Two conferences of awesomeness, one convenient location. You only need to register for one conference, and you get into the other on that same ticket. Your registration fee covers the cost of renting the venue and lining up the entertainment, supplies, etc., but if you would like to attend the banquets sponsored by the CMN, make sure you purchase tickets when you register.
Conference #1: The Catholic “Marketing Network” Conference.
The title is not quite what it sounds like. This is the trade organization for Catholic bookstores, and producers of Catholic books and goods.
What you’ll get:
1. A giant warehouse sale at what will be, for three days, the largest Catholic Bookstore in the World. Every major Catholic publisher, and a bunch you’ve never heard of. Inspirational gifts, jewelry, games, DVD’s, clothing, bumperstickers, glow-in-the-dark crucifixes — all that cool stuff and then some. Booths run by the friendliest people on the planet. And everything’s on sale, because this is where the independently-owned bookstores come to make their purchases, so the discounts are deep.
2. Daily Masses with some of your favorite priests, adoration chapel (run by the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, if they do like last year), confession times offered throughout the week, rosary and holy hours.
3. Evening entertainment (included with your regular admission, no extra charge): Film previews, live music, and inspirational speakers.
4. Book signings and giveaways hosted by all the major publishers.
Conference #2: The Catholic Writers Guild Live Conference.
If you like to write, and want a small, encouraging conference where people will learn your name, take an interest in you, and not try to talk you into soft porn as an “art form”, this is the place.
What you get:
5. So many workshops you can’t actually attend them all. Fiction with Michelle Buckman, marketing with one of Amazon’s top e-book bestsellers, a blogging super-panel, legal topics, writers like Teresa Tomeo and Randy Hain and Pat Gohn, and everything you need to know about getting published, from first inspiration until your book is in the reader’s hand.
6. Critique sessions with Art Powers — bring your work and get ready to grow your skills.
7. Pitch sessions: Talk face-to-face with your would-be publisher, and find out if your book is the kind they’d like to add to their line-up. (Register with CWG if you’re planning to pitch.)
8. Inspirational topics from folks like Daria Sockey, who knows a thing or two about prayer. How does prayer and our vocation fit in to our writing life? What does Catholic writing look like?
9. Ice cream. Register with CWG if you’re in it for the ice cream.
Although I cannot attend this year, I do recommend the conference highly and I do hope to attend in 2014!