Speakers and attendees praise the James River Writers Conference for stellar programming, the same caliber seen at large, national conferences. Yes, we’re similar to those other conferences, but here’s how we’re different:
• JRW doesn’t count attendees by the thousands. A more intimate conference means we can focus more on each person’s needs and feedback.
• Published and not-yet-published authors are never separated. There are no published-only mingles or sessions. We’re in this together.
• You won’t pay for a lot of add-ons. The two-day JRW Conference registration includes
o All panels
o Pitch sessions with nationally recognized agents and editors
o Social hours
o Saturday events
o The Library of Virginia Literary Awards Luncheon
o Breakfast and lunch
• We’re eclectic. Many of us write widely: journalists also write novels, memoirists explore investigative nonfiction, and screenwriters compose poetry. Or maybe you’re a picture book author who wants to learn how poets select just the right word. JRW believes we can learn from one another. The conference offers crossover possibilities you won’t find at genre-specific events.
• We focus on business and craft. You can learn about marketing and voice. You can pitch and get your first page critiqued. JRW knows writing is an art and a business.
• Speakers don’t slip back to their hotel rooms between panels. JRW asks speakers to stay on-site throughout the weekend so you have time to talk with them between sessions and over a cup of coffee.
• You’ll visit the host city. JRW is excited to share a portion of our conference with all of Richmond—and share Richmond with our conference goers. We’ve set aside Saturday afternoon and evening hours for speakers to give open presentations at various downtown RVA locations.
• We rarely have signings. Unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. a speaker’s high demand and limited time), JRW Conference doesn’t hold signings. You shouldn’t have to wait in line to get ten seconds with a speaker. Signing tables shouldn’t divide us. Instead, approach authors as colleagues.
• Attendees have a forum to share their wisdom. Sunday lunch discussions allow attendees to share their experiences and learn from each other and speakers.
• We don’t come together only one weekend a year. James River Writers is here all year. We offer monthly Writing Shows and Writers Wednesdays, Master Classes, bi-monthly newsletters, weekly write-ins, awards, and contests. We also offer special events, such as Books and Brews local brewery tours.
• We’re a community. We want to be here for you when you’re an aspiring author, when you sign with an agent, and when you’re a multi-published bestseller. Let JRW be your literary home and form relationships to last a lifetime.
Article by Kristi Tuck Austin, Board Chair