NYC Conference: These Masterminds Will Blow Your Mind

It might be in its 48th year, but the ASJA’s Annual Conference, set for May 5 and 6 in New York City, will feature fresh offerings to complement conference favorites, including two mastermind programs which offer mid- to late-career freelancers small-group interaction with experts in their fields.

The masterminds are set to run simultaneously for two hours on Sunday, May 5. The “Get the Attention of the Big Five: A Book Proposal Mastermind” will be led by Porscha Burke of Random House, while the “Business of Freelance Mastermind” will be led by long-time freelancers and ASJA members Jennifer Nelson and Stephanie Vozza. These topics were selected based on interests expressed by prior ASJA conference attendees. “We’ve always done panels but [with masterminds] we’re adding new elements and offering another learning venue for writers,” adds Nelson.

Developed for both non-fiction and fiction book authors, the book-proposal mastermind will offer one-to-one feedback and advice on how to craft an effective book proposal, especially one designed to attract the attention of the big five publishers. Burke has worked at Random House for 14 years, acquiring titles by Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. Amy Butler and former Dallas police chief David O. Brown. She will share ideas on how to catch the eye of an agent or publisher.

The “Business of Freelance Mastermind” will be an “active, hands-on activity for writers to learn about their business challenges in a new way,” says Nelson. This mastermind will cover “pain points” freelancers often face in their careers, while providing a forum for writers to share their suggestions for assisting their fellow wordsmiths. Before the conference, attendees will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their professional concerns and experiences, so Nelson and Vozza can craft small groups who share similar interests or inquiries. It is hoped attendees will find their tribe, as they discuss strategies together. The goal of the workshop is to educate participants how to earn more money, improve their marketing techniques, seek out higher-paying clients, perfect the art of query writing, set appropriate rates and run their businesses successfully.

Mastermind programs are available to professional members only. Nonmembers and associate members can participate if they apply for professional membership by March 31, are accepted, join ASJA and pay for the conference by April 22.

ASJA President Milt Toby says he is looking forward to seeing how the mastermind offerings unfold, “ASJA is always trying innovative programming at its conferences and these Masterminds are one of those innovations.”  The tracks are “designed for our more experienced members seeking new perspectives in approaching their writing careers.”

Including educational opportunities such as the mastermind tract is “another way ASJA provides added value to our members,” Toby continues. He also encourages attendees to provide feedback on their conference experiences, so the organization can determine what succeeded and what didn’t and also “to ensure we are providing the necessary services and education to our members.”

Each mastermind track costs $19.99; registration is limited to maintain the small group, learning-intensive setting. You can sign up for a Mastermind as you register for the conference. Take advantage of early-bird conference discounts until March 20.

Tami Kamin Meyer is the Marketing Chairperson of the ASJA. She is an Ohio attorney and freelance writer who tweets as @girlwithapen. Her website is

This year’s ASJA NYC Conference is May 5-6 at New York Marriott Downtown.The schedule, including a list of keynote speakers and panels is available here. Early bird discounts end on March 20. Details for Client Connections signup are coming soon. Masterminds and Client Connections are open to Professional Members.