Monday, February 25, 2013

The 2013 Missouri Writers Guild Conference

The 2013 Missouri Writers Guild Conference
By Brad R. Cook

Conferences are the backbone of the publishing industry. It’s the best place to meet a literary agent or publisher, the best place to learn about current industry trends, and they are the best places to learn from professionals about where this crazy industry is going to be in five years.

There are several great national conferences held by organizations like Writer’s Digest, Romance Writers of America, Romantic Times, Bouchercon, SCBWI and many more, but a there are also some amazing regional conferences, and one of them happens to be right here in Missouri.

So what is the difference between a regional and national conference? In a word, people. The national conferences easily attract over 500 attendees, but regional conferences have about that half that attendance. Now, I’m certain some people would argue that the bigger conferences bring in bigger names and they’re kinda right. But that isn’t always the best way to learn. When you’re one of 300 people in a banquet hall it can be hard to get your questions addressed. The regional conferences have breakout sessions of 50 people or less. Just like with class sizes, the smaller crowds allow for more specialization.

The other differences are things like cost to attend, travel expenses, contests, critiques, and the specific services offered, but these vary for all conferences. I suggest thoroughly researching each conference you wish to attend before deciding.

There is another secret I’ll pass along… the regional conferences still attract the industry leaders. Top agents, publishers, and authors don’t just go to the big conferences; they attend many of the regional conferences. So if you can’t afford the big conferences, or if you’ve never been to a conference and want to see what they're all about – may I suggest something like the Missouri Writers Guild Annual Conference.

Allow me to showcase one of the best regional conferences I have attended.

Missouri Writers Guild
2013 Annual Conference
Bringing Writers Together!

April 26-28, 2013
at the
Sheraton Westport
Lakeside Chalet
191 Westport Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63146

Here are some of the speakers listed to attend.

Kathleen Ortiz, New Leaf Literary and Media
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Larsen Pomada Literary Agents
Carly Watters, P.S. Literary Agency
Jita Fumich, Folio Literary Management
Joan Lynch Luckett, Assistant travel editor, Midwest Living
Kristina Blank Makansi, Publisher and Editor, Blank Slate Press
Lela Davidson, author, Blacklisted from the PTA
Grant Clauser, poet and poetry teacher
Janet Cannon, Technology Instructor
Geoff Morrison, freelancer and e-publishing expert
Sarah E. Fine, author and psychologist
Robin Colucci Hoffman, Get Published Coach
Steve Yates, author Morkan’s Querry

Banquet Keynote Speaker, Jane Henderson, Book Editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Early Arrival Seminar “The Shy Writer Reborn” with C. Hope Clark, editor of Funds for Writers Inc.

Plus, David Lucas and I will emcee the Open Mic on Friday Night!

If you want to learn more about the speakers, schedules, contests, pitch sessions, book signings, and more please visit -
or visit their blog and hear directly from the speakers –

If you are interested and want to know more, St. Louis Writers Guild is having a workshop this Saturday to help prepare for the conference.

Sit Down and Pitch
Saturday, March 2, 2013
10am to Noon at the Kirkwood Community Center
For more information visit

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit or follow me on Twitter @bradrcook
St. Louis Reflections

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