|C'mon, Jim, just one conference, it'll make you feel good...|
I checked it out.
And within two years of that first conversation, I was on the Executive
Board, building registration sites, and generally doing nothing but breathing,
eating, and sleeping Philadelphia Writers’ Conference for six months out of the
year (the other six months are spent dreaming about the next conference.)
That first conference was five years
ago, and I think I love it more every year.
And this year I’m especially excited.
I’ll give you five reasons why.
Our speakers. Both
our opening and our keynote speaker are nationally recognized talents and I
really can’t wait to hear what they have to say.
|uh...dude, that was a cheetah...|
Opening speaker Sara Shepard
caught a tiger by the tail a
decade ago when her debut novel Pretty Little Liars
hit the shelves.
And she’s ridden that tiger like Harold
and Kumar through thirty novels, two television series, and enough awards to
need a second or third mantle.
Speaking of awards, every year The American Society of Magazine Editors
gives out the National Magazine Award
It’s basically the magazine version of
the Pulitzer Prize.
Keynote speaker, Stephen Fried
, has two of them.
he won the first and decided he needed a matching piece to balance out his book
Stephen as won these by writing
about subjects as varied as supermodels to restaurateurs; from the joys and
trials of being a husband and father to the trials and lies surrounding the
Our Workshops. In
addition to our regular standbys The Novel, Short Story, and Poetry, we also
will be offering Playwriting, three separate genre workshops (Mystery/Thriller,
Young Adult, and Romance), plus a great assortment of features, including an
hour with Sara Shepard to talk about her experiences selling pieces to
Hollywood and an exciting course about developing your improvisational skills
to help your writing.
Most exciting for me is a three-day workshop on Social Media
with “Small-Biz” lady Melinda Emerson
While we’ve offered social media workshops before, they’ve always been
shorter affairs, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much more in depth we
can get by giving Melinda three hours to walk through these most necessary of
it be you?|
Agents and Editors. As writers who want to market our work,
and who know how hard it is to get the attention of an agent or a marketplace,
the chance to sit down with an agent or an editor is damn near priceless. And at the PWC, you’re offered that chance! On Friday afternoon, we have five minute “speed dates” were
you can pitch your work or even just discuss some of the challenges you face or
the ideas you have. The market
last year seemed to finally open a little, and it was great to sit at the
registration table and hear some of the chatter from the agents (or even
better, help track down a conferee who an agent wanted to speak to
again!). Markets seem to be
trending as open again, so I can’t wait to see who I’ll be helping towards
success this year.
not following guidelines get reviewed by Carl; you don’t want your piece reviewed by Carl.|
Most of us belong to critique
groups where our peers offer feedback on our work.
How would you like nationally recognized, Asimov and Tor
published Fran Wilde
to critique your short story?
Or maybe have your blank verse checked out by Ken Pobo
the Linback Award-winning PhD who teaches at Widener University.
Or how about international bestseller
(The Witch of Bourbon Street
) or the award-winning Solomon Jones
) giving your novel excerpt a read through?
All of our three-day workshop leaders
have agreed to critique work.
won’t get that opportunity anywhere else.
During my first conference, I met
who essentially is the midwife of my blog, KnippKnopp
I met Kelly Simmons
who said four words
to me (“that was fu**ing awesome”) that keep me going to this day.
During the second conference, I met Jonathan Maberry
, who let me interrupt his breakfast to give me additional imput on the
piece I submitted for critique.
And the networking isn’t limited to board members and workshop
I’d need four extra hands
to count the friends I’ve made, the advice and input I’ve been granted, and the
energy I’ve gained by just meeting other writers, sharing in their stories, and
seeing how similar they were to my own.
|Wait, isn’t that this many?|
Cost. The price of admission (minimum $270) seems high. If you compare to other conferences,
you’ll find the PWC is right in-line (and in many cases lower), then comparable
conferences. But I understand when
there are bills to pay, it may not matter and scraping together that cash can
To that end, the PWC board has done a few things. One, we extended the student discount
to all students. So if you’re
attending a local college, you can attend for 50% of the price. Two, we’re keeping the writer’s group
scholarships. The SJWG scholarship
has already been awarded, but if you’re part of
another writers group that hasn’t been issued code, talk with the
group, register them, and claim their code.
Finally, we’ve initiated a
group discount policy. If you register
with seven others as a group, you get 20% (that’s up to $60) knocked right off
|And if you can get nine dressed like this, I’ll make sure you get the
best seats at dinner|
I truly believe that all of the things I mention above: the
critiques, the camaraderie, the exposure are invaluable.
For the years before I joined the
board, I always considered the conference an investment.
I really hope you see it that way too, and
I hope to see you at the Philadelphia Writers' Conference
About today's guest-blogger:
Jim Knipp is a writer only in the sense that he very
occasionally gets to actually write things. He has been not-writing like this for over thirty years and
most recently can be found posting ridiculous things on his blog, KnippKnopp, or
guest writing for the very patient folks at BiffBamPop!. In addition to not-writing, Jim is an
HR Project Manager at Comcast, the Registrar for the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, and a member of exceedingly seedy standing at the South Jersey Writers’ Group.