ASJA 2017 Annual Writers Conference

ASJA's 46th Annual Writers Conference

Become An ASJA Member and Reap the Rewards

During our popular Client Connections event (check out our list of participating editors) on ASJA Member's Day, Friday  May 5, ASJA members (who apply for the event via a lottery) get to meet with top editors, agents and content agencies who are searching for experienced freelancers. 

Click here for more information. 

Pivot. Publish. Prosper.

The publishing industry occupies very different terrain than it did even a decade ago. With the industry shift from print to digital, new media for authors, the influx of content marketing, and revolving editors, freelancers—experienced and new—need to build their platforms while developing creative business strategies.

Never before has it been so essential for successful writers to Pivot in order to Publish and Prosper.

With more than 1,200 members, ASJA stands as the country's leading and most prestigious association of successful journalists, authors and nonfiction and literary nonfiction writers.

Join us in NYC for two days of education, connections; tips, tricks and strategic moves from seasoned journalists and authors, plus top social media and website experts, PR pros, editors, agents, content buyers, and more.


Shedding a Light on Untold Stories (K01)

Vanessa Hua will discuss how setting can help you develop your characters, who are a product of place, culture, and history. Her fiction builds upon her journalism, and in turn, fiction writing strengthens her nonfiction. She will also talk about her twin paths toward publication and the importance of fostering community in winning fellowships and landing gigs.

Bio: Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of Deceit and Other Possibilities. [More Info]

This year's conference will have several tracks, including Books & Beyond, Work Life Pivot, Pro Tips, Tool Kit, Pitching and ASJANext.

We have 46 instructive panel sessions and workshops, plus  4 dynamic keynote speakers over two days - guaranteed to help you grow as a writer, plus the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with editors, agents and publishers. This year to maximize your time we have instituted early riser sessions.

A food writing pitch slam will offer instant feedback and allow for on-the-spot assignments. Four events of editor-filled panels will cover "Writing for Women's Magazines", "Writing about Parenting: Editors Tell All", "What Assigning Editors Want You to Know" and "Finding and Working with Diverse Writers". An event called "The Pitch" will let you get instant feedback from a team of agents in a fun, fast-paced environment and "Agent Roundtables" will provide an informal venue to meet agents and get advice in your genre.

Our presenters, publishers, and panelists will include over 40 editors, including from The Washington Post, Next Avenue/PBS, Dame, Narratively, First for Women, Simple Grace, Family Circle, Wine Enthusiast, SuperCall, Endless Vacations, Brain, Child, Saveur, Pacific Standard, Contently, Skyword, Atlantic’s CityLab, Parade, Rolling Stone, Vice, Simon & Schuster, Beacon Press, and HarperCollins Publishers, with more being added every day.

There will be a plethora of networking opportunities, and besides the special members lounge, we will be offering a subject area roundtable session, so you can find your tribe. Our welcome committee will lead an interactive, “getting to know you” activity for new members. We’ll also offer, as always, individual mentoring sessions; networking lunches and lots more.

New sessions this year include:
  • Ghostwriter for Hire: The Six Strategies to a Six-Digit Income
  • Negotiating 101 For Writers: You Deserve It, Learn to Ask for It!
  • Harnessing the Power of LinkedIn
  • Emerging Contract Issues Every Writer Needs On Their Radar
  • Writing Book Proposals with Teeth: Insider Secrets from Agents
  • Using Smartphones to Tell Stories
  • Make the Leap: 50 Steps from Blogger to Paid Freelance Writer
  • From Hot Topics to the Today Show: Tips from a PR Pro
  • Turn Your Online Blog Into a Profitable Print Column
  • How to Create the Ultimate Profitable Side Hustle
  • When Deadlines Loom: Fast Fixes to Get Your Work out the Door
  • Facebook Live and Beyond: The Future of Author Promotions led by Lisa Sharkey, Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development for HarperCollins Publishers. She will also Facebook Live the session.
Other sessions will focus on the buzz on book publishing (multicultural and other trends), the 80/20 rule for freelance writing success, how to revive a mute muse or stalled career, writing about technology and finding those opportunities, writing about tough topics, taking your essays from the personal to the universal, how to best research your science submissions (with advice straight from an editor), and so much more.

The panels, sessions, coaching, and workshops with a focus on craft and practical how-tos, will inspire, motivate and empower journalists, nonfiction and literary nonfiction writers at all stages of their careers.


Advice from the Hollywood Book Whisperer: Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence (K02)

At its core, life is about selling (in many ways) and thanks to MTV and our rush of technology, attention spans have gotten very short. More than ever, it’s important to find a solution to pitching an idea, story, or book quickly and efficiently with punch. That solution is a great logline. After all, you can be the best writer with the best material in the world, but that makes no difference if you can’t sell it! Lane Shefter Bishop constantly sells to A-list TV and film producers, networks and studios, usually with only partials and book proposals but all with one thing in common — a well-crafted logline. She will discuss why loglines work and what is and is not a logline; explore the “rules” for writing a logline, such as discovering your “hook,” the length of a logline, how to cut down, and how to finesse. Lane will offer examples from her own projects and others. If there’s time, attendees can present their loglines.

Bio: Lane Shefter Bishop is a multi-award winning producer/director.
[More Info]


Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One (K03)

Jenny Blake teaches that no matter your age, life stage, bank account balance, or career level, you can learn how to pivot strategically into your next opportunity or grow within your current role. By doubling down on what is already working, you can cut through confusion to move more quickly in a new direction. Pivoting is a mindset and a skill set, and it is one we can all improve. This interactive keynote will resonate with anyone facing the question of what's next by providing a simple 3-stage framework to map your next move, one that you can cycle through as many times as necessary. Jenny will also share insights into the publishing process behind PIVOT and how you can apply the pivot method to creative projects and bigger career moves.

Bio: Jenny Blake is an author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love.
[More Info]



The WOKE and Sustainable Writer (K04)

There was nothing in Andrea King Collier's journalism bio that screamed political commentary, but that didn't stop her. A successful freelance journalist, essayist and author, she had developed strong bylines in health and in health policy. But she began to pivot into more opinion pieces and commentary in 2008. She says, "In 2016, between the violence, the uncivil discourse and all the other drama of the past few years, I felt like I needed to find my political voice." It was then she started asking the questions that nobody was asking about "culture, class, and all the ‘isms’ that separate us. And then I listened, which was really hard, and wrote about what I heard and saw." She calls it being WOKE, and she's found a way to make it add to the bottom line, but not without challenges.

Bio: Andrea King Collier is a multimedia journalist, essayist and author. She’s been on the full-time freelance path for over 25 years. [More Info]