10 Reasons You Should Attend CNF’s Writers’ Conference

"There’s no better way to build community than spending a weekend in close quarters with other like-minded people."

1. Epiphanies

Wait, you don’t know what crowd-funded publishing is? That’s okay: there’s a panel for that. The first day of the 2014 CNF Writers' Conference is all about the changing world of publishing.  Not only can you explore the world of crowd-funded publishing with Larry Levitsky, CEO of Inkshares, you can also discuss publishing in the digital age with editor and agent Emily Loose. Plus, you can dig deeper into the small press world with Creative Nonfiction’s managing editor Hattie Fletcher and hear about best practices for submitting to literary magazines from Dinty W. Moore. In other words, you’ll get vital information about how to operate in today’s literary and publishing world, all brought to you in one convenient place.

2. Clarity

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing: Is one easier than the other?  Which one makes more sense for you and your work? Does one make you more of a “real” writer? Emily Loose, an editor and an agent from New York, will help you weigh the pros and cons of these two different approaches and make informed choices. Hattie Fletcher, editor of In Fact books, and Michael Simms, founding editor of Autumn House Press, will also talk about small presses, focusing on tips for first-time authors. This is sure to be an informative session that enlightens the process of publication from query to completion.

3. Vision

You have a short journalistic piece you’re trying to expand. Or a lengthy memoir you’d like to shorten.  Or an opportunity to delve deeper into your subject with the help of a massive research project. Whatever the challenge, Saturday’s schedule of craft-focused talks from Lee Gutkind, Dinty W. Moore, Peter Trachtenberg, and Jane Bernstein will provide tools to help move your project forward and help you become a more focused and confident writer.

4.  The Writing Pressure Cooker

Sunday’s sessions focus on small group workshops, plus a two-hour writing boot camp designed to get a whole lot of new words out of you by hook or by crook. So if you register for Sunday, you’ll be forced to write both ahead of the conference and during the conference—isn’t it amazing what a few tight deadlines can do?

5.  Feedback From Pros

Sure, your mom tells you your writing is great—and so does your wife/husband/partner/best friend. Their encouragement feels awesome, but at a certain point, you need honest feedback from other serious writers. Sunday’s small group and Book Proposal workshops will give you the chance to get valuable critical feedback from your peers, and from Dinty W. Moore, Jane Bernstein, Leslie Rubinkowski, Peter Trachtenberg, or Anjali Sachdeva. This one alone is worth the registration price.

6. Schmoozing

Sunday also offers an opportunity for you to pitch a book and/or meet with one of the authors or agents in attendance.  That makes Sunday golden for those of you who are in the market to publish your work. We all know that face time with the right people can make all the difference in the world of publishing—so start practicing your elevator pitch now!

There’s no better way to build community than spending a weekend in close quarters with other like-minded people

7. Boozing

Speaking of socializing, the CNF conference features not just one, but two literary happy hours, where the cocktail shakers shake, the wine wends its way to your toes, and the literati turn into the glitterati. See also: fun.  This is where you get to talk not only to the conference presenters, but also other attendees without the formality of a conference session.

8. New Friends

In addition to schmoozing and boozing, there’s no better way to build community than spending a weekend in close quarters with other like-minded people. Share ideas, share combat stories, and get excited and motivated about the world of nonfiction and nonfiction publishing.

9.  The Big Picture

Lee Gutkind—who Vanity Fair has dubbed “The Godfather of Creative Nonfiction”—is going to talk about the past, present, and future of Creative Nonfiction (both the genre and the magazine) on Saturday. Having a context for where you and your work fall in the nonfiction spectrum will help you determine strategies for pushing your work forward—and inspire you to be a part of shaping the future of the genre.

10. Money

With registration prices starting at just $90, additional discounts for MFA students (as well as past and current CNF online students), and a la cart options that allow you to register for one, two, or all three days of the conference–there's an option for any budget. 

In other words, the Creative Nonfiction Conference is the happening place for nonfiction writers this Memorial Day weekend. And we haven’t even mentioned that Pittsburgh is an awesome place to be in the Spring. Check out the full schedule and all of the presenter bios, and register here.


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