Left to right: authors Marshall Ryan Maresca, Amanda Downum, Joe McKinney, K. G. Jewell, editor Joe Monti, and our Guest of Honor Wesley Chu -- teachers at the ArmadilloCon 2016 writers' workshop.
Typically the advice given at every ArmadilloCon writers' workshop is about the same, and after several years of blog posts there isn't much new to write about. So I will only summarize one thing I remember that was new that year.
Arianne "Tex" Thompson and Mark Finn both highly praised the Dallas-Fort Worth writers' conference for several reasons.
Arianne "Tex" Thompson. The agents who come to writers' conferences are looking for new people and new projects. They put up with the expense and hassle of flying to a conference and listening to pitches all day. They may not have much tenure, but that means they have space for you, because they are not busy managing J. K. Rowling and Stephen King.
Writers' conferences are different from conventions like ArmadilloCon in that a conference focuses much more on classes. It's super intense, considerably more expensive, much smaller (400 people is a big year for the DFW writers' conference), and it's very much hit the ground running. ArmadilloCon is a place where you come to have fun and hopefully learn something; a writers' conference is some place you go to learn something and maybe have fun.
Mark Finn. I recommend it unreservedly. It's an open, nurturing environment, a great place to practice your networking. A place to hone and work on specific areas you need help with. If you need help developing your author platform, there's 2-3 things you can do; if you need help with pitch, here's 2-3 things you can do. They bring in editors, you get to pick one you think you could match up with, and you get 10 minutes of face time with them.