As a presenter in recent years at the annual San Francisco Writers Conference (February 12-15, www.sfwriters.org), I see a subtle shift in the emphasis and energy of the conference, now in its 12th year.
Held at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco, SFWC is organized by San Francisco Literary Agents Mike Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada, who have done much to nurture and enhance the literary scene in San Francisco for many years. They characterize the event as “A Celebration of Craft, Commerce, and Community.”
It appears to me that about 50 percent of the focus of the 2015 event is on “the independent author/publisher,” which we might characterize as “Indie” or “the BAIPA vision.” The other half of the focus continues to be the “traditional publishing” dream. Authors and would-be authors attend, hoping to meet the literary agent who will sell their project to a New York editor, who will solve their publishing problems forever. Unfortunately, that dream had a better opportunity for success in the previous century.
The first of four panels in which I appear, on Thursday, February 12, suggests the changing pattern of the conference: “Going Hybrid: Choosing the Best Publishing Options for You and Your Book.”
My handout for the conference, “10 Best Practices for Modern Author Survival 2015,” can be seen on my website, at http://www.fostertravel.com/10-best-practices-for-modern-author-survival-2015/ The updated comments summarize the talk I gave to BAIPA in July 2013 on “Traditional versus Independent Publishing.”
The cost of the full four-day conference with meals is considerable ($745 at the door), and makes an investment of $80/year in BAIPA, with $25 for an afternoon workshop appear highly cost-effective. However, there are two “free to the public” events I participate in and highly recommend.
Saturday, February 14, there is a Presenter book signing party from 6:30-7:30. You can buy a glass of wine and hobnob with the Speakers/Presenters (http://sfwriters.org/2015-sfwc-speakers/). If you are a fan of an author, it may be possible to secure autographed copies of books in advance from the organizer of this event, Neal Sofman (BookShop West Portal, [email protected]). Sunday, February 15, noon-2 pm, “Joining the Writing Community: Connecting with Writers” is held in the big ballroom at the Mark Hopkins. Presenters have a few minutes to promote their favorite writers’ organizations, and I will be speaking about BAIPA. Everyone then has a chance to learn more about these organizations at roundtables with the presenters. Virtually all of the writers’ organizations relevant to Bay Area writers will be represented, including national organizations with a local presence.
There are also affordable intensive courses (think $60) on the days before and after the conference, Wednesday and Monday, with various presenters. See the schedule details at http://sfwriters.org/conference-schedule/.