Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Talkin' About the CB Writers Conference

I could go on for a L-o-n-g time gushing about the Crested Butte Writers Conference June 22-24, 2012.
It’s my baby and Barbara and I are so proud of that amazing weekend! But I thought I’d offer a bit of more unbiased opinions from past participants. I asked them what they liked best about it and why they’d want to come back. Here’s what they had to say:

Crested Butte WC is in a class by itself. With its magical setting, small, intimate gathering, and well-organized structure, creative energy abounds. This is a beautiful mecca for anyone who wants to learn more about the written word.

~Susan Wiggs, NYT Bestselling author (2008)

I had a great time at the Crested Butte conference. I can't think of anything better than being nestled in the mountains with a small group of people who have something to say and who are seriously committed to improving their writing. I wish they'd put me on their permanent faculty roll.

~William Bernhardt, NYT Bestselling author (2009)

Well, the setting was one of the best I've ever had in terms of conferences...

you can't beat the mountains and the town. Loved that! But also, I like that it was laid back. I think it made writers feel comfortable approaching us (industry people) with questions or just to talk.

That's what we're there for, ya know? You'd be surprised how many conferences aren't like this.

~Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Agent at Nancy Coffey Literary agency (2010)

I’ve attended big conferences, but much prefer the smaller, more intimate conference. At the Crested Butte Conference, everyone has a chance to participate—either in reading his or her WIP at the open readers night (what’s that called?), or sharing a breakfast or lunch table with editors and agents (who have a tendency to hide at the larger conferences), to having more than a 5 minute appointment with editors or agents who are swamped by attendees at the big conferences.

There is such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at CB that everyone is accessible—from conference coordinators, to agents and editors and panel presenters. The workshops presented are informative, open to audience participation, and as good as larger conferences—but with smaller groups so you’re more involved. And also...the price. It’s half what some of the big conferences charge, and I think you get a better value...including a stunning mountain setting.

~Kaki Warner, RITA Award-winning Author (2010,11,12)

We always hear about those "smaller" conferences where things are homey and intimate and the connections you make will last you a lifetime. I've been to a few now and though they all had touches of these elements, Crested Butte is the first one where I walked in, was welcomed, and immediately felt like I'd come home.

This is a great little conference with the friendliest atmosphere and lots of wonderful opportunities to connect to writers and industry professionals in a manner that is more than just deer-in-headlights pitches. Oh, and the setting? Paradise.

~Tes Hilaire, Published Author (2010)

I had heard about the Crested Butte conference for a couple of years before I actually took the plunge. Everything about it is a truly unique conference experience. Workshops are versatile and diverse, the scheduling tight and concise, enabling the bulk of attendees to participate in everything. It’s almost a “single-track” experience, with enough variance for specialty interests and skills. No ‘oh, gosh. . . which of these six workshops do I go to now?’ The guest speakers, agents, and editors are top-notch and relaxed – probably something to do with no eight-hour pitch sessions, and pre-submission of materials. The casual breakfasts are perfect for renewing friendships and making new ones.

Saturday, the conference is combined with a Readers Day – Ever met a writer who didn’t want to mingle with readers and vice versa? Free buses and free evenings to explore the magic, people, and shops/restaurants of Crested Butte. The surrounding community, venue, and staffers who put it all together are like an extended walk through a dream. A ten-star experience in a five-star resort. Unable to make it this year, and boy, am I gonna miss it.

~Ron Heimbecher, Author (2010,11)

What I liked about the Crested Butte Writer's Conference was that it was the fact that it was so small and intimate. I think everyone there felt less intimidated by the writing/finding an agent/publishing/marketing process. This not only goes for the aspiring writers, but the published writers and agents and editors who attended. Of course, I cannot speak for everyone, but it seemed that no one I encountered had their defenses up as sometimes happens at conferences. At some conferences the agents and editors are in a walled castle with the drawbridge up and the moat full of alligators. I understand why, because I've seen looks on the faces of agents at some conferences and that make the poor kitty in Pepe La Pew cartoons look relaxed.

At Crested Butte, there seemed to be more focus on what is good storytelling and writing, then what genre is in vogue at this particular second.

If there was one disappointment for the year I attended, it was that the editors and agents elected not to attend the story readings. I thought how sad it was that they missed an exercise that got to the very genesis of literature. It was like the ring around the campfire when all the chores of the day were done and the reward for a good day's work was some entertainment. Bring on the storyteller. No film, no video, no hype--all pictures made with words and breath. What could be more human? ~Martha Catt, Author (2010)

Intimate conference, with plenty of individual face time to get to know high power editors, agents, and authors. Beautiful location with nice amenities and friendly people. I love the first pages session, it's a chance to see the real arbitrary nature of what writing attracts and appeals to people in the publishing industry, and what doesn't. I come back each year for the opportunity to learn more about the craft of writing, and the publishing industry in general.

~Mike Keith, Author (2008,09,10,11,12)


KL Grady said...

Colleen Lindsay had this to say at Book Country about CBW:

"I second this! I spoke at Crested Butte two years ago, with Don Maass, Kate Nintzel and Adam Wilson. It was small but one of the best writers conference experiences I had an an agent."

Theresa said...

Cool. Thanks for sharing, Kerri!

Shari Green said...

It sounds heavenly! Some day.... :)