Home page  |  More useful articles  |  Search for more information

Writing Conferences –
Are They Worth the Time and Money?

"Musings" - April 2008

by Margot Finke

New writers hear a lot about joining the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and going to their writing conferences, and about other great conferences too.  Old hands at writing for children confide, “It’s a wonderful way to network with other writers and meet editrs and agents.” 

Think about it.  For decades, men have networked to get ahead in business.  And, once women woke up to the benefits of the networking game, they began to break the CEO glass ceiling themselves. Writing for children today is a business like any other, and writers become stronger and more successful when they band together and network.

The SCBWI Factor

At the top of the writing conference heap are the national SCBWI biggies; their winter conference in New York, and the summer conference Los Angeles. Both feature a mega turnout of writers, high-powered editors and agents, plus workshops and other sessions galore.  Newcomers can become lost in the shuffle and be thoroughly intimidated – but what a sensory writing experience!

Then, there are all those smaller SCBWI conferences that the various states (and many other countries) have several times a year: one for spring, one for summer, and maybe one for fall.  If you want to enjoy the benefits of both the National and Regional (state) SCBWI conferences, you must join the National SCBWI, as well as your regional branch – otherwise you miss out on all the perks, and pay extra for each conference. 

You ask yourself, “Networking for writers?  Why?  I’m not a CEO.
 Are writing conferences really worth all that time and money?

You Bet They're Worth It--Every Penny!


SCBWI Homepage
Some sections are for everyone, while others are for Members Only
Check what you get for your yearly fee ($60): Awards and Grants, Discussion Boards, Marketplace, Links, Publications, Events, and more.

Regional + Overseas SCBWI Chapters:
This is where you can contact your state or overseas chapter, look at their website, and see what they have planned for the year.

Other Children’s Writing Conferences Worth Attending

Pacific Northwest Children's Book Conference (once known as Haystack)

Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop – at Chautauqua

Willamette Writers Conference
Kindling Words

Oregon Coast Book Writers Workshop
The Muse Online Writing Conference: a once a year, free online conference: great for those short of cash, no baby sitter, or far from towns where conferences are held.

Southern Breeze  (SCBWI)

Whitby Island Writer’s Conference

Jewish Children’s Book Writer’s Conference

Have I convinced you that conferences are worth the time and money, or do I have to pack my bag and make you a personal visit?  Trust me – networking at great conferences will get you published faster than vacuuming up those dust bunnies, or keeping your kids in clean underwear!


Margot Finke's biography and index to Musings.

Crayon tiphomearticlesCrayon end
Home page | Articles index