Every Year, New Moves
Staging national-class writers’ conferences has never been easy. Competing interests go with the territory.
In the past, organizers could lose a lot of sleep over the question of “craft vs. career” — how many sessions did hundreds of authors need on the art and skills of writing, and how many on the mechanics and moxy of good marketing?
But in recent years, new layers of complexity have upped the challenge. Self-publishing has become so substantial and viable an interest for many in the author corps that at times it has seemed that two conferences might be better than one.
Nowhere is this churn more evident than in the pace-setting assemblies produced with practiced professionalism each year byWriter’s Digest.
- This week — Friday through Sunday, August 1 through 3 — the 2014 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference convenes at New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel with, by my count, some 80 speakers and close to 55 agents and editors involved.
- Two weeks, later — Friday through Sunday, August 15 through 17 — theWriter’s Digest Novel Writing Conference stages a faculty of some 22 specialists in Los Angeles, in a tightly focused program for the most seriously motivated novelists.
The Confab Cha-Cha
Under the leadership of Writer’s Digest publisher Phil Sexton, these conferences have been performing a difficult conga for years now — bowing, dipping, turning, and regrouping to respond to the industry’s quick-tempo changes of focus and mood.
When the digital dynamic is calling the tune, a good conference staff needs to be, most of all, light on its feet. Adjusting to the tenor and tone of the season can be crucial.
Just last year, for example, the lead-in to the New York conference’s main Saturday-Sunday sessions was a day-long Friday emphasis on self-publishing and its implications.
This year? Friday has been rechoreographed as Writer’s Digest Pro, an agile syncopation that embraces all paths to publication.
By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
Writing on the Ether: Writer’s Digest’s Conference In New York: Sway With Me
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com