Schedule: 2018 Workshop (April 28, 2018)


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, 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. The Joy of Self-Editing: How to Hit Delete Before Your Editor Does. Would you like to build a reputation as a writer whom editors consider easy to work with? Do you want to catch an editor’s attention with how little he has to do to ready your piece for publication? Are you willing to learn what it takes to nip-and-tuck your writing to afford it the best possible chance of garnering a contract? You’ll leave this fun (seriously) workshop with practical tips and a new appreciation for the task of self-editing.

3. Tell Me True: Advice on Writing Memoir and Life Stories. The best memoirs are often as compelling as novels. This session will address the importance of plot structure and character development; the interplay of truth, memory, and imagination; how to discern what to include in your story and what to leave out; and identifying and finding your audience.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Query Letter Comprehensive. Stand out from the slush and workshop your way to crafting a successful query letter. It’s time to kick the clichés, ditch the info dumps, and get ready to dive deeper than a list of dos and don’ts. This in-depth course will help you showcase both your book and your bio to the best advantage. Writing a great query requires a unique skillset: an objective eye, a promotional style, and the ability to consider your book as a whole. We’ll study real queries that hooked an agent, talk about how to research the right agents for you, and examine the standard query rules (then learn when to break them).

2. Sell Your Books and Yourself — Social Media and Book Marketing 101, taught by Brian Klems. 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.

3. How to Improve Your Novel With Scintillating Dialogue, 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, 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, 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. Watch Your Language: Picture Book Pointers. Many picture book manuscripts have fun concepts but that fall short in execution. Often the problem is in finding the right use of language to match the needs of the subject; the picture book form; and the current market. In this session, you will examine some successful, recently published picture books to dissect them for what’s working well. You’ll also learn about common pitfalls for picture book writers. (Attendees are encouraged [not mandatory] to bring 1-2 picture book manuscripts to use for class exercises.)

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction. A discussion regarding the genres of science fiction and fantasy — how the markets are changing, what writers can do to improve their craft in these genres, and much more. It’s a great session to attend if you’re trying to write and sell speculative fiction.

2. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book, 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, 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, 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. Craft, Voice, and Style — from an Agent’s Perspective. This workshop is centered on strategies that take minimal editing. Learn how to bring your writing to life and hook the interest of an agent.

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. 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.


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.