Surrey International Writers’ Conference: My Volunteer Experience


by @AnnieDaylon


“In reality, receiving is the same thing as giving, because giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe.” Deepak Chopra



Are you thinking of volunteering at a writers’ conference?

For three consecutive years now, I have done just that, volunteered at the prestigious Surrey International Writers’ Conference. Giving? Absolutely. Receiving? Big time! Here’s the breakdown:


  • Helped with registration of attendees

  • Signed in volunteers

  • Introduced speakers

  • Monitored workshops

  • Verified and timed editor/agent appointments

  • Assisted with crowd control and room set up

  • Was available at registration desk as a ‘runner’



  • Worked with countless, seemingly tireless, extraordinary volunteers

  • Mingled, shared and, on occasion, commiserated, with many aspiring writers

  • Developed a sense of the workings of the writing industry as a whole

  • Observed how busy this world is for publishers, editors, and agents

  • Attended, and took notes on, all the workshops I monitored or introduced, including:

    • Writing Query Letters, a Panel Discussion with Stan Wakefield (editor),  Verna Dreisbach (agent), Valerie Gray (editor), Rita Rosenkranz (agent), Claire Eddy (Editor);

    • Social Media  aPanel discussion with KC Dyer (author), Kathleen Ortiz (agent), Rebecca Balwit (author), Sean Cranberry (author);

    • Inside Canada’s Largest Publishing House with Valerie Gray (Executive Editor of Mira Books and Spice Books, both imprints of Harlequin Publishing);

    • Rambo Editing and Creating Plots for Page Turners with Robert Dugoni (New York Times bestselling author);

    • The New Era of Publishing: How to Make it Work for You with April Eberhardt (April Eberhardt Literary Agency);

    • Screenplay vs Novel with Grant McKenzie (author, screenplays and novels); and

    • Successful Self-Publishing with Jodi McIsaac (author, self-published, highly successful).

By giving to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, I received, not only knowledge that I can apply to my craft,  but also an understanding of the business of writing, a sense of belonging to a community of writers, the inspiration to persist within the field, and the determination to ‘give back’ as I go along.

Volunteer tag SIWC 001 (500x640)

Giving and receiving. It’s a karma thing.

Thinking of volunteering? Go for it.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue