Southern California Writer’s Conference: Review


The Southern California Writer’s Conference (SCWC) was held this past weekend in beautiful San Diego at the Crown Plaza Hotel. I went to the Saturday/Sunday portion so this review will not include any information from Friday’s workshops. Overall, the SCWC was an incredible experience, and I want to thank everyone involved for putting on a wonderful and beneficial conference. Writers from all over came together to share their writing journeys and connect with people who can relate and revel in everything writing!

The writing conference review:

Pros and cons.

  • Pros:
    • A variety of workshops
    • Thorough workshops for ways to improve your writing
    • Thorough workshops for creating and using an online platform
    • Advanced manuscript critique submission option
    • Rogue read and critique option
    • NovelCram
  • Cons:
    • No workshops on how to decide on a publishing house
    • No workshops for contract bewares
    • Parking fees: $14.00 per day
    • No optional food establishments close by

The conference schedule included morning and evening speakers, a variety of workshop options, an agent panel, pre-submitted 50 page manuscript read and critiques, and evening rogue read and critiques. The San Diego SCWC was organized, informative, thorough, and offered something for everyone in every stage of writing. Let’s look at some examples:

Workshop Examples:

The Truth is in the Detail and 20 Ways to Make it Better by Judy Reeves. Both of these workshops were incredibly helpful for tweeking manuscripts. Reeves took her time talking about the importance in picking the right verbs, using the senses to describe scenes, and keeping the world alive even when a lot of dialogue is involved.

Marketing the Muse: Query Letter Critique by Marla Miller was a great workshop for anyone working on query letters. Miller was able to give everyone individual feedback. Every writer read their query aloud and was given direct advice on how to improve their query letter. This workshop was focused, pointed, and determined to give each writer something they could take away and directly use to improve this platform. Bravo!

Your Book as a Business: The Ultimate Guide by Charmaine Hammond.

  • Highlights:
    • Write magazine articles to promote your published book (some magazines need a six month lead)
    • Find associations that will be interested in your published book
    • Make a website for the book
    • Blog purposefully about your published book
    • Offer to speak wherever you can
    • Create a daily marketing plan

Hammond’s workshop was very informative and focused on things to do after our book has gone under contract to be published. Even though this information was great for contracted authors, the majority of writers at the conference were still seeking agents. A suggestion would be to add more information that includes getting to that point, i.e., getting under contract, telling tells for the right publisher, and how to spot those awful contracts.

Social Media + Game Plan by Indy Quillen and A Writer’s Website by Jeremy Lee James were two workshops that described how to benefit from social media without it consuming all your time. Quillen and James went over the major social medias and how important it is for writers to have an online platform and how it can help grow your business.

The agent panel:

Wonderful idea! The conference invited agents to come and answer a set of pre-determined questions. All of the writers gathered to hear the thoughts and perspectives of actual agents. This panel went over the basics, discussing the following: “Send in edited work: “Make sure the agent is accepting queries: “Make sure the agent can represent your genre.”

However, all of this can be found by googling tips for submitting to agents. A suggestion for next time would be: Give us something more.

Read and Critiques

What a great thing to offer! The read and critique allowed writers to send in a portion of their manuscript, and with a fee, have a part of it reviewed and then critiqued during the conference. Writers spend a lot of time in isolation, and after hours and hours working alone on those pages, it can feel like we’ve served a solitary confinement sentence. Therefore, getting that one-on-one consultation time with a professional in the industry is invaluable.


This is a great jump-start technique to cover a lot of content over a small amount of time. Drusilla Campbell conducted a one-of-a-kind weekend intensive, and covered everything you need to know about putting together a novel.

Rogue Workshops

LOVE this! Unlike the 3-hour daytime read & critique sessions, the Rogue Workshops began at 9 p.m. and went as long as the stamina of their participants allowed. These sessions lasted until 2-4 a.m. There is something about the magic that happens late at night. 🙂

Thank you

Thank you SCWC for providing such a great conference where writers were able to connect and share our passion. We look forward to future workshops, and if possible even more workshops that dive deeper into the publishing stage, querying agents, how to decide on a publishing house, how to e-publish but maintain traditional publishing benefits, and how to recognize publishing contracts that can hurt the author.

A huge and special thank you to Michael Steven Gregory and Wes Albers for putting this on and for all of their help.

Let’s turn the platform over to all the lovely readers out there. Have you attended a writing conference? What was offered? Also, if anyone attended the SCWC please share your experiences.

Follow @genesedavis on twitter for more writing resources, relevant websites and writing tips & tricks.



14 thoughts on “Southern California Writer’s Conference: Review

  1. Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. Genese,
    I’d make sure the SCWC hierarchy sees this—they couldn’t ‘pay’ for advertisement like this…:)
    I’m posting on their FB wall now– AND thank you for your kind words about my MarketingtheMuse workshop-loved having you & your hubby join us!

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