Early Bird Price for the WU Un-Conference Ends Today! Just *32* Spots Remain!

smaller jpg Unconference
WU Logo by Kristy Condon

Sixty-eight of the one hundred available slots for the Writer Unboxed Un-Conference have been claimed, and today marks the last day to register at the early-bird rate for our November event in Salem.

You’ve already read about the basics–the symposium/workshop/networking event/retreat that is in the works; the rock/paper/scissors focus on craft and developing a writer’s inner strength, with time to write and without any talk of the industry, industry; the opportunity for continued learning and networking that we’ll all have because the event directly precedes the Salem Lit Festival (and includes Donald Maass’s all-day “21st Century Fiction” workshop). Now hear what a few of our esteemed Unboxed’ers have to say about the event itself.

“Not only is the Salem Lit Fest thrilled to have Writer Unboxed coming in November, this entire literary city is excited. Salem’s new motto is: Great stories start here! Personally, I look forward to finally meeting you all in person and to a week dedicated to our art.” – Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, and The Map of True Places, and coordinator for the Salem Lit Fest

“Here’s a confession: I’m a maddeningly slow writer. Which is one of the main reasons I can’t wait until the UnConference in November. Here’s why: I love the writer unboxed community, and there are always questions I’d dying to ask each of you, and so much more I always want to say. What stops me is one thing only: the time it would take me to write it all out. What I love about this conference – and what’s so refreshingly, intoxicatingly different about it and all the other very worthy conferences out there – is that in November we really will have time to kick back and talk, to dive into questions about story, your work, and how to get that vision in your head onto the page so that it has readers at hello.” – Lisa Cron, instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and author of the book Wired for Story

“I’m so excited that the energy and connection of the Writer Unboxed community is escaping the internet and spilling into real life.” – Liz Michalski, author of Evenfall

“I’m excited about the Un-Conference. High level gatherings for published and serious fiction writers often focus on the industry. The Un-Conference is different. It is dedicated to what advanced fiction writers really need, which is levels of craft and support that can be found nowhere else, perhaps not even from critique groups, beta readers, agents or editors. The level and breadth of expertise is exceptional. The community is as warmly supportive as I’ve ever found. I’m honored to be part of it.” – Donald Maass, president of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and author of several books for writers including Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction


“There are two areas I’ll be talking about at the Un-Conference. One comes from my work and training as a critic. We might call it ‘when to listen and what to hear.’ From my time at the National Critics Institute through doing decades of professional criticism, I learned there are clear signals (even from unclear critics) about what’s valid and what isn’t. And the second area has to do with a kind of music and a way of using it in writing that’s readily available — without charge — but not well known. I’m going to demo some of this for you so you can feel its potential. Accessed correctly, it moves your own creativity into place and can even help you sustain a work session longer than you might go without it.” – Porter Anderson, career journalist, industry specialist, and Fellow with the National Critics Institute

“I look forward to helping people advance their practice of writing with sessions like “PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS” and “(if you must fail) FAIL BIG!” – John Vorhaus, multi-published novelist and author of several books for writers, including The Comic Toolbox

“Writer Unboxed has been my online writer therapy since the years when I could not get an agent, all the way through publication and beyond, so I am thrilled to be attending the Un-Conference in the city of Salem, which is very dear to this Hawthorne-loving gal. I will be leading a ‘book therapy’ session, or ‘un-reading,’ of bad reviews of published novels, with the objective of thickening the skin of the unpublished and soon-to-be published, and healing those who have experienced the piercing of the reviewer dagger.” – Erika Robuck, author of four novels, including her latest, Fallen Beauty, and co-author of the new anthology Grand Central

“The Writer Unboxed community is such a wonderful place online – I can’t wait to experience that community in person with so many talented, committed writers.” – Jael McHenry, author of The Kitchen Daughter

“Between the incredible amount of support I’ve had, and the sheer fun of getting to know the WU gang, I have felt very blessed these last few years. I’m literally ecstatic about meeting all of these wonderful people on person. Bring on the Un-Conference!”
Heather Webb, author of Becoming Josephine

You can visit our page here at Writer Unboxed for more information, or read that information directly on our page at Eventbrite along with a list of FAQs.

And while you’re there, why not register? We’d love for you to become one of our final thirty-two registrants. 

Hope to see you in Salem!



Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in January, 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~40 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, or join our thriving Facebook community.


  1. says

    I was one of the first to register and I can’t wait to attend. I have so much respect for Lisa, Donald, Porter, Heather and all of the rest of our esteemed presenters who will be sharing their knowledge. WU is truly a unique online writers’ community and I look forward to meeting my fellow WUers in person. Thanks for organizing this Unconference.

  2. says

    Not having a lot of fun finding a link on the blog – or on the email. Every penny counts, and I might be able to stay with a friend if I can learn what the registration costs are.

  3. says

    Having met some of my longtime writerly friends IRL, I can attest to what Lisa says about the limitation on conversation of simply having to type. Seeing and speaking to the people you’ve come to know and trust for reciprocal support is so freeing! And meeting up with other WUers is always more like a reunion with long-lost friends than meeting someone for the first time. The Un-Con will be the ultimate “reunion” and so much more! Cannot wait. Off to share the link!

  4. says

    This sounds so amazing. Thanks for all you do to make things like this possible, Therese. Wish I could be there! You never know…maybe next year I’ll make it.

  5. CK Wallis says

    Let’s see:

    The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference is Sept. 5-7; $315.00 for members + 2 nights hotel, meals, & transportation.

    Women Writing the West Conference is Oct. 16-19, $245 for members + 30 for pre-conference sessions + 3 nights hotel, meals & transportation.

    WU Un-Conference is Nov. 3-7; $500-$600 + 4 nights hotel, meals & transportation.

    As much as I’d love to attend the Un-Conference, the cost and the distance make it prohibitive this year. I’d have to fly to Salem, but I can drive to the other conferences, and even stay with friends in Denver if I want to save on the hotel costs (but I’ll probably stay at the hotel just to have more time to get to know people).

    Maybe next year I will be able to attend all three.

    I must say, all the conferences, workshops, etc. I’ve found does shatter the image of starving writers desperately scribbling away in drafty attics. If it’s true that 25% of Americans would like to write a book (some survey I read a few weeks ago–or maybe I read it here), then it seems that we wanna-be writers may have spawned a new version of the diet industry. I think the message for us newbies is to proceed with caution, spending our writing money as wisely as we try to allocate our writing time.

    That said, I still hope to someday meet all the wonderful WU writers I’ve been getting to know here the past few months.

    • says

      CK, I agree that we all need to be thoughtful about how money is spent re: supplemental writing-related activities. Looking back, there are conferences I attended that I now wish I hadn’t, because I didn’t get enough from the experience or they were a poor fit for other reasons. But there are a few that were fantastic for me — a blend of learning and networking that I personally found invaluable. It’s my hope that the Un-Con, with its focus on the needs of the community members present and its networking opportunities, will be an invaluable experience for attendees.

      Thanks for your comment! Write on.