12:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
1:30 Orientation Session
  General Creative Writing Genre Creative Writing One-on-One Meets Digital Author Indie & Self-Publishing
2:00 How To Pitch an Agent or Publisher (Friday Edition)
You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more? Join this panel at the beginning of each day, where the agents, editors, and publishers du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each agent needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later any day at the conference.

Panel of the Literary Agents and Publishers Du Jour

Whitney Davis, Paul Levine, Steven Hutson, Toni Robino, Sara Stratton


Learn How To Make a Kindle book in an afternoon

We will discuss proper formatting using the “3 clicks 2 one book” technique; then lead everyone in the class through making a Kindle formatted book, and previewing it (privately) with a Kindle app and on your own device. (Nook and Sony readers will be included as well, but we will concentrate on the Kindle). All free, no extra software. You might not use this method for your book, but if you understand the principles, you will format your book easily and in a way that will make your writing easier, faster, and publishing a dream. After all, you want your dreams published. Let’s do it in an afternoon.

John Gwinner (solo spotlight)

3:30 - 6:30 ProCritiques™ with Editors & Literary Agents
1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers
Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance.

We recommend you attend the Friday and Saturday "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material.

SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Registration Desk
3:15 Avoiding Dialogue Disasters: Deal Breakers for Readers and Agents

It seems that some writers have a knack or natural ear for writing dialogue but for others it is a real struggle. Conversation is a natural part of life, but what makes it so hard when it comes to writing it? The reality is this: taking what we hear during “live speech” and translating it onto the page takes finesse and liberal editing for the common clichés and unnecessary ramblings. In this workshop, we will discuss dialogue deal breakers and you’ll leave with actionable tips and tricks to make your dialogue crackle with life!

Whitney Davis (solo spotlight)


Publishing Paths 101: Indie, Traditional, and Hybrid Options for Authors

Lecture: A concise, author-centered exploration of publishing options for authors who are at the outset or on the fence. Covers pros, cons, costs, and timelines for traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing and marketing paths. Workshop: A facilitated round-table discussion of the pros and cons of the publishing options.

Participants can submit publishing plans for critique that focuses on the author's stated goals, desired timelines, and preferred budgets.

Meghan Pinson & Matthew Arkin

Creating Strong Openings – Your First Lines, Your First Page, Your First Three Pages

Writing a first line that will grab an editor and immediately announce your authority as an author. This will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how real pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the author, then offer improvements covering everything from glaring grammar errors to story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring your first 3 pages. Selected pages will be read aloud, so the audience can follow along and learn how the editors review and suggest improving the samples.

Alex Ironrod, Sara Anne Fox, Helga Schier, Mike Robinson, Robert Yehling, Sage Knight (M)

4:30 Build it Like a Bestseller Part One (2-day workshop)

How many characters are in a bestseller? How are they introduced? How do they carry through to the end? This hands-on workshop will open your eyes to brand new research on the way bestselling novels handle a core cast of characters. Elaine Ash clearly explains how characters shape the structure of all bestselling novels, no matter what genre. At the end of the first class, you will get a worksheet to fill out about your own manuscript (120,000 words or less), Or use the worksheet on any published novel to see how it scores. The results can be amazing and save hundreds in editing fees, not to mention months of rewriting.

On Saturday, bring your worksheets back to class filled out, and receive feedback, personalized analysis, tips and pointers on how your story is shaping up.

Elaine Ash (solo spotlight)

Top Ten Steps to a Successful Revision. (Part One)
You just put the last period on the first or second or third draft of your novel and you think you are ready to publish. Most likely, you are not. Today’s publishing world is more competitive than ever. To publish successfully, your manuscript needs to be near perfect and you need to be sure that you have written a novel the market will support. This session offers tips on how to determine what might still be wrong with that early draft. Get tips for fixing typical issues such as forced plot twists and cardboard characters and for avoiding information dumps and unnatural dialogue. Gather the most valuable strategies for self-editing, explore successful ways to use beta readers and meaningful ways to adjust your project to editorial advice and market considerations. 

Helga Schier, PhD (solo spotlight)


Things I Wish a Pro Had Told Me When I First Started Writing A favorite topic with new voices.

Becoming a writer and then a published author is a steep, steep learning curve. Even for those with prior experience and previously published books, the rapidly changing landscape of the industry means you can easily make mistakes; in your writing, pitching, marketing and certainly when it comes to finding and signing a deal with a publisher or entering the shark-infested waters of the self-publishing pool. The aim of this session is to keep you safe, strong and smart as you progress in your work and career.
Julie Strauss, Russell Nohelty, Oz Monroe, Sara Stratton, Toni Nelson (M)

5:45 Circumstance and Desire: The Primary Elements of Story
Learn how mastering the elements of circumstance and desire can make your storytelling more believable and compelling. In this lecture and workshop, Matthew Arkin will teach you to ask questions of your characters that reveal their motivations and to construct circumstances that will push them to their limits. When motivation and circumstance collide, the story you are telling will be compelling and seamless. Workshop: A series of writing exercises will guide writers through an exploration of desire and circumstance through mechanisms of action, dialogue, and exposition. Critique: Writers may submit scenes for critique that focuses on circumstance, desire, and how they drive the storytelling.

Matthew Arkin (solo spotlight)


Conquering Conflict on the Page: 10 Tips for Creating Powerful Conflicts

Conflict on the page is a necessity for a powerful work of prose. Happy characters are boring characters and if there is no conflict there is no story. In this workshop, we will discuss ways to take the average conflicts and give them a twist. And on the flip side, you will learn to troubleshoot the most common conflict pitfalls and walk away with tips on how to turn any dull plot point into a conflicting event!

Whitney Davis (solo spotlight)


Book Description Blast

​Learn the elements of an effective book description and how to tweak them for back cover copy, Amazon descriptions, and author websites. Workshop: We'll draft or revise book descriptions, workshop them in small groups or as a class, then revise and repeat.

Participants can submit book descriptions for critique that focuses on what's working, what's not, and whether they would lead to sales. 

Meghan Pinson


7:30 "A Gathering of Writers"
No-host cocktail party with the speakers and agents
All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the agents, speakers and special guests.
Mikado Hotel - Sushi and Steak & Bar
As of October 16, 2017 Change   Download PDF
7:30 am Literary Breakfast with Art Holcomb
Join this popular author/editor/educator/screenwriter for a round-table discussion
+ Q&A on the craft of writing. No host breakfast. Limited to ten.
Must RSVP. Mikado Hotel Restaurant
9:00 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
9:30 Orientation Session
  General Creative Writing Genre Creative Writing One-on-One Meets Digital Author Indie & Self-Publishing
10:00 am How To Pitch an 
Agent or Publisher (Saturday Edition)
You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more? Join this panel at the beginning of each day, where the agents, editors, and publishers du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each agent needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later any day at the conference.

Panel of Literary Agents and Publishers Du Jour

Amy Sterling Casil, Whitney Davis, Paul Levine, Steven Hutson, Toni Robino, Megan Close Zavala


Advice From My Publisher

Working with Editors – how does the editing process work?
How to submit your story – guideline does and don’ts
How to work a series – series bibles
World building – how to set your rules and follow them, even when working contemporary stories.

Alex Ironrod


The Need to have "a Good Ear" for Dialogue

Dialogue is the engine that propels forward the character development and plot of a screenplay or novel. While screen dialogue and fiction dialogue are markedly different (the former requires economy of words, the latter leaves more latitude for expression), all characters' words, on the screen or on the page, must accurately reflect who they are, what they think, what they want, how they feel, and where they are going. Former feature film development executive and story editing consultant Sara Anne Fox will explore the need to have "a good ear" for dialogue and help you zero in on what makes the words flow in both genres.

Sara Anne Fox

11:15 am - 6:30 pm ProCritiques™ with Editors
Master ProCritiques™ w/ Agents

1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers
Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance.

We recommend you attend the Saturday "How to Pitch" session at 10:00 am in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material.

SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Desk

11:15 Writing For the Y/A Audience

The YA/teen/preteen audience is a hard nut to crack these days. What used to be Hollywood’s domestic bread and butter became its ugly stepchild until YA book series broke the mold. But what makes for a strong teen/YA project? This workshop will reveal the 5 Necessary Elements of every successful teen project and why you must include them. We’ll go through how to choose your protagonist and know your exact demographic, how to create dialogue that feels genuine, how repeatable themes, stakes and dilemmas drive story, the difference between inspirational and aspirational in teen films, and what types of teen stories are driving the marketplace today. And do you HAVE to write the book first? We’ll examine teen hits as well as two teen films I helped develop to make sure your stories are snapchat-worthy.

Danny Manus

Query Letters Than Work

You've spent six months to a year developing your new book. Now it's time to find a literary agent or publisher who will deliver it to the public. However, the first item that potential acquisitions professionals want is a query letter. But how do you condense a year's work into three paragraphs on one sheet of paper? This need not be a daunting document. In this workshop, you will learn how to craft a query letter that sells you and your work. Plus, selected members of the audience will have a chance to read theirs out loud and have them critiqued on the spot. This workshop is intended primarily for authors of fiction, but all paid attendees are welcome to participate.

Bring your work-in-progress query letter. Some will be read aloud and commented on by our panel.

Paul Levine, Megan Zavala, Steven Hutson, Toni Robino, Sarah Howery Hart (M)

How to Make Money and Prosper as a KOBO Life Author

There has never been a better time to be an author! Learn insights about how authors can use Kobo’s free publishing platform to reach readers in 190 countries. Review not only the basics of eBook publishing through Kobo Writing Life, but learn some of the insights and behind-the-scenes information that the KWL team shares with writers in order to help them be successful in their global sales.

Join Kobo Writing Life Author Representative Julie Strauss as she takes you through an overview of what sells the best, details on global pricing and sales volume, how Kobo works with global retail partners to get eBooks into retail environments such as independent bookstores in the US, Chapters/Indigo, WHSmith, FNAC, Mondadori, BOL and dozens of other major retail websites. Pick up elements about the business of writing that have helped Kobo Writing Life grow from its humble beginnings to now representing 1 in every 4 books sold on Kobo in the English language."

Julie Strauss (Guest spotlight speaker)


12:30 Keynote Luncheon & Beverages  (optional with complimentary light lunch) REGISTER »»
1:00

"From Writer to Creator" Art Holcomb, Keynote Speaker
3 key to being a success as a writer is to change the way that you define yourself. By understanding the difference between a writer and a creator, you can learn to develop your ideas into properties instead of just stories. Internationally acclaimed writing instructor and story consultant Art Holcomb will reveal the techniques to start seeing your works and your imagination in a completely different way.

2:30 Editing Master Class: Exposition

Lecture: Learn about the different types of exposition and how it can either serve or sever your connection with your readers. Workshop: We'll workshop a scene or two together, identifying exposition and determining whether it's helping or hurting. If the class is large, we'll do this in small groups; if it's small, we'll do it together. 

Participants can submit scenes from their WIP for critique that focuses on exposition and explains what's working and what's not.

Meghan Pinson

Beyond the First Draft – Techniques for Editing Your Own Work and When to Hire a Pro

Every professional writer knows that the first draft of anything from an epic novel to a short story is going to need considerable revision and polishing. To get your prose in shape for submission and publication may take several additional drafts. While some writers consider this process part luck and part voodoo, there are definite paths to success. Join us as a panel of editors discuss the right way to hone a masterpiece (i.e.: worthy of publishing) by knowing what to look for and share tips on how to fix it yourself. Then, we'll discuss when is the right time to bring in a professional editor, and what it might cost.

Deanna Brady, Matthew Arkin, Helga Schier, Mike Robinson, Alex Ironrod, Marcie Geffner (M)

Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing vs Traditional Publishing—
Everything You Need to Know When It Comes to Marketing and Selling Your Book Across Publishing Platforms

What are some of the major differences when it comes to self-published, Indie, hybrid and traditionally published books for authors in regards to sales and marketing, distribution and PR behind the book? Where will you make the most money? How can you make sure that your book is successful? What are some of the platforms that will help you promote your self-published or Indie published book? The literary industry is always evolving and there are many ways to make sure that your book becomes a success. But what does success really mean in the literary industry across these mediums? Join this workshop to find out more about each publishing platform and get a better idea of what is right for you!

Natalie Obando-Dasai


3:45 Top Ten Steps to a Successful Revision. (Part Two)
You just put the last period on the first or second or third draft of your novel and you think you are ready to publish. Most likely, you are not. Today’s publishing world is more competitive than ever. To publish successfully, your manuscript needs to be near perfect and you need to be sure that you have written a novel the market will support. This session offers tips on how to determine what might still be wrong with that early draft. Get tips for fixing typical issues such as forced plot twists and cardboard characters and for avoiding information dumps and unnatural dialogue. Gather the most valuable strategies for self-editing, explore successful ways to use beta readers and meaningful ways to adjust your project to editorial advice and market considerations. 
Read and Critique workshop that applies what you learned on Friday
Helga Schier, PhD

Successful Media Strategies for Entertainment Industry Professionals & Creative Entrepreneurs 
(or Navigating The Media1, Pitching Yourself And Networking Like A STAR!)

Master the art of Working With The Media for TV, radio, print, online, face time and real time interviews and interactions, and how to know what each one wants/needs - so you can give it to them.  Learn how to pitch yourself to the media, or any gatekeeper or decision maker with confidence and ease, and how-to make your message succinct, on topic, on time, and focused.  Learn the Four Media Questions you will always be asked each and every time you tell someone about yourself and your career.  Create powerful career-making talking points, soundbites and pitches - and why they're so crucial, especially when the clock is ticking.  Storytelling! Learn how to translate your story into the Language Of Media so its memorable and moves forward on its own.  Learn the five most sought-after "Interview Tactics" that will make the media fall in love with you!  Successfully "branding" yourself each and every time you walk into into the room, or set foot into “the spotlight.” Learn why listening is as important as speaking - and what you need to listen for.

Gayl Murphy

Build it Like a Bestseller Part TWO (continued from Friday workshop)

How many characters are in a bestseller? How are they introduced? How do they carry through to the end? This hands-on workshop will open your eyes to brand new research on the way bestselling novels handle a core cast of characters. Elaine Ash clearly explains how characters shape the structure of all bestselling novels, no matter what genre. At the end of the first class, you will get a worksheet to fill out about your own manuscript (120,000 words or less), Or use the worksheet on any published novel to see how it scores. The results can be amazing and save hundreds in editing fees, not to mention months of rewriting.

Bring your worksheets from Friday back to class filled out to receive feedback, personalized analysis, tips and pointers on how your story is shaping up.

Elaine Ash (solo spotlight)


5:00 "Secrets of Successful Self-Published Authors”
Or
How authors can navigate the trenches of self publishing and get rid of the negative stigma
A panel that discusses how authors can navigate the trenches of self publishing and get rid of the negative stigma that is around self publishing. The topics to be covered could be: - A review of self publishing offers and companies and how to know which one is best for you/your book; - How to know when you DO or DO NOT need all the "bells and whistles" a company can offer  - Easy things you can DIY to make the process easier on you  - Recognizing that your role is not just that of an author but of a salesperson as well (and that's okay!) - Self publishing can be done professionally and properly - Self publishing is an answer for authors who want to do anything, from building an audience/fan base, to using a book to promote a business or brand, to wanting to preserve some kind of legacy  - Self publishing is the "wave" of the future for authors and it's finally being recognized...don't shy away from it, embrace it! It can open 5, 10, 20 times more doors for you & your book
Marcie Geffner (M), Russell Nohelty, Sara Stratton, Amy Reiley, Julie Strauss

How to Produce A Successful Book Launch and Live Author Event
Two of Southern California’s most respected PR and marketing experts team up to help you strategize your book launch. From planning your launch calendar, building your online platforms, submitting for book reviews, coordinating your press release launches and tackling your media pitching, to coordinating a book launch party and scheduling book signings and events, Desireé Duffy and A. G. Billig will guide you in this info-packed presentation. Come prepared with all your burning book-launch questions. The mysteries of building a successful book launch are about to be revealed.
Desireé Duffy, A.G. Billig

The Market for Audio Books and why it means more profit for authors

Learn how award-winning professional audiobooks are created, how to capitalize on the digital sales, and how to deliver the media to your "readers." An inside track into the rapidly changing realities of the art, the craft and the business. Skyboat Media has produced, directed and/or executive produced more than 3,000 audiobooks for Skyboat Audio and major publishers such as Blackstone Audio, HarperCollins, Brilliance, Audible, Dove Audio, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Zondervan. 

In 2014, Skyboat Media (skyboatmedia.com) launched a major audiobook publishing initiative, with over 175 titles now in release, featuring classic authors (among them Shirley Jackson, Robert Silverberg, Max Allan Collins & Joe R. Lansdale) and the finest new writers (Bethany Adams, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan L. Howard, Lee French & Brad Schreiber etc.) in the fields of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Modern History, and other genres.

Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir of Skyboat Media

Stefan won a 2013 Grammy for Best Spoken Word for his work with Janis Ian on Society’s Child.  As producer and directed he has also worked with Dustin Hoffman, Annette Bening, Diane Keaton, Ben Kingsley, Julie Christie and Gregory Hines among many others. He has narrated over 300 audiobooks, and won several Audie Awards, including three for his Solo Narration for Lost Boys, Wisp of a Thing, and Hubris. His voice is probably most recognizable as the principal narrator in Orson Scott Card’s Ender series. In 2012, he was acknowledged as a Golden Voice by AudioFile Magazine.

Gabrielle has narrated over one hundred titles specializing in fantasy, humor, and titles requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills.  Her “velvet touch” as an actors’ director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost choice for best-selling authors and celebrities. 
Short list of those directed: Anne Hathaway, Emilio Estevez, Wil Wheaton, Dr. Daniel Amen, Elijah Wood, Deepak Chopra, Reza Aslan, Eric Idle, Nancy Cartwright, Fannie Flagg, Ed Herrmann, and Joe Mantegna.  She is a Social Media wizardress and blogs weekly at skyboatmedia.com.


7:00 "A Gathering of Writers"
No-host cocktail party with the speakers and agents
All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the speakers and special guests
9 pm - 12± TBA
Renegade Late Night Read and Critique Workshop
with ROBERT YEHLING
An after hours opportunity for registered attendees to bring their work-in-progress and participate in a late night live editing session with a Master Editor. Limited seating. Nominal Fee. Mikado Hotel
As of October 16, 2017 - Subject to Change Download PDF
9:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
  General Creative Writing Genre Creative Writing One-on-One Meets Digital Author Indie & Self-Publishing
10:15 am - 12 noon ProCritiques™ with Editors
Master ProCritiques™ w/ Agents

1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers
Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance. We recommend you attend the Friday and Saturday "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material. SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Registration Desk
10:00 am Making Money Writing For Transmedia In Today's Fast-Paced Environment
There are big changes rumbling in terms of payment for authors --it's been talked about for years and the technology is there to facilitate these changes right now. The new frontier of writing includes mobile platforms like @Medium and enhanced e-books. Writing can now include much more than printed pages or static, words-only e-books. Learn how to combine videos, visual images, social media posts, and music or the spoken word (think podcasts) to build an audience and earn money from your writing, whether it is non-fiction, fiction, poetry or memoirs.
Amy Sterling Casil

How to format your manuscript for editing and submission to literary agents, editors and publishers
Learn how to format your manuscript for editing and submission to agents, editors and publishers using Microsoft Word. Keep your document clean will actually help you type faster. In this session, we will setup beginning styles, understand the difference between a header and regular text, and the difference between what it says and how it looks. The differences between dead tree formatting and digital formatting will also be covered, so you can format for both and understand the best way to ensure smooth digital publication.
John Gwinner

Self-Editing that Wins Readers — and Deals

​"What is my final step before getting a professional editor or submitting my manuscript?" Many of us ask this; the answer is simple — self-editing. By editing your own work, you polish it as YOU want it, making it far easier for editors to bring it to its final published form. Author and book editor Robert Yehling will present 20 key steps to self-editing that will bring out the fullest luster in your characters, dialogue, settings, and story. A big favorite at past conferences, this is sure to be lively.

Bring two (2) pages of your manuscript. 

Robert Yehling

11:15 Creating Successful Revenue Streams in the 21st Century

How to use digital media and the internet to your best advantage - from writing on your smart-phone to creating three separate streams of income from everything you write.  Success in the 20th Century for a writer - with traditional publishing, mainly in paper and the model of "write-> submit -> agent -> publisher ->print" has given way to the power on the internet and the evolving habits of your most common audience today: The Millennials. There at so many different ways that I writer can see their work produced today and so many different streams of income available that any writer now embracing the technology today is leaving money on the table.

In this workshop, we'll discuss:

  • Three different ways that you can get paid for your writing (that you absolutely not using)
  • Understanding the power of your niche and tribe
  • The nature and raw power of the TRUE FAN
  • How to use social media to succeed (and not have it control your life)
  • And what's on the horizon for the next 20 years for the writer.
Art Holcomb

Build Your Online Platform

You don’t need to be an established author to have an online platform. In fact, if you are looking to get published, an established online platform appeals to agents and publishers because it means potential sales. In this workshop, you will learn the key places to establish your platform as well as learn how to make it flourish and work for you. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot to have a professional looking platform and social media accounts. Once your online platform is established, you can generate passive income from it. This workshop will show you how!

Natalie Obando-Desai


12:30 Keynote Speaker Address / Luncheon  (optional with complimentary light lunch) REGISTER »»
1:00 TBA "Marketing Secrets of a Best-selling Independent Author" with guest speaker, Sherri Fink
Learn how to authentically cultivate and grow your Fan base, how to leverage word-of-mouth marketing, and how to use social media for fun and profit. Whether you’re independently published, traditionally published, or hoping to one day be published, you’ll receive valuable insights to propel you forward in your writing career.
  Conference wrap up - Thank you for attending!

 

As of October 16, 2017 - Subject to Change

Download PDF