The American Society of Journalists and Authors 2013 writer conference, Fire Up Your Writing Career, takes place April 25-27 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Today, I’ve invited freelance writer and ASJA board member Sandra Beckwith to share why it’s the conference to go to this year. — Michelle
I’ll never forget my first American Society of Journalists and Authors conference nearly a decade ago. I was a new and knew only two people in the organization. But when I sat next to member Susan Gordon at a late morning session, I heard the nicest thing I’ve ever heard at a conference. She turned to me with a smile and said, “Would you like to join me for lunch?”
Would I? You bet!
I’ve returned to the conference nearly every year since, each time meeting many other helpful writers.
The Business of Freelance Writing
For me, people like Gordon make the ASJA conference different – and better – but so does the content. You can find writing conferences from Connecticut to California that teach craft and offer agent pitching sessions. But the ASJA conference is the one to attend if you want to learn about the business of freelance writing.
I can’t underestimate how importance this is. The freelance writers I know who are paying their bills with their content understand that they’re running a small business. They’re like other self-employed people with a craft or skill, whether they’re plumbers, lawyers, or tailors. They don’t work for free, they’re always looking for new clients, and they invest in professional development.
If you want to learn how to manage your writing career in the ever-changing publishing environment, this is the conference to attend. You can discover new income sources by attending sessions on markets, tools and resources. The conference has tracks for novices, veterans, and in-betweens.
ASJA 2013 Writers Conference New Features
This year’s conference focuses on helping writers reinvent their careers. Some examples:
- “So You Want to Be a . . .” sessions offer options for learning about new sources of revenue, including how to work as a publicist or memoirist. I am speaking at one of these sessions, on turning your topic knowledge into information products.
- The Market Snapshots 3×30 sessions take an in-depth look at a particular writing market from multiple perspectives, with three speakers talking for 30 minutes each.
- Other sessions will cover fiction, video, and content marketing and brand journalism.
Returning for an encore performance is the conference mentoring program, which links experienced members with writers of all levels who want help. Writers can schedule 30-minute sessions with other professional writers who can answers their questions on querying, book publishing and more.
If you’re an ASJA member, you’ll want to be there Thursday, April 25, which is the one day of the conference that’s for members only. On Thurs. afternoon, members can attend a networking session called “ASJA Connect: It’s Whom You Know.” Everyone at the conference that day — members, editors, agents, publishers, etc. — is invited to mingle in a session that features ice breakers and other activities to help people network and make valuable connections. If you’re not already an ASJA member, this is a great reason to join!
At my first ASJA conference, Gordon went out of her way to make me comfortable. I hope I can do the same at this year’s event for any of you who want to learn more about the business of freelance writing.
Serial ASJA conference attender and presenter Sandra Beckwith is on the ASJA board. In addition to working as a nonfiction writer, Beckwith helps authors learn how to publicize and promote their books. Learn more at her blog, BuildBookBuzz.