Conference stresses survival basics for new independent writers

Apr 05, 2013, 09:38 ET from American Society of Journalists and Authors

NEW YORK, April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attention current and former newspaper journalists: An entire day's worth of special workshops at North America's premier gathering of writers is designed to be a crash survival course for anyone else who wants to freelance or write a nonfiction book.

"Many journalists are exploring careers as independent writers as the media industry remains in turmoil. Our members are making it, and we're thrilled to offer expert guidance to help our fellow writers survive and thrive," said ASJA 2013 chair Randy Dotinga.

The four beginner-level sessions will be held on Saturday, April 27, the third and final day of the 42nd Annual ASJA Writers Conference in New York City. They will feature top authors, literary agents and book editors plus freelance writers who work for the nation's leading newspapers and magazines.

  • In "Freelancing 101 for Newspaper Journalists: Making It," four writers who are thriving in the freelancing world will share their best tips for landing paid work in newspapers, magazines and online publications.
  • The "Pitch Perfect: How to Write an Awesome Query Letter" session will teach attendees how to grab the attention of editors.
  • Two more beginner-level sessions, "Road to the Bestseller List: Write the Perfect Book Proposal" and "Road to the Bestseller List: Finding (and Keeping) the Perfect Literary Agent," offer expert insight into publishing a book. Panelists include top authors, agents and book editors.

The nonprofit American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation's only writers organization dedicated to freelance writers. "We accomplish our goals of empowering writers through education, advocacy and even legal action when necessary," said executive director Alexandra Owens.

In addition to the beginner sessions, the Conference offers dozens of educational sessions on the art and business of freelancing and book writing. "Ignore the naysayers who have no idea what's going on. The fact is that independent journalism is alive and well," said conference chair Dotinga, a former newspaper reporter who's successfully worked as a full-time freelancer for 14 years. "Our members are proud of their successful careers, and they're here to teach you how to follow in their footsteps." 

The events on Friday, April 26, include a gala luncheon with featured speaker and ASJA member A.J. Jacobs, Esquire editor-at-large and author of New York Times-bestselling books Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, The Year of Living Biblically, and The Know-It-All.

Registration is open now. For complete information about the ASJA Writers Conference, go to

The American Society of Journalists and Authors, founded in 1948, is the professional association of independent nonfiction writers. The ASJA Educational Foundation is a program of the ASJA Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) registered charity.

Alexandra Owens

SOURCE American Society of Journalists and Authors