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