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February 5, 2014

            It’s one thing to write your novel, short story, essay, poem, article or screenplay. Then there’s the editing, reading to a writer’s group (which I highly recommend) or even to friends. What now? For a true writer, your main motivation should be to write. Secondary is of course, to get published. That next step is a huge one.


Most writers, through books and other resources like the internet, find out which agents, and publishers to pitch their material and start the query process. Once in a while, someone hits the literary lotto, but this is quite rare, especially in today’s market with all the competition.


The thing about mail/e-mail is that it’s impersonal. Even though you may have met some great e-mail buddies over the net (I know I have) over the years, there’s no way that’s ever going to happen with anyone in publishing. No agent, publisher, editor or marketer is EVER going to know who you are through any writing or electronic medium unless you’ve already won the lotto (it does happen). So, all those queries you’re sending out may not do the trick unless you’re one of those lucky ones.  The challenge is to keep your scripts out of the slush pile.

You may have the best material in the world. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands of others just like you with the best material in the world. How are they getting an edge?


You’ve chosen to be a writer. That’s your passion, your calling. It would behoove you to at least learn something about the inner workings of the industry. Not just from reading a bunch of books, but hearing from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. At a conference, you get to intermingle with industry professionals. That’s right. You wander about, attend classes taught by, enjoy meals with, congregate in the hallways, just sit and chat with publishers, agents, editors, screenplay experts, marketers and other published and non- published writers. There’s no better way to learn your craft than to get that personal one-on-one with the people who make it happen. Not only do you get that personal touch, but you get to see the faces, learn their names and they learn yours. They can put a face to your name.


At the conference, you’ll have a chance to pitch your material if there’s an agent or publisher that accepts your work. If you come prepared, you’ll be able to sit down and present your manuscript in a relaxed setting. In a way, it’s like a job interview except in this case, not only is the agent interviewing you as well as your material, you’re interviewing them. The goal is to see if you can work with each other. By the time you’ve come to this point, you most likely already met and talked a bit. This interview is just a formality. In fact, sometimes during the course of casual conversation, the agent or publisher may ask you to pitch your stuff in the hallway or after a meal, forgoing the formal pitch session. It has happened. It all depends on the agent/publisher.


Since this is a conference, the bulk of the time is dedicated to the seminars (or classes). They run continuous from Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Each class covers a specific subject and they’re conducted by experts in that particular field. Some of the instructors may be the very agents and publishers to whom you want to pitch, while others are present for their expertise.

There’s so much to learn about the craft, such as marketing, editing, social media, screenwriting: anything to do with the craft and industry of writing.


The Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is held annually every April at the Sam’s Town Casino. I’ve been an active member of the Henderson Writer’s Group since 2005 and our big event for the year is the conference. Therefore, I’ve made it a point to attend every conference since joining. Besides having my own work critiqued by the group and critiquing others work, I’ve helped others by editing their material and passing on what I’ve learned at each event for those that have not been able to attend. I’ve truly learned so much, and love being a part of not only the writer’s group, but attending each conference as well.

As a long-time writer, this is my passion, my calling, something I have to do. It’s more than a hobby, besides being a professional technical writer for over a decade. I highly recommend that everyone with an interest in writing or getting published, even if you’re thinking of self-publishing, should attend at least one writer’s conference. It’ll open your eyes. You’ll learn a plethora of helpful information that’ll inspire you to write more. You’ll have the knowledge and understanding of the process that a writer goes through to get manuscripts published. You’ll even gain new ideas to help push yourself to the next level.

The Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is one of the best in the nation, hands-down. It’s not anywhere near the largest, and for good reason. It’s kept small, limited in size to keep everything accessible, from the classes to the agents and publishers. There are no long lines and no huge crowds to wade through. It’s a relaxed great time to rub elbows with industry experts and learn your craft. Take advantage of it while you can! For more information go to

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