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. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today. This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing / e-publishing. We will examine the upsides of both routes, the challenges with both, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist
2. Social Media on a Budget. 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 Workshop #1: Learn to Write the Perfect Query Letter for Your Novel, taught by Kristin Nelson. Most writers will tell you that writing a good query letter is more difficult than writing the whole manuscript. How do you distill the essence of a 300+ page novel into one pithy pitch paragraph for your query? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to compose a basic four-part letter, and how to write a standout query letter while avoiding common pitfalls.
BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50
1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros. 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. Query Workshop #2: Live Query Letter Reads and Critiques, taught by Kristin Nelson. Have you ever wondered how an agent reads a query letter? What an agent is thinking while reading? What makes an agent stop and what makes an agent read on? If you have ever wished to be a fly on the wall during that process, this workshop is your chance to get the inside scoop without metamorphosing. Literary Agent Kristin Nelson will read attendees’ query letters and give honest feedback as to why she would or would not request more. Bringing a query for review is optional. Attendees interested in possibly getting their query critiqued should bring 3 copies of their letter, and be prepared for blunt and honest feedback / praise / criticism.
3. Amuse Yourself With Murder: How to Write a Thrilling Mystery. 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, 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. 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. 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. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online cheaply and easily.
2. Revision: Selling Your Book Before You Submit. 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. 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. Ten Keys to Writing Success. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny. This is a general course that addresses commonsense things any writer can do to give their work the best shot at getting published, such as writing the best thing they can, stealing from themselves, and why writing for love and money is a good idea.
2. Writing Speculative Fiction — How to Compose Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy, taught by Wesley Chu. 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. 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.