The following article first appeared in Writer's Digest's May/June 2018 issue.
When writing conferences invite Eric Smith of P.S. Literary to join their roster of attending literary agents, he’s usually happy to comply, pending one request: a guest pass, so that he can bring along a marginalized writer from the surrounding area.
“These conferences and workshops can be expensive,” Smith says. “Not everyone can drop $100 on a one-day workshop, or several hundred on a weekend conference. And forget about being able to afford it as a teenager or college student.”
In response—wouldn’t you know it—conference coordinators have readily agreed. And writers have jumped at the chance to take advantage of opportunities like this and other conference scholarships.
Smith puts out the calls on his blog, then weighs responses from interested applicants. In 2017, he brought writers from historically underrepresented groups to events in Pennsylvania and Indiana, and so far in 2018 he’s securing free registrations to conferences in Boston, Minneapolis and beyond.
“In the end, it costs the conference zero dollars. It costs you, the person bringing the writers, zero dollars. It’s a lot less work than it seems for something that has the potential to make a real difference for a writer.”
Enabling conference scholarships is an approach worth noting—both for its impact and for the sentiment behind it. “I’ve been lucky. Others haven’t. It’s a really easy way to give back.”
Learn more about agents who might be open to hosting conference scholarships in the Guide to Literary Agents 2018.
Read more from this extended series, entitled "ROAR," which appears in the May/June 2018 issue of Writer's Digest. Feel the thunderous reverberations of authors and industry pros working to broaden our perspectives—as writers and readers alike. Plus, learn how underrepresented voices are rising in the writing world, all in these articles:
- Fearless Fiction: Mindy McGinnis on Rape Culture, Universal Emotions and Strong Female Protagonists
- From CBS's Cold Case to Kick-Butt Cozies: Kellye Garrett Discusses Screenwriting and Black Women in the Mystery Genre
- Curation & Community: Inside the Literary Magazine Women Writers, Women’s Books
- You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bookshelf: Under-Read Book Recommendations from Literary Agents
- #DVPit Showcases Pitches from Historically Underrepresented Voices in Publishing
- James Han Mattson: LGBTQ Representation, Finding Your Voice and Addressing Gun Violence in Fiction
- Mental Health, Feminism and the Future of YA Fiction with Kelly Jensen
- Embrace the Power of Imagination: Ashley Hope Pérez Talks Latinx Literature and Contemporary Global Issues
- Literary Agents of Color: Empowering Authors & Agents to Succeed
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