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 (Birch 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 (Azalea & Iris rooms combined), 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. The Art and Craft of Memoir (Hickory and Maple rooms combined), taught by Heather Ebert. 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. The Art of Voice: How to Make Your Writing Come to Life (Azalea & Iris rooms combined), taught by Ricki Schultz. This session focuses on how to craft prose and sentences that pop off the page. Learn how to make your writing sound unique and create your own voice. This session, taught by published women’s fiction author Ricki Schultz, will look at examples of books with voice and style where you can’t help but keeping reading. As well, through hands-on experience during the session, students will learn how to make the reader experience the writing—rather than be given a play-by-play—by transforming examples of “telling” into “showing

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Birch 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 Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right (Hickory and Maple rooms combined) taught by David Domine. The publishing world has seen huge changes in the last decade or two. Independent publishing platforms and a variety of online resources have made it easier to see your own work in print. Many authors who have gone the self-published route swear by it; some, on the other hand, don’t recommend it. So, how do you know if self-publishing is the right thing for you as a writer? Join a successful author who shares the secrets of self-publishing and how to do it right.

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 (Birch 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 (Hickory and Maple rooms combined), taught by Greg Daniel. 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 (Azalea & Iris rooms combined), 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 Write & Pitch Fantasy and Science Fiction (Azalea & Iris rooms combined), taught by C.J. Redwine. 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. Revision and Self-Editing: How to Tighten Your Work Before You Submit (Birch Room), by Ricki Schultz. Learn how to ruthlessly self-edit your own work. This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers. Before you send out your submission, let instructor published women’s fiction author Ricki Schultz show you how to tighten your writing and avoid mistakes that slow your prose down. You’ll learn how to cut down your own word count, eliminate passive voice, spot repetition in your writing, diagnose point of view problems, and much more.

3. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform (Hickory and Maple rooms combined), 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.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Birch 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.

2. What Happens After an Agent Offers Representation? (Azalea & Iris rooms combined) taught by Kimberly Brower. Getting an agent is an incredible feat, but this is only the beginning. There are so many things that happen after you receive an offer of representation – from deciding which agency to go with, to editing your work with your new agent, to the submission process, to how deals work, to how you can aide your book’s chances throughout the process. While your focus may be on getting an agent, this workshop will provide you the landscape on what happens next. Publishing is such an enigma so find out how the industry works.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Hickory and Maple rooms combined), taught by Kim Law. The romance market is constantly changing, so how then, are you to know what and when to submit to editors and agents? In this workshop, you will learn not only what’s trending in the current marketplace, but how to research an agent/editor that best suits your needs, and the proper ways to approach them.


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.