Skip to main content

5 Superb Tips from San Francisco Writers Conference

Pictured above: Patricia V. Davis and myself in San Francisco, outside of Fog City Diner

Image placeholder title


I took my first trip to San Francisco to speak and attend the San Francisco Writers Conference. It was a fabulous event, and I covered as much as I could on Twitter.

Thanks to the work of Jeanne V. Bowerman (Writer's Digest's favorite Twitter pimp), you can download a rough transcript of #sfwc Twitter tips by clicking here: SFWC.doc (195.5 KB)

Here are my favorite 5 tips from presenters that appeared on Twitter:

  1. Philippa Burgess: You need to win the hearts and minds of people before you win any dollars. Philippa gave a terrific (standing-room only) presentation on how authors can brand themselves. This particular tip conveys how important it is to build an audience interested in what you have to say before attempting to sell a book (to editors, agents, or readers).
  2. Alan Rinzler: Early intervention is really critical for a writer to get good feedback (from a professional, not family/friends). This was the most often repeated advice, and longtime editor Rinzler made a passionate and convincing case for it. (So did Patricia Davis, through the metaphor of a three-eyed baby.)
  3. (First tweeted by @Frannydink): Steve Berry, who has now sold 10 million books, was rejected 85 times before he sold first book. Speaks for itself. Later Berry commented that 10 revisions is not enough. More like 60 is what he recommends.
  4. Agent Ted Weinstein: Writers, think of yourself as multimedia empire - as a producer (in charge of your own success). Depending on or waiting for publishers to create an audience or readership for you is likely to end in failure.
  5. Patricia Davis: Critical - Writers shouldn't randomly blog but blog on material geared toward (book) target audience. I'm just as guilty as the next person when I tell writers vaguely to get a "blog," without really explaining how or when it is meaningful. Patricia did a great job explaining how a blog can be helpful when you're writing material that appeals to your core audience (those people who ultimately want to read your books—not editors/agents).

For anyone who attended the conference and has tips or observations to share, please leave in the comments! Or, if you followed along on Twitter, share your favorite Tweets.

Below: My first cable car ride!

Image placeholder title
Adalyn Grace: On Writing for Escape

Adalyn Grace: On Writing for Escape

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace discusses combining her favorite genres into her new YA fantasy novel, Belladonna.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Our September/October Cover Reveal, a Competition Deadline Reminder, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our September/October 2022 cover, a competition deadline reminder, and more!

Writing Nonfiction History vs. Historical Fiction

Writing Nonfiction History vs. Historical Fiction

Author John Cameron discusses how nonfiction history and historical fiction are more similar than they are different.

Bob Eckstein | Publishing Survival Tips

Top 10+ Survival Tips for Publishing

Poignant advice from some of the funniest people in publishing.

Zac Bissonnette: On the Passionate Community of Mystery Lovers

Zac Bissonnette: On the Passionate Community of Mystery Lovers

New York Times bestselling author Zac Bissonnette discusses the process of writing his new cozy mystery, A Killing in Costumes.

My Long, Winding, and Very Crooked Writing Journey

My Long, Winding, and Very Crooked Writing Journey

Every writer’s publishing story is different. Here, author Sharon M. Peterson shares her journey from writing to publishing.

Jeff Adams | Writer's Digest Indie Author Spotlight

Jeff Adams: Publishing Advice for Indie Authors

In this Indie Author Profile, romance novelist Jeff Adams shares his path to independent publishing and his advice for others considering that path.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Writer's Digest July/Aug 2022

The WD Interview: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The bestselling author of Mexican Gothic shares her approach to world-building, character development, and what she’s learned about the business of writing in this interview from the July/August 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

Thinking of starting your own newsletter? Let freelance writer Sian Meades-Williams lay out 9 pros and cons of writing a newsletter.