THIS YEAR’S SESSION & WORKSHOPS:
8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location. Check in and get comfortable.
There will be 3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day. Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:
BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30
1. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2018 (Ambassador Ballroom), taught by Brian Klems. This workshop is quick and easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing. The speech is designed to educate writers and help them understand what publishing options exist for them today and why it’s an exciting time to be a writer.
2. Social Media on a Budget (Diplomat Ballroom), taught by Bethany Morehead. Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and Twitter. Each of these, for starters, is a huge part of building your platform and audience as a writer. But how do you build your audience beyond your friends’ lists? Ads and graphics cost money, and often can easily begin chopping at your bank account. This class is one that will teach how to gain an audience and how to utilize social media when you are on a budget.
3. Query Letter Comprehensive (Regency Ballroom), taught by Eric Smith. Stand out from the slush and workshop your way to crafting a successful query letter. It’s time to kick the clichés, ditch the info dumps, and get ready to dive deeper than a list of dos and don’ts. This in-depth course will help you showcase both your book and your bio to the best advantage. Writing a great query requires a unique skillset: an objective eye, a promotional style, and the ability to consider your book as a whole. We’ll study real queries that hooked an agent, talk about how to research the right agents for you, and examine the standard query rules (then learn when to break them).
BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50
1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros (Ambassador Ballroom), taught by Brian Klems. This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice. We’ll discuss nuts & bolts tips for sentence construction like how to avoid passive tense, how to use vivid language, how to self-edit your own work, how to make your characters memorable, the art of compelling dialogue, and much more.
2. How NOT to Get a Literary Agent (Regency Ballroom), taught by Linda Glaz. This workshop is a thorough crash course in what not to do when you secure representation for your book. Taught by an attending literary agent, this workshop examines pitfalls new authors make when approaching agents (and editors). Learn where writers go wrong in their search for an agent — and how they should do it right.
3. Amuse Yourself With Murder: How to Write a Thrilling Mystery (Diplomat Ballroom), taught by Stephen Mack Jones. Writing a mystery can be a killer — unless you entertain yourself first. Brutal hours of research, writing and revising aren’t manuscript killers. However, tying your stomach in knots over writing your great grand book can be murder. Stephen Mack Jones offers insights for taking the pressure off of yourself and joyfully completing your mystery novel.
LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15
Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes. There are lots of options, including onsite restaurants, and nearby places to eat.
BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30
1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (Regency Ballroom), with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)
2. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Diplomat Ballroom), taught by Brian Klems. This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you. With both a writer and agent to instruct and answers questions, the session will talk about platform, identifying your book’s place in the market, effective pitching, and more.
3. Picture Book Boot Camp (Ambassador Ballroom), taught by Shannon Anderson. Learn how to pitch and publish in the children’s book market from award winning author and teacher Shannon Anderson. She will share the basics of picture book writing, pathways to network with editors and agents, and strategies to start building your platform. You will leave with information about the craft and business side of writing for kids.
BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45
1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Regency Ballroom), taught by Brian Klems. Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, how to find the best self-publishing service for your need, what social media channels you should be on already, how to launch your book right, how to draft a compelling query/pitch and synopsis, how to find other writers who can help you, and much more.
2. Revision: Selling Your Book Before You Submit (Diplomat Ballroom), taught by Cyle Young. Do you find it hard to see your own writing mistakes? Are you your own worst editor? Become a writer that wows a prospective agent or editor by enhancing your manuscript and proposal submission with targeted editing geared to make your submission shine above the competition. Learn how to perform a proper “look” test, make sure you always kill the “as” monsters, “beat” up your dialogue, pull “weeds” and much more!
3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Ambassador Ballroom), taught by Heather Maclean. Writing for children isn’t all that different from writing for adults. You still need great characters in interesting situations doing meaningful things. However, there are some genre specific things to keep in mind when crafting books for those readers under 18.
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Regency Ballroom), taught by Brian Klems. After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to keep your career going with multiple books, how you cross between the words of self-publishing and traditional publishing (i.e., use them both) to make the most money, how to build a readership, and much more.
2. Writing Speculative Fiction — How to Compose Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy (Ambassador Ballroom), taught by Steve Bein. A discussion regarding the genres of science fiction and fantasy — how the markets are changing, what writers can do to improve their craft in these genres, and much more. It’s a great session to attend if you’re trying to write and sell speculative fiction.
3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Diplomat Ballroom), taught by Linda Glaz. This workshop, taught by an attending literary agent, explores the romance novel — delving into different types of romance books as well as different methods for writing a successful story that touches the hearts of agents, editors, and readers.
SESSIONS END: 5:00
At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore station for a short while to sign any books for attendees.