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Boulder magazine conference connects writers, editors

Ted AlvarezVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
ALL |

BOULDER Many people have thumbed the pages of glossy magazines, wondering how they might get a chance to write about the subject of their dreams. Wonder no longer: The first Magazine Writers Conference debuts in Boulder this October, and it provides regular proles the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the brightest magazine editors in the industry.

Ive been to a couple conferences on novel and non-fiction writing, but not many conferences exist for aspiring magazine writers and photographers, said Michelle Theall, founder and publisher of Womens Adventure Magazine and chief organizer of the conference. If you want to continue the quality of magazines and websites, we need to be talking to next-generation writers and photographers to help them on their path. Lots of people dream about being in glossy magazines, but its hard to get published without clips. I didnt come from writing in the beginning; everybody (should have) that chance to fulfill their dream.Theall set out organizing the conference under the auspices of her media company Teal Mountain Media Group, and her first goal became attracting top-tier talent to participate in the conference. Guest editors include senior photography editor Gail Fisher of National Geographic, staff writer Adam B. Vary of Entertainment Weekly, O Magazine contributor Pam Houston, Shape Magazine deputy editor Janet Lee, Delicious Living editor-in-chief Nancy Coulter-Parker and Outside senior editor Sam Moulton.The first morning will be Gail Fisher from National Geographic we went right to the top, Theall said. If youre an aspiring photographer, the dream is to shoot for National Geographic. We asked her to be a part of the conference and explain how one begins shooting for National Geographic and how (she) assign photos. She was game.Pam Houston will talk about being an essayist and columnist, while Sam Moulton and freelance writer Doug Schnitzpahn will talk about travel writing from both the assigning editor and writers perspective.You get the chance to decide, do I want to be a profile writer, a travel writer, a service-oriented writer? Theall said. Maybe (you) want to review gear how the heck do you get into something like that? You get to hear first hand what these editors look for in that genre of writer. Its for anyone whos looking to get into it.The Magazine Writers Conference will also feature a unique speed-dating session, where writers and editors sit down face-to-face to field specific queries and answer direct questions.My best advice would be probably to pitch very specific queries aspiring writers really get the chance to sit one on one and pick the brain of an editor, Theall said. You can ask them to look at a new query, and they can learn what we want from them.Boulder has a growing magazine publishing scene with high-quality titles that rival anything on the coasts; for Theall, her home base was the ideal location to host the conference.I think Boulder is the perfect place to be holding this there are so many magazines here, especially concerning outdoors and health, she said. We already had a nice base of editors to work with, and we brought in even more, sometimes from competing magazines. But everyones playing nice, and its been just a really fun thing to do.Theall wanted to break through the elitism and access issues that can lock regular joes and janes out of some magazine conferences in New York or Los Angeles.I know to go to some (conferences) you have to be qualified they decide if youre worthy enough, she said. I didnt want to run a conference like that. Were very open and accessible. The spirit comes from remembering when you had a dream; were going to help you further along.Arts & Entertainment Writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or talvarez@vaildaily.com.


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