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 for the 2017 workshop. 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 Publishing & Books in the Year 2017” (Windsor Room) taught by Brian A. Klems. This workshop is quick & 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. Specifically, the class will examine writers’ two major paths to publication: traditional publishing and self-publishing.

2. “Self-Editing and Revision” (Buckingham Room) taught by Renee Rosen. Revision can make or break a book.  This presentation will discuss the importance of revision as all stages of one’s career—from beta readers and critique groups to querying agents, to working with your editor to get a book prepared for publication (and when you have to push back against their editorial suggestions). Examine actual pages from my a published manuscript and how the author addressed certain issues.

3. “Give Them Chills: How to Write Crime, Thriller, and Mystery Novels That Get Reader & Agent Attention” (Alcove Room) taught by Charlie Donlea. Learn how to suck readers in from page one by adding intrigue, suspense, and just plain awesome writing. Published mystery writer Charlie Donlea will pass along 10 tips on how to give your novel the best chance at success.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. “Invest in Your Career and Books: A Discussion on the Best and Most Efficient Ways (Free and Not) to Promote and Publicize Your Published Book” (Alcove Room) taught by Renee Rosen. Your book is out — so how do you best spend time and money promoting it? What are the best uses of your finances and resources? This speech addresses all kind of means you can promote your own book, free and not — such as Facebook ads, paid advertising, book trailers, hiring a publicist, sending out review copies, analyzing returns on your investment, traveling to bookstores, and more.

2. “Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters” (Windsor 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. “How to Write Great Kidlit Novels: The Keys to Successful Middle Grade and Young Adult” (Buckingham Room) taught by Gemma Cooper. A literary agent for The Bent Agency, Gemma Cooper will show you the basics on composing middle grade and young adult novels — talking about word count guidelines, creating great characters, how the two categories are different, having a standout voice, plot & structure, and more.

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 (Windsor 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 Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” (Buckingham 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. 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” (Alcove 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 Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform” (Buckingham 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 and yourself online freely and easily — even before you get published.

2. “Voice and Style in Your Fiction: 15 Tips on How to Write Like the Pros” (Windsor Room) by Brian A. 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. “World-Building: How to Create an Amazing World for Your Story — Whether It’s Contemporary or Speculative” (Alcove Room) taught by Julie Hammerle. It doesn’t matter if your novel is set in a small town in Kansas or in a bustling space metropolis, the world you create matters, and setting can even become a character in its own right. This speech will talk to writers of all genres, from literary fiction to sci-fi and fantasy.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. “Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing” (Buckingham Room) taught by Dina Silver. Self-publishing provides an enormous opportunity to writers, but how do you make sure you’re giving yourself the best chances of success? How do you get a good cover and a chance for your books to sell? Perhaps you feel ready to self-publish, but dread the massive learning curve. Well, dread no more. This workshop will explain exactly what you need to know by suggesting a foolproof, cost-efficient, time-efficient, extremely easy-to-follow, step-by-step self-publishing method. You’ll learn how to: prepare your manuscript, design your cover, format your paperback interior & ebook, register with desired retailers/distributors, and much more. Not only will this course save you time and money, but it will also save you from inevitable stress.

2. “How to Get Published: Ten Simple Tips” (Windsor 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. How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir (Alcove Room) taught by Annette Gendler. This class for lifestory writers and memorists discusses the basics of writing a compelling true tale. Learn what to cut when writing, how to bring scenes to life, and how to tell a simple story in an extraordinary fashion.


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.