San Francisco Writers Conference – Q&A

by Russell on February 7, 2012

A quick Q&A with San Francisco Writer University Dean, Laurie McLean.

How long has SFWC been running?
This is our 9th year for the conference.

How many attendees are expected this year? Speakers? Agents? Classes?
We’ll have 300 attendees, 100 speakers (including 20 agents) and since we’ve added two new tracks this year—social media and self-publishing—and added some Thursday evening sessions, we’ll have approximately 100 workshops, keynotes and panels.

How does SFWC differentiate their conference from all the others? What’s your point of difference?
We offer the best presenter to attendee ratio of all conferences (1 presenter to 3 attendees) guaranteeing a lot of one-on-one time with these leading publishing industry professionals. Plus we have tracks on fiction, nonfiction, publishing, technology, social media and self-publishing, so we have everything for everyone!

Given the tight budgets these days, why would I choose to come to SFWC over another conference?
It’s the best conference anywhere in the world, or so we’ve been told over and over again by our attendees and presenters.

What do you consider the best point of SFWC?
The chance to really accelerate your writing career in one wild weekend.

What do you see as the biggest changes or challenges to writers in the year ahead?
Digital Publishing supported by social media marketing. See my blog,, for all my posts on these disruptive, transformative technologies.

Do you think we may see a shift to smaller, more responsive publishers?
Perhaps in the ePublishing arena, yes.

The five most important things a debut author should consider when preparing their work for query time? How does attending SFWC help?
We have so many sessions and opportunities for debut authors to get help with their queries. Learning how to write a query. Learning how to find agents and editors to pitch the query to. Practicing your pitch. Speed Dating for Agents. It’s one of the main thrusts of the conference.

Many thanks to Laurie McLean, Dean of SFWU.

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