Writers' Conferences
Are The Best!
For a Whole Lot of Reasons!

  • Learning about craft

  • Learning about book promotion

  • Networking

  • Inspiration

  • Getting an agent (selected conferences)

  • Finding resources

(Scroll Down for the List of Conferences!)

Conferences are where you learn to
shop your book, better your craft, and generally kick-start
your writing career!

I believe in writers' conferences. Conferences are a kind of writers' religion for me. I credit the combination of conferences and classes with the fact that my novel, This Is the Place, won awards and topped sales records for its publisher the first year it was released. To that end, I included a section in my Web site for writers to use as a resource for finding the right conference. It includes mini recommendations of the conferences I have attended or spoken at, tips on conferences, and an article on one of the unexpected benefits of a recent conference I presented at.


Other Writers' Resource Pages

On the Benefits of Writers' Conferences

Some writers go to writers' conferences, come back and complain.

Here's the thing. Writers conferences have personalities and you should choose one that meets your goal. There is an entire chapter in The Frugal Book Promoter  on how to decide on what you want from a conference and how to choose one that fits your needs. It also tells you how to organize yourself for one and utilize what is offered. That is not what this article is about. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You can get that information from the book.

This article is about the unexpected benefits one might find at a conference. Because unexpected benefits are, well . . . unexpected, this tell you about one in particular that came about when I was speaking at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop this spring (2008).

It is an example of how presenters -- often people of influence in the publishing industry --  are accessible to  attendees and vice versa, and how we can learn from one another. I met Anne Louise Reinhard there. The excerpt (below) is from my weekly newsletter, "Sharing with Writers."  In it she explains how we met at that conference and how that meeting benefited us both. Below that,  you will find her first column for my newsletter.  Our connecting is truly a win-win situation that would never have happened if I had not spoken there and if she had not put her little bod -- warmed by California's sun -- on an airplane and traveled to Dayton, Ohio, (chilly in April) where the nation's premier conference for humorists was being held. AND if both of us had not kept our idea bonnets on and been open to opportunities. 

Here's the editorial section form "Sharing with Writers."

New in Sharing with Writers

Tidbits on Writing Humor is a new mini feature appears occasionally in your "Sharing with Writers" newsletter. I met Anne Louise Reinard ( www.annelouise.net ) at one Dayton University's Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop (http://www.humorwriters.org/  ) I taught at. Our meeting and eventual collaboration happened in two steps. She introduced herself to me not only as a one of the attendees at my seminar on self-editing but as a neighbor in a community near mine in the Los Angeles area.

The second contact came in an unexpected way. I forgot to retrieve the sign-up sheet I had sent around at that seminar for both this newsletter and--because the room was so packed--I didn't have enough of my handout for everyone. So I send a blanket apology to every single Erma Bombeck attendee that I could glean from the business cards I had collected and those from another attendee,  Mindy Hoffbauer (www.writeangle.biz) had collected. I guess that makes two great networking contacts.  Anyway, the response was huge and Anne Louise was among them. We started e-mailing and now I have a creative new columnist to fill a niche in my newsletter heretofore unfilled. Even subscribers who aren't humorists can learn something from Anne Louise. Humor can spark an otherwise very dull book proposal, as an example. So listen up! Here is Anne Louise with her first "Tidbits on Writing Humor"  straight from her first appearance in "Sharing with Writers."

Tidbits on Writing Humor

By Anne Louise Reinhard,
fan of Dayton University's  Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop
and humor writer.



In order to be humorous, writing needs to have a twist that’s unexpected – an element of surprise.  Here is a perfect example of an unexpected conclusion from Erma Bombeck:  "When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out."


I must say that my ideas aren’t always this good, so I have devised this “unexpectation” test for my writing: I read the story aloud to someone, but I pause before the punch line and ask them what they think is coming.


If they start their answer with “Duh”, then I know I need to rework, or at least reword, the story.  Sometimes, one of them will come up with something way better than what I had, which is why I always call this a collaborative process.  ;-)  


May your keyboard never falter! 

Anne Louise

Those who would like to subscribe to "Sharing with Writers" may do so by sending me an e-mail with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Send it to HoJoNews@aol.com.  You'll find there regular columns like  Mindy Philips Laurence's Itty Bitty Column, and other writing and promoting tips galore. Sharing with Writes includes two All Tips editions a year and one All Marketing edition each year.

Writers' Conferences
The Big and the Cozy  

       (This list contains many of the conferences Carolyn has spoken at
or is connected with. There are many hundreds within the US alone;
these she personally recommends.)

Book 'Em, founded by p.m. terrell, is one of the best marketed conference and book fair I've seen. It's in North Carolina every February and proceeds support literacy. Presenters include authors like Chris Roerden, Lance Johnson, and, yes, me.

Put Pen to Paper, a conference for those interested in the art of writing and the business of writing. For more information, e-mail Valerie Coleman at the Pen To Paper Literary Symposium, in Dayton, Ohio.

The Muse On Writing (Lea Schizas) and The Frugal Book Promoter (Carolyn Howard-Johnson)  cosponsor the Muse Online Writers Conference every October. It's free, Please register early. Registration URL is http://www.themuseonlinewritersconference.com


Mikhail Iossel founded Summer Literary Semesters where writers can learn more about the craft of writing in places like St. Petersburg, Russia, Montreal, Canada, and Kenya. I recommend their program highly.

Dayton University's Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference is directed by humorist Tim Bete and is one of the best.

San Diego State University's Writer's Conference

UCLA Extension Writers' Studio  I taught at UCLA's Writers Program for nearly a decade, but I also attended this weekend conference before I ventured into the publishing of book and loved, loved, loved it.

Las Vegas Writers' Conference, directed by Gregory Kompes.

The Big Story, a Greater Los Angeles Writers' Society associated conference (GLAWS) , is one of my favorites for fiction writers. Usually held at Los Angeles Valley College, director Tony Todaro plans his conferences with agenting possibilities, networking opportunities, and great panels and presentations. Director Tony Todaro puts on several conferences a year, often under different names. One on publishing digitally, one on writing memoirs, etc. So while you're on the site, explore!

Other Conferences

Arts for the Soul includes writers. It is in Steamboat Springs in the majestic Rocky Mountains.  Call 800-299-6811 for more information.

Author U presents a conference once a year. Judith Briles is director. Watch my newsletter for appearances at this conference.   


 Watch for an announcement  for the next writers' retreat
I'll sponsor with Eve Caram,
award-winning UCLA writing instructor. The last one was in Rome.

Tip: Presenting at Conferences

If you would like to present at a writers' conference, contact the program director well in advance. Six to eight months in advance is a good guideline.  Use a great query letter (learn how to do that in The Frugal Editor ). Then follow up by sending him or her a media kit. Step-by-step information on how to do that is in The Frugal Book Promoter!)

 Find at least one tip on writing, promotion or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Find helpful articles on writing go to this site's
Free Articles 4 Readers and Editors.

This page includes Reviews for Riters (tm),
how-to articles for writers, essays on tolerance, rants, and more.

Don't forget to check out my list of books for writers on
this site and extensive recommended reading
from my UCLA classes in the appendixes
of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor.


Tip: Selecting a Conference

Select writers conferences based on their specialty. Many don't make this apparent; you'll have to do some research on their Web sites. Some attract agents and publishers who offer critiques. Some, like UCLA Extension Writers' Program Studio have special access to screenwriters and/or concentrate on craft. Some offer speakers on book promotion and building a platform (a process you should be starting right now!). Others don't.  You decide depending on your book's title, your personality, your pocketbook, and the place are are in the writing process. The conference closest to home may not be your best bet.

 Find at least one tip on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site. 

For resources and links galore, grab yourself a copy
of the
Frugal Book Promoter.

Tradeshows, Too

Tradeshows can be great for an author's books, too. Yes they can. Book Expo America is the big one in the US, but there are many worldwide including Milan, London, and Frankfurt.

Here is a picture taken by Lisa Krebs of Independent Book Publishers of America (IBPA) at Book Expo where we introduced my husband's book What Foreigners Need to Know About America A To Z and the second edition of my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter.

Carolyn with Writer's Digest Books author Nina Amir.

Buy Links for Carolyn's Books

Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon in their new and used feature.
Both of these books are out of print. They are available only on Amazon's New and Used feature for about $1.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.
IMPERFECT ECHOES: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters,
lie and oppression with Small

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating Earth and the Universe

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers
Second Edition

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader.
Did you know that with the Free app, Kindle can be adapted to any reader--even your PC!

"Careers that are not fed die as readily as
any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King

To subscribe to Carolyn's FREE online newsletter send an e-mail.

Learn more about Carolyn's newsletter and blog.

Read past issues of Carolyn's Newsletter.


Frugal E-Book Tip

Kindle E-Books Aren't
Just for Kindle Anymore

Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle e-books are a low-cost/no-cost way to access books even if you don’t have a dedicated Kindle reader? You can read Kindle's e-books on smartphones, desktop computers and any e-device in between. You can even store the books on the Amazon cloud.

~ Quote from Diana Schneidman, author and marketer



Warning! Writers' conferences are only as good as make them. Each varies in character. Choose the best matches for you, then go, learn, and promote.  For other ideas on how to work conferences, how to make them  successful, check "writers conferences"  in the index of The Frugal Book Promoter. 

Find tips on writing, promotion or tech on every page of this Web site. 






Subscribe to
Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers Newsletter

and get a FREE copy of
Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers

"I have been a professional writer 40 years, and am also a tenured full professor of journalism. Carolyn's Sharing with Writers newsletter is  most useful for me--and for my students. I emphasize to them that while research is 90% of writing, and the actual writing is about 10%, there's another 100% out there called promotion. Carolyn shows numerous ways to get the message to the mass media."
~Walter Brasch, author and educator

"A decade of bettering writers' careers with how-tos, tips, and publishing news."

Find Carolyn on the Web

  writers retailers

Carolyn's Blogs

Sharing with Writers
All things publishing with
an emphasis on book
promotion. Named to
Writer's Digest
101 Best Website list.

The New Book Review
Great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more
mileage out of
a great review.

The Frugal Editor Blog
This is the Frugal, Smart
and Tuned-In Editor blog.
Covers editing, grammar, formatting and more.
Get the answers you need.

A Selection of Carolyn's Past Speaking Engagements

National Stationery Show May 17-20, 2009 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY Consider this a business essential.

Presenter 2009, 2010

Presenter, 2008, 09, 10, 11

Panel moderator, 2007

National Span College
presenter 2002

Fellows presenter, 2007, 08

Co-sponsor and presenter,
2007, 08, 09, 10, 11

University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference, 2006, 2008

Sisters in Crime,
Pasadena, 2009

On the Los Angeles Valley College Campus 2012, Rancho Library 2013,
Valley College Spring 2014

Wisconsin Regional Writers Association
Presenter, Keynote 2010

Book 'Em, NC,
Three Panels 2013

Presenter, 2013

Seminar Speaker, 2014

Keynote, 2013; 2014

Secrets of Great
Dialogue, 2015

Digging Up Memories and Bringing the Dead Back to Life

Frugal Book Promotion.
Judith Briles' Extravaganza,
Denver, CO, 2016

Learn more about Carolyn's conferences.


I’m a writer who would love to have someone else take over the editing and proofreading stages of my manuscripts because I hate editing, proofreading, and rewriting. Ms. Howard-Johnson’s techniques and her encouragement from page to page of THE FRUGAL BOOK EDITOR lifts my spirits to the level where I can approach these hated tasks in a better attitude and get the job done. I advise all writers to obtain a copy of THE FRUGAL BOOK EDITOR and keep it handy as your write."  ~Lucille P. Robinson, reviewer for Alternative Read

Wow. What more can I say? [The Frugal Book Promoter is] interesting, informative, readable and more. Easy to follow, quotes and technique mixed in together wonderfully. This is an A-one job. Watch out world! I’m going to have to put it under my pillow ~ Leora G. Krygier, author of First the Raven and When She Sleeps

 Just visiting your Web site gives me ideas and prompts me. It's very inspiring to meet and now know such an energetic fellow writer. You are wonderfully dedicated to our craft.
I was i... was quite impressed with their USA Book News' booth at Book Expo America and Jeff's efforts on all our behalf.
Loren Woodson, author of The Passion of Maryam (Plain View Press, 2007)

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Master's in English.org Online Universities'

101 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter; Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor;
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.