March 2, 2020

How to Choose a Writing Conference (Part 1)

DiAnn Mills  @diannmills
"Expect An Adventure"

Writers are encouraged to attend writing conferences, but what are the guidelines? How do writers choose which conference works best for them? Is there a list of guidelines to eliminate the confusion?

Let’s take a look at writing conferences and how these events can benefit a writer’s career.

What are a Few Considerations in Choosing a Conference?

·        Budget
·        Faculty—teachers and speakers
·        Size of the conference that fits the writer’s needs
·        Focus: craft, platform, social media, publishing, or all-inclusive
·        Classes offered and the method of instruction
·        Level of writer’s skill
·        Method of instruction
·        Contest for unpublished and published writers
·        Opportunities to pitch writing projects
·        Reputation in the industry
·        Classes recorded and available to purchase at the conference
·        Award ceremony or banquet

Why Attend a Writing Conference?

1. To add publishing business knowledge to the writer’s storehouse.
2. To network with agents, editors, and other writers.
3. To pitch a project to an agent or editor.
4. To find a home for a writing project.
5. To build a writer’s self-confidence and enthusiasm.
6. To explore other genres.
7. To receive constructive feedback.
8. To secure a critique partner or writer’s group.

See Part 2 March 27.

We will talk about Type of Conferences and Where You Can Learn About Conferences.


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here:


  1. DiAnn,

    Thank you for this article about the importance of writers conference (part 1). I'm eager to see the second part. As writers and editors, we work with people that we know like and trust. There is a huge volume of submissions so how do you find these people and connections? A writer's conference is one of those places to connect with editors and agents personally and form a relationship that can help you get published. I've been going to them for years--and taking action on what I learn and who I meet (another key from my perspective).

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    1. Thanks, Terry, like you, I've been attending conferences for years, to teach and to learn. The relationships are lifelong!

  2. Our local writers group in Johnston County, NC offers monthly speakers at the public library in Smithfield and a small annual one-day workshop (this year it's on March 28 in Selma NC with Clayton author Susan Schild), but we definitely steer any and all writers toward the experts at the North Carolina Writers Network's annual spring and fall conferences (one coming up in Greensboro NC on April 18, or the Triangle Association of Freelance Writers's annual Write Now! conference on May 2 in Raleigh). The big conferences can pull you forward in turbo drive, but the more you can plan ahead to get the most out of them, the better. Don't just show up. Terry's right - this is your opportunity, whether it's a local workshop or a big conference, to build relationships.

    1. Thanks, Cindy, all the conferences you mentioned are good. Check out the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May.

  3. Great tips on choosing a conference, DiAnn! Our local writers group in North Mississippi offers a conference each year on the third Saturday of March with a meet and greet on Friday and Friday afternoon workshops.

    1. Thanks, Patricia, isn't it amazing how much we learn and grow professionally and spiritually at writing conferences?

  4. Thanks for your comments. I agree Beta readers are amazing. I also use Text to Voice software to help in the editing stage.

  5. Thank you DiAnn. These were great tips. Conferences are wonderful for writers to hone their skills...networking. I especially think Blue Ridge Writers conference
    is a good place for writers to learn.