Bayou Writers Conference 2017 – A Bridge to Publication


If anyone’s counting, this was my third writers’ conference this year. Alas, it will also be my last one for 2017. With the holidays approaching, a digital marketing conference on the horizon for early December, as well as a round of edits for a new project, and NaNoWriMo, I’m 100% spent. Not to mention the Louisiana Book Festival is next weekend, which is an entirely different kind of event from a writers’ conference but equally as exhausting and enlightening.

But I digress. The Bayou Writers Group annual conference, A Bridge to Publication was this past Saturday, October 14, 2017 in Lake Charles, LA. This particular conference will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first conference I ever went to—back when I was a wee lass in 2012 and realized hey, I want to get published! It was a great experience because it was small and intimate and everyone was so wonderfully welcoming and supportive. I’ve gone every year since and still manage to learn something new no matter how many conferences I go to. And this year was no exception. There were some truly amazing speakers! See below for the list and a quick descript and takeaways of each.


Johnnie Bernhard – Developmental Editing and Content Editing

Author of award-winning novel, A Good Girl, Johnnie Bernhard taught the standard practices of good developmental and content editing with enthusiasm and the confidence and cadence of a long-time teacher. After going through the importance of developmental edits—such as plot and character development—she outlined helpful questions that an author should ask while editing their story to check for pacing, flow, consistency, etc.


Elizabeth Ludwig – Researching Historical Facts for Fiction Writing

Elizabeth Ludwig’s presentation was quite possibly one of the best and most informative presentations I’ve ever sat through. Even though I don’t write historical fiction (which isn’t to say I might try writing it in the future!), I found her materials and resources for historical fact checking highly useful. Not to mention, it’s astounding the amount of research needed for historical fiction. Even simple things like weather or the name of a ship arriving at Ellis Island can be fact checked!


Juliette Cross – Building Believable Worlds – 90 min workshop

As a paranormal romance writer, Juliette Cross is an expert on creating fascinating, illustrious worlds. Her workshop detailed three important tools for writing a unique world—whether paranormal, fantasy, steampunk, etc. By using fun examples of these tools from her favorite authors and her own books, she helped attendees understand these world-building concepts, and then provided creative writing prompts to drive home these points.


S.M. Schmitz – Tips for Visibility in an Increasingly Invisible Publishing World

S.M. Schmitz had so much to talk about! It’s clear that so much goes into launching a book, either self-published or traditional, an author must have a website, some form of social media, a mailing list, and a dedication to their fan base.


Pelican Tales Author/Reader Event

The final leg of the conference was the author/reader signing event called Pelican Tales. I went home with SEVEN books. I was happy, but my wallet definitely wasn’t (*cries*), but it’ll all be worth it once I read these amazing novels by these lovely and talented authors.


Making Exciting Connections

As always, one of the best things about conferences are the amazing connections you make with other authors and writers. I was over the moon when I realized Juliette Cross and I are from the same publisher, Entangled, and we spent quite a bit of time talking about writing, publishing, and living in south Louisiana. She is such a sweetheart and I love that I was able to meet her and learn from her.

Not only that, I was able to connect with a writer, Taylor Anne, who I see at this conference every year and another writer, Jenny Prevost, who writes picture books. Shout out to you both! Can’t wait to see where your writing career takes you!


Interested in some of my notes from this conference? Contact me and I’m more than happy to share!


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