Tuesday, February 16, 2010

San Francisco Writer’s Conference

The 2010 San Francisco Writer’s Conference rocks! I just finished my first weekend at this three day extravaganza conducted at the prestigious Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco. Each day famous authors, publishing house experts, literary agents, and, of course, fellow aspiring writers met in a series of informative lectures and education sessions from sunup to sundown. Some of my favorites include the sessions given by historical authors, freelance editors, and small press publishers. Every expert brought their own experiences and talents to bear, revealing everything from the drafting process for manuscripts to the ins-and-outs of building a platform in the publishing world.

Many of my fellow attendees, myself included, admitted some trepidation as this was the first writer’s conference in which many of us had ever participated. After more than three days of fantastic talks we actually got an opportunity to do some “speed-dating” with literary agents and pitched our novels or books to them. In addition, we also had a night of roundtable discussions with freelance and publishing house editors which I found particularly enlightening. The goodwill and open attitudes of many of the attendees and speakers also made this conference truly shine for me.

But of course writing isn’t all a bed of roses either. Both writers and agents explained the grueling, but worthwhile, task of revising manuscripts through 60, 70, and 80 revisions before ever reaching the printed page. Learning the low proportion of books that ever sell over 1,000 copies on the open market also didn’t exactly invigorate the crowd either. However, one of the keynote speakers put it best when they stated that we don’t do this for money, and we can’t do it for ego or fame or any other bogus reason. We write because of that little voice inside our heads, we write because something compels us, because we have a story to tell. Identifying with fellow aspiring authors at this conference also gave me a sense of hope and community that I had not realized I lacked. I found the ability to actively participate in written and verbal dialogue with my peers to be a truly inspiring and fulfilling experience. I certainly hope to attend more writers’ conferences throughout the year and to engage my fellow local writers throughout the community. Particularly people like YOU! Thanks, hope to hear from you all very soon. In the meantime, keep reading and keep writing.

Look online to learn more about this year’s 2010 San Francisco Writer’s Conference.


  1. To my fellow writers out there: What did you guys think of the conference?

  2. SFWC was great, but exhausting. All the networking, pitching and self-promoting wore me down. For an introvert like me, it was like being at a high school reunion for 36 hours. Sober. With a cold sore.

    But I persevered. Despite the grueling schedule and social awkwardness, the conference was a huge success for me. I pitched my book DOUBLE-BLIND to seven literary agents and one editor, and all of them were interested. They all requested sample pages. One agent requested the entire manuscript!

  3. Nice! Sounds really good Brian:) I got six out of seven agents interested to see more, and one in-house editor. I agree with the exhaustion part though. Let me know how things progress for you:)