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An excerpt from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

By the fifth year of the Santa Barbara Writers conference the cadre of workshop leaders continued to evolve. Gwen Davis (Kingdome Come, The Motherland, and others), Don Freeman (Corduroy, Inspector Peckit, and others), Herb Harker (Dragon Hunter, Goldenrod, and others). Paul Lazarus, former Vice President of Columbia Pictures joined the ranks of Barnaby Conrad, Niels Mortensen, John Leggett, Jerry Hannah, Bill Downey, and Sid Stebel. Jerry Hannah brought in poet Charles Edwards who gained conference fame for a wildly successful poetry workshop at the beach house of Rosabel Cowper.

 Perennial speakers now included Charles “Sparky” Schulz, Clifton Fadiman, Ross MacDonald, James Sheldon, Eudora Welty, and Don Congdon in addition to the inimitable Ray Bradbury. William Styron (Lie Down in Darkness, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie’s Choice, and others) was on hand in 1977 along with Clive Cussler and Barnaby’s friend, William F. Buckley, Jr. (Saving the Queen, Airborne, and others), who Barnaby had met through Buckley’s younger brother when they had been friends at Yale.

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Eric Myers will be at SBWC 2017, June 20

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As an agent, Eric Myers has a strong affinity for young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as adult nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, biography, psychology, health and wellness, true crime, performing arts, and pop culture. He also represents thrillers, urban fantasy and historical fiction. He’s open to memoir from writers who already have a strong platform.

He does not represent poetry, literary fiction, plays, screenplays, short-story collections or children’s picture books.

Eric Myers founded Myers Literary Management in 2017, following two years with Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret LLC and thirteen with The Spieler Agency. A graduate of UCLA and the Sorbonne, Eric entered publishing as a journalist and author.

He is proud to be a member of both the Authors’ Guild and the Association of Authors’ Representatives. His own books include Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, Forties Screen Style: A Celebration of High Pastiche in Hollywood, and Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis, all published by  St. Martin’s Press.

His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Arts and Leisure sections, Time Out New York, Opera News, Art and Auction, Variety, and Quest. 

Among his authors are Chris Grabenstein (Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library), Lydia Kang (Controland Catalyst), MAD MEN cast member Bryan Batt (She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother), David Neilsen (Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom), Bridget Hodder (The Rat Prince), Simon Gervais (The Thin Black Line), Tracey Goessel (The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks), financial advisor Erin Lowry (Broke Millennial), former Soviet spy Jack Barsky (Deep Undercover), and World War II Resistance fighter Justus Rosenberg, whose autobiography will be published by William Morrow in 2018.


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BJ Robbins will join us at SBWC 2017 on June 20

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BJ Robbins Literary Agency represents quality fiction, both literary and commercial and general nonfiction — mystery, suspense/thriller, biography, history, health, travel, sports, African-American, science, pop culture and memoir.

She currently represents more nonfiction than fiction, but is open to any project that is fresh, original and well written. However, genres that her agency does NOT represent are: sci-fi, westerns, romance, horror, poetry, or screenplays.

She has much experience in many aspects of the publishing industry and is able to offer this range expertise to her clients. She opened her Los Angeles-based agency in 1992 after a multifaceted career in book publishing in NYC. She began in publicity at Simon & Schuster and then marketing director and later senior editor at Harcourt.

Her clients include NY Times bestselling authors and award-winning writers such as J. Maarten Troost, James Donovan, Deanne Stillman, Chris Erskin, John Hough, Jr., Max Byrd, Nafisa Haji, Renee Swindle, Stephen Graham Jones, and the late James D. Houston.

Ms. Robbins has led workshops at UCLA Extension, UC Irvine Extension, the Writers Pad, and at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Fiction Workshop. She is a member of AAR and Pen USA West. She has been a guest speaker in numerous cities in the West as part of PEN’s Writers Toolbox programs.

She works with both established and first-time authors and is looking for projects with strong literary merit. Her advice to potential clients is to learn how to write an effective query letter, because no matter how fantastic your manuscript is, it is unlikely to be considered without a great query to introduce your project.In her opinion, a good emailed query letter and follow-up sticks with the agency’s guideline for submission. The query should be addressed individually to the agent and should not feel general or generic.





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Paul Fedorko will be at SBWC for Agents Day June 20, 2017

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Paul Fedorko catching rays poolside at the wine & cheese party at SBWC 

SBWC is pleased to say that Paul Fedorko will travel from NYC  this June to be at SBWC 2017. He is a welcome and experienced addition to our agent lineup. Paul is a popular choice, not only because he’s interested in a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction projects, but he is both knowledgeable and kind.

He’s looking for contemporary and literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, suspense and historical fiction from turn of the 20th century through WWII.

He would like to see WWII thrillers, British-style mysteries plus any fiction set in NYC midcentury.   His contemporary fiction interests include mysteries with a female PI, young adult and adult literary fiction.A special interest of his is little-known true stories. He will consider business-related projects, humor, sports, travel and biography.

Paul has a wealth of experience in the publishing industry and understands transactions from both sides, as he has worked as an agent and as a publishing executive. Prior to joining N.S. Bienstock, Inc. Paul was a literary agent at Trident Media Group, ran the Paul Fedorko Agency, and before that was a publishing and marketing executive at Bantam Doubleday Dell, Simon & Schuster and William Morrow. He worked with many well-known names as well as first-time authors.

His passion is helping authors develop their projects and partnering them with the right editor and publisher.

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Julie Hill will be at SBWC for Agents Day June 20, 2017

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To sign up for an appointment with an agent:

SBWC is pleased to announce that Julie Hill will be with us for agents day on June 20.

Julie Hill Literary Agency’s specialty is nonfiction. She handles movie and TV rights as well as books. She seeks unique, innovative but market viable projects in the following subjects: reference, biography, history, religious, mind/body/spirit, health, travel, lifestyle, science as well as memoir, self-help, and advice. She’s also interested in anything in regard to Jewish titles, such as books about the Holocaust.

She especially appreciates authors who have an established audience already and a strong platform or active plans for building one. She advises all nonfiction writers to be able to write a great book proposal.

While she specializes in traditional publishing in nonfiction, she considers viable nonfiction publishing projects of all kinds, including self-publishing. She’ll oversee editing, cover design, printing, and promotion for self-published authors. She consults on contracts and agreements between entities, example: co- authoring agreements.

Julie Hill Literary agency has been in business since 1990, first in La Jolla, and now in Del Mar, CA. The agency’s most recent release was in March 2017, titled Leadership Secrets of the Wizard of Oz by BJ Gallagher, author of over 30 business and self-help books. Oz has been granted full rights by Warner Brothers for movie characters and genuine images, an uncommon granting in the book world.

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Should I Register for an Agent Appointment at SBWC?

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Many of our attendees have gone on to publish their work because of the agents they met during the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

If you are determined to see your project find publication, it makes sense to begin building in-person relationships with agents.

Even if an agent you meet with turns out not to be the agent who represents your work, you will find that agents tend to be a friendly helpful bunch…if you approach them in a friendly open manner seeking their professional opinions.

Literary agents are not the primary gatekeepers in the publishing industry. They are experts full of information that can help you find a publisher.

If you have a viable project, and if you can make a personal connection with an interested agent, that person will be your ally in approaching publishers.

Meeting with an agent at SBWC is your chance to separate yourself from the thousands of emailed queries agents receive each year. The “no thank you” responses that come back might make it seem as if agents are not particularly friendly or helpful.

In reality agents tend to be very nice people who are genuinely looking for clients. Literary agents have valuable industry knowledge, and they will share that with you, if you ask.

The question most writers want to ask an agent is:

“Will you represent my manuscript?”

Better questions might be:

“Are you or any of your colleagues interested in a project like mine?”

“What would it take for you to be interested in taking me on as a client?”

Think in terms of what the agent might be looking for, rather than just what you are hoping for, and the answer you receive will be more valuable to you and will improve your chances of eventual publication.

If your manuscript is complete and polished, and you think you are ready for an agent to represent your work, consider registering for agent appointments with agents who are interested in your genre or already represent clients whose work you think is similar to your own.

If your manuscript is not yet complete, or it needs a lot of polishing, you might still want to speak with an agent. Agents tend to build relationships with their clients. Almost every manuscript that is accepted by an agent goes through a vetting process prior to acceptance. And usually there is at least some work needed before an agent approaches publishers on your behalf.

Even if your manuscript is 100% and ready to go, it can pay off to approach talking to an agent with an open mind and a sense that you understand that you will be on the same team during the time of finding a publisher for your work.

Although SBWC has had many success stories in the past, we make no promises that an agent appointment will immediately result in representation.

We do, however, hope your agent appointments will a rewarding and enlightening experience and that it will be a positive step toward building strong personal connections with experts in the industry.

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Scholarship Contest for SBWC 2017

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April 21, 2017
Santa Barbara Writers Conference
June 18-23, 2017

Dear Writers,

Enter to win a scholarship to the 45th Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

No entry fee.

You may share this opportunity with others.

There are three categories to this contest. You may enter one, two or all three.

You are welcome to enter each category, once, but please only one entry per email. 


  1. Opening sentence: Limit 50 words
  2. Prose: This can be a short essay, a short story, or the opening to your novel or nonfiction project. Limit 500 words
  3. Poem: Limit 50 lines

The judging team will look for writing excellence appropriate to each category.

The judges are award-winning, published authors who are associated with SBWC.

We do not announce the names of the judges.

To enter:

  • Email all entries to
  • Put the category of your entry in the subject line.
  • This must be your original work, published or not.
  • Paste your writing entry and contact information into the body of the email. No attachments, please.

Contact information should include:

  • Name
  • Phone number where you can be reached if you are a winner
  • Email address
  • Mailing address

There will be a full tuition day scholarship to the 2017 Santa Barbara Writers Conference awarded ($650 value) for each category.

  1. Scholarship recipients must be able to attend the conference this year
  2. If not, the full scholarship will be awarded to the runner up
  3. No entry fee
  4. Contest opens:  NOW April 21, 2017
  5. Submission period closes MIDNIGHT, Friday, April 28
  6. Submission period is one week only

Winners will be announced Monday May 1, 2017.

SBWC reconvenes at the charming, seaside Santa Barbara Hyatt, June 18-23. For reservations  use the reservation link below. Reserve your room soon as we are nearly sold out of our special rate block.
Santa Barbara Hyatt.
$209 (single occupancy) per night
SBWC Register here.

$650 — full 6-day conference
$100 — deposit with balance due May 15

$40 each — agent appointments with advance ms. submission*
*If you wish to have appointments with agents,  you must be registered for the conference.

Please email for group rates and special prices for registered high school and college students.

I hope to see you June 18-23, 2017.

Write On!
Grace Rachow
SBWC Director

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An excerpt from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

The Fourth Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference returned to the Miramar Hotel from June 18-23rd in 1976. In addition to the now ensconced regulars and the return of Eudora Welty, new speakers included Rolling Stone Magazine co-founder and publisher Jann Wenner, Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and others), Los Angeles Times book review editor and Book Talk columnist Digby Diehl, and Irwin Shaw (Rich Man, Poor Man, and others).

Ken Millar, the Santa Barbara resident known world-wide as Ross Macdonald, introduced Eudora Welty saying “It seems kind of a miracle that she came from Jackson, Mississippi to speak to us.”

Beverly Jackson recorded Welty’s opening words in a 1976 article in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

“I’d like to clear the air about symbols,” Welty began reading. “The novel exists within the big symbol of fiction, and not the other way around.”

She elaborated, “One way of looking at Moby Dick is that his task as a symbol was so enormous, he had to be a whale.”

Welty continued to pass along other words of wisdom.

“Communication is going on when you can believe the writer. Belief doesn’t depend upon plausibility, but it’s a quality that makes reliability.” Later on she said, “Style is the product of highly conscious effort that is not self-conscious.”

When asked about writing as a woman in the question and answer portion of the lecture, Welty said, “It doesn’t bother me a bit,” to the titters from the audience, then added, “I don’t really feel limitations in writing as a woman. I feel I can see the point of view of a man. Once you’ve leaped into looking at the point of view of another person, I don’t think it matters whether it’s a man or a woman.”

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