Conference Tips

We want you to make the most of this opportunity to mingle with published authors, make contacts and get feedback on your writing.  Here are some tips to help make this conference a good investment for you:

1.  Take notes.  You'll get a great deal of information from our presenters about writing and the business of publishing books.  You'll want to jot down the specifics and anything that stands out, especially those "ahhh, I didn't know that," revelations.  Laptops or tablets are fine for note-taking as long as they are quiet.  Don't make recordings of presentations without the permission of the author.

2.  Understand that feedback from professionals is valuable.  This year we are charging a small fee for our author critiques.  This is because we noticed that some attendees are more serious about getting feedback.  We'd rather maximize the time our authors can spend with those who really want to make that investment.  Take notes on what the author says.  These professionals know the business and can take you a step closer to your publication dreams, if you will only listen.  Feedback from the right source is a priceless tool in the writing process.

3. Be open to suggestions.  Remember that you are in control of your work and can ultimately decide whether to accept or reject feedback.  But we would strongly suggest you listen and ponder. Everyone wants to be told, "This is perfect! It's ready to be sent to a publisher NOW!"  But that isn't likely.  There is always room for improvement.  A critique is a tool to improve your work.  You are looking for suggestions from an expert to make your writing better.  You are not looking for a cheerleader. That's what spouses and significant others are for.

4.  Toughen up!  You may feel a sting when the problems in your manuscript are first pointed out.  This is normal.  We all feel this...but give it some time.  Don't be defensive.  Don't argue or get upset.  Let the critique digest for at least a few days. Usually the inspiration will come to you for how to address those problems.  Make a careful revision, and your manuscript will be that much better.  A better manuscript means a better chance at publication!

5. Mingle and make contacts.  If you're not in a writer's critique group, this is a great opportunity to get hooked up.  In the classes for your particular genre, introduce yourself to other writers and ask about critique groups. Swap emails.  Extend yourself.  Find out about the agents other writers have, what they are doing, what has worked for them.  Take advantage of the connections you make.  However, please don't follow authors around as they take a bathroom break or find their car in the parking lot.  Be respectful and allow them some personal space.

Here are some additional articles with tips on story pitches, critiques, and making the most of a writing conference: 

We look forward to seeing you!


  1. Regarding the first two manuscript pages: should they be double-spaced, or should we feign ignorance and single space them thereby cramming as much of our writing into the critique session as possible?


    1. Double-spaced because you don't want to spend your precious minutes reading what you've already written--you want to spend that time listening to the published author give you targeted advice on how to improve!

  2. Would this conference be helpful for illustrators as well?

    1. It's not geared toward that much, but please look at the schedule and see if there are any classes that might be of interest to you. :)

  3. Great detailed information, I’ll be visiting you more frequently, here is very interesting information.

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