The Historical Novel Society and its Conferences
What is the Historical Novel Society?
We are a literary society devoted to promoting the enjoyment of historical fiction. HNS is based in the USA and the UK, but we welcome members (who can be readers or writers) from all round the world. Through our print magazine, conferences, website, social media, and dynamic membership we help bring the excitement of these novels to the widest audience. Find out about joining us here.
When and where are conferences held?
A conference is held in the UK each September of even-numbered years. The North American conference is held in June of odd-numbered year. Conferences are open to all persons with an interest in historical fiction—writers, readers, and industry professionals. You do not have to be a member of HNS to attend a conference; however, membership has its privileges, as they say, including a discount on conference registration.
Who can submit proposals to present at the conference? Who decides what proposals are accepted?
Anybody with an interest in historical fiction is welcome to submit a proposal. The Conference Board reviews proposed programs for quality and relevance to conference attendees. This volunteer Conference Board organizes all aspects of the conference.
When can I submit my conference proposal and how do I submit it?
Information about conference proposal submissions can be found on our Call for Proposals web page.
Do speakers have to register for the conference?
All presenters are expected to register for the conference.
Are there chances to network at the conference?
Yes, there are many opportunities to meet other participants. Every meal, session break, and reception is a chance to network.
What exactly is Blue Pencil Cafe and how does it work?
See our website tab about Blue Pencil. For more information about our Blue Pencil Cafe, please visit our Blue Pencil Cafe web page.
What is a Cold Read session and how can I have my work included?
See our website tab about Cold Reads. For more information about our Cold Read session, please visit our Cold Reads web page.
What are Koffee Klatches and how can I schedule attendance at those of interest to me?
Koffee Klatches are small informal discussions hosted by one or two authors. At the HNS conference in Portland in 2017 two types of KK will be offered: free-form discussions with no set topic; and themed KKs (focused on a specific historical era of subject matter, hosted by well-known authors writing in that era or subject). KK’s are typically held in small rooms, so the number of participants is limited; therefore, in 2017 we may require conference attendees to sign up to attend KKs at the time of online registration, with any remaining slots available for sign-up upon arrival at the conference.
How can I find the conference registration desk and meeting rooms in the hotel?
There will be signs posted in the hotel guiding you to all conference events. Meeting rooms will have the title of the sessions posted at the door. Our conference has most of the hotel to itself, so it should be pretty easy to find things. Attendees with volunteer badges can help, too.
Do agents or editors attend the conference and can authors pitch to them?
Agents and editors with an interest in historical fiction are invited to attend the conference. Attending authors can indicate preferences for agents and editors whom they would like to pitch when they register for the conference. All pitch appointments are arranged prior to the conference, so participants arrive knowing the time and date of their pitch appointment.
How should I prepare for my appointment? What if I faint?
Deep breaths. Arrive a few minutes early so you can take those deep breaths. For more information, please visit our Pitching Etiquette web page.
Can I leave a workshop or presentation to go to my appointment? What happens if I miss my pitching appointment?
You can pop out of a session to go to your pitch though you might want to sit in the back or by the door to avoid disrupting the speaker and others. Our agents and editors are tightly scheduled. Channel your inner Aretha and R.E.S.P.E.C.T. the industry professional’s time. There are no make-ups permitted, unless you’re in traction or captured by aliens AND the agent or editor can squeeze you in. There may also be a waiting list to see some of the agents and editors, so if you appear to have missed your appointment time, a wait-listed person may very well have slid into the pitch chair and claimed that slot in your stead.
What if I see an agent at the water cooler in the lobby, in the restroom, or in the elevator? Can I pitch my book?
No, not unless invited to do so, which would be rare. A hello and smile are always good. For more information, please visit our Pitching Etiquette web page.
How will book signings be set up? If I bring my own books, how much space will I have?
Book signings will take place on Saturday afternoon and will be open to conference attendees and the public. Authors must sign up in advance (at the time they register) to participate in the book signing. We anticipate seating two authors per table. Name signs will be provided and you are free to also bring promotional materials. However, only materials that can be placed on tabletops (e.g., bookmarks, business cards, pens) are acceptable. Easels or large signage that might obstruct other authors’ materials are not permitted.
Will the 2107 conference continue the costume pageant tradition?
Yes, but with an icebreaking twist. Come prepared to show off your costume at the Thursday night reception and Costume Pageant and Contest. Get in character and mix and mingle. Maybe Paul Revere will call out a warning to the crowd or a King will meet his future bride! You may also wish to wear your favorite historical-era clothing to the Saturday evening banquet. For more information, please visit our Costume Pageant web page.
What type of clothing is recommended in general for the conference and Portland?
Casual but professional garb will work well. The Saturday evening banquet is dressy casual, although some attendees have been known to put on the dog, the cat, and what have you. So if you do like to go for gala, why not! In late June Portland’s weather is pleasantly moderate, but hotels are famous for showing off their air conditioning, so you may want to bring a sweater or second layer.
What can my spouse do while I’m attending workshops?
Aside from the pool, the spa, and the fitness center, there will be information about other attractions in your registration packet. Powell’s Bookstore is a mile from the conference hotel. Portland’s vibrant downtown is easily navigated by public transportation, and hotel staff can provide you with tips on getting around.
What do I do if I want to be a sponsor for the conference?
HNS is a non-profit organization. In order to keep our costs low for our members, we try to have commercial organizations sponsor different aspects of the event. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please see our Sponsorship web page for more information.
Do you have exhibitor tables at the conference?
To provide additional services to our membership, we do have an exhibitor area during the conference. If you are interested in becoming an exhibitor, Exhibitor web page for more information.
What happens if I register for the conference and have to cancel my registration?
You may cancel your registration up to March 31, 2917 and receive a full refund minus a $50 handling fee. After March 31, 2017, cancellations will not be accepted.
Who do I contact if I need more information?
If you need additional information, please contact us via our contact form or leave a comment below.