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, 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. Create New Worlds: A Guide to Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. Speculative fiction is difficult to create. Let this session help you understand worldbuilding, the differences between sci-fi and fantasy, the tropes of both genres, when you should follow the rules, when you should break the rules, and more.
3. Self-Editing and Revision. Revision can make or break a book. This presentation will discuss the importance of revision as all stages of one’s career—from beta readers and critique groups to querying agents, to working with your editor to get a book prepared for publication (and when you have to push back against their editorial suggestions). Examine actual pages from a published manuscript and how the author addressed certain issues.
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 Get a Literary Agent. 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. Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime. If you’re writing a thriller, suspense novel, mystery, or crime novel, you will not want to miss this speech. The presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night.
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. Writing for the Little Ones: How to Craft an Amazing Picture Book For Kids, taught by Madeline Smoot. 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. Self-Publishing: How Do You Know if It’s Right for You? The publishing world has seen huge changes in the last decade or two. Independent publishing platforms and a variety of online resources have made it easier to see your own work in print. Many authors who have gone the self-published route swear by it; some, on the other hand, don’t recommend it. So, how do you know if self-publishing is the right thing for you as a writer? Join a successful author who shares the secrets of self-publishing and how to do it right.
2. Breaking the Rules of Writing. What are “the rules” and when is it okay to break them? Let’s look at recent examples of flying in the face of conventional literary wisdom. When does breaking the rules work? When does it fail? Arming our decisions with the knowledge of what the rules are and why to break them is the key to successful defiance of tradition. We will celebrate literary rebellion and incite a bit of it in our own writing.
3. 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.
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. Sell Your Books and Yourself — Social Media and Book Marketing 101. 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. What Happens After an Agent Offers Representation? Getting an agent is an incredible feat, but this is only the beginning. There are so many things that happen after you receive an offer of representation – from deciding which agency to go with, to editing your work with your new agent, to the submission process, to how deals work, to how you can aide your book’s chances throughout the process. While your focus may be on getting an agent, this workshop will provide you the landscape on what happens next. Publishing is such an enigma so find out how the industry works.
3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market. The romance market is constantly changing, so how then, are you to know what and when to submit to editors and agents? In this workshop, you will learn not only what’s trending in the current marketplace, but how to research an agent/editor that best suits your needs, and the proper ways to approach them.
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.