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About WriterCon


WriterCon is a community of writers working together to build skills, exchange knowledge, and achieve dreams. People assume the “Con” is short for “convention” and it’s true that we hold an annual convention over Labor Day weekend. But in my mind, it’s also short for “conclave,” which is the name of a literary magazine my wife and I started publishing in 2015—and means “a private group of people with a shared goal.” That’s WriterCon.
According to locals, when he was seven years old, little Billy Bernhardt was running around Midwest City telling people he was going to be a writer. The problem was—he didn’t know how to make that happen, and neither did anyone else in the vicinity. It worked out okay in the end—my first novel, Primary Justice, was published in 1991 and became a national bestseller. And soon after, I started speaking at private gatherings of aspiring writers to share what I’d learned on my journey. Eventually that developed into WriterCon.
I held my first writers conference in 2007. In 2017, I asked my dear friend Rene Gutteridge to join the fun. Rene is a bestselling novelist and screenplay writer who emerged from the inspirational/spiritual book community. We joined forces and WriterCon has been growing ever since. In 2023, we set new attendance records with over 250 attending the annual convention. We also had record attendance for our small-group retreats and the WriterCon Cruise. We also added ReaderCon, a retreat for book lovers, which will return in 2025.
Throughout my career, I’ve heard people say writing is “the loneliest profession” or tell sad tales of unfulfilled talent—but it doesn’t have to be that way. I met not only my wife but my best friends through these writing programs and gained the insight that has allowed me to parlay a 1991 hit into a 30+ year, 60+ book career. In my experience, writers are the most generous people in the world, not only willing but eager to help you along your journey. That’s what WriterCon is all about.
Are you a writer? Do you dream of writing and publishing? Come to a WriterCon event!

Visit williambernhardt.com to learn more about our founder! 


“I’m the writer I am today thanks to WriterCon. I started attending in 2016 and because of WriterCon and the Cruise, I am now a best-selling, award-winning author with six published books and more on the horizon. WriterCon is my one “must-attend” conference and has a standing place on my calendar each year.”
Betsey Kulakowski
Author of the Best-selling Veritas Codex Series
“I’ve been on the WriterCon cruise twice now and it’s been a blast.  Great sessions with experts in publishing, editing, and writing, and fellow writers who share what they know, too.  All on the sunny Caribbean.”
Cary Herwig
Author of the Ghost’s Daughter YA Series
“Participating in the 2023 cruise and Summer retreat are some of the best things I have ever done for my writing. The practical, action-oriented sessions helped me boost my page production and editing, too. I’ve attended many conferences over the years, and was surprised that I learned so much. Everyone was super-helpful, and interested only in helping all writers do their best work.”
Linda Basinger

“I want to tell you how much John and I enjoyed WriterCon Retreat 2023 in Branson.  It was the BEST retreat we have ever attended. The event was well-organized, well-run, and glitch-free. We gained so much from the one-on-one time with you and Lara. You both made us feel loved and appreciated. The other writers in the group made a huge impact on us through their critiques and encouragement. We came away believing we really were writers.”


Annie Martin, D.V.M.