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Why you should attend the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City

Harlan Coben holds up one of his novels at a book signing.
Harlan Coben holds up one of his novels at a book signing.
Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images

A writing conference could be the key to your success as a writer. Don’t miss out on the fantastic opportunity to hone your craft, get the inside scoop on the publishing industry, attend targeted sessions, hear tips from bestselling authors and mingle with other writers. This year’s Writer’s Digest Conference takes place August 1- 3 at New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel, 45 East 45th Street. Here are three reasons why you should attend.

1. Pitch Slam- If you have a completed manuscript hidden away in a drawer, dust it off and write up a phenomenally captivating and concise pitch, 25 words or less should do it, to dazzle agents during Pitch Slam. This intense and only slightly terrifying event gives writers access to the people most likely to get them published, literary agents. There is nothing in the world an agent would like more than to discover the next New York Times bestselling author.

Make sure you do your homework first. A list of all the agents participating in Pitch Slam is available on the Writer’s Digest Conference website. It also lists the types of books they represent. Make your own list of agents for your genre and then pitch away. Interested agents will hand you their business card, ask for a query letter and/or a submission of a few pages from your manuscript, also known as a partial submission. Unimpressed agents may offer constructive criticism or give you the reality check you need to set you on the right path.

2. Agent Boot Camps and Writer’s Digest Pro- Sign up to get your writing into top shape before you submit your work to agents or publishers in one or two of six targeted Boot Camp sessions. Bring an excerpt from your best work and receive an agent’s expert advice on how to make it better. Writer’s Digest Pro is a mini-conference for writers more advanced in their careers trying to reach the next level. There are separate fees for the Agent Boot Camp sessions, $99 each, and Writer’s Digest Pro is an additional $99.

3. Cocktail Reception- Following Saturday’s sessions, the cocktail reception is a fun way to mix and mingle with your fellow writers and conference attendees. Make new friends and share your Pitch Slam experience, or just keep networking. You never know who or what piece of advice will help you on your way to becoming a published author.

The insights and tips from publishing industry insiders, agents and published authors are invaluable, especially in the rapidly changing world of publishing. Whether you’re thinking about self-publishing, traditional publishing, or a hybrid approach, the Writer’s Digest Conference helps clarify the options now available.

For more information on the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York, check out the website.

In case you can’t make it to New York City, the Writer’s Digest Conference will be in Los Angeles August 15-17. Click on the website for details.