75 – Writers Conferences: The Best Investment an Author Can Make, with Sharon Elliott and Sarah Sundin

Posted November 29, 2021 | Laura Christianson
The Professional Writer
The Professional Writer
75 - Writers Conferences: The Best Investment an Author Can Make, with Sharon Elliott and Sarah Sundin


“A writers conference is the place I can find out how to get my book published, because my book is perfect, and everyone needs to read it.”

That’s the mistaken assumption three newbie writers – Sarah Sundin, Sharon Elliott, and I – made before we attended our first writers conference.

Oh, were we in for a surprise!

Sharon Elliott and Sarah Sundin

In today’s episode, the three of us chat about our first-ever writers conference experiences, and how attending conferences has shaped our writing careers:

  • We learned and fine-tuned the craft of writing for publication
  • We learned about the publication industry
  • We connected with other writers, literary agents, and publishing house editors

Sharon, Sarah, and I share a passion for teaching.

We also have individual superpowers (aka, giftings, skill sets) of creating spreadsheets, dreaming up big ideas that work, implementing marketing plans, etc. After our early conference experiences, we tapped into those superpowers and began teaching and keynoting at writers conferences. Eventually, we began directing writers conferences.

In fact, Sarah and Sharon are co-directing the 2022 West Coast Christian Writers Conference. During the episode, they share details about the upcoming WCCW Conference. If you’ve never been to a writers conference and are feeling curious (or anxious) about what to expect, this episode will assuage your fears.

If you have attended a writers conference, and want to hear some of our favorite and weird conference stories, listen in!

About Sarah Sundin

Sarah SundinSarah is a bestselling author of World War II novels, including When Twilight Breaks and Until Leaves Fall in Paris (coming February 2022).

When Twilight Breaks was a 2021 Christy Award finalist, The Land Beneath Us was a 2020 Christy Award finalist, and The Sky Above Us received the 2020 Carol Award.

A mother of three adult children, Sarah lives in California and teaches Sunday school and Bible studies. She serves as co-director of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference and enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.

Visit Sarah: sarahsundin.com

About Sharon Elliott

Sharon Elliott“Live significantly!” That’s the inspiring message of Sharon Norris Elliott, award-winning author, editor, literary agent, speaker, and minister.

She has 13 published books, which span genres from parenting, to women’s, to teens’, to children’s, and to general Christian interest. Her latest book is 366 Glimpses of God: Getting to Know the God Who Knows You

She’s the founder/CEO of AuthorizeMe® Consulting, Coaching, & Editing Firm, and Literary Agency, through which she assists writers toward their publishing goals via private coaching or fun, hands-on seminars.

Sharon hosts two TV shows, Life That Matters, and A View from the Upper Room. And she works as publishing director with HSBN Publishing.

She speaks at various types of conferences, retreats, and services; Sharon is also dedicated to instructing Christian authors and encouraging them toward excellence in the publishing business. She serves as co-director of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference, along with Sarah Sundin.

Visit Sharon: LifeThatMatters.net

What We’re Teaching at the 2022 West Coast Christian Writers Conference

Sharon Elliott

Keynoting, plus a workshop: Just Say, “Tocsynop”

So you want to write a book. You have your idea and even your table of contents. So what’s the problem? You don’t know how to begin. You’ve found it’s a little more difficult than the Nike slogan which says, “Just do it.” Come to this seminar and leave with a new slogan and just say, “Tocsynop!” Bring your proposed table of contents and learn a sure-fire method of moving smoothly from it to your completed manuscript. The Tocsynop method will revolutionize your writing, keep your ideas on track, and make your editor happy too.

Sarah Sundin

Workshop: Setting the Scene—Writing Scenes That Live

Scenes are where your story comes to life. We’ll explore how to start a scene that grabs readers and grounds them in your world, how to use each scene to drive the story forward, and how to end the scene in a way that leaves them wanting more.

Laura Christianson

Laura Christianson

CREW pre-conference mentoring class on February 17, 2022 (6 hours of small group training):
Launch a Successful Email Newsletter

Most of the people who need to hear your life-transforming message don’t yet know that you exist. Email is your secret weapon for finding your ideal readers and generously serving them. If you’re feeling nervous about building an email list, Laura Christianson will guide you in your journey from “invisible” to “visible.” Approachable. Trustworthy.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create a free offer that will attract a steady stream of the RIGHT subscribers.
  • Design a newsletter that gets opened, read, and remembered.

Workshop (during the conference): Anatomy of an E-Newsletter that Gets Opened

Do your e-newsletter subscribers eagerly open your messages and devour every word? If you answered, “I have no idea,” this workshop is for you. You’ll learn how to:

  • Craft a Subject line that piques curiosity
  • Write a story-based message that nurtures your readers
  • Structure your content for speed-readers

About the WCCW Conference

In-person registration pass includes:

  • Keynote addresses—in person
  • Workshops—in person
  • Access to private conference Facebook group
  • One optional coaching & critique appointment—in person (if you register & submit by January 31, 2022)
  • One round table—in person
  • Writing contest entry
  • Complimentary Digital Access Pass (6 weeks access to recorded videos of keynotes, all workshops, private conference Facebook group, writing contest entry, and live Zoom events

Get Ready for Laura’s CREW with her FREE Course

Free course: Email Marketing for Writers: 7 Days to Launch Your List | Laura Christianson | BloggingBistro.com

Email Marketing for Writers: 7 Days to Launch Your List

Whether you’re starting from zero or seeking to skyrocket your signups, Laura’s free 7-day video training (delivered via email, of course) will help you master the basics. Click here to sign up for the free course.

Other episodes in this series, Investments for Your Writing Business

Episode 70: 5 Quick, Easy, and Free Ways to Gain Visibility as a Writer

Five basic, FREE things authors can do right now to find great deals on writerly tools, interact with prospective readers and book buyers, and earn bonus income. Shareable infographic included.

Episode 71: Things I Spend Money on to Run My Writing Business

What I spend to run my business, how much to budget for essentials, and three things to do before investing in a service or tool. Transcript and loads of links included.

Episode 72: Costs of Self-Publishing a Book, with Lisa Baldwin

Debut memoir author, Lisa Baldwin, shares how several publishing professionals helped her shape her manuscript into an award-winning self-published book. We talk about Lisa’s pre-publication costs, publication costs, and hidden fees. Loads of links and resources.

Episode 73: Sensitivity Readers and Subject Matter Experts: Why Authors Need Them

Your most valuable ability is your credibility. Readers notice inaccurate, insensitive, stereotypical portrayals of culture, race, religion, and more. Five authors recount their thoughts about the importance of sensitivity readers and subject matter experts. I share anecdotes from Karen Barnett, Janet McHenry, Deb Gorman, Wendy Propps Casto, and Michelle Ule. Includes transcript.

Episode 74: Strengthen Your Writing and Editing With These 5 Robust Online Tools [Crowdsourced]

Five online tools to help you become a more powerful writer and editor (recommended by my listeners):

  1. ProWritingAid
  2. Jarvis
  3. AnswerThePublic
  4. PerfectIt
  5. WordHippo

Includes transcript, video tutorials, and links to trainings.

How to Keep Up With the Show

Essential Resources for Running a Writing Business from Laura Christianson of BloggingBistro.com

Click here to join my my email list and I’ll notify you about every episode.  (When you subscribe, you’ll also get my free guide, Essential Resources for Running a Writing Business.)

Join The Professional Writer Podcast Community (private Facebook group), where we discuss what we’re learning, meet our guests, and encourage one another on our writing journeys.

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