Sharpen Your Networking and Marketing Skills at These 2023 Book Fairs

BY ANDREA MORAN • February 14, 2023

Sharpen Your Networking and Marketing Skills at These 2023 Book Fairs

As any indie author knows, getting your book in the hands of publishers is the number one biggest hurdle (after, you know, actually writing the thing). Book fairs can be a great way to introduce yourself to publishers from a multitude of different genres, expose yourself to a new audience of readers, and get to know the movers and shakers who are in charge of purchasing new manuscripts.

Just keep in mind that most publishers and agents already have meetings prebooked for these events, so you will definitely want to organize something with them well in advance. In addition, some of the booth and table rentals can be a bit pricey—depending on the book fair—so keep that in mind when reserving a spot. These book fairs can not only help you meet those who may help your book come to fruition in the world, but they can also be excellent places to hone your marketing skills to become a more experienced self-promoter.

Below is a cultivated list of some of the country’s best book fairs that are going on this year. Just keep in mind that there is a fair or festival for pretty much every type of writer, so if you don’t happen to see one that strikes your fancy, just keep your eyes peeled—the publishing world is a big, big place!


26th Annual Children’s Literature Festival, March 3–4, 2023, Redlands, CA
Hosted by the University of Redlands, this festival is attended by authors, illustrators, teachers, and librarians. It exclusively celebrates the genre of children’s literature.

AWP Conference & Bookfair, March 8–11, 2023, Seattle, WA
Authors, publishers, and exhibitors gather for this combination conference and book fair. Panel discussions and a keynote speaker provide plenty of opportunities for advancing your craft.


Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference, April 1–2, 2023, Hamilton, NJ
Attendees will get two days of activities that are designed for writers of all experience levels and genres. Classes will help develop and promote your work, and the conference will provide plenty of opportunities to pitch your manuscript to editors and literary agents. There is even a separate Reader Track for those who want to attend as readers to meet both new and established authors.

Nonfiction Writers Conference, May 10–12, 2023, Gold River, CA and virtual
This one is for the nonfiction writers out there. It is also exclusively held online in order to give authors from around the world an opportunity to attend. There will be live learning sessions, interactive question and answer sessions, and opportunities to speak with panelists in real time.


Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, May 13–16, 2023, Homer, AK
This conference gives writers an opportunity to visit snowy Alaska and shop their manuscript! Visitors will attend workshops, as well as reading and panel presentations in the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry genres. There will also be classes on the business of writing to help with self-promotion.

Maine Romance Writers Retreat, May 19–20, 2023, Portland, ME
What better place to celebrate romance writing than in one of the most romantic and visually stunning parts of the United States? Attendees will meet and hear speakers who will discuss everything from how to research your romance novel to tips on writing it and advice for promoting your novel once it’s ready.


Aspen Summer Words Writing Conference, June 18–23, 2023, Snowmass Village, CO
Workshops at this conference include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and cover topics such as revision. There are also panels, readings, and chances to meet attending editors and literary agents.

American Library Association Annual Conference, June 22–27, 2023, Chicago, IL
This is considered the largest library event in the world. Every year, this is the place where over 25,000 librarians, library staff, publishers, exhibitors, trustees, and other publishing industry experts get together.


SleuthFest, July 6–9, 2023, Boca Raton, FL
As you can probably guess by the name, this is the festival to attend if you write in the mystery, suspense, or thriller genre. Sessions will cover topics such as writing as a craft and marketing and promoting your manuscript—with a chance to actually practice your pitch on more experienced authors.

Readercon, July 13–16, 2023, Quincy, MA
This is considered the premiere book festival for fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction. Attendees can sit in on panel discussions, author readings, and solo talks or workshops.


Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, August 16–26, 2023, Ripton, VT
Despite its odd name, this conference is actually one of the oldest in the country. Founded in 1926, it holds workshops on fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Attendees can also attend lectures, classes, author readings, and meetings with editors, agents, and publishers.

Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference, August 17–20, 2023, Franklin, TN
This conference runs over the course of four days and is known to attract both high-profile authors and those just starting out. Agents, editors, and other industry experts will be in attendance.


Harbor Springs Festival of the Book, September 22–24, 2023, Harbor Springs, MI
This is a type of catchall festival. Spanning three days, it consistently hosts nationally published authors and illustrators who run sessions covering eight different genres: fiction, nonfiction, mystery/thriller, poetry, cookbooks, picture books, middle grade, and young adult.


Ozarks Creative Writers Conference, October 12–14, 2023, Eureka Springs, AR
Designed for new, emerging, and established writers, this conference specializes in workshops on the writing craft itself and how to develop your skills as a writer, plus opportunities for attendees to meet with editors, agents, and publishers.

Andrea Moran lives outside of Nashville. She’s a professional copywriter and editor who loves all things books. Find her on LinkedIn.

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