Panels are held throughout the Conference (Check session schedule for times).
1. How it Works Between Author, Agent, or Publisher: Oksana Marafioti (author) and Amy Collins (her Agent), David Alexanian (Author) Jo Wilkins (His Publisher), Amanda Skenandore (Author)
2. Making the Best Use of Marketing Opportunities: Kari-rae Barnum, Jenni Curtis, and Bruce Wawrzyniak
3. Publishing Scams to watch for in Self and Traditional Publishing: panelists by invitation – Q&A on the subject for attendees.
4. First Page Reads: (Lunch Breaks 12:00 – 1:30pm) Submit yours HERE!
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: Jami Carpenter, Amy Collins, Maer Wilson, Marilyn Atlas
- Saturday: Maria Dismondy, Katharine Sands, Stacy Kondla, Jo Wilkins
Click HERE to goto the Schedule Page to see Where and When these classes are taking place.
Descriptions for each 50-minute conference workshop are listed alphabetically by instructor.
David Alexanian / Author
Writing with tension: Mr. Alexander will take this session to outline and hold an open discussion on writing tension to aid your plot and the necessity of using it to enhance your storyline.
For the First Time Author: He will show the necessity of creating discipline in your writing, How to decide on the structure you will use for the type of story you are writing and the importance of the finishing touches when writing your manuscript.
Marilyn Atlas / Agent
Creating Non-Stereotypical and Memorable Characters: What constitutes a memorable character is a conscious interweaving of the characters thoughts, wants, goals, secrets, flaws, and delusions? For a character to move us he must move the plot forward in a true way that is consistent with his DNA. We will discuss several facets of the “evolution of personality” that are present in the best screen and television examples. Since, the pacing requirements of film are radically different from the opportunities in the novel, we will study how back-stories (info into a character’s past life) lead into the interactions of the present via subtext rather than using flashbacks. The instructor will give handouts and students should be familiar with some of the following films/TV shows by the first class:
TV- Orange is the New Black, The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, The Good Wife, Damages, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Blacklist, Orphan Black**, The Americans, Modern Family, Louie
Dirtying Up Your Characters: Questions to be discussed:
How do you know your Dirtying up your character?
Do some of your character’s decisions make you queasy?
What are the lazy, hurtful shortcuts they take?
Are the negative consequences for other characters?
Does your character have to atone for this action?
Dinner break Speech 5:30pm
Keri-rae Barnum / Marketing Specialist
Amazon Algorithms 101—How to get more traffic to your Amazon sales pages—for free: In this session you will cover what Amazon algorithms and SEO are and how to increase and optimize both for a book listing utilizing categories and ranking, keywords, and outside traffic.
Retail and Book Stores—How to earn a spot on their shelves: Do you dream of seeing your books on the shelves of the local bookstore? Or maybe you have your sights set on airport stores, chain stores and giftshops. Before that can happen, you have to learn the “rules” of selling your book into the retail market. Bookstores have very limited shelf space compared to the rent they are being charged. It is a book buyer’s job to make sure that those shelves earn their keep, and your job to convince them that your book can turn a profit in their store.
Jami Carpenter / Editor
Rock, Paper, Scissors—How to Pick an Editor: You’ve heard it a million times: before submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher, get it professionally edited. But how do you do that, and why should you? Professional editor Jami Carpenter discusses types of editing; how to choose the right editor; what to expect from an editor; and most important, how to work with an editor.
Is Your Manuscript a Model T or a Tesla? Fine Tuning Your Writing for a Smooth Ride Read: Even the most accomplished writers struggle with spelling, grammar, and punctuation; suffer from misuse or abuse of the language; rely on favorite phrases, and wallow in pet words. Jami Carpenter reveals common, ghastly, and humorous errors—and offers suggestions to help your story “purr.”
Lipstick on a Pig—Dead Giveaways That a Book is Self-published: From fonts to margins, chapter headings, front and back cover, front and back matter, Jami Carpenter walks you through the dos and don’ts that’ll make your book the most professional it can be.
Sapira Cheuk / Nevada Arts Council Specialist on Grants
Ms, Cheuk will present a 35-minute presentation and 15-minute Q&A session about the Nevada Arts Council programing and upcoming grant opportunities for writers. In addition, the workshop will cover grant guidelines, application process and panel procedures.
Amy Collins / Agent
Writing a Pitch vs Writing a Synopsis—The Differences and An Easy Way to Do Both Without Losing Your Mind: Do you want to pitch agents and editors with the best pitch possible? Do you know what a pitch is supposed to include (and NOT include?) This class will help you streamline and polish your pitch so that you get more requests. AFTER the pitch comes the synopsis. This “Step one, Step two” session will also give you the rules and best practices for a synopsis that will impress an agent or editor.
First Page Read panel Friday at lunch.
Jenni Curtis / Author & Marketing
The 4 Types of Publishing—Avoiding pitfalls of publishing: In this session Ms. Curtis will review the 4 basic types of publishing the industry offers and the variations in each. She will also review the hidden pitfalls you should watch out for.
Maria Dismondy / Publisher
Writing Your Digital Footprint: In this dynamic presentation, Maria Dismondy will teach about the benefits of developing a powerful brand as an author. Starting from the beginning with deciding where you should be spending your time online to establishing yourself as an expert, your author brand allows you to develop trust with your audience, create connections, and nurture lifelong readers. Whether you are a published author or aspiring writer, a personal brand provides visibility along with credibility and allows you to build equity in your name, not just in your individual book titles. Attendees will walk away with substantial advice on what to do next to developing their online presence.
How to Get Your Picture Book into the Hands of Readers: You’ve written a children’s book; now how do you get it published? What happens after that? How can a writer prepare for the future of their writing career now? In this session, Maria Dismondy will talk you through the steps of submitting a children’s book, the negotiation process and much, much more! Participants will walk away with the knowledge of how to take an active role in the success of their work.
Connecting with Other Writers for Success: We all know that we are #BetterTogether! How can you network with other writers now to increase your chances for book selling success in the future? Maria Dismondy will walk you through the current trends for authors and their relationships and roles with others in the book industry.
Stacey Kondla / Agent
Publishing Children’s Nonfiction Books: Stacey Kondla will present this session on what you need to include when presenting children’s nonfiction books for publication and why they are important and challenging. These books can’t just regurgitate facts in simple language. She will also include tips on what the current market is looking for.
Marketing Picture books through YA: Discover how an agent can help children’s authors market their children’s books. This session encompasses picture books through to YA. And we will discuss the difference between marketing and publicity – two terms that mistakenly get used synonymously.
Paul Levine / Agent
Legal & Business Aspects of Getting Published: There is a level of misconceptions out there among beginning writers and among experienced writers. Writers may know about what they do, how they do it and why they do it, but, in general, know little about and/or have misconceptions about the business of writing and the legal underpinnings of written works. All too often, writers simply leave these matters in the hands of their agents and attorneys if they have representation,
Acquiring Appropriate Rights: Morning Session How are “rights” delineated? What rights are necessary to acquire? From whom or from what are the rights acquired—how do you know that whoever is selling you the rights actually owns what they are purporting to sell? When can you forgo acquiring any rights at all? What are the typical terms/deal points of an option/purchase agreement for the acquisition of rights? Are there other ways beside an option/purchase to be able to obtain the necessary rights to sell a book or true life-story to Hollywood?
Selling a Literary Material or True Life-Story Project to Hollywood: Afternoon Session Now that you’ve acquired the necessary rights, what do you do next? Should you commission a screen or television writer to write a screenplay or teleplay? If so, how do you do that? Should you “attach” an actor to the project? If so, how? How do you “pitch” your project to the studio/production company / network / cable channel / streaming service executive so that you’re not ripped off? Which rights that you have acquired do you “sell”, and which, if any, do you keep? How is that “sale” done? And just what kind of money can you make from all of this, anyway?
Oksana Marafioti / Author & Writing Coach
How to Write a Great Scene: In this class, we will explore story structure and study the anatomy of a scene—the most powerful element of narrative—by learning how successful writers create scenes that grab the reader’s attention from the start. We will also practice writing our own scene. You can bring your own material or write from scratch. Either way, you’ll come away from this class with an insider’s knowledge of how to construct a powerful scene.
Additional Classes by Oksana Marafioti:
Short Stories Essentials—A short story might be short, but it’s mighty!: Writers often wonder what they can do to improve their chances of publishing novels. Many established authors began that journey by writing and publishing short stories. Not only does writing short stories tremendously improve writing skills, but publishing stories serves as an experience literary agents and editors take very seriously. Short stories ask the writer to be purposeful and fascinating, and that requires mastery. The compact format teaches a writer how to create everything from plot to character to setting to dialogue. Whether you’re a budding writer in search of your genre, a short story writer in the making, or a novelist looking to sharpen your writing skills in general, join us as we explore the short story genre.
MEMOIR 101: At first glance, writing our life stories seems easy, but anyone who’s ever braved the task will tell you otherwise. What makes writing memoirs and creative non-fiction so tricky? The answer lies in recognizing the elements of our stories most appealing to our readers. In this class, we’ll set off to dispel the myths about one of today’s most popular genres. We’ll also explore the main elements of memoir and learn techniques a writer can use to create a dynamic personal narrative.
Keynote Speech Saturday Night at Dinner Break
Katharine Sands / Agent
From First Writes to Last Writes: Take a tour of the submissions and acquisitions process.
Making the Perfect Pitch: The pitch, now synonymous with query, was once the province of Hollywood. It has morphed into an umbrella term meaning proposing and introducing your concept for a book; it is used universally for the most lofty and serious projects along with the most commercial. What do we talk about when we talk about the on-page and the in-person pitch? What should you talk about? As an author you are always going to be asked to introduce your work, to share your enthusiasm for your writing, and to get others excited about what is exciting to you. “What is your book about” or “Tell me about your work” means: The 15 minutes of fame is yours to shine in. Agent Katharine Sands shows you how to construct the perfect pitch.
Amanda Skenandore / Author
Fundamentals of Fiction—Point of View: Point of view, or the lens through which you tell your story, is more than just a simple decision between first, second, or third person. It affects the voice, clarity, and emotional impact of your story. This workshop will examine the pros and cons of each point of view and discuss how authors can use this literary device both creatively and effectively to enhance their story.
Less is More—Weaving Research into Your Writing: Authentic details are key to creating a rich, believable story world. But research can be daunting and laborious. Discover tricks and strategies about where to look for material and how to incorporate it effectively into your writing.
Less is More – Weaving Research into Your Writing: Authentic details are key to creating a rich, believable story world. But research can be daunting and laborious. Discover tricks and strategies about where to look for material and how to incorporate it effectively into your writing.
Seeing Through Fresh Eyes – Self-editing for Creative Writers: Whether you intend to self-publish or go the traditional route, self-editing is essential to creating a polished manuscript. From story arc to sentence structure, there’s a lot to consider. Learn where to start, what to tackle, and how to make the process quick and fun.
Bruce Wawrzyniak / Publicity & Promotion Specialist
20 Ways to Promote Your Writing: Whether you’re an indie writer or signed with a major publisher, it will always be incumbent upon you to lead the efforts to promote your art – your book(s), your poetry, yourself, and everything in between. Hiring a publicist is helpful, but is that in your budget? Even if it is, you still need to be active in getting the word out about all that you have done and are doing. After all, social media cannot be the only attempt at a “strategy.” At this class, a longtime publicist who has worked with writer clients from San Francisco to Tampa will teach you twenty different methods you can do – yourself – to promote what you’re doing, whether you’ve had something published yet or not. Perhaps best of all, the overwhelming majority of these actions can be implemented with little to no cost! The DIY approach is common, but if you’re going to go that route, it’s best to arm yourself with tactics that you can activate instead of wondering, guessing, or Googling – none of which will mean that you’ve landed upon something that has been used successfully. Attend this class to up your promotional efforts.
Podcasting: Enhancing Your Brand and Expanding Your Reach: Considering starting a podcast? Come to this session and learn from someone who has been podcasting every week since February 2014—to the tune of having hosted/recorded more than 700 episodes! You’ll learn what it takes to get started, meaning, the intangibles so you can plan before you ever even sit behind the microphone to record your first episode. You’ll learn what hosting a podcast can do for your writing career—and it’s not just “creating a vehicle to promote what you’ve written.” Come learn tips and tricks from someone who has gotten listeners from over 160 countries around the world and interviewed some high-profile guests and walk out with the knowledge that will start you on your way towards planning the podcast you want to launch.
Maer Wilson / Publisher
Anatomy of the Publishing Process a Unique Look at One Man’s Journey: Following TV and Film writer John Gray’s process, as he added to his highly successful 30 years of screenplays to become an award-winning horror/thriller novelist. Presenting a glimpse of his journey from his publisher’s POV. We will cover how he chose a publisher, his submission process, the editing process, and what strategies were used to get his book released and marketed.
The Editing Process—Both Sides Now: This session is an overview of what to expect during the editing process from the author’s and editor’s POV. What the different types of edits are, how the author can shine, and how they can avoid pitfalls and misunderstandings.