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From new writer to published author, take a closer look at career-altering experiences at the Writer’s Digest Conference.

Colette’s testimonial

I had no idea what to expect when I attended my first Writer’s Digest Conference. I nearly passed on the Pitch Slam, but a mentor encouraged me to go for it. I left that conference with cards from three agents. Before attending WDC, I thought success was walking away with an agent’s business card—but I soon found out that there was much more to it.

By the time I completed my first book proposal, I realized that I was writing the wrong book. But the exercise of writing the proposal was effective and I set about writing a new proposal for Learning to Bake Allergen-Free, a resource for families with multiple food allergies.

I knew that I needed to finish the proposal by the time I attended my 2nd Writer’s Digest conference in January 2011. Going into this conference, I was very confident and I had a plan. I researched the agents prior to the conference and had my list narrowed down to eight that I wanted to meet, based on what they were looking for. I was ready.

When the doors opened to the pitch slam, I was the first in line at Shawna Morey’s table. I knew within seconds that she liked my idea and we spent our three minutes strategizing. When another agent passed, I didn’t feel rejected. It’s not just about whether you have a good idea; it’s about whether you can make the right match. I left that session with strong interest from three agents and I sent my book proposal to each of them the next day.

While I was confident that I had a great idea—that there was a market for my book and that I was the right person to write it. I was not so confident that I would find an agent and a publisher. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Shawna called with an offer to represent me and even happier when I signed with Folio Literary Management.

Shawna worked with me to refine the book concept and I spent the next two months creating more sample content for the proposal. In the end, I had more than we needed, but that allowed Shawna to choose the content she thought best represented the book.

Shawna sent the book proposal out to publishers in April 2011. She was sure we had a winner; I was still very nervous. Not too long after Shawna began shopping it out—Matthew Lore of The Experiment wanted to speak with me. The Experiment is an independent publisher and I wasn’t familiar with it. After a little research on The Experiment’s existing catalog of published titles, I was very excited; I knew right away that this was the right home for my book.

I wake up every morning energized and grateful that I found the right team of experts to lead me through the process of publishing my book. Best of luck to all of you and keep writing!/p>

About Colette

Colette Martin is a food allergy mom and an expert on how to bake allergen-free. When her son was diagnosed with food allergies to wheat, milk, soy, eggs, and peanuts, she had to re-invent how her family ate. Having first learned to bake in her grandmother’s kitchen with wheat, butter, milk, and eggs, Colette understands first-hand what it means to transform her kitchen to accommodate multiple food allergies. As she modified her recipes to eliminate the top eight food allergens, she discovered her own intolerances to wheat and soy. Her son is now 20 and thriving. The whole family eats the same allergen-free baked goods and loves them!

Colette blogs at and is a contributing writer at When she’s not creating recipes in her own kitchen, she enjoys taking baking classes at the Culinary Institute of America. Colette is currently working on her first book.

Lynn Taylor's testimonial

"Writer's Digest Conference is a must-attend event for anyone serious about becoming an author. Not only do you learn insider tips, but you can achieve your number one goal: finding an agent so that you can ultimately sign with a great publisher. That's how Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Behavior and Thrive in Your Job came to be. I found the talented Andrea Hurst agency through Pitch Slam, and ultimately, renowned publisher John Wiley & Sons. Don't miss it!"

About Lynn

Lynn Taylor is a leading national expert and spokesperson on career and hiring subjects, and currently serves as an advisor and consultant to executives facing workplace management issues. She is a speaker and the creator of the TOT series, which includes the book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT) Lynn’s message to managers - through the community forum - is for them to work in greater harmony with their most valued asset: human capital. For employees – it is designed to help them manage up, while they take proactive steps to humanize their workplace.


Alysia Sofios' testimonial

"I had a whirlwind romance with the Writer’s Digest Conference. As a newbie, I walked in starry-eyed with a great story, and not much of an idea what to do with it. The next day, I had signed with the best agent a girl could dream of, the incomparable Janet Reid of FinePrint Lit. One month later, we had a hardcover deal with Abby Zidle of Pocket. A year later, Pocket released my hardcover, Where Hope Begins. Just this summer, Pocket released the paperback version, Deadly Devotion. It’s led to appearances on Dr. Phil, a documentary with 20/20, and several newspaper covers. I am still riding the wonderful wave that began during the 2008 Writer’s Digest Conference, and I don’t think it will ever stop.

My advice? Go to every single workshop you can fit in, then find the longest, rowdiest line at the Pitch Session (preferably one in which everyone is laughing hysterically) and GO FOR IT! That's exactly what I did and I couldn't be happier about my results."

About Alysia

Alysia Sofios is an award-winning journalist who is known in the Fresno area for her exclusive stories about the Marcus Wesson murders. She was the first reporter to hear about the story from police and the only reporter to obtain interviews with most of Wesson's family.

Sofios majored in journalism at Michigan State University. In 2000, she became a reporter and anchor at Fox affiliate WSYM in Lansing, Michigan. She was recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for her work covering the local impact of the Iraq War. She later accepted a reporting position at Fox affiliate KMPH in Fresno, California, where she remains as a reporter. She has covered the Scott Peterson and Marcus Wesson trials. Several of her stories have appeared on Fox News and CNN.


Naturi Thomas' testimonial

Participating in the Agent Pitch Session totally jumpstarted my career. Learning to “sell” my work in a few minutes to industry professionals face to face was a valuable skill that I can use for future projects. Not to mention, meeting agents in person is useful in reminding writers of one very important thing—they’re people too, just like us!

After I pitched my manuscript, 5 agents expressed interest. Unbelievably, within a week, I was signed with Jamie Brenner from Artists & Artisans. This led to the publication of my memoir, How to Die in Paris. which was released Dec.1. Nothing compares to walking into a bookstore, or clicking on Amazon, and seeing your book. I highly recommend the Writer’s Digest Conference for any writer who wants their career to take off!

About Naturi

Naturi Thomas grew up in New Jersey and spent her twenties in the wilds of New York. During that time she held a variety of jobs, including TV actress, factory worker, children’s book author, tennis teacher, and that receptionist who kept disconnecting you.
Upon returning from a 10-month stint in Europe, she returned to college to study writing at New School University in Manhattan. She currently lives near Notting Hill, and is pursuing a master’s degree at City University, London.

Naturi Thomas is the published author of a children’s book, Uh-Oh! It’s Mama’s Birthday! (Albert Whitman & Co., 1997) Booklist called it, “appealing…one of those stories with a universal premise.” She also sold first rights to her full-length comedic play, Hating Raymond. She was a SAG actress, appearing on Nickelodeon, “As the World Turns,” and way, way off-Broadway. Her fiction, poetry and personal essays have been published in: Barrow St., The Subway Chronicles and Underground Voices and Children, Churches and Daddies, among others.