The American Society of Journalists and Authors has strict requirements for membership, but anyone can attend their conferences. What is even a better deal for freelance writers is the option of listening to various breakout sessions from these conferences by either downloading or ordering CDs of the sessions. I recently acquired audio recordings from the 38th ASJA Writers Conference held in April of the sessions on Guerrilla Marketing, Make Your Web Site Add to Your Bottom Line, and Brand You: Positioning Yourself as the Expert (parts 1 & 2) for a total of about $55 — a lot cheaper than a trip to New York plus conference fees. I’ve done this for other conferences that I attended where I didn’t want to lose my concentration by taking notes and simply bought the recordings at the conference of the sessions I liked. In this case, I had to rely a lot on the topic since I didn’t know any of the presenters. I bought the CDs because I don’t like to keep filling up my hard disc with downloads even though I’ve got 320 gigabytes. (I’ve already got 5,700 photos on it).
I had a problem with one of the CDs (which later turned out to be more of a problem with iTunes than the disc) so when I called the company they quickly set up a download of that session for me (at no charge) that solved the problem — good customer service. I later experimented with another disc and found that using QuickTime rather than iTunes was a better solution on the Mac.
The company handles lots of conferences in addition to ASJA and their web site is: http://www.conferencemediagroup.com