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Josefine Schfr
Josefine Schfr

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Speaking at Tech Conferences - Finding a CFP

This is the fourth part in a series on speaking at tech conferences - it focuses on submitting your talk and applying to open calls for presentations - and, hopefully, getting accepted.

Where to submit?

Once you have settled on a topic, it’s time to find a conference to send your talk to. Usually, conferences open up a so-called “CFP”, which means ‘call for papers / presentations / proposals’. This way you can hand in your talk(s), and among the many different proposals, a committee will usually pick the ones they deem the best fit for the conf.

But before you can actually write an abstract and submit a talk, how do you find open CFPs and conferences that are currently accepting proposals?

There are different ways to find out about open CFPs. One would be to sign up for your favourite confs newsletters - usually, they will announce when their call for paper opens. But this is of course restricting you a lot in the number of applications you can send out as many confs usually just happen once a year.

There are platforms specialised in gathering open CFPs. Here, you can usually filter by topic, programming language, location (virtual, hybrid or in-person) or even geographic region. This is super helpful if you are looking to increase your chances of acceptance and consider sending out your proposal to multiple conferences.

Some of these platforms like sessionize or papercall.io even let you set up your different talks as well as information about yourself, including your socials and speaker bio. This helps you keep track of conferences you have already applied for, quickly find new openings and submit your full applications at a click of a button. If you plan to submit many talks in the future, this might be good option to look into. There are also pages that give you an overview of upcoming events, such as confs.tech or JSConf.

You can also use social media to your advantage: There are a bunch of Twitter accounts sharing open CFPs. Following them will make you aware of nearing deadlines; some examples include:

Following conference accounts also can’t hurt - they will usually share similar info like in their newsletter, so pick whatever channel works best for you.

There are a few other, more general resources that could be helpful:

  • Smashing Magazines Overview of upcoming Web Design Conferences - Smashing Mag does not only host their own amazing events, they also shared an in-depth article covering many different events throughout the year
  • Calling All Papers also has a website in addition to their Twitter account that’s worth checking out.
  • The CFP Organizer is a really helpful overview in which you can even filter for dates, areas or topics There is an (unfortunately) outdated Github Repo with many Frontend Conferences and their CFPs - even though this isn’t up to date anymore, it might be worth checking out. Some conferences are back after a Covid break, even though the list hasn’t been updated.

As always: You are not alone

Ask your colleagues or programming buddies whether they have ever applied to a CFP, where they found it and what they’d recommend. Once you get to talking about your interest in speaking at confs, people will usually forward you CFPs and think of you if an opportunity comes up.

What resources do you use to find open CFPs? The ones I use the most are definitely sessionize and the SeeCFP Newsletter, occasionally Twitter.

Happy CFP Hunting!🔍

Top comments (1)

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jclapadula profile image
Juan Cruz Lapadula Plá • Edited

Hi Josefine,
we recently launched speakerhouse.io, a platform that helps tech speakers connect with events. Come take a look!

If you have any feedback, just let us know in twitter @speakerhouseio