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The SDSU Writers’ Conference gives writers unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals. The SDSU Writers’ Conference gives writers unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals.

SDSU Writers’ Conference Returns

The 33rd annual SDSU Writers’ Conference will be held Jan. 20-22, 2017.
By Steve Dolan

Aspiring authors will have an opportunity to get one step closer to becoming a published writer thanks to the 33rd annual SDSU Writers’ Conference, which returns Jan. 20-22, 2017, to the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley.

The annual conference brings together more than 300 attendees from all over the world to help them pursue their literary dreams. Participants get direct feedback on their writing in one-on-one appointments with editors and agents. The three-day conference was among the first to pioneer these one-on-one appointments, giving writers unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.

The 2017 keynote speakers are:
  • R.L. Stine – Best-selling children's author
  • J.A. Jance – Top 10 New York Times best-selling author
  • Jonathan Maberry – Best-selling author and five-time Bram Stoker Award winner
  • Sherrilyn Kenyon – International and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author
The event offers more than 40 concurrent workshops facilitated by top publishing professionals. Conference attendees will also be able to take advantage of a variety of networking opportunities, including genre-specific dinner tables with fellow writers and faculty, a Saturday evening reception, and possibilities to mix with writers, editors, and agents from across the United States.

Success stories

The conference has a long history of launching careers, including those of Richard Lister, Monique Domovitch and Shannon Messenger.

Lister co-authored, "The View From the O-Line: Football According to NFL Offensive Linemen and an Uncommon Coach" with former NFL coach Howard Mudd.

“The message I heard over and over at the conference was: ‘Don’t give up,’” Lister said. “I suppose it’s easier to resist giving in when you are driven to write, so use that fuel to persevere.”

Domovitch, author of "The Chef Landry Mystery Series," shared her experience of being noticed at a previous SDSU Writers’ Conference. Her novel, "Getting Skinny," was picked up by an agent at the conference, based solely on its first page.

“I can honestly say that if it hadn’t been for that conference, chances are I would still be unpublished,” she said. "My advice to aspiring writers: Write one hell of a good first line.”

Messenger, author of the young-adult series "Keeper of the Lost Cities" and "Sky Fall," is an example of persistence.

“I firmly believe that the difference between a published author and an aspiring writer are time and effort," Messenger said. “Everyone has a different journey toward publication. If you keep writing, keep going, and never give up on yourself or this dream, you will get there eventually, I promise.”

Registration information

Early-bird registration for the SDSU Writers’ Conference is $449 through Jan. 3. Registration is $499 from Jan. 4-17 and $549 at the door, if space allows.

Advance reading appointments are available for $50 each and must be scheduled by Jan. 3, which is also the deadline for submitting the first 10 pages of a manuscript. An advance reading appointment is a 10-minute feedback session going over the first 10 pages of a manuscript. The session is facilitated by an agent or editor, who will read the manuscript in advance of the conference.

Conference attendees can also book consultations, which are available for $50 each through Jan. 17. A consultation is a 10-minute, question and answer session with an agent or editor about a project. Attendees may purchase additional consultations at the conference for $50, if they are still available.

Event details

The conference takes place from 1 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20; 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21; and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22. On-site registration begins at 11 a.m. on Friday, with the first breakout session that day at 2:15 p.m.

For complete information, visit the conference website, email, or call 619-594-2099.