In mid-February of this year I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Annual San Francisco Writers Conference held at the Mark Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill. I heard about the conference while doing some research for the novel I am currently writing; initially I had reservations about attending since I had not yet written very much of my manuscript. I wondered if attending the conference might be too early in the game for me, presuming that most of the attendees would be long-established writers who would question why a newbie author like me would dare to think he could invade their elite little world. Realizing that if I did not go I would have to wait another 12 months before it occurred again and that I could save myself the expense of hotel accommodations since the location was an easy commute for me, I figured I would take the plunge. I am so glad I overcame my doubts and went.
The four-day event over President’s Day weekend was completely sold out. Literally hundreds of individuals and authors of all genres were there: poetry, memoir, science fiction, historical fiction, romance, fantasy, suspense, crime, young adult, you name it. Yes some indeed were well established authors who enjoy a large readership and I did have the pleasure of hearing their presentations as well as talking to some of them directly. Many others though were working on a first or second book and it was great to talk to some of them and hear how they are dealing with the challenges they are experiencing. There also were a large number of editors, agents and publishers who provided me great insights on what I will need to be doing once I have completed my manuscript. During each of the time slots there typically were six different workshops and I could always find at least two that I wanted to attend. I also made some new friends and made connections with professionals who will be very valuable as I get closer to my finished work.
I left the conference filled with new exhilaration and a head stuffed with so many wonderful ideas and suggestions from people who all at one time were in the situation I am now. I look forward to the 2014 conference when I presume my manuscript will be complete. If not yet published at that time I now know that I will be at the right venue to make that happen.