Author Excursion: ANWA Conference

For this month’s Author Excursion, we pay tribute to the amazing ANWA Conference we attended last year, which is now open to registration as of May 1st, 2017. Coming to Arizona September 14th-16th at the Doubletree by Hilton in Gilbert, this function is open to the public and is available at an affordable price to those wanting to immerse themselves into the world of writers.


When I wrote my first book over eleven years ago, I had no clue what to do with the finished manuscript. After a few friends read it I put it in a box where it sat on a closet shelf, and in the back of my mind for years.

Almost two years ago I got the impression to pick it back up, but then what? I knew that for me to make my writing a success I needed help, so I reached out, grabbing like-minded individuals to show me the way. That’s where the American Night Writers Association, or ANWA, came into the picture.

Not only was I able to connect with a group of local writers, I was able to find an amazing critique group (my Novel Three girls) and attend this information-packed conference held in Arizona only once a year.

The Experience: ANWA Conference

I had several goals in mind when attending this conference, and hopes were ridiculously high. I wanted to learn my options for publishing my books, mingle with other aspiring writers, and rub elbows with agents and famous authors.

ANWA Conference: Rachel and keynote J. Scott Savage
Rachel and 2016 ANWA Conference Keynote J. Scott Savage

The keynote speaker was the well-known author J. Scott Savage. Over the three days, I got to know this incredible man and his wife. His class on four-part pacing was the most inspiring lecture, packed with valuable information and proved techniques on how to improve my writing. Click on his name to check out his website and books!

ANWA Conference: Rachel and author James A. Owen
Rachel and 2016 ANWA Conference Presenter James A. Owen

I also got to meet, and attend the lecture of the talented James A. Owen, who not only signed my copy of his book, but penned an intricate dragon on the front cover, displaying his talented artistic abilities! Don’t forget to take a peek at all of his work!

I accomplished my second goal when I also had the privilege of meeting two amazing agents from two different agencies. I thank them for their lessons and interest in my writing.

Lessons Learned

  1. Get involved. The best way to learn is to participate. Don’t be shy. When the speakers ask questions—answer them! When they ask for sample writings—raise your hand! Some of the most useful information I received came from these experiences.
  2. Get to know people. There are a lot of people to meet. Don’t be a wallflower. It can be intimidating being the newcomer among those that have been attending for years. You will hear inside jokes (weird ones about unicorns, dancing, and ice cream), and witness friendships that are strong. Don’t be discouraged. You will be able to share these experiences with them soon enough and add your inside jokes to the list.
  3. ANWA Conference: J. Scott Savage presents
    Keynote Speaker J. Scott Savage presents on four-part pacing

    Be prepared to take a lot of notes. While the pad of paper they give is wonderful, it’s not enough for the boundless amounts of information you’ll receive. Take notes on something you can efficiently find later (I learned this the hard way).

  4. Be ready for information overload. You will have so much information thrown at you in such a beautiful way that your head will be spinning by the end. Bring some ibuprofen and lots of water.

Kate’s Take

ANWA Conference holds a special place in my heart. I served on the Board of Directors for two years and saw firsthand how much love and work goes into planning and executing this enlightening event. The keynotes always inspire and the variety of classes provide priceless information.

Jill’s Take

Last year the workshops went well. I love that the authors can pitch their manuscripts to different agents and editors.

3 thoughts on “Author Excursion: ANWA Conference”

  1. Congratulations on the publication of your novel, “Personal Demons,” and thanks for the great endorsement, Rachel! Come prepared to learn even more at the 2017 ANWA Writers Conference and Be Part of the Story! It’s open to the public and you can enjoy a sweet deal if you register before May 31st—

    1. Are you kidding? Not only have I registered, but I hope to be one of the lucky ones to win a spot at the All Star lunch table! Fingers crossed!

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