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, but here is the current layout:
BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30
1. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2018, 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. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction, taught by Madeline Smoot. 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.
3. Ten Tips for Writing a Great Memoir, taught by Rachael Herron. 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. 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, taught by Carlie Webber. 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, taught by Lisa Abellera. 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, 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, taught by Jennifer Fosberry. 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, taught by Terry Shames. 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. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book, 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.
3. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction, taught by Caitlin Seal. 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.
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book, 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. Revision and Self-Editing: How to Tighten Your Work Before You Submit. Learn how to ruthlessly self-edit your own work. This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers. Before you send out your submission, let instructor published women’s fiction author Ricki Schultz show you how to tighten your writing and avoid mistakes that slow your prose down. You’ll learn how to cut down your own word count, eliminate passive voice, spot repetition in your writing, diagnose point of view problems, and much more.
3. Find Success Writing Romance, taught by Rachael Herron. 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.
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.