My aim in writing The Writers’ Conference was to create a fast, entertaining read that would shed light on the closeted world of publishing.

The publishing world has secrets…

Soon after she finishes writing her first novel, Laura Belmont realizes  that it is unlikely she’ll be able to get a literary agent without help. She is an unknown writer whose book is lost among thousands of submissions.

Hoping for a solution to her problem, Laura submits an application with a chapter from her novel to the Clymer Workshop, a well-known writers’ conference. Her goal is to make a connection with one of the famous staff authors who will help her get a literary agent. She knows this is a gamble, but she can’t think of another way to connect with someone who can help her. To her relief, her application is accepted.

The conference is held in a picturesque setting in rural Western New York, but the atmosphere is anything but tranquil. It seems that almost everyone she meets is attending the conference for the same reason she is there.

The aspiring writers are anxious about which staff member will criticize their work. If their manuscript isn’t assigned to one of the star writers, does this mean that their work isn’t considered promising?

Male writers on the staff are more interested in Laura’s body than in her manuscript. She goes to creative writing workshops unaware of the literary politics being played in the shadows by the famous authors teaching her—the favors made, the courtesies given, the grudges held.

The lessons Laura learns aren’t on the conference schedule. When she receives an offer that comes with a price, she learns how power works in the publishing world. But does the offer cost more than she is willing to pay?

 

In The Writers’ Conference, Marian D. Schwartz tackles the topic with glee, laying bare the underbelly of one such event…a fun read for everyone, and a useful education for anyone who might be thinking of a writing career. The story moves along quickly and holds the reader’s interest all the way to the exciting (and surprising) ending.”  Peter C. Foster, author

The Writers’ Conference…is alternately moving and funny, and never dull. It was interesting to read about the “dirt” in the publishing/reviewing industry.”  Mark Stevens

Read an excerpt here.

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Book cover of woman standing alone at writers’ conference with manuscript papers flying around her.

What Readers Are Saying

The story is well plotted…the twists and turns come naturally, yet remain unexpected…engaging from start to finish.”
Charles Findlay
“Carried by the substantial characters and surprising plot twists, author Marian Schwartz’ meditations on the state of fiction and symbiotic relationships of agents, publishers, and critics are insightful…an entertaining and very smart book.”
JB Hicks
“The twists of the plot are unexpected; there is so much information about the realities of the publishing world…A great read.”
Lillian Bloom