A List of Writing and Publishing Conferences

Electronic Bindery wrote that self publishing needs a Sundance. But until then, there are many conferences that substitute it. Conferences are a great way to meet people in the writing and publishing industry, and to learn about new trends and techniques. Here is a list of conferences happening this year. Most of these are annual, but some of them change locations. They’re divided intro groups, but there may be some overlap.

Online Conferences

IndieReCon: “Every single blog post, chat, vlog will be packed with all the information you need to help you on the self-publishing path. IndieReCon will help you learn all the dirty secrets about the indie pubbing industry and help you succeed. February 25-27 from 10 am -10pm EST times. Tell your friends! Hang out with us all day. Hourly posts. Tons of chats. A few vlogs and webinars. Check out the amazeballs online.”

Lanyrd provides links to many conferences not related to publishing directly, but to relevant topics such as HTML5.

The Self Publishing Conference (not yet updated for 2014): “A 2-day live online event. Being a self-publisher today can be challenging. There are authors who struggle to make just a few sales, while other have some success but their results are not consistent. Then there are other authors who not only write books but who put together lean and yet effective SEO, social media, marketing, PR and business plans. And those are the experts who will speak at TheSelfPublishingConference.com These experts can help you keep up with the dynamic changes, combined with the rapid rate of books being published today and in years to come. Know what opportunities are right, or hot in this evolving market. And spend two days with the best of the best self-publishers who already know what works today.”

Self Publishing Conferences

IBPA Publishing University (San Francisco): “Don’t miss the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA’s) 2014 Publishing University — scheduled for March 21, 22, 2014 in San Francisco. Based on member feedback, the 2014 program will include: New information about how to get your content published, distributed, and read; experiential workshops that bring your cover, description, and pitch into the picture; crucial peer-to-peer networking to strengthen your connections, influence, and resolve.”

Self Pub Book Expo (New York; not yet updated for 2014): “The Self-Publishing Book Expo is a learning center for published as well as aspiring authors. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain valuable information about how to successfully self-publish and market their books. Key members of the self-publishing community offering a variety of services to authors will be on hand, as will representatives from all facets of publishing and the media. Top-notch pros will lead a wide variety of seminars and panels on diverse subjects ranging from how to raise the funds necessary to help you publish, build a team, work effectively with an editor, market and publicize your work, create an ebook and much, much, more.”

Writing Conferences

Association of Writers & Writing Programs (Seattle): “Each year, AWP holds its Annual Conference & Bookfair in a different city to celebrate the authors, teachers, students, writing programs, literary centers, and publishers of that region. More than 12,000 writers and readers attended our 2013 conference, and over 650 exhibitors were represented at our bookfair. AWP’s is now the largest literary conference in North America. We hope you’ll join us in 2014.”

AuthorHouse provides a list of 26 conferences geared towards writing and becoming a better writer.

Bread Loaf Writers Conference (Ripton): “The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is one of America’s most valuable literary institutions. For the past 89 years, the workshops, lectures, and classes, held in the shadow of the Green Mountains, have introduced generations of participants to rigorous practical and theoretical approaches to the craft of writing, and given America itself proven models of literary instruction.”

Central Coast Writers Conference (San Louis Obispo): “The 29th Central Coast Writers’ Conference will stand out forever in my memory for professional and personal reasons. Professionally, the 2013 conference offers the best mix of presenters in a variety of genres for readers, aspiring writers and published authors. This year it is all about perfecting our craft in order to tell the story.”

Chicago Writers Conference (Chicago): “This conference is for writers of any genre, at any level, or at any point in their career. You don’t need to have a completed manuscript to attend — just a willingness to learn, exchange ideas, and have fun!”

Kentucky Women Writers Conference (Lexington): “Welcome to our literary community! There are so many ways to become involved with the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and foremost among them is simply to attend the Conference in Lexington in September 2014. The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is the longest running literary festival of women in the nation. An annual event launched by the University of Kentucky in 1979, it has become a premier destination for the celebration of women’s arts and letters.”

Pikes Peak Writers Conference (Colorado Springs): “Pikes Peak Writers Conference was founded  in 1993 by author Jimmie Butler under the auspices and sponsorship of the Friends of Pikes Peak Library. The inaugural conference centered on “Useful Tips for Writing Commercial Fiction,” and enjoyed sponsorship by the Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District and The Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration.”

San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco): “Who will be there? Over 100 bestselling authors, literary agents, editors and publishers from major publishing houses.  There will be author and book promotion experts.  Connect with leaders in self-publishing and traditional publishing. As presenters are confirmed, they are posted with links to their websites.”

Santa Barbara Writers Conference (Santa Barbara): “Since 1972, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference has been connecting writers with mentors, agents and editors. Every summer, writers in many genres from around the world gather to participate in a magical week of intensive work focused on story, voice, craft, marketing, and networking with fellow writers and publishing professionals. The conference has hosted a legacy of America’s best writers, including Ray Bradbury, William Styron, Eudora Welty, James Michener, Sue Grafton, Charles M. Schulz, Clive Cussler, Fannie Flagg, Elmore Leonard and T.C. Boyle. Join us this summer for our 42nd anniversary, June 7 – 12, 2014, and contribute to this on-going literary legacy.”

Slice Literary Writers Conference (Brooklyn): “Slice Literary’s fourth annual writers’ conference will take place on September 6 and 7 at St. Francis College in downtown Brooklyn. Our panels and workshops will cover topics from the craft of writing (plotting, dialogue, characterization, poetry, and more) to the business of writing (pitch letters, landing a book deal, and beyond). Top editors, agents, and authors will discuss crucial steps to help launch a writer’s career. But a book deal is just the beginning of a writer’s professional journey. We invite leading professionals to offer trade secrets about how they transform a great story into a bestselling book (and what writers can do to help them get there).”

Southern California Writers Conference (Los Angeles and San Diego): “Founded and run by professional writers the SCWC provides veteran and emerging talent with authoritative guidance to help distinguish those manuscripts that are ready for market consideration, having facilitated some $4 million worth of first-time authors’ book and screen deals. With extended one-on-one evaluation of advance submissions and dozens of read & critique and practical information workshops to choose from, the SCWC is among the only conferences specifically tailored to empower writers of every level with the vital tools, networking and industry prowess needed to sell their work.”

Tales from Two Cities (San Francisco and Los Angeles; can watch sessions on demand): “Two free conferences examining the literature of Alta California, north and south — from immigration to innovation, from the desert to the coast. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, print and digital: It’s all part of how California defines itself, going back to the earliest days. Regional distinctions are important, but most essential is the idea of California as a state with a culture and aesthetic all its own. What is our sensibility? How does the literature of California tell us who we are?”

Writer Cube has a list of 105 writing conferences, available once you register on the site.

Writer’s Digest (New York): “You’ll make real connections with fellow writers, experience the thrill of pitching your work to literary agents and editors, and get practical publishing-industry advice and writing inspiration from successful authors at Writer’s Digest Conference West.”

Writers League of Texas (Austin): “Where else can a writer network with industry professionals, learn about publishing tips and trends, and improve one’s craft, all within walking distance of a world-class arts and music district and the largest urban bat colony in North America?And did we mention the food?  The margaritas?  The beautiful lake? Not only can the Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference boast 20 years’ worth of success stories, it also has the advantage of being set in one of the most beautiful, artistic, and fun-loving locations in the world.  If the breakout sessions with top-tier agents and editors don’t inspire you, perhaps the sparkling river will.  Or the millions of bats that take flight at sunset.”

Yale Writers Conference (New Haven): “The Yale Writers’ Conference is an intensive program for the committed writer. Our faculty are nationally known writers who are also inspiring and accessible teachers. Our facilities are the Yale campus. Each year over a hundred and forty writers from around the world have come to New Haven for each of two sessions. They have gone on to publish their first books or stories, produce plays, and organize a writing workshop for veterans.”

Publishing Conferences

Bologna Children’s Book Fair (Bologna): “Since 1964 the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the most important international get-together for professionals involved in children’s publishing. With a distinguished focuso copyright exchange, each year publishers, literary agents, authors, illustrators, editors, translators, librarians, booksellers meet in Bologna to enjoy the best in children’s books and digital products, thus making the Bologna Fair the hub of the cultural debate. Learn the whole children’s book market in an original cross-cultural atmosphere and truly international venue!”

BookExpo America (New York): “BookExpo America (BEA) is the #1 book and author event that offers the book industry access to new titles, authors, and education about the publishing industry. BEA is the best place to discover new titles and upcoming books and meet face to face with favorite and up and coming authors. It is a dynamic environment for networking, sourcing, and relationship building in the publishing industry in North America. BEA offers four event-packed days, 500+ authors, hundreds of new titles, 1,000+ exhibitors, and four Author Stages, along with the Digital Discovery Zone (D2Z) brought to you by IDPF.” BEA also features webinars online.

The Bookseller Futurebook Conference (London; not yet updated for 2014): “The Bookseller’s FutureBook Conference, Europe’s biggest publishing conference, on 21st November was a must-attend event, packed with fantastic speakers who challenged your thinking and helped shape your strategy for 2014. A great opportunity to network and connect with over 600 industry leaders, the two-stream event had 40+ speakers, 9 sessions, 7 big ideas pitched and stimulating discussion and debate.”

Books in Browsers (San Francisco): “Books in Browsers is a small summit for the new generation of internet publishing companies, focusing on developers and designers who are building and launching tools for online storytelling, expression, and art.”

Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurt): “The first three days (Wednesday-Friday) are for trade visitors. On the weekend we open our doors for all those interested in books and media. More than 275.000 people know exactly where they will be come October. Each year around 7.200 exhibitors present their products and meet new business partners. On the weekend the Book Fair is all about our private visitors.”

If Book Then: “‘There are more stories than books’ it’s a sort of mantra that marco and me keep repeating too each other since we started thinking about the 2014 edition of IfBookThen. We are imagining a conference in which we really jump away from the boundaries of the physical (and even digital) book and we start looking at all the stories scattered on the web. What a publisher is supposed to do in the next years to extract value from this unbound stories? What happens if brands themselves become publishers? What is the role for authors, agents, editors in this new context? What are readers reading? Well, I swear we don’t know the answer to all this questions, yet, but we are working hard to set up a program that will help answering some of these questions. Stay tuned for more news.”

London Book Fair (London): “Now in its 43rd year, The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Once again, it returns to Earls Court in west London for a Fair that covers all aspects of the industry.”

Northside Festival (Brooklyn): “The Northside Festival is New York City’s largest and most accessible discovery festival. From June 13-20, 2013, hundreds of bands, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, innovators, and over 80,000 fans will converge on Brooklyn over eight days to witness an incredible showcase of what’s next in music, film, entrepreneurship and art.”

PePcon (Chicago): “Join the world’s top InDesign experts and the Adobe InDesign team, June 15–18, 2014, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, for PePcon: The Print + ePublishing Conference! Find answers and valuable insight on publishing for eBooks, print, iPad/tablets, interactive documents, and more. Be inspired by fresh ideas and new products.”


These happen more regularly (usually once a month, or even once a week). Check out Meetup.com to find groups near you. In New York, there is NY Self Publishers and NYC Publishing Innovators. In San Francisco, there is San Francisco Writers Community and Shut Up & Write!


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