Launch a Successful 2020 at SF Writers Conference!

February 13 – 16, 2020
Intercontinental Hyatt Regency Embarcadero
5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111

Join us and help us promote WNBA-SF at the San Francisco Writers Conference!

This will be the 17th Celebration of Craft, Commerce, and Community for all writers. Attendees will join with 100+ presenters and fellow writers from across the country and around the world at this year’s event. The SFWC events are consistently rated among the friendliest, top writer’s conferences anywhere.

Presenters this year will include bestselling authors, literary agents, editors, and publishers from major publishing houses. There will be experts on self-publishing, book promotion, platform building, social media, and author websites. SFWC has one of the largest faculties of any writer’s conference.

The four-day event is packed with 100+ sessions for writers–from the craft of writing to the business of publishing. There is copious networking with the very people who can advance your writing career, an opening gala, three keynote speakers, lots of social interaction with other writers, and evening Open Mic readings and pitch sessions. There will be exhibitors with services and tools for writers, including WNBA-SF Chapter, who will also present sessions.

If you are working on your book, getting ready to publish it, or looking for ways to promote an already published book, this is the event you need to attend. TO REGISTER for the 2020 San Francisco Writers Conference, CLICK HERE!

The San Francisco Writers Conference kicks off Thursday evening with separate Master Classes, taught by the conference headliners, our own Brooke Warner and Jonathan Maberry, among others. The Master Classes continue Sunday evening on an array of topics, open to all. Register HERE for Master Classes.  

Be sure to check out the Screen Writing Summit and the Poetry Summit, also with separate registrations. And don’t miss the FREE, Open to the Public events, like the Writers Coffeehouse Friday evening with Jonathan Maberry and the Children’s Event Friday morning with Armand Baltazar.

The conference runs–pretty much non-stop–through late afternoon on Sunday. If you can stay longer, there is a no-host dinner where you can keep the networking going with SFWC presenters, staff, and volunteers. That’s the entire Presidents’ Day weekend..and then some!

We are proud that so many of our WNBA members will be presenters and volunteers at this conference including: Brooke Warner as a Keynoter, Brenda Knight, Joan Gelfand, Nina Amir, Linda Lee, Mary E. Knippel, Martha Conway, Kate Farrell, Barbara Santos, Helen Sedwick, and more!


Meet Us at the Hyatt: SFWC 2019!

SF Writers' Conference logoThe fabulous San Francisco Writers Conference, after years at the Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel, has moved to the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero on the waterfront, near the fabled Ferry Building.

Nowhere could you find a more spacious and elegant accommodation for networking and learning the newest trends in the craft and business of writing. Often called the “friendliest” as well as the premier West Coast writers conference, SFWC is now only a BART ride away from SFO or from almost anywhere in the Bay Area.


Presidents Day Weekend–February 14-18, 2019

Be among the first writers to experience SFWC’s Hyatt Regency venue this year, where you will discover hidden nooks in the soaring atrium (the world’s largest hotel lobby), and an entire floor of meeting rooms surrounded by glass-enclosed hallways and foyers. You will be steps away from a myriad of restaurants, food courts, and the outdoor marketplace at Embarcadero Center, an iconic and accessible destination. Where better for a writer to find community? Register here.

Top Ten Irresistible Reasons for Writers to Attend the San Francisco Writers Conference

Find sessions that fit your specific writing needs and goals. At SFWC you can choose from a full schedule of workshops and panels.

Meet industry leaders and learn how to play the publishing game. The information at SFWC covers the latest trends and technology to help you get more writing done…and successfully sell what you write.

At Speed Dating for Agents pitch your book ideas one-on-one in a room full of literary agents ($75 option for registered attendees only). Literary agents at SFWC are on the lookout for new clients with great books they can represent.

Learn about a wide range of publishing options from leaders in self-publishing AND traditional publishing.

Receive FREE editorial feedback on your work from freelance book editors. Click HERE for the FAQ sheet!

Build your personal writing community. At SFWC meet like-minded writers from all over the United States…and other countries, too.

Seek innovative writer-related services. Meet with the exhibitors at the conference to find out what’s new for writers.

Browse the onsite bookstore and get the books you purchase autographed by the presenters.

Enjoy SFWC’s over-the-top networking opportunities. SFWC attendees can jump into pitch practices, share their work at “Open Mic” readings, and socialize at our Gala Party and Poetry and Jazz events. This is just a sampling of what goes on during the event. 

You want to go to a conference that offers it all. You’ve just described the San Francisco Writers Conference–top quality information and excellent speakers, yet extremely friendly to writers at all levels. 

The MAIN CONFERENCE registration fee includes four days of live sessions, keynotes and events from Thursday through Sunday. Plus a consult with an editor and publicist, unlimited networking with over 100 presenters (and fellow writers!), a Networking Gala, the Poetry and Jazz party, morning continental breakfasts, the popular Practice Your Pitch event, an attendee bag filled with writer goodies, and more!

Wait, there’s more!

New for 2019!  A One-Day Poetry Track at the San Francisco Writers Conference 
The Poetry Summit at the 2019 SFWC
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Starts at 9 am and ends with Poetry & Jazz evening event.
Included with main conference registration or stand-alone for $195.

Pre-Conference: Thursday, February 14, 2019
Post-Conference: Monday, February 18, 2019

Women’s National Book Association—San Francisco Chapter has been a proud sponsor of SFWC since its beginning 2004 at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and then followed the conference to the Mark Hopkins. Throughout SFWC’s 16 years, WNBA has been an exhibitor; WNBA members have been volunteers, presenters, pros, freelance editors, and coordinators. Meet us this year at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero!

Help us promote SFWC with this printable flyer!



Pitch-O-Rama 2018: Agents & Publishers

Women’s Building

Meet the Agents and Acquisition Editors for Pitch-O-Rama 2018, Saturday, March 31, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm.

These impressive publishing professionals bring years of experience, and will provide advice, direction, and next steps for your literary project! 

Whatever your genre, you’ll find an agent or editor to fit your project: from prestigious agencies that represent fiction of all genres, including YA and children’s books, to non-fiction and New Age titles. There are publishers that specialize in eBooks, in hybrid business models, and a non-profit publisher with a local focus. 

This is a stellar line-up! Scroll through the names and bios. But whatever you do, register today! Pitch-O-Rama 2018 is selling out quickly.

Lisa Abelisa-abellera-200llera joined Kimberley Cameron and Associates in 2013 with a background in management, marketing, and finance. Lisa responds to well-crafted prose with strong hooks and high personal stakes, to idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, to a tangible sense of place, to multicultural aspects and international settings, to page-turning twists, and to emotionally immersive fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships. She is seeking to represent upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery/suspense/thrillers (especially if it has a dose of science or the supernatural), science fiction, fantasy, most speculative fiction except for paranormal fantasy (no demons, angels, vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.), romance if it’s an element or part of another genre, NA, YA and middle grade.

 Charlotte Ashlock is the Executive Editor for Berrett-Koehler Publisher‘s line of nonfiction books for working professionals. She is seeking authors who can write books to help people master key job skills. In particular, she is hunting right now for books on project management and contracting. Her background includes website project management and content marketing as well as six years of editorial experience with business books. 

 Jim Azevedo is the marketing director at Smashwords, the largest distributor of self-published ebooks, serving over 130,000 independent authors, publishers, and literary agents. Since 2008, Smashwords has helped authors around the world release more than 470,000 titles and distribute their work globally to top ebook retailers, subscription services and public libraries. Prior to joining Smashwords in 2011, Jim built his career in marketing & PR for high-tech companies. Although Smashwords is a self-publishing platform, Jim loves helping authors sharpen their pitches and book descriptions. He credits his journalism education when it comes to guiding authors, and himself, to “get to the point” with messaging.

 Suzy Evans is a literary agent, attorney, and author who holds a Ph.D. in history from UC Berkeley. In the adult market, she’s looking for narrative nonfiction, history, science, big idea books on controversial social issues, riveting, elegantly-written memoir (recent favorites include Barbarian Days and When Breath Becomes Air), self-help, parenting (bonus points for humor!) and small quirky books that make her smile and think about the world in new and surprising ways. On the children’s front, she’s seeking MG nonfiction, YA fiction that tackles difficult issues in bold, daring ways, and graphic novels that bring history, literature, and fascinating historical figures (think Socrates! Machiavelli! Hamilton!) to life. She’d also love to find a thriller that has “MOVIE!” written all over it. As an author herself, her books include Machiavelli for Moms (Simon & Schuster) and Forgotten Crimes: the Holocaust and People with Disabilities. She’s also a ghostwriter for a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 25 million copies in print and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Parade, Forbes and The London TimesSandra Dijkstra Literary Agency 

 Georgia Hughes is editorial director at New World Library, publisher of the Joseph Campbell Library and The Power of Now. She acquires and edits nonfiction books in the areas of spirituality, sustainability, animals, business, women’s issues, and personal growth. Recent acquisitions include Spiritual Envy by Michael Krasny, Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss, Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson, Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee, and The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner. 

Michael Larsen Michael Larsen co-founded Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in 1972. Over four decades, the agency sold hundreds of books to more than 100 publishers and imprints. The agency has stopped accepting new writers, but Mike loves helping all writers. He gives talks about writing and publishing, and does author coaching. He wrote How to Write a Book Proposal and How to Get a Literary Agent, and coauthored Guerrilla Marketing for Writers. Mike is co-director of the San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. An update is at  

 Dorian Maffei began at Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in 2013. She has since become a junior agent and is now actively building a client list of her own. She is interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page and explores the peculiar within the mundane.

 Laurie McLean, Partner, Fuse Literary, Laurie McLean spent 20 years as the CEO of a publicity agency and 8 years as an agent and senior agent at Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco. Following her stint as the CEO of a successful Silicon Valley public relations agency bearing her name, Laurie was able to switch gears in 2002 to immerse herself in writing. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the State University of New York and a Master’s Degree at Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Journalism. At Fuse Literary, Laurie specializes in adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, horror, etc.) plus middle-grade and young adult children’s books. 

 Kristen Moeller, MS, is an agent at Waterside Productions, the literary home of Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch, Jean Houston and other luminaries. Previously, she was an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the executive publisher for Persona Publishing, a self-publishing imprint. With close to 30 years of training and experience in psychology and personal growth, she craves discovering new (mostly female) authors with real and gritty memoir or literary fiction about walking through the fires of life – exploring depths and darkness while maintaining a strong psychological base. A published author and a three time TEDx speaker, she has been featured on NPR, ABC, NBC, Fox News, the New York Times, Huffington Post and Tiny House Nation.

Andy Ross Andy Ross opened his literary agency in January 2008. Prior to that, he was the owner for 30 years of the legendary  Cody’s Books in Berkeley. The agency represents books in a  wide range of subjects including: narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, religion,  children’s books, young adult,  middle grade, literary and commercial  fiction, and cooking. However, he is eager to represent projects in most genres as long as the subject or its treatment is smart, original, and will  appeal to a wide readership. In non-fiction he looks for writing with a strong voice and robust narrative arc by authors with the authority to write about their subject. For literary, commercial, and children’s fiction, he has only one requirement– simple, but ineffable–that the writing reveal the terrain of that vast  and unexplored country, the human heart. (AAR).,  

JenniferSoloway Jennifer March Soloway is an Associate Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, an agency that specializes in children’s literature. She enjoys all genres and categories of children’s literature, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. Although she mostly represents children’s literature, she is also open to adult fiction. Jennifer adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries or conspiracy plots. But her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary people, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. Prior to joining ABLA, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations. With an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, she was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, their two sons, and an English bulldog.

Brooke Warner Brooke Warner is founder and publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of What’s Your Book? and How to Sell Your Memoir. She Writes Press publishes fiction and memoir for women authors and readers. Brooke’s expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. She sits on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). Her website was selected by The Write Life as one of the Top 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014. She lives and works in Berkeley, California.

 Gayle Wattawa has worked at Heyday (, a nonprofit publisher, Berkeley, California, for fourteen years; she is currently the editorial director. Heyday has a forty-four year track record of publishing award-winning books about California. She is interested in acquiring nonfiction (including children’s books) for a general, national audience in the following subjects: social justice, nature, history, and California Indian (with a strong preference for Native authors). Recent Heyday titles include Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, The California Field Atlas by Obi Kaufmann, and Our Dishonest President by the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board. Heyday is also the publisher of the artist, writer, and naturalist John Muir Laws. For Gayle the most important considerations are passion, great writing and storytelling, wide appeal and accessibility, cultural sensitivity, and relevant expertise. 

 Carlisle Webber, Associate Agent, Fuse Literary, took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course, interned at Writers House, and worked at the Jane Rotrosen Agency in NYC. She considers herself to be an editorial agent and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from UC -Berkeley. Carlisle is looking for high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you. Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities.



Happy Holidays from WNBA-SF!

Spirited Women, #SonomaStrong and Strong Spirits

WNBA-SF members gathered Sunday evening, December 10th, for a holiday gathering at the South of Market woman-owned bar, Wine Down SF. Glasses clinked and members clicked as they found like-minded interests among authors, agents, journalists, publishers, memoirists, novelists and more. All felt the excitement of being in a room with women with whom they shared so much in common.

Party goers enjoyed a holiday book exchange of favorite books; some of the titles we saw in the giveaway were: Pearl S Buck’s The Promise, Chakra Tonics by Elise Collins, Berkeley author Shanthi Sekaran’s Lucky Boy, and Still I Rise by Marlene Wagman Geller, The Book of Awesome Women by Becca Anderson, Song of the Plains by Linda Joy Myers, and Spells and Oregano by Patricia V. Davis.

The end of the evening featured a toast to the chapter’s accomplishments by current WNBA-SF president, Brenda Knight and Past President Kate Farrell with a round robin of the members sharing the past year’s accomplishments, as well as writing goals and intentions for 2018. Stay tuned for our Spring mixer, especially if you missed this one. We would love to see you there and hear all YOUR latest news.

Members in attendance: Megan Clancy, Elise Marie Collins, Kate Farrell, Joan Gelfand, President Brenda Knight, Jing Li, Ann Steiner, Sue Wilhite, Kathleen Woods, Humaira Ghilzai, Martha Conway. And welcome to nonmember mixers, Natazha Bernie and Michelle Zaffino. Mary Jo McConahay signed up for a renewed membership on the spot with roving membership maven Elise Marie Collins who is always at the ready.

Much merry was made and it was wonderful to hear members share their news of book deals, recent and upcoming publication dates. Mary Jo McConahay noted that her book deal with a major New York publishing house came from attending Pitch-O-Rama and connecting with ace agent, Andy Ross. A great reminder of the spirit of both the holidays and the Women’s National Book Association which is about sharing for the good of all.

Speaking of sharing, Bags of books were collected to be donated to #SonomaStrong for those affected by the North Bay Fires. WNBA-SF Chapter has now gathered over a dozen boxes filled to the brim with children’s books, memoirs, biography, personal growth, spirituality and fabulous fiction of every stripe for the Sonoma County Free Bookmobile.

A few more cases of books are arriving and, despite having no sleigh or reindeer, we’ll get the books up to the North Bay in time for Christmas. Ho ho ho!!


San Francisco Writing for Change Conference

The Event That Shows You
How Your Ideas Can Change The World

Saturday, September 9th, 2017
Registration begins at 8:30 am  
8:30 am – 5:30 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Center of San Francisco
1187 Franklin Street (at Geary), San Francisco, CA

The keynoter will be best-selling author, Stephen Dinan, whose books include Sacred America, Sacred World and Radical Spirit. Stephen is a social entrepreneur, visionary political strategist and  is the founder and CEO of The Shift Network. Stephen was also a senior staffer for both the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Esalen Institute.

At the 8th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference you will discover how what you write can change the world…and how to get your writing published. The theme of the conference is “Writing to Make a Difference,” with topics ranging from business, spirituality, politics, technology, social issues, the environment, culture, the law, and much more.

The Writing for Change Conference is devoted to bringing together agents, editors, authors, and publishing professionals in order to enable writers to learn from the experts about writing, publishing, marketing, and technology. You’ll come away knowing how to get your work published successfully, online and off.

You will have the chance to learn from and pitch your book to the presenters, and to get feedback on your work from freelance editors. The conference will include one jam-packed day of workshops, panels and the keynote address. You will leave feeling inspired and enlightened. Please join us for this amazing day.

San Francisco Writing For Change registration includes:

  • Keynote and a full day of sessions
  • Ask-the-Pros round-tables with presenters
  • Feedback on your work from independent editors
  • Networking with speakers and other writers
  • Opportunity to pitch your book to agents and editors
  • Lunch and snacks

Help us promote this event, download and share the FLYER!

The Conference will be limited to 100 attendees! For map & venue info, click HERE!


San Francisco Chapter of Women’s National Book Association is a proud co-sponsor and exhibitor of this wonderful conference.

Women, Wine and Books: A Mixer!

Join us for a casual evening in a new, hip tavern downtown!

UTSF logo mixerThursday, March 16th, 2017 
6:00 – 8:00 pm|

333 O’Farrell Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Lobby Level of Hilton Union Square 

Located in the heart of Union Square and downtown San Francisco, Urban Tavern brings a fresh, contemporary take on American cuisine. Urban Tavern’s gastropub features a generous “sides” menu with seasonal and local ingredients to create an innovative experience. Enjoy a modern twist on classic cocktails, many locally-crafted beers on tap and over 70 wines.

Share your news and personal projects and learn how you can get more involved in the WNBA Centennial Year activities!

Bring a friend you think would be interested in joining the magical WNBA!

Urban Tavern location of spring mixer
We will meet in the bar area at the long, redwood table.

No Host Bar. Prices moderate for drinks and sides. Special, personalized server, our own member, KJ Landis!

Please RSVP online by March 13th to secure our reservation. Indicate if you’re bringing guest(s). Limited seating.

The Women’s National Book Association: Connecting, Educating, Advocating and Leading in the Literary Community since 1917. A Non-Profit National Organization—Celebrating Our Centennial in 2017! San Francisco Chapter promotes literacy, a love of reading, and women’s role in the world of words.

Thanks for your RSVPs! We have a full house for our March mixer.


Report: Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston

Written by Nina Lesowitz, SF Chapter Vice President

maxine kingston, woman warrior“In a time of destruction, create something.”– Maxine Hong Kingston

On January 7, a day that weather forecasters warned locals to stay indoors, the San Francisco Chapter’s Bookwomen Speak: Centennial Visionary Series event at the Andre Lorde room in the historic Women’s Building was filled to capacity.

Over 75 attendees listened, enraptured, as Maxine Hong Kingston, in conversation with Vanessa Hua, read from her seminal novel The Woman Warrior – published 40 years agoand provided insight into what influenced the story, and what she might have changed if she were to rewrite parts of it today.

Vanessa HuaInterviewer Vanessa Hua, author, and former Steinbeck Fellow, wrote in her San Francisco Chronicle column the day before our event: “Kingston, who taught for many years at UC Berkeley before retiring, has inspired a generation of writers and will inspire generations more. Though her award-winning books are rooted in the Chinese American experience, they are universal in appeal. Immigrants from all over the world have told her, ‘This is my story’. People who have been bullied, or bullied someone, or been in wars, have also told her, ‘This is my story’.”

Hua asked Kingston what she looks to for hope in this precarious political climate and Kingston buried her face in her hands. Kingston, a noted peace activist, talked about the actions she was involved in prior to the United States’ involvement in the Iraq war. Another highlight: When Kingston described being awarded the National Medal of Arts by her friend “Barack.” At the White House ceremony, President Obama said, “When I was writing my first book and trying to teach myself how to write, Woman Warrior was one of the books I read.”

A national treasure, Maxine Hong Kingston has also earned the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the PEN West Award for Fiction, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The event opened with an introduction from Brenda Knight, president of the San Francisco Chapter, who saluted the 100th year of the Women’s National Book Association and announced our chapter’s many other events planned for 2017. Volunteers staffed the registration table, a refreshment table, and our information table where we sold colorful Centennial mugs. Green Apple Books, a beloved independent bookstore in San Francisco, reported excellent sales of Kingston’s books and Hua’s Deceit and Other Possibilities – in fact, there was a long line afterward of people waiting to get their books autographed by both authors.

Though the room was packed, there was a air of intimacy in the diverse audience that led to personal questions. A memorable exchange occurred with a woman from Afghanistan now living in San Francisco who is writing a novel about Americans; she asked if she could do so, since she’s not a native. In a passionate response, Kingston replied, “I’m giving you the permission to do so, right now,” and she went on to discuss the value of writing through another’s eyes, cross cultures.


L to R: Nina Lesowitz, Maxine Hong Kingston, Vanessa Hua

Attendees expressed their appreciation with a standing ovation at the conclusion of the event, and later, in blogs and on Twitter. A wonderful blog post here: The event was also written about in online publications including AsAMNews.

Long time-member and Development Chair of the Women’s National Book Association Joan Gelfand reported that this was the best SF-chapter event in its history. Former chapter president Kate Farrell had this to say: “Out of hundreds of events, it was one of the most meaningful and special events I have ever attended.”

It was a fitting way to kick off the 100th birthday of the WNBA, and to help us get in touch with our inner Women Warrior to face the challenges ahead. Maxine gave us the courage and wisdom to play the “long game,” knowing that our words and actions have far-reaching effects. As the Chinese poets say: They write even if for only one reader who may read their poem one thousand years from now.