Conferences You Must Attend

As writers, we’re always looking for ways to better our craft. No one, no matter how successful, knows everything. One of the great things about writing, is there is no one way about it. The best way to hone our craft and learn different ways is through taking workshops and going to conferences. With the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference registration opened, I will share with you my favorite conferences and conventions I have had the pleasure of attending.

NESCBWI Spring Conference


As I mentioned, the registration for the NESCBWI conference recently opened. I cannot express my love for this conference. I have heard it said that this is the best of the regional conferences. I have not attended any of the other conferences, but I highly suggest NESCBWI. It is a three day intensive conference complete with workshops that range from illustrating, worldbuilding, character building, editing, plotting, and much more. There are also keynote speakers such as Jane Yolan. You can also have a critique of your manuscript or query done by attending agents.

The conference does cost a bit, but if you are a SCBWI member it is cheaper. I believe it is well worth the cost.



If you cannot make it to the NESCBWI Conference or cannot pay the money, or even wish you could have gone to more of the workshops, Encore is perfect for you. Hosted in the fall, Encore takes the five best workshops of the spring conference and repeats them for two different dates. It is much cheaper than NESCBWI and is only one day. You do not get to chose the workshops and there are no agent critiques or keynote speeches, but it is still an opportunity to learn.



Write On Con is an online conference that takes place in early February. While you can participate in the live workshops, for $15 you can access the workshops for a month later. There are also pitching sessions with agents and forums where you can critique other writer’s works.


Yall fest

Y’All Fest is not a conference geared specifically toward writers. It is a weekend for readers. However, all writers should be readers. It is one of my favorite events of the year. It takes place in Charleston, SC in November and it is free. Though many people go to get their books signed by attending authors, I go to the panels. The authors–many who are best sellers–speak about their craft and what inspires them. There are also Advance Reader Copies available. Last year I picked up Children of the Blood and Bone! Y’All Fest has a sister festival called Y’All West, which takes place in California. I have not been to Y’All West, but I imagine if it’s anything like Y’All Fest, it is amazing.



BTAF is similar to Y’All Fest, but on a smaller scale. BTAF is free and is a one day event which holds four panels and an author signing. It’s great to go because it’s an interactive festival that only takes one day and doesn’t cost anything.


Book Con 2

Book Con is similar to Y’All Fest and BTAF, however it is much bigger and it does cost money. I happen to like Y’All Fest better because I was overwhelmed by Book Con, however I do have friends who enjoy Book Con and return every year. There are author signings and lots and lots of ARC give-aways. There are also panels.

I go to more and more conferences a year. It is where I have met some of my favorite authors, future critique partners, and good friends. I have honed my skills and received a lot of good material.

Do you have a favorite conference? Share Below!


  1. I so agree with you about conferences. Members of the SCBWI have many to choose from. The cost can be an issue, but there are many that can be split (meaning you don’t need to be there on the first day sometimes) and remain very valuable.
    It’s of course easier when closer to home 🙂
    There are also somtimes mini conferences organized by local libraries, which can be free or almost and still be wonderful. More for readers than writers per se but the opportunity to listen to successful authors talk about craft and their own journey.
    The Charleston one sounds like a lot of fun.
    Thank you for sharing all these conferences with us.


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