Next week, October 6 to be exact, I'll be teaching a class on writing Mystery/Suspense at the Book Academy Conference at Utah Valley University. I'll also be taking part in a marketing panel discussion on reviewing. You can get more information on the conference by going here. Nancy Campbell Allen, Gregg Luke, Sarah Eden, Angela Eschler, Kirk Shaw, and Lisa Mangum are just a few of the other presenters. It's going to be fun -- and scary. The scariest part will probably be the freeway between Salt Lake and the UVU campus!
There are a number of writers conferences each year that take place both locally and nationally. They provide great opportunities for writers and future writers to connect, to learn of changes in the industry, to receive encouragement, and further their skills. Some are sponsored by organizations such as ANWA, the League of Utah Writers, LDStorymakers, Romance Writers of America (both state and national levels), and by colleges and universities. Anyone wishing to break into the writing/publishing field should seriously consider attending a conference. Some conferences require membership in the sponsoring organization, but most do not. Some are directed specifically toward a certain genre; mystery writers, science fiction, western, romance; and some are more general. Most also have a blend of specific, practical writing help and general marketing assistance.
Those who aren't writers, but enjoy reading, probably won't want to attend a conference, but they can still improve their selection of reading material by being vocal about what they like or don't like in the books they read. They can let writers and publishers know on blogs, on facebook, in emails, etc. what is appreciated, what is found to be offensive, and what they would like to find on their library or bookstore shelves.
It's been a few years since I've been a speaker or a workshop presenter at a writing conference so I may be a bit nervous, but I suspect this one will be a great experience and I'll have the good fortune to meet the authors of tomorrow's best sellers.