Descriptions for each 50-minute conference workshop are listed alphabetically by instructor. Panel discussions are listed last. You can view details of the Panels being offered this year at the bottom of this page.
Click HERE to goto the Schedule Page to see Where and When these classes are taking place.
Mid-grade vs YA (Craft) Session 3, Track 1: Session 14, Track 1
Breaking into the children’s market can be challenging. Publishers, agents, parents, and librarians have expectations when it comes to Middle Grade and Young Adult books. In this session, Alba Arango will discuss the key components of each of the two genres, as well as suggestions for how to adapt your story into a MG or YA novel.
Writing for Today’s Children’s Market (Craft) Session 9: Track 1
Do you have an idea for a children’s book? Have you always wanted to write for kids but aren’t sure which age group would be best? In Writing for Today’s Children’s Market, Alba Arango will explain how the children’s market has changed over the years and what today’s market is like for authors. She’ll go through each of the four main categories (picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult) and what today’s kids, as well as parents and librarians, expect to see (and what not to see) in each category, as well as industry standards for each.
Creating a Virtual Platform (Marketing) Session 6, Track 2 (one time only)
Publishers and agents will tell you that a deal-breaker for many authors is the lack of an expansive platform. However, agents, publishers – and authors – don’t understand why a traditional platform is all too often nearly useless. Why? Because if someone “friends” you on a social platform, it’s almost automatic that you’ll return the favor … and if someone asks you to follow them, sure, why not? Why not? Because there is no skin in the game. Moments after they friend you, they’ve forgotten who you are. So, when you reach out to them, they’ve got no reason to do what you ask (i.e., “buy my book please”). By creating a “virtual platform,” you’ll create and attract followers who know your name, like what you write about, and are eager to buy your book.
Leveraging the News Media (Marketing) Session 8: Track 2 (one time only)
How do you go about leveraging your virtual platform using the news media (both online and off-line)? Savvy writers know that the very fact that they’ve written a book – either novel or non-fiction – makes them a niche-topic expert. Based on their works of fiction, novelists such as the late Tom Clancy, as well as Clive Cussler, Lawrence Block, the late Vince Flynn and Brad Thor have all become seen by the media as subject-matter experts. When a topical news item related to your subject matter expertise “breaks,” I’ll show you how to leverage that expertise to get coverage on news shows, talk radio, print and – of course – online, including podcasts, ‘zines, blogs and articles, all of them leveraging your interview into book sales – lots of book sales.
Who Needs POV? You Do! (Craft) Session 2, Track 1: Session 8, Track 1
In this session you will discuss the different types of POV and how to choose which character’s POV to use, You will discuss which POV, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person is best for your story.
The Redundancy Trap and How to avoid it (Craft) Session 6, Track 1 (one time only)
In this session you will discuss the repetition of action words and how writing the same scene in different ways can enhance your prose. Going over the ways to take your writing from TELL to SHOW.
Writing True Crime that Honors the Truth (Marketing/Publicity) Session 2, Track 2: Session 9, Track 2
This popular genre requires a different set of skills than writing fiction along with a commitment to honor the victims of the crime by telling their story accurately. This workshop will cover the basics of investigating, research, interviewing participants, confirming facts, and staying safe. The session will include a case study of the presenter’s 10 month experience as a confidential informant in an international crime investigation and the award-winning book she wrote about it, followed by an interactive discussion of how to best tackle true crime writing and it’s unique brand of writing and marketing.
Using Real World Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Book (Marketing/Publicity) Session 5, Track 2: Session 12, Track 2
To market your book, you can learn a lot from successful advertising campaigns for national products and brand names. This workshop takes a look at marketing and public relations strategies that have helped launch brands and build sales. We’ll discuss advanced sale promotions, books release events, earned media opportunities, how to use reviews and awards to build a following, speaking opportunities for authors, interviews, social media and more – all with an eye on how the pros use them. The workshop presenter has 35+ years’ experience creating award-winning campaigns for causes, sport teams and politicians. She used her real-world experience to promote her first book, an award-winning true crime story that has been the subject of two national network documentaries with a limited television series in development.
Writing Realistic Dialogue (Craft) Session 7, Track 1: Session 12, Track 1
Realistic dialogue is one of the most difficult things for many writers to achieve. It is also one of the most important to your story. In this session you will learn how to transform your character’s spoken words into dialogue that is taut, dynamic, tension-filled, and—above all—realistic.
Write with a Pervasive Character Viewpoint (Craft) Session 13: Track 1 (one time only)
In this session you will learn ways to convey your character’s viewpoint through every aspect of writing, from portrayal of her thoughts and emotions, to setting descriptions, level of detail, narrative tone, and even word choice.
Blogging 101 (Marketing/Publicity) Session 1, Track 2: Session 7, Track 2
Learn the basics of setting up a blog and what it should contain from a blogger, successful in many aspects of the craft.
Great Blog Expectations (Marketing/Publicity) Session 4 Track 2: Session 10, Track 2
This session covers what you expect from your blog and what you can realistically see from your blog.
How to Craft Blog Posts that Get Traffic and Make Money (Marketing/ Publicity) Session 3, Track 3: Session 14, Track 2
Learn how to make your blog profitable and well read.
How to Get Your Books into Libraries (Marketing/Publicity) Session 3, Track 2: Session 13, Track 2
You’ve written your book and got it published, but how do you get your book into libraries across America and into the hands of library users? Julie Okabayashi has worked in the local public library system for over 17 years and has also worked for a U.S. book distributor that sold books to libraries. She will explain how libraries purchase books for their collections, what libraries are looking for when buying books, and how to increase your chances of your book being selected for inclusion to library catalogs. Julie will also explain how to get your book into a library when your book has been rejected.
Outside the Box Self-Marketing Ideas (Marketing/Publicity) Session 11, Track 2: Session 15, Track 2
Why spend tons of money buying advertisements when you can promote your book using budget-friendly non-traditional marketing methods and spur-of-the-moment publicity opportunities? In this workshop, special events coordinator for the Clark County Library, Julie Okabayashi, will lead you through a brainstorming session with other attendees for beneficial marketing ideas that will entice new readers and book buyers. Attendees will walk out of this workshop with a unique and strategic outline of how to put on a special event to market their books.
RANDALL PLATT (Dinner speech on Friday night)
What are These Things Called Teens and How Can I write For Them (Craft) Session 4, Track 1: Session 11, Track 1
Young adult fiction has never been bigger. How do we reach these teens? What interests them? What language do they speak? What are the universal issues? And finally, what the heck is a tween?
How Long Are You Planning on Living? (Why aren’t we writing? Exploring the excuses) Session 1, Track 1
You have this voice inside you screaming to get out. You HAVE to write. So, why aren’t you? What excuse can you come up with next? Is this you? “I’ll really begin to write when ” (Fill in answer)
VANESSA RILEY – (Keynote Speech & Master Class)
Talk to Me (Craft) Session 10, Track 1
Learn the art of using smart technology to thumb-type or dictate your next novel. Survey of the tools and tips to use smart devices to inform and facilitate your writing process.
Stepping into Research (Craft) Session 5, Track 1: Session15, Track 1
Fresh new techniques to approach writing about the past.
Query Letter Workshop (Publishers/Agents) Session 2, Track 3: Session 4, Track 3
If you are ready to seek out a literary agent, you will need an effective query letter. It’s important to remember that agents typically get 10-20 query letters a day. Sometimes more. So, you have about 30 seconds to get the agent’s attention. In this class we will discuss how to write effective query letters that make your project pop. Bring your own drafts. We will workshop them.
First Lines (Publishing) Session 8, Track 3: Session 11, Track 3
First lines make a difference. Most agents and editors will have gone a long way in deciding if you are a talented writer by the time they have finished the first paragraph of your work. In this workshop, you will be the agent. We will read and analyze the first paragraphs of various works. Some from my slush pile. Some books I represented. And some books by published authors. Based on our discussion of the first lines, participants will decide whether, as virtual agents, which authors they would choose to represent. Let’s see if you can guess which ones were published.
Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success (Publishing) Session 1, Track 3: Session 6, Track 3: Session 10, Track 3
Do you want to make money with your book? Do you want to make a living as an author? There’s more to doing so than simply writing and publishing your book. In this “Think Outside the Book” presentation, learn how to make money as an author other than royalties and book sales.
Critiki Bar (Agent/Publisher) Session 13, Track 3: Session 14, Track 3
Why can’t I get my manuscript read? Why did the panel raise their hands at the First Page Read? Use this double session to have your manuscript critiqued by this literary agent and find out why.
How to Write an Explicit Love Scene (Publisher/ Agent) Session 7, Track 3: Session 12, Track 3
Love scenes can be hard (pun intended). Take the stress out of it as Romance Editor Morena Stamm takes you through the mechanics of writing fun sex scenes that won’t leave your readers rolling their eyes. Morena edits contemporary and fantasy romance books for The Wild Rose Press and brings her expertise on sensual and erotic romance to the table.
MAER WILSON (dinner speech on Thursday)
New Author Do’s & Don’ts, From Contact to Contract (Publishing) Session 5, Track 3
An overview of what to expect and how to navigate the initial contact and subsequent scenarios with a publisher. Not all publishers are the same. How to determine what each publisher wants.
Writing for You and Your Audience (Publishing) Session 9, Track 3: Session 15, Track 3
Description: Authors are told to write for themselves. But is that really the best way to sell a book? Discussion on finding the balance between being commercial and being true to yourself.
First Page Reads (Craft) Friday Noon; Saturday Noon
When an agent or editor’s inbox is overflowing and other responsibilities are calling, how far do they read a first page before moving onto the next submission? Listen to industry experts respond to the anonymous first pages of conference attendees and find out if they stop reading, and why.
Friday Panelists: Joylynn Ross, Katherine Sands, Maer Wilson
Saturday Panelists: Janelle Evans, Andy Ross, Morena Stamm
Submission details here.