Schedule: 2019 Workshop


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, but here is the current layout:

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. Getting Published in Today’s World: 10 Tips to Make You the Writer Agents and Publishers Want, taught by Brian Klems. If you want to land an agent and a book deal in today¹s market, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just write a great book (though that’s a good start). Brian Klems discusses the challenges writers face in publishing today and offers up 10 practical tips to help you break through the barriers and find success.

2. Creating Perfectly Imperfect Characters, by Cody T Luff. The loveable rogue, the hardboiled detective, the beautiful assassin: all recognizable and entertaining tropes. Let’s go deeper into character. In this session, we’ll cover creating a dynamic character who lives on the page, who breaks just enough rules to not only garner the love of a reader but also to secure the interest of an agent and publisher.

3. Ten Tips for Writing a Great Memoir. Writing memoir can be a daunting proposition—you’re the expert on your life, naturally, but narrating and organizing your own experiences effectively can feel impossible. Many writers become frustrated in early drafting stages and lack the confidence to move forward. With these top ten tips for writing a great, moving, and memorable memoir, you’ll learn from bestselling memoirist Rachael Herron how to keep your reader interested while keeping your memoir’s structure cohesive and compelling.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. 15 Tips on How to Write Like the Pros, 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 to Write a Great Query Letter for Your Novel. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

3. Getting More Out of Social Media: New Ways to Query and Pitch Your Book. With advent of social media, the pressure to constantly network and promote oneself as an author can be overwhelming. All the while, authors must still come up with compelling queries and tantalizing pitches for their books. With thousands of other authors in the same boat, how do you stand out? And how can an agent who is looking for your type of project find you? Agents and editors have begun using social media to find book projects. I will introduce authors to new ways to pitch and query their books using social media, providing in-depth information about online query contests and Twitter pitch parties.

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 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.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips: The 9 Musts of a Proposal, 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 Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book. Picture books are tricky works of art that require a lot to happen in very few words. In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Knock ’em Dead: Tips on Writing Mystery, Thriller, and Crime. You have an idea for a crime novel that you think will be a winner. Now what? This class is designed to help you get from concept to published book. Beginning with understanding the kind of crime novel that will be the best vehicle for your idea (mystery vs thriller?), instructor Terry Shames will talk about how to come up with a working synopsis and an outline, offer tips on staying on task to write your book, and give pointers on how to edit effectively. Finally, you’ll learn how to describe and present your work to get the attention of agents and publishers.

2. The 10 Principles of Building Platform, taught by Brian Klems. Writer platform is essential in today’s publishing world. It’s all of the ways you can market yourself and your book — blogs, social media, public speaking, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Let Brian A. Klems from guide you through the 10 principles of writer platform and book marketing what you need to do to achieve them so you can build an audience and, ultimately, sell your book.

3. Crafting Living Localities for your Sci/Fi and Fantasy Worlds, taught by Cody T Luff. So your gritty cyberpunk needs a bar with a nanite-ridden soul and your demon’s lair in your fantasy world needs a living history woven into the narrative. Crafting living spaces that act as both character and location not only sets the stage for a good fantastic tale, but also adds a layer of world-building that can make any story stand out from the crowd. From an android detective’s office to a haunted dwarven fortress, this talk discusses how to put character in the place and place in the characters.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. 18 Frequently Asked Questions About Publishing All Writers Should Know, taught by Brian Klems. Before you publish your work or query an agent (and after), there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, 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 land book blurbs, how to find other writers who can help you, and much more.

2. Find Success Writing Romance. Romance novels make up 46% of all books sold in the United States; they sell more than mystery and science fiction combined. The voraciousness of the reader base makes writing to the romance market a potentially lucrative strategy, but learning to plot, write, and revise a smart, successful, feminist romance novel can be surprisingly difficult. In this session, bestselling author Rachael Herron will lead you through the steps of writing a romance novel that will satisfy both your creative drive and the genre reader’s expectation.

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. 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.


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.