Writers conference sparks creativity

By Kevin Graham

Oakland University will be the site of the fourth annual Rochester Writers Conference, taking place Saturday, Oct. 8 in the Oakland Center.

This year’s theme is “Get Published.” The conference includes a variety of freelance, fiction and nonfiction writing workshops and business concepts for those looking for a breakthrough with publishers. It also gives lcoal writers a chance to network with  their peers.

“The conference is really for any level of writer,” said Michael Dwyer, conference organizer. “New and unpublished writers will gain valuable information to get published sooner, to get paid better, and to promote themselves. Established writers can attend and learn more about a genre of writing they’ve never done.”

Among the variety of topics discussed will be self-publishing; something panelist Cindy La Ferle knows can sound deceivingly simple.

“Self-publishing isn’t always ‘easy,” La Ferle said. “You have to do all of your own marketing without the help or the budget of a traditional publisher.”

Lisa Howard is hosting a session on food and writing.

“We’ll look at different sub-fields within culinary writing,” said Howard, who plans to cover everything from food essays to nutrition pieces. “I hope that addressing lots of different angles of the business will give participants a peek into new writing venues and also realize how vast this field is.”

One of the most important things La Ferle and Howard said they took away from the conference was the connection afforded by getting so many authors together in one place.

“The biggest draw of the conference is networking with other writers and to see how they handle the ins and outs of being a solo freelancer,” Howard said. “Working for yourself is worlds apart from working for a company.”

La Ferle, who says writing can sometimes be a lonely pursuit, finds the experience invigorating. “I’ve always found the (conference) to be energizing,” she said. “Just being around that creative energy gets me enthused about my own work, even though I’ve been writing professionally for nearly 30 years.”

Interested attendees can register early for $99. Registration after Oct.1 is $125.