Schedule: 2019 Workshop (April 27, 2019)


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. A Bird’s-eye View of Publishing and Books in the Year 2018 (Regent Room), 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. Book Marketing from Your Couch: Social Media 101 (Ambassador Room), taught by Jennifer Bardsley. Social media can be confusing, but book marketing from the couch is easy once you learn how. Discover how to grow your Facebook author page from zero to thousands of followers. Learn how to reach readers on Instagram and YouTube. Become a hashtag expert and wield them to your advantage. Analyze your audience and ascertain the best social media vehicle to dominate. This class is for veteran authors as well as writers seeking to grow their platforms in the hopes of landing an agent or publishing deal.

3. Pacing in Thrillers: Keeping the Pages Turning, taught by Boyd Morrison. For a thriller novel, it’s all about the pacing, so that readers keep turning the pages long past their bedtimes. But a fast pace doesn’t necessarily mean constant action; a great roller coaster ride is as much about the suspenseful build-up of tension as it is about the thrills. Boyd Morrison, a #1 NY Times bestselling author whose adventure novels have been featured on the Indie Next list and have earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and RT Book Reviews, will explore how to balance a breakneck storytelling speed with the character conflict and setting details that make a compelling novel.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Keys to Getting a Literary Agent and Writing a Great Query (Regent Room), by Gordon Warnock. Taught by a literary agent and founding partner of Fuse Literary, this workshop demystifies the submission process, including where to find the right agent for your work, how to approach them, writing and formatting an effective query letter, pitching in person, what gets an agent’s attention, common mistakes, and more. Teacher Gordon Warnock’s clients include 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop attendee, Amber Cowie, whose debut novel, Rapid Falls, is due out this October from Lake Union.

2. Voice and Craft: Tips on How to Write Like the Pros (Ambassador Room), 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.

3. How to Improve Your Novel With Scintillating Dialogue (Diplomat), taught by Cherry Adair. Dialogue serves multiple purposes. This session will show how to make your dialogue sparkle and sing. Discover ways to insert accents or dialects that are readable, but still authentic. Learn techniques to change narrative into dialogue, and how to avoid bland conversations and turn them into conversations that leap off the page.

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.  How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Ambassador Room), taught by Brian Klems. 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 Tips & Trends (Diplomat Room), taught by Adria Goetz. A workshop that highlights and examines current trends in the general trade picture book market, and where those trends might be heading. Hear straight from an agent’s perspective what is selling, what isn’t, some dos and don’ts, which trends are over-saturated, and how to tap into trends in your own unique way. This presentation includes many quotes from editors and other industry professionals, and shows real deals that have taken place in the last six months.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Tips on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, taught by Jason Hough. Science fiction and fantasy novels need a setting, and your setting needs to live and breathe and feel real. How do we do that? Published speculative fiction author Jason Hough will walk you through his advice on crafting a SFF novel that gets agents and editors and readers excited.

2. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Regent Room), taught by Brian Klems. Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, how to find the best self-publishing service for your need, what social media channels you should be on already, how to launch your book right, how to draft a compelling query/pitch and synopsis, how to find other writers who can help you, and much more.

3. Romance Writing: Plot a Novel that Readers Can’t Put Down (Diplomat Room), taught by Cherry Adair. This session delivers a fast-moving, informative way to take you to the next level of plotting. Using her Plotting By Color technique, Cherry Adair will walk attendees through plotting their novel from start to finish. Cherry will show, step by step, how this easy visual plotting method works, giving students a tangible, foolproof way to plot their next novel.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Regent Room), taught by Brian Klems. After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to keep your career going with multiple books, how you cross between the words of self-publishing and traditional publishing (i.e., use them both) to make the most money, how to build a readership, and much more.

2. Creating Amazing Characters Agents & Readers Will Love (Diplomat Room), taught by Adria Goetz. A workshop that explores a few techniques on how to get to know your characters and how to develop them into three-dimensional beings that jump off the page. Workshop attendees will walk away with tangible resources they can utilize for every story they write.

3. Ponder, List, Outline, Plot: The Four Keys To Writing Young Adult or Middle Grade Fiction (Ambassador Room), taught by Jennifer Bardsley. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Plotters sometimes find that intricate outlines kill their muse. Pantsers often waste time writing dead-end chapters. Discover a hybrid approach for plotting that makes it easy to sketch out the hook, character, and story structure of your next kidlit book. Examples will focus on the hottest titles in YA and MG fiction.


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.