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 and updates:

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (Salon J-K), taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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. How to Write Awesome Young Adult and Middle Grade (Salon H), taught by Christina June. Young adult and middle grade are hot markets today, but what does it really mean to write them? And how do you write YA and MG stories that connect with readers and keep them glued to the page? We’ll talk about YA and MG as categories: how they’re defined, and what audiences they’re aimed at. Then we’ll discuss the craft of writing them. From voice, to themes, characters, and plot, let’s explore how to write YA and MG stories that sell.

3. How to Write a Memoir Readers Will Love (Salon F-G), taught by Lisa Jakub. Memoir is a powerful form of writing that can create a deep connection for the reader and deep healing for the author. However, owning your story and putting it on the page can be a challenging prospect, both technically and emotionally. Using writing prompts, group discussions, and a wealth of personal experience, author and writing teacher Lisa Jakub will help you learn how to differentiate between journaling and writing a memoir, utilize writing techniques from other genres to make your work resonate with readers, and navigate the “vulnerability hangover” that can come from sharing your story

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. How to Compose a Great Beginning for a Great Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Novel (Or Any Novel, for That Matter) (Salon H), taught by Art Taylor. This workshop focuses on killer openings & spine-tingling suspense. 2019 Edgar Award winner Art Taylor offers both genre writers (mystery/thriller/crime) and literary writers tips and tactics for heightening tension, escalating conflict, tossing in the unexpected left turn, and generally keeping readers turning page after page.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Salon J-K), taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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. Diverse fiction and #OwnVoices (Salon F-G), taught by Moe Shalabi. What is diverse fiction and how can an author, any author, utilize it to sell their work? Who is allowed to write diverse fiction? When do you include diverse characters? How does a writer query such projects and how to instill one’s own experiences into he project to make it more authentic? These questions are more will be answered in this workshop.

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 (Salon J-K), 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 (Salon F-G), taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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. Be Brief, Bright, and BOLD! How to Create Epic Picture Books That Sell (Salon H), taught by Eve Porinchak. Have you dreamed of writing a children’s book, but don’t know where to begin? Or, have you written a book and need guidance on how to get it published? In this workshop, you will learn how to create, pitch, and publish compelling picture books that will delight audiences for years to come. Author and former literary agent Eve Porinchak will guide you in taking your story from concept to print and arm you with all the tips you need to create winning picture books that sell.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform (Salon H), taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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. Querypalooza (Salon J-K), taught by Eve Porinchak. In this interactive workshop, you will learn query letter Dos and Don’ts, how to write a compelling logline, synopsis, and bio, and put all the pieces together to create a concise and killer query that will leave agents and editors salivating to read your entire manuscript. Bring your query in case Eve has time to do live critiques.

3. Mastering Point-of-view in Fiction (Salon F-G), taught by Anne Clermont. Point-of-view can be defined as the narrative perspective from which a work is written. The types include first person, second person and third person. As a writer, you’ll use different perspectives depending on what type of books you write, who you’re trying to reach, and how you want the book to come across. In this class, we’ll define each type of point-of-view, look at examples, explore the pluses and drawbacks of each.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Salon J-K), taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Salon F-G), taught by Charis Michaels. Join USA Today best-selling romance author Charis Michaels for an overview of the current romance-fiction market; a closer look at the so-called “high-concept” pitch; the nuts and bolts of plotting genre fiction using Goal, Motivation, and Conflict; and shorthand tools for daily success as a working writer.

3. Character-Centered Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Salon H), taught by Zabe Ellor. Science fiction and fantasy (speculative fiction) authors devote hours of research and thought to building the world of their story. But explaining complex magic systems and cultures can leave readers feeling like they’re drowning in detail, and writers often struggle to decide which details of their worlds to disclose when. In this presentation, In this presentation, a literary agent will share his approach to crafting fantasy worlds rooted in character conflict, demonstrating an approach to let exposition flow naturally while that the same time raising the emotional stakes of the story.


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.