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Plan to Attend — by Andy Scheer

A writers conference can give you a boost.

When I edited a national magazine, I especially looked forward to the year’s first writers conference. It wasn’t just the lure of traveling to Florida from snowbound Chicago. I could not only acquire serious writers, but also to coach them in their craft. Their work would be better because of what they’d learn.

Times have changed but conferences continue. The demographics of their faculty have shifted as fewer magazines and publishers send editors. Today, more of the staff are likely to be literary agents.

But the opportunity to secure an agent is just one reason to invest in a writers conference. Especially for newer writers or those changing genres, it’s a rare opportunity to learn in person from experienced professionals. You’ll learn the best practices of those who’ve succeeded.

It’s a rare opportunity to learn in person from experienced professionals.

At most Christian writers conferences, you can learn more than just the craft of writing and marketing. You’ll find sessions to help you stay grounded spiritually and to keep all aspects of your life—including your writing—in balance.

Many factors weigh into which conference is best. If you’re pressed for time and budget, a local writers group’s conference may prove better than a large, national event. Conference costs vary—for good reason. Some meet in hotels; others in camps or churches. Some feature banquet style meals; others let you juggle a cafeteria tray. Some bring in teachers from across the country; others depend on local talent.

If you’ve never attended a writers conference, where do you start? Ask others in your writers group. (Attending with a friend can make the travel and the conference less intimidating.)

Each issue of The Christian Communicator magazine lists conferences coming soon. The Christian Writer’s Market Guide tries to list every conference for the coming year. While I’ve yet to find a comprehensive online listing, these links will guide you to many opportunities:

http://www.christianmanuscriptsubmissions.com/authors/conferences.php

http://www.westbowpress.com/authorhub/resources/events/default.aspx

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