Schedule: 2017 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, but here is the current layout:

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (Regent Room), 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. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Ambassador Room), 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. In this session, presenter Madeline Smoot, acquiring editor for CBAY Books, will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

3. How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir (Diplomat Room), taught by Allison Green. Writing and selling a commercially viable memoir in today’s marketplace can often seem difficult. But even more daunting is knowing how to get the competitive edge so that agents and editors will take your project seriously and be willing to take a chance on you even if you don’t happen to be famous. In this session, you’ll learn how to craft a compelling memoir and get it published.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Breaking the Rules of Writing 101 (Ambassador Room), taught by author Camille Griep. 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.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Regent Room), 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. Ten Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Diplomat Room), taught by Ingrid Thoft. 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. Published thriller writer Ingrid Thoft will give you the information you need to set your work ahead of the curve.

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 (Regent Room), 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.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips (Diplomat Room), 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. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book (Ambassador Room), 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. How to Self-Publish Your Book and Do It Right (Diplomat Room), taught by Jessica Bell. Are you thinking about self-publishing your book, but dreading the massive learning curve? Well, dread it no more. This one-hour overview of self-publishing will give you the nuts and bolts to get started with confidence. Presenter Jessica Bell will outline a foolproof, cost-efficient, time-efficient, extremely easy-to-follow, step-by-step self-publishing method, in which you’ll learn about: preparing your manuscript in Microsoft Word, designing and formatting your paperback and eBook cover, preparing your front/back matter and blurb,  proofreading your designed pages, and registering with desired retailers/distributors.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Regent Room), 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.

3. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction (Ambassador Room), taught by Camille Griep. Speculative fiction is enjoying an ever-widening audience in both genre and mainstream literature. But the rules for science fiction and fantasy, from structure to submissions rules, aren’t always the same as contemporary fiction in both short and long formats. Join this session to discuss the similarities, the differences, as well as the hows, wheres, and whys of today’s speculative fiction markets. This presentation is taught by published fantasy author Camille Griep.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Author Social Media and Blogging (Ambassador Room), 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. An Agent’s Guide to Revision and Self-Editing (Regent Room), taught by Andrea Hurst and Sean Fletcher. Whether you are seeking an agent or publisher, or trying to sell more copies on Amazon, your book must hook readers from the very beginning, and hold them all the way through. This class will show writers how to self-edit their manuscript and create a book that will keep agents, editors, and readers turning the page. Topics include the first fifty pages, craft mastery, and common reasons manuscripts are rejected.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Diplomat Room), taught by Scott Eagan. This session, taught by literary agent Scott Eagan (who specializes in romance), will address important topics such as what makes up a romance, the differences between romance and similar genres, romance novel guidelines and rules, how to craft a story that stands out in the market, how to find romance markets such as agents and contests and publishers, and an overview of romance in the publishing industry today. 


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.