? Want to meet other authors who write in your genre for networking purposes? Need some time away to concentrate on getting a lot of writing done? You can do a little of all of these at most conferences, but each one has its own emphasis and advantages. The best plan is to search for conferences in your geographical area, or during the time you'd like to take a working vacation. With over 200 author's conferences held in the United States each year, the choices are amazing. Here are some of the best of the best that multiple authors claim are can't-miss events.
Romance Writers of America
Billed as the conference for serious romance authors, the RWA conference is a 3-day event that tries to be all things to all people. There are multiple panel tracks, each one covering a different aspect of romance writing, from the business end of writing to how-to classes on research or the writing life. You'll find hundreds of best-selling romance authors around, willing to talk shop and network. The conference includes awards shows, featured speakers, and a multitude of romance-centric events.
Known as Nerdi*Con or the Geek Mardi Gras, Dragon*Con is nevertheless an incredible resource for science fiction authors. You'll find multiple panels on such topics as creating worlds and scientific basics of non-earth life forms. If you've ever wanted to join in a serious bar discussion on heat shielding or fall into a party for hard science authors, this is the place to go.
San Francisco Writer's Conference
Put together a huge group of industry professionals, speed-dating type elevator pitches, dozens of panels and classes and thousands of authors, both famous and not. What you'll end up with is the San Francisco Writer's Conference. From networking breakfasts to one-on-one author meetings, this may be the one conference you can't afford to miss if you want to publish your book this year.
The Association of Writers and Writing Programs puts on the conference to end all conferences each year. It takes weeks to narrow down the overwhelming choices of programs, speakers, and classes, but you'll get a lifetime of value out of it if you plan your weekend well. It's all about contemporary literature, from beginners to best sellers.
The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference
Singular in direction, this conference is aimed directly at non-fiction writers. Nonfiction books are increasingly filling up the bestseller lists, and this conference is the premier networking spot and training ground for literary nonfiction.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!