SDSU Writers ConferenceIf you’re a writer with a dream, get one step closer to becoming a writer with an agent by attending the 33rd annual SDSU Writers’ Conference, Jan. 20-22, 2017, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley.

Via author and agent panels, workshops, and direct feedback on your writing, you’ll shave years off the learning curve on your skills and your strategy for getting published. You’ll also have three days of networking opportunities with top-tier industry professionals.

The conference has a long history of launching careers, and here are words of encouragement and advice from just a few of the authors discovered during their 1:1 meetings with agents and editors:

Karen Keskinen“If you’re serious about publication, I can’t think of another conference that brings together such a talented and sizable group of editors and agents. My advice to first-time attendees is simple and straightforward: bring work that you are committed to and passionate about. The spit and polish can come later.”
Karen Keskinen, author of the Jaymie Zarlin Mystery Series. Her first novel Blood Orange was picked up by editor Kat Brzozowski.


Michael Robertson“The first rule in attending the conference is to have fun. Think of it as a weekend getaway. There’s no rule that says you have to come back from the conference with an agent or a book contract. If that does happen at your first conference (and especially if it’s your first book), you may regard yourself as both brilliant and also a bit lucky. Second, if you’re pitching in an interview, don’t worry that you’ll mess up. In total, I must have pitched to a dozen agents and editors. Every one of them knew how to get me back on track – even when I once broke out in a nervous sweat and actually forgot the name of my first novel.”
Michael Robertson, author of The Baker Street Letters Mystery Series


Willard Ceccarelli“I definitely fall into the intimated category and the thought of a writers’ conference can be scary. I was out of my comfort zone and had to force myself to talk with people. If I had attended with a friend, or convinced my wife to come along, it would have been too easy to lean on them for conversation and perhaps pass up on the opportunities at the conference. Being by myself pushed me to step out of my mental cave I hide in when in large crowds. My advice to anyone that wants to attend a conference is to do exactly what I did – go alone. Force yourself to ask to sit at a table with complete strangers. Walk up to a group standing in the hallway between classes and enter the conversation when appropriate.”
Willard Ceccarelli, author of The Van Gogh Agenda.


Monique Domovitch“Writing is a lonely profession and this is an opportunity to meet other authors. Also, I still consider myself a writer-in-learning, and I look forward to attending seminars and learning from other authors and speakers. I can honestly say that if it hadn’t been for that conference, chances are I would still be unpublished. My advice to aspiring writers? Write one hell of a good first line.”
Monique Domovitch, author of The Chef Landry Mystery Series. Her first novel, Getting Skinny, was picked up by an agent at the conference, based solely on the novel’s first page.

Shannon Messenger


“Agents are a group of people with an intense love for books and publishing. They’re hoping – just as much as you are – that they’ll find something they love. So try not to be intimidated. Also, never give up. I firmly believe that the only difference between a published author and an aspiring writer is time and effort. Everyone has a different journey toward publication. Some of us take longer. But if you keep writing, keep going, and never give up on yourself or this dream, you will get there eventually, I promise.”
Shannon Messenger, author of the young-adult series Keeper of the Lost Cities and Sky Fall.


Richard Lister“The message I heard over and over at the conference was: Don’t give up. I suppose it’s easier to resist giving in when you are driven to write. So use that fuel to persevere. We realize we are very, very lucky to have met Sarah [Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency]. But without persistence, it never would have happened … I’m not sure where our book will go, but the writing and connection with people has been extraordinary. It is in many ways its own reward.” Richard Lister, co-author with NFL coach Howard Mudd, of The View From the O-Line: Football According to NFL Offensive Linemen and an Uncommon Coach.