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Ten Reasons to Go to a Writers’ Conference

As a “general” rule (ever wonder why there’s no “private first class” rule?) fiction writers are shy. That’s why they create artificial worlds and imaginary friends. Writers like to sit at a cozy desk more than they like to go to parties, because at parties they have to talk to actual people. Or else sit in the corner, which many writers have been known to do, claiming they’re researching a scene for their latest novel. Not.

So, what do you call it when 400 or so writers congregate in the same place? A Writers’ Conference. These events occur across the country this time of year, and, as social events, they’re distinctly odd. People clutching bags or briefcases line up alphabetically to retrieve their registration packets. Most keep their eyes straight ahead, trying to remember why they wanted to come to the conference. Which is why today I’m sharing my version of the Top Ten Reasons Writers Go to Conferences.

Top Ten Reasons Writers Go to Conferences:

10. To attend autograph parties filled with people gushing around a successful author hoping the fairy dust will rub off. – Wow! So that’s what success looks like.

9. To eat catered meals with people uncomfortable talking to each other, but trying to be pleasant. – Are you going to eat your dessert?

8. To learn how to self-publish a book in 18 excruciating steps. – What do you mean by “upload the manuscript”? Up to where?

7. To learn how to write a successful novel. – Noooo. Don’t make me take out the prologue.

6. To find out how to use social media. – I don’t want to and you can’t make me.

5. To find out what a “platform” is and how to build it – My book is my platform.

4. To learn about tax write-offs. – The trip to Paris should be tax deductible. It was research.

3. To find out why editors are so critical – I’m not cutting the scene and you can’t make me.

2. To learn how to sell a book – Honestly, it’s so fabulous it’ll sell itself.

1. And the Number One reason writers emerge from their caves: To meet an agent who will fall in love with my book and get me a six-figure advance. – Please, please, please like me.

I’ll be attending the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference at the end of the week. Once again held at the Sea-Tac Airport Hilton. I’ll let you know what happens.



Featured Photo – a Portrait of Jean Mielot by Jean Le Tavernier, 15th Century, US Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


  1. I’ve attended several PNWA conferences and loved them all … after I got acclimated. Luckily, I went with a gregarious friend to the first one and just followed along in her wake. Since everyone was so friendly and helpful, the second one was much easier (even though I pitched a book to an agent … gulp.) I’ve always come away inspired and revved up to write. Hope you have a terrific time.

  2. Mahalo, Sandra, for the encouraging words. Conferences get easier, but carry a dash of stress just the same.


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