Keli Gwyn
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9 Reasons to Attend Local Writers Conferences

Can’t afford to attend a big writers conference? Don’t have the time?

There are plenty of smaller writers conferences held across the country.

I’m attending one this weekend, and I’m excited. It’s the Write to Inspire conference held in the town of Elk Grove, California south of Sacramento, just an from where I live.

I’ll be blessed by the teaching of agent Karen Ball of the Steve Laube Agency and author Ginny Yttrup, whose debut novel, Words, made a splash when it hit shelves and e-readers.

Karen Ball

Ginny Yttrup

I was one of the 2,100 at the Romance Writers of America® conference in New York City in June and will be one of the 600 at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in St. Louis in September, so why would I add a small local conference to my list?

Here are nine reasons I choose to attend local writers conferences.

1. They’re less expensive, saving me money.

2. They’re closer to home, reducing my travel time and expenses.

3. They’re shorter, reducing my time away from home as well as my hotel bill.

4. There are fewer attendees, so the atmosphere will be more relaxed.

5. I’ll be able to meet writers who live in my area and make new face-to-face friends.

6. I’ll be able to see local writer friends I’ve already met and catch up with them.

7. I’ll have more of an opportunity to interact with the speakers.

8. I’ll receive quality instruction on par with that at larger conferences.

9. I’ll have lots of fun!

• • •

Have you attended local writers conferences? If so, what are your reasons for doing so?

Would you be more apt to attend a local conference or a national one, and why?

Keli Gwyn


  • donnapyle says:

    Keli, your post is right on point! I attended the Texas Christian Writer’s Conference 3 weeks ago and found what you said to be very true. More intimate, relational and personal. Not only that, in one of the sessions I attended, one idea offered by the speaker has given a new ministry and purpose to my book that explodes with potential. If I had chosen not to attend, this integral part of my current book’s trajectory would never have happened.

  • I totally agree with you, Keli. I love ACFW, because there are so many amazing workshops, all on fiction!! And you can’t beat the number of editors and agents present. The fellowship is awesome, too. But I also love the “coming home” feeling of a smaller, local conference. And you do have so much more time to visit with the speakers.

  • Being a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), attending a local conference meant connecting with locals in my area that write for children. We now meet monthly for lunch to catch up on our writing.

    Looking forward to seeing you at Write to Inspire, Keli. Look for my smile at the registration table.

  • Erica Vetsch says:

    I usually only attend one conference per year, the ACFW conference. I can’t wait to see you there! 🙂

  • Julia Karr says:

    Oh, I definitely agree that local/regional writers’ conferences are amazing! I love catching up with authors I know and meeting new ones. Plus, the interaction with speakers in a more relaxed setting is so much nicer and less stressful!

  • the writ and the wrote says:

    I never been to a writer’s conference, but local or national wouldn’t make a difference to me. Although I would love to attend the Writer’s Digest Conference someday. I think that would be an amazing opportunity. And of course, I’d love to attend Book Expo America.

  • Angela K Roe says:

    I need to find conferences close to me. I know the benefits of conferences but I haven’t found any close enough to home to attend yet.

  • bethkvogt says:

    I like local conferences because:
    1. Less expensive
    2. Less travel

    Plus, I love where I live (Colorado), so I’m fine with staying home. The thing is, I usually stay in the hotel where the conference is at so I can focus on the conference. My husband often stops in & brings our youngest daughter by to visit, which makes it fun.

  • Yay! I’m so glad you’ll be there too! I’m leaving in an hour to help set up but that hour is crawling by and my tummy is doing major flip flops – excitement? nerves? Not sure which!

    I’m really grateful for the timing of this smaller conference because, as a conference virgin, it’ll help ease me into everything I’ll see at ACFW on a larger scale. Baby steps. 🙂

  • Thank you for this post, Keli. It’s a reminder to me that not only do I have to attend my local RWA chapter meetings, I have to gear up for the RWA Nationals being held in my state of California, right? I needed this nudge.

  • Jessica R. Patch says:

    I agree with you, Keli! I’ll be attending a local Memphis conference in the spring. Have a great time!

  • Great post, Keli! Haven’t attended a conference as yet and I love the way you have of telling us about them, their advantges and differences. Hope to get to one soon 🙂

  • Hello! I attended the conference this past month. It was held in LIvonia, Michigan, only a short drive from my Cleveland, Ohio area home. It was fun to put faces to names I only new through email…and what a joy to be around not only wonderful, inspiring writers, but incredible Christians! It was a small group (about 60) so it was fairly easy to interact with all and the information at the workshops was stimulating and well worth the cheaper price and trip than a large conference might be. I haven’t attend a large conference yet, but hope to sometime.

    Enjoyed your blog!


  • Sherrinda says:

    I’ve signed up to go to the Texas Christian Writers Conference next month and I cannot wait! It was 1/2 the price of ACFW and it is only 20 minutes away from me! It will be a first for me and I’m thrilled!

  • I am looking to forward to hearing how it went. I love conferences and wish I could attend more. Hopefully after this move, I will be able to!

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks for all the great comments and well wishes. I had a good time and will be blogging about the conference on Friday.