Writing can be a solitary profession. We spend most of our writing time alone, slaving over our words on our laptops or pads of paper. We have to do most of the work ourselves. But it’s also a team activity when we gather to help each other brainstorm, revise, and get published. That team aspect is also in play at writers’ conferences.
Here in Alaska, we have three yearly conferences that bring writers together from all over the state, and even around the world. The North Words Symposium is in Skagway around Memorial Day weekend (http://nwwriterss.com). The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference is in Homer the second week of June (http://writersconf.kpc.alaska.edu). And the Writers & Illustrators Conference is in Anchorage the third weekend of September, Sept. 20-21 this year (https://alaskawritersguild.com/writers-conference ). Since it’s coming up soon, I’ll tell you more about this conference.
As you noticed in the title, this conference offers programs for both writers and illustrators. It’s sponsored by the Alaska Writers Guild, AKRWA (the Alaska chapter of the Romance Writers of America), and SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) AK. Together, we host speakers from Alaska and throughout the writing, illustration, and publishing industry to provide inspiration, information, and guidance for writers and illustrators of all genres. (Disclosure: I belong to AKRWA and SCBWI AK and am presenting a workshop on “Nuts and Bolts for KidLit Newbies!”)
This year, our keynote speakers and presenters from Outside (outside the state) are YA author Laurie Halse-Anderson, manager/producer Eddie Gamarra, middle grade author Kat Shepard, romance author Damon Suede, author and cover art director Kim Killion, writer and editor Erick Mertz, literary agents Rachel Orr and Katie Grimm, and editor Kat Brzozowski. From within the state, we have authors, illustrators and consultants in many different fields.
Fridays Intensives offer three hour sessions on topics like “Moving Characters” and “Breaking into the Indie Market.” On Saturday, one hour workshops include “Plot Your Novel Like a Movie,” “Being a Kidlit Illustrator in Alaska,” and “Agent 101.” I’m also excited about the gender and LGBTQ+ diversity panel during lunch.
You can sign up for Friday, Saturday, or both days. Also, one-on-one manuscript reviews and group roundtable critiques can be added for an additional cost.