12:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
1:30 Orientation Session
Welcome, Introductions, What's New / Updated for the Weekend
2:00

How To Pitch an 
Agent or Publisher

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? This panel of 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.

Paul S. Levine, Steven Hutson, Karla Olson, Literary Agents, Agency Scouts Du Jour

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 FREE Pitch. Some editors may take new submissions on site. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk.  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

A separate fee applies to Advanced Submission ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance.

SIGN UP at the "1-on-1 Desk" next to Registration in Monarch Hall

3:15

Why You're Not Getting Published, and How to Bullet-Proof your Submissions.

Have you sent off your manuscript to dozens of agents and editors, only to be rejected again and again? Learn the things they won't tell you; discover the most common problems, and how to avoid them. Hint:  It may have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or your story.

Steven Hutson, Literary Agent, WordWise Media Services (Solo Spotlight)


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.

Mike Robinson, Helga Schier, M. Todd Gallowglas, Deanna Brady, Robert Yehling, Elaine Ash(M)


Things I Wish a Pro Had Told Me When I First Started Writing

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.
Desiree Duffy, Dr. Raye Mitchell, Alex Ironrod, Sara Anne Fox (M)
4:30

Selling Literary Material or a True Life-Story Project to Hollywood

How do you “pitch” your project to the studio / production company / network / cable channel / streaming service executive so that you’re not ripped off? Which rights that you have acquired do you “sell”, and which, if any, do you keep? How is that “sale” done? And just what kind of money can you make from all of this, anyway? One of the best legal experts on the West Coast will discuss the pitfalls to avoid, and reveal the secrets to reach success with your project.

Paul S. Levine, Literary Agent, IP Attorney (Solo Spotlight)


Point of View: The What, Why and How of your Story’s Perspective
Point of view (POV)is one of the most powerful and most misunderstood tools in a writer’s kit. Broadly stated, POV is the perspective from which a scene or an entire story is told. Do you tell your thriller from the murderer’s POV, the detective’s, or the victim’s? The drama from the perspective of the philandering husband, the lovesick lover, or the depressed wife? Point of view determines what the reader knows and when, directs the way the story flows, and shapes the narrator’s voice. This session discusses: Pros and cons of common narrative points of view; How to choose the POV that’s right for your story; How to master the rules of POV; How to breech the rules effectively; How to develop a multi-perspective story; and How to avoid common pitfalls and traps 

Helga Schier, PhD (solo spotlight)


Tell Me A Story: The Art of Collaborative Brainstorming

Writing is by definition a lonely (and fulfilling) experience. Sometimes we get to work with others.  Former feature film development executive and story editing consultant Sara Anne Fox has years of experience sitting in creative meetings that are aimed at producing coherent and interesting stories for film and novels.  This workshop will involve jumping right into the creative process with other participants and using her unique tools for turning ideas into stories with an enticing opening, a challenge-filled middle, and a satisfying ending.

Sara Anne Fox (solo spotlight)


5:45

ZIP! ZAP! BING! The Latest Technology for Writers

Find out the top three famous authors your writing style compares to and  develop your skill to write like the pros you already resemble. ScoreIt! was developed at Inkubate, the tech company that outed J.K. Rowling as the secret author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. Elaine will explain this new writer’s app so it’s simple and understandable. ScoreIt! can save time, money, and improve your writing fast with the best writer’s helper since lined paper. 

Elaine Ash (Solo Spotlight)


Designing an Interesting and Compelling Cover for Your Book

What makes for a great book jacket design, one that will motivate a prospective buyer to pick up the book? And what is there about some covers that causes the book to disappear on the shelf? A panel of great designers and book cover designers will discuss the merits as well as the sins and errors of a wide variety of designs. This topic is especially important for Indie and self-published authors.

Laura Brodian Kelly-Freas, Dr. Letitia Wright, Fiona Jayde, Karla Olson, Joni Labaqui (M)


7:30 "A Gathering of Writers"
All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the agents, speakers and special guests.
RSVP at Registration Desk, Monarch Hall.
No-host cocktail party and dinner at Tequila's Bar & Grill, 13627 Victory Blvd Van Nuys, CA 91401
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7:30 am Generative Workshop Breakfast with M. Todd Gallowglas
Bring something to write with and write on. Join Todd and a group of your fellow writers for a 90± minute round-table discussion and critique. You will go through a series of prompts and exercises that will get your creative juices flowing. No host breakfast. Limited to ten.
Must RSVP by Friday at WC2 Registration Desk. Mikado Hotel Restaurant
9:00 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
9:30 Orientation Session
Welcome, Introductions, What's New / Updated for the Weekend
10:00 am

How To Pitch an 
Agent or Publisher

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? This panel of 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.

A panel of the Literary Agents, Agency Scouts Du Jour, including:
Paul S. Levine, Steven Hutson, Ken Sherman, Karla Olson, Tony N Todaro (M)


Help – My Story Has Suddenly Stopped!

Do you think you have writer’s block? Perhaps you need an editor? Let the author of 12 published novels help you. Attendees are encouraged to bring their outline or problems.

Alex Ironrod


Building your own promotional and marketing materials.

If you already have a book and want to increase your visibility and sales of your work, now you can learn how to create press releases, backgrounders, log lines, elevator pitches, 200-word cover copy, 50-word description, and more. Bring your work in progress and questions.

Robert Yehling, Alicia Dunams

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 FREE Pitch. Some editors may take new submissions on site. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk.  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

A separate fee applies to Advanced Submission ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance.

SIGN UP at the "1-on-1 Desk" next to Registration in Monarch Hall

11:15 am - 12:15 pm

How to Build an Audience from Scratch

The most important thing an author can have, besides books, is an audience. Audiences are the people who buy from you, promote your work, and who interact with you on a regular basis. If you don't have an audience, you cannot be a successful author, whether you are traditionally or self-published. The panel will discuss how to build an audience from scratch, including the tips and tricks he's used to build a mailing list of over 40,000 people. 

Russell Nohelty, Alicia Dunams


The Business of Writing

What is the difference between a copyright and a trademark? When is my work protected? When do I need a literary agent and how do I catch one’s attention. What are my responsibilities after signing? What alternatives do I have if a publisher wants all the domestic, international, Ebook, Audio, and Film rights to my work? How do I protect my work Online, or in a writing group? What are the dos and don’ts of publishing and self-publishing?

Learn the answers to these important questions and more from this distinguished panel of industry experts. No matter what you are writing, this is an event you must attend! The panel will also take questions, time permitting.

Paul S. Levine, Steven Hutson, Dr. Raye Mitchell, Jonathan Kirsch, Paul Hynek, Arianna Rama, Karla Olson, and Tony N Todaro (M)


Listen Up! Your Book Wants to Be Heard

A Conversation with Phil Giangrande and Mark J. Rose (Spotlight)

Are you ready to be the narrator for your audio book? What is the process like? How should you prepare? What can you expect from both a technical and creative perspective? Join audio book producer Phil Giangrande and author Mark J. Rose as they discuss the creation of the Matt Miller in the Colonies audio books.

Phil Giangrande: host of Seated at the Writer’s Table, screenwriter, and radio producer
Mark J. Rose: scientist, screenwriter and author of The Matt Miller in the Colonies series

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

"Developing Your Brand as an Author" Special Keynote Speaker Ace Antonio Hall

Do you have a fascinating story, but need to polish up on how to present yourself? Ace Antonio-Hall will present the basics and essentials of marketing in a simple, step-by-step process. From the first sentence of your Work-in-Progress to querying your completed manuscript. Then he will reveal how to build your brand as an author, learn what literary agents and publishers are seeking in a good project.

He will also discuss the best ways to brand yourself, How to Market Yourself for Social Networking, the Elements of a query synopsis, and answer your questions.


2:15

The Writer Entrepreneur

How can I sell more books? How can I build a brand that attracts my readers? How can I get a bigger, better publisher? How do those gazillionaire authors make the big bucks?

One answer fits all four questions: Think like an entrepreneur.

Elaine Ash wrote (and invented) Bestseller Metrics and was discovered by the leader of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council and corporate CEO, Mr. Don Seitz. Sheri Fink wrote nine best-selling, award-winning books in three genres including The Little Rose. She developed her own independent distribution system, and has mentored writers worldwide to write, publish, and market their books for maximum success and fulfillment. These dynamic authors/entrepreneurs will help you get inspired, learn to think different, and see possibilities everywhere you look. 

Elaine Ash, Sheri Fink (Spotlight)


Master Your Creative Process

From initial inspiration through writing, research, re-writing, polishing, pitching, production, marketing, and distribution – increase the power of your creativity with these timeless, practical tools once mainly taught in the secret Mystery Schools. Explore the 4 Stages of the Creative Process. Learn about timing-and-order, balancing emotions and mind, the power of silence, the fine art of collaboration, celebration, and moving on. Get a heads-up on the specific pitfalls of each stage and how to avoid them. Now you too can work with the natural cycles of creativity to become much more efficient and effective.

Pamela Jaye Smith (Solo Spotlight)


Crowd-funding for Authors Made Simple

Learn everything you need to setup, run, obtain, and reach your crowd-funding goals.

Dr. Letitia Wright (Solo Spotlight)


3:30 More than Just Talk: How to Paint a Scene with Dialogue and Narration
Readers like dialogue. It’s easy to read. And if done well, it’ll sizzle with romance or tension or excitement. But since a novel isn't a screenplay, you’ll need narration, too. So, how to strike a perfect balance between the two? This session will explore the functions of dialogue and narration in a scene, so that you can find the right mix for your novel. Dialogue provides information, defines character, and propels the plot forward. And it does so on several levels. Every conversation has a subtext that may not be apparent if you only hear the spoken words. We will discuss how the interplay of dialogue and narration exposes this subtext and 1. creates the ambiance of a scene, 2. defines the specific circumstance of the dialogue, 3. uncovers the personality and relationship of the dialogue partners, 4. unfolds the underlying tension, conflict or motivation, and thereby 5. drives the plot forward. 
Helga Schier, PhD (Solo Spotlight)

Are You Crazy, or Just Creative?

Join a panel of writers as they address the stress, emotional, and mental health issues that writers may face. From the stress of meeting publisher deadlines, to anxiety in public situations that many creatives feel, we explore how people can develop strategies to cope and put you in the right headspace. Plus, we’ll discuss how you could use your own experiences to develop characters that are vivid and real.

Panelists include:

  • Jenna Busch: writer, journalist, Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia, pod cast host, co-hosted Cocktails with Stan with Stan Lee
  • Laurie Finkelstein: author of Next Therapist Please, visual artist, & mental health awareness champion
  • Xach Fromson: founder of Shades & Shadows reading series
  • Robert Yehling: award-winning author, editor, educator and publishing consultant
  • Anastasia Washington (M): host of Legion of Leia, Nerd Up or Shut Up podcasts, actress, writer, producer, director, and curvy-positive model

What it Takes to Win the "Writers of The Future Contest"

This popular writing contest costs nothing to enter and can win you a weeks education with international best-selling authors and $1000-$5000, plus you get published in the WOTF annual anthology. Contest winners will appear with the event's director and guide you through the process of submission to success. For speculative fiction short-story authors.

Contest winners Laurie Tom, Kary English, Brennan Harvey, Scott T. Barnes, plus Joni Labaqui (M)


4:45 "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 any negative stigma. The topics include: - 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. 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 a legacy  - Self publishing is an important "wave" of the future for authors and it's finally being recognized ... don't shy away from it, embrace it!

Alicia Dunams, Sheri Fink, Derek Taylor Kent, Russell Nohelty, Karla Olson, M. Todd Gallowgas (M)

How I Wrote, Created, Produced, Directed, and Starred in
"The Kings of NoHo"

What it takes to develop a streaming TV series from concept to realization.

Join us and learn how to channel your writing into new ways of building your exposure. Used as a tool for branding, The Kings of NoHo series has reached over a million people in the UK, Japan, Indonesia and the United States -- in less than twenty-four hours of the Instagram iPhone series debut. A Q&A with one of our keynote speakers, author/director, Ace Antonio, and executive producer/actor, Troy Williams, will follow the screening.

Ace Antonio Hall, Troy Williams


Query Letters That 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 critiqued by the panel.

Paul Levine, Steven Hutson, Deanna Brady, Elaine Ash (M)

6:00

Planning Your Book Launch and Release Party

So, you’ve sold your book, it’s coming out soon, and people are asking, “When’s the party?”  But this isn’t the movies– your publisher might not exactly be renting out the Ritz.  What’s a working author to do?  Don’t fret.  According to author Sherri Smith, launch parties are easy, if you take them step by step.

Sheri Fink, Derick Taylor Kent, Alicia Dunams, Desiree Duffy


How Authors can Make a Profit at Live Events

Live events are incredibly important to the success of an author. They are a way to get out in front of your audience and make a connection. Unfortunately, most authors lose money at live events. Not Russell Nohelty, though. He is an expert at working the convention circuit and has tabled at over 100 shows since 2014. Join Russell as he shares the tips and tricks he's learned to always make money at live events. 

Russell Nohelty (Solo Spotlight)


Heroes, Anti-Heroes, Super-Heroes & Heroines

What makes a Hero and why do we need them? Why is the society around an Anti-hero so important? What's the best balance between "real" and "amazing" for the Superhero? How has heroism changed over time - Noble-Hero, Victim-Hero, Anti-Hero, Super-Hero - and what does this mean for your story?
            With examples from myths to multi-media, you will explore the qualities that set these special characters apart and learn tools for their creation and character arcs. Learn to create and craft amazing heroines and heroes to give us the heroics all audiences hunger for.

Pamela Jaye Smith (Solo Spotlight)


7:30 - "A Gathering of Writers"
All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the speakers and special guests.
RSVP at Registration Desk, Monarch Hall.
No-host cocktail party and dinner at Antonio's Italian, 13619 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
9 pm - Renegade Late Night Read and Critique Workshop with Robert Yehling
Would you like feedback on your work additional to the quick pitch meeting? What is it like to work with a critique group of good, focused writers? This "after hours" opportunity is for registered attendees to bring work-in-progress and participate in live editing. Fuel up on caffeine, drink and words, and join us for Renegade Late Night Read & Critique.  It is an amazing creative experience. Bring 3 to 5 pages of your manuscript to read and share, and enjoy the feedback exchange! (Hurry and sign up! Limited seating.) Event will be held in the Mikado Hotel Lobby.
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9:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Great Beginnings for Novels – Your First Line, First Pages

You've heard that if the first paragraph of a novel isn't strong enough, agents and publishers won't read beyond the first page, let alone the first fifty. This workshops will help you to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn to draft a first line that will grab an acquisition editor and 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 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 5 copies of your first 2 pages. Selected works will be read aloud, so the audience can follow along and learn how an agent or publisher reviews a manuscript. Time permitting, they may suggest improving the samples.

Mike Robinson, Karla Olson, Steven Hutson, Alex Ironrod, Christine Van Zandt (M)


Great Beginnings for Screenplays– Your First Line, First Pages

You hear that if the first page of your script isn't strong enough, the studios and producers won't read the first scene, let alone the rest. Now you can learn how to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn how to grab the attention of an agent or studio and claim your authority as an screenwriter. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the writer, then offer improvements covering everything from story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring 5 copies of your first 2 pages. Selected works will be read aloud by actors or audience members for each part, so the audience can follow along and learn how a producer or agent reviews. Screenwriters are advised to network with fellow attendees to read "sides" of the script live for the panel. Time permitting, they may suggest improvements for the samples.

Dan Watanabe, Craig Miller, Joel Eisenberg, Sara Ann Fox (M)
A panel of screenwriters and studio veterans.


11:15 am - 12:15 pm

10 Editing/Writing Tendencies to Find (Fix?) in the First 10 Pages

One of the keys to editing, and self-editing, is seeing issues early in the manuscript – which tend to recur throughout. This workshop on editing the first 10 pages, will reveal what to look for, and how to use your findings to navigate your story so it matches your vision.

Robert Yehling (Solo Spotlight)


Finding Your Story's True Voice

You have characters. You have a plot. Now you have to put them together in a way that's going make your audience fall in love with both. Every truly engaging story has a voice that speaks to the audience. Come and learn four steps you can use to discover the voice that will draw the reader in and get them to fall in love with your story. Be sure to bring a pencil and paper & remember to charge your tablet or laptop.

M. Todd Gallowglas (Solo Spotlight)


Virtual and Augmented Reality for Writers

Paul Hynek has years of experience in virtual and augmented reality from having worked on Avatar where they pioneered the virtual camera, numerous AR and VR startups, collaborating with USC to incorporate VR into their stroke recovery technology, working with the US Army on their $1.8 billion Synthetic Training Environment.  Paul has a wildly entertaining and interactive presentation where he shows you what virtual and augmented reality are, some information about the market, and then captures everyone in VR and shows it to them. And I show everyone how to create and watch VR and AR for free, or for $10. It's high time writers actually understood the broad strokes of important new technology.

Paul Hynek (Solo Spotlight)

12:30 Keynote Speaker Address / Luncheon  (optional with complimentary light lunch) REGISTER »»
1:00

TBA "The Impact and Opportunities Of Technology For Storytellers"
Special Keynote Speaker
Lori H. Schwartz

  • What is the impact of the exponential growth of technology for Storytellers?
  • How does a storyteller thrive in this new environment of creative, business and career opportunities in tech?
  • How do you keep ahead and stay focused while being mindful of your current business needs?
The march of technology innovation has always been about making life better, facilitating every day activities in communications and commerce whether between individuals, audiences or consumers brands. 2018 is the year when many of the things we have imagined from smart homes, micro-medicine and extreme personalization to augmented and virtual realities have become real, driving many of these synergies to new levels. But at the start to the finish of any new experience lies the story.  And at the heart of all this new tech is the growing need for good storytellers.  This keynote presentation will help shape your perspective on how to move through these disruptive times.

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