It's not always easy to find the right conference. You might want a one-day event, or a long weekend. Local is better if you can avoid a hotel stay. On the other hand, getting away from home provides networking opportunities you'll miss if you skip the evening events or hospitality room gatherings.
For some, a focus on the craft of writing is preferred. Other conference attendees will want a variety of expert panels and an opportunity to pitch their completed manuscripts to agents and editors.
For a series of informative articles about conferences from Writer's Digest editor Chuck Sambuchino, check out the Writers Conference category of his blog archives.
One of the places to search for writers' conferences, workshops, and genre conventions is in Shaw Guides. All types of events are grouped together alphabetically, so it takes a long time to separate conferences sponsored by colleges and universities from those offered by writers' organizations from those sponsored by privately-owned companies. There is no bad or good label that should be applied to any of them. It all depends on what you are looking for. It helps if you narrow your search to specific months or specific states when you begin.
The following list of January through April events is a sampling of from across the country. The cost is minimal for some of the one-day programs. Pitch sessions are available at several. All of the information for each conference or workshop can be found at its official website. Click on the conference name and follow the link.
San Diego State University Writers’ Conference
San Diego, California
January 29-31, 2010
South Coast Writers Conference
Gold Beach, Oregon
February 12-13, 2010
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Spring Writers Festival
March 5-7, 2010
Tennessee Mountain Writers Conference
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
March 25-27, 2010
The Write Stuff
March 25-27, 2010
Northern Colorado Writers Conference
Fort Collins, Colorado
March 26-27, 2010
University of North Dakota Writers Conference
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Lectures and readings
March 23-27, 2010 – All events free of charge
Emerald Coast Writers Conference
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
April 8-10, 2010
Truckee Meadows Community College Writers Conference
April 17, 2010
Carolinas Writers Conference
Wadesboro, North Carolina
April 17, 2010
Columbus State Community College
April 18, 2010
Spring Fling 2010 Writers’ Conference
April 23-24, 2010
Sponsored by Chicago North chapter RWA
Pikes Peak Writers Conference
Colorado Springs, Colorado
April 23-25, 2010
I attended the Northern Colorado Writers' Conference in Fort Collins three times and have participated as a presenter and volunteer. Other Colorado authors have spoken highly of the Pikes Peak Conference. If anyone has personal information on the others, please let us know. If you have a conference to add, please give us a link with your comment.
Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).