Register Now for the 2016 James River Writers Conference

14th Annual James River Writers Conference Logo Click here to register today and take advantage of JRW member discounts!sponsor


General Sessions on Saturday, October 15 – Sunday, October 16, 2016
at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 North 3rd Street, Richmond, VA

Pre-Conference Master Classes on Friday, October 14, 2016

Register before August 1st to take advantage of our early bird discount.
Starting at $220 for members ($275 for non-members).

On August 1st, prices will increase for members to $270 (non-members to $325).

Click on any of the images below to learn more about this year’s conference.

friday master classes Saturday and Sunday Sessions One-on-One Meetings with Literary Agents
Learn more about our award-winning speakers The Agent Dating Game with Jason Tesauro The First Pages Panel



Click here to register today!


James River Writers Conference 2014: Thanks for Coming!


ConferenceLogo2014: Click here to go to the Conference Home Page
Click here to register today! Click here to become a sponsor for the JRW Conference


Visit our 2014 James River Writers Conference Home Page to learn all about the engaging speakers, informative panels, and hands-on Master Classes we brought to Richmond October 17-19! Thanks to everyone who made 2014 such a wonderful event.

Stay tuned for 2015. We’re already planning a great 13th conference.

Pitching in the Big Leagues

Being ready with a pitch—a concise, compelling description of your book—is especially important at writing conferences because you will have opportunities, either spontaneous or scheduled, to talk about your book with publishing professionals. These opportunities might be casual; in fact, the best opportunities are always the organic ones. An editor might be sitting at your lunch table, or perhaps you meet an author who asks about your current project. Other opportunities are more formal, such as scheduled consultations. You might have a chance to pitch in a one-on-one appointment with a literary agent or editor, in a small-group setting, or in a large pitch contest.

"The Book Doctors" Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

“The Book Doctors” Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

At the James River Writers Conference, our pitch contest is called “Pitchapalooza.” It’s run by The Book Doctors, David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, who do Pitchapalooza events all over the country.

Whatever the circumstances of your pitching moment, preparation empowers you to shine. (more…)

New at the 2014 James River Writers Conference: Critiques!

One of the unique aspects of the James River Writers Conference is that it has something for everyone. No matter what the next step in your writing journey may be, you will find something helpful at the conference. Our job is to help you meet your writing goals. With this in mind, we’ve added a new opportunity to the conference this year: critiques.

Ann Rittenberg

Ann Rittenberg

Over the years, people have told us how much they love the chance to meet one-on-one with an agent or editor. Unlike other conferences, this meeting is offered to conference goers without any extra fee. The one-on-one appointments are designed to give writers an opportunity to pitch their latest manuscript to a publishing professional. However, we also know that some writers are not quite ready to pitch; they would rather work on their craft a bit more. That’s where critiques come in. (more…)

How James River Writers Conference is Different

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
o Pitchapalooza

• 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

Article by Kristi Tuck Austin, Board Chair

Thanks to Everyone Who Made JRWC13 a Success!

Over 325 writers converged in Richmond last weekend for three days of exploring the craft, business, and community of writing. Thank you to our speakers, moderators, vendors, and attendees for bringing to life the 2013 James River Writers Conference and continuing the 11-year tradition. We’re already processing your feedback to build the 2014 Conference! (more…)

Register today for JRWC13





As we prepare for the 11th Annual James River Writers Conference on October 19-20 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of hundreds of attendees and dozens of speakers, ready to exchange tips, confess struggles, and forge relationships that will fuel literary successes yet untold. We look forward to seeing those of you who have registered! To those of you still on the fence, check out what you risk missing: Chip Kidd, Christopher McDougall, Carey Albertine and other speakers on Saturday, First Pages Critiques and Pitchapalooza on Sunday, and a weekend full of inspiration and connection. Learn more and register.


Chip Kidd’s TED talk on book design has been viewed over 775,000 times and was called one of the funniest of 2012.  Meet the King of Covers in person at JRWC13. He will present “Fail Better,” in which he recounts examples from his career of over a quarter-century where he failed utterly and used those circumstances as an opportunity to do something better than he did in the first place. After the usual process of drinking and crying, of course.


Learn more and register.


Conference Speaker Preview: NYT bestseller Christopher McDougall

JRW Member Kristen Green recently interviewed Christopher McDougall, the author of the NYT best seller Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. The book told the story of Mexican Indians that run hundreds of miles without injury in thin homemade sandals and sparked a debate about the running shoe industry. McDougall told Kristen that he originally set out to write a book about ultra marathoners, and it didn’t dawn on him to incorporate the Tarahumara Indians and a race he ran with them in Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons until after it happened. McDougall, a featured speaker at the James River Writers Conference in October, is at work on an as yet untitled book about World War II resistance fighters due out next spring. He is also writing a screenplay of Born to Run.

Question 1: You are a former war correspondent for the Associated Press and a freelance magazine writer, so I assume you’re accustomed to cranking out copy. Was it painful for you spend so much time on one subject in order to write Born to Run? What was your process?

It was a really difficult learning process. Whenever you jump up in length, I think it’s a whole new discipline. For the AP, it’s 500 to 600 word stories, and that was its own discipline. You have to get it all super condensed into a very tight space. Then you move up to magazines where you’re like 2,000 to 5,000 words, and it’s like you’re looking across the sea and you can’t see the horizon, and it just seems way too far for anybody to swim. Then you learn that, and you jump it up to 100,000 words. What made the difference for me with Born to Run was I finally figured out to just make each chapter its own 2,000-word story. (more…)

JRWC13 Speaker Preview:
How Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris Write Together

How do two people write one story? Philippa “Pip” Ballantine and Tee Morris have not only managed to write a novel together, but they’ve even successfully done it three times in their outrageously fun steampunk-spy series, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

As we draw ever closer to their appearance at this year’s James River Writers Conference, this dynamic duo has collaborated yet again to share with our members how they write as a team.

Collaboration is nothing new and it seems to be a trend with new authors and writing groups. There are teams like Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, or the numerous pairing-up’s that Baen Books is known for that make collaborations look like a great way to create a bestselling epic. It’s also easy, right? You take the idea, split up or divvy the work, and then at the end — ba-da-bing-ba-da-boom — you have a manuscript, right?

Not by a longshot.

When authors collaborate, it’s different from team to team. What is essential in a successful collaboration is to tell a story—the same story—while remaining true to your own style. We both have unique writing styles, but we also have writing styles that are compatible with one another. It is that compatibility that led us to working together, and yeah, probably getting married.

No, we’re not suggesting you marry your writing partner or partners. We just got lucky that way.

But we digress… (more…)