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 (State Suite 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. Learn more about presenter Chuck Sambuchino here.

2. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Governor 1 Room), 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. Learn more about presenter Madeline Smoot here.

3. The Art and Craft of Memoir (Governor 2 Room), taught by Marge Barrett. Whether you’re beginning to write or revising for publication, delving into research or incorporating narrative style, material will be offered on topics pertinent to your current project. We’ll read from master memoirists to learn how they develop character, setting, and dialogue; tense and time (flashback, flash forward); scene, summary, and reflection. We’ll employ these bedrocks of memoir in crafting our own artful stories. Learn more about presenter Marge Barrett here. 

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Invest in Yourself and Your Book: Creating an Effective Time & Value Balance in Reaching Readers, Before and After Publication (Governor 1 Room), taught by Dawn Frederick. The big day is here. Your book birthday has arrived — now what do you do?  The experience of seeing one’s book published is exciting, but sometimes overwhelming.  There are only so many hours in a day, so it’s important to effectively market your book.  For anyone in the process of marketing their book (pre- and post-publication), this class will be helpful.  Learn more about presenter Dawn Frederick here.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (State Suite 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. Learn more about presenter Chuck Sambuchino here.

3. Ten Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Governor 2 Room), taught by Kristi Belcamino. If you’re writing a thriller, suspense novel, mystery, or crime novel, you will not want to miss this speech. Taught by successful mystery novelist Kristi Belcamino (author of Blessed Are the Dead), the presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night. Learn more about instructor Kristi Belcamino here.

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 (State Suite Room), with participating literary agents and editors, moderated by Chuck Sambuchino. 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 (Governor 2 Room), taught by literary agent Erik Hane. 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. Learn more about agent/presenter Erik Hane here.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book (Governor 1 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. Learn more about presenter Madeline Smoot here.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. How to Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right (Governor 1 Room), taught by Amy Quale. 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. Learn more about presenter Amy Quale here.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (State Suite 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. Learn more about presenter Chuck Sambuchino here.

3. How to Write & Pitch Fantasy and Science Fiction (Governor 2 Room), taught by literary agent Jennie Goloboy. 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. Jennie will talk about the specific challenges science fiction and fantasy writers face in getting published. She’ll give advice on how to craft a query letter when the worldbuilding is part of the story. Attendees will learn which categories are particularly desirable at the moment, and which are a tougher sell. Come prepared with questions.
Learn more about presenter Jennie Goloboy here.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform (Governor 1 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 online cheaply and easily. Learn more about presenter Chuck Sambuchino here.

2. Talking Craft and Revision (State Suite Room), by Kristi Belcamino. Learn how to craft excellent fiction, and then 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. Learn more about presenter Kristi Belcamino here.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Governor 2 Room), taught by Michele Hauf. The Hero’s Journey, vision boards, character lists, literary agents, publishers, word count, marketing, big publishers vs. self publishing, HEAs, deadlines, blocks, and more. So much to think about when sitting before the keyboard! Learn the rules of writing romance, then learn to break them as you forge your own path to publishing. Instructor Michele Hauf has been published by Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington, Entangled, Belle Books, and a few small presses, as well as self-publishing as Swell Cat Press, LLC. Learn more about presenter Michele Hauf here.


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.