Why American Society of Journalists and Authors’ Conferences Really Rock

I’ve earned direct income from almost every American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference I’ve ever attended, sometimes even double or triple the amount I had to spend to attend the conference.  I’ve gotten my agent, received three book deals, and made countless, priceless connections…and I’ve attended a lot of different writing conferences, and except for one conference that is now defunct, none of those has earned me money like ASJA’s conferences have.

And I’m not just talking about the big, annual conference in New York City.  I’m also talking about the smaller, regional conferences.  Three years ago, I attended the ASJA regional conference in Chicago.  The year preceding this conference was one of my leanest years as a freelance writer.  With a young son and two years spent on a book project that didn’t materialize, I was anxious to meet new editors and re-invigorate my career.  At the time, I was only hoping that I’d make enough to re-coop my expenses for attending.

Instead, I made two very fruitful connections – one, I met through a face-to-face meeting with an editor and another I encountered standing in line for the featured speaker.

Those two connections – just two! – have since earned me more than $10,000 in income.  I continue to write for both publications to this day, and I love my editors at both of these publications.  They’re two of my dream editors to write for.

So, I’m very excited to be co-chairing, with the dynamic Erin O’Donnell, the Client Connections portion of this year’s ASJA Content Connections conference in Chicago on Nov. 18 at Columbia College.  Erin and I have been working very hard to pull together a list of great editors who are actively seeking great writers.  The editors we’ve recruited aren’t just coming to hang out – each of them really is excited to meet professional writers, writers to whom they want to assign projects.

We’re very excited to bring Karman Hotchkiss, who is the executive editor in charge of Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Media; she’s very, very excited to meet with writers who specialize in a bevvy of different topics; Amy Vanstee, editorial director of Staywell (a health content agency), Charlaine Houck, editor of Midwest Meetings (a travel and meeting planning magazine), who is actively recruiting new writers, Becky Lang, editor of Discover Magazine, along with several others (including a national health magazine, a women’s fiction and young adult fiction agent,  a university press book editor and several Midwest regional publications editors).  We’ll be announcing all of these wonderful editors in the coming weeks.  It’s shaping up to be an exciting conference.

And, I, personally, am hoping to have a repeat performance of connecting with new – and fruitful – editors.  Here’s a link about the conference.  For any and all writers looking to create new connections, seeking new work and wanting to further their careers, I encourage you to join ASJA and/or just come to the conference: http://asja.org/For-Writers/ASJA-Events.

You won’t be sorry you attend – and it will be some of the best money you’ll spend on your career.  And, oh, remember those two editors I love? Yeah, they’re coming, too.


By Jeanette Hurt 

  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
    – Douglas Adams
  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson