November 5-7, 2020

Author Archive

Secrets of the Algorithm – How Traditionally Published Authors and Indies are Working with Amazon’s Algorithm To Find More Readers

If you have a book or books on Amazon, either from a traditional publisher or indie published, this session will help you. Advertising is just one option for authors who want to ensure their books come up at the top of the search when a reader looks for something similar to buy. If you want to improve the chances of your book being seen on Amazon, this session will help you understand and take advantage of the core elements of Amazon’s algorithm, to ensure your book or books get seen by more readers.

In this session we’ll break apart the key elements of the Amazon A9 search algorithm and show you how you can position any book so that the algorithm selects it more often, when readers search. You’ll discover the easy-to-implement tactics you can use to reach more readers fast, and get the A9 algorithm working for you, not against you.


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In for the Long Haul: The Craft of Writing a Series

Whether an author is crafting a trilogy or an ongoing series, serial writing demands considerable forethought and particular tools of the trade. This session will weigh the pros and cons of writing a series or trilogy and look at the decisions necessary in the earliest planning stages and beyond. This workshop will present techniques that are crucial to maintaining continuity, how to craft a single plot for each book and over-arching plot for the series, how to age characters authentically, how to engage readers who start mid-series, and how to tie the series/trilogy together at the end in a manner satisfying to readers.

Publishers these days shy away from novels, especially debut novels, much longer than 125,000 words. But what if an author’s story demands more words? This workshop will be of interest to those who discover their story is too long for one novel but are not certain how to write it across multiple books, and will appeal as well to those who already have a series or trilogy in mind.

First and foremost, the workshop will distinguish and define a series/trilogy: is it the same protagonist, the same story style (biographical, mystery, etc.), such as Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series; the same structure, the same POV, the same period, locale, or all such criteria? Does it have to be chronological in structure? Can it be several books set in the same period or family with different protagonists, such as John Jakes’ Kent Family Chronicals? And does each book have to continue the first’s themes and conflicts for it to connect as a series/trilogy?

Serial writing demands considerable forethought as well as particular tools of the trade. This workshop will delineate the pros and cons of writing a series or trilogy and will emphasize the decisions an author needs to make during the earliest planning stages and beyond.

Topics will include techniques for designing an over-arching story-line in addition to individual plot-lines that lead to a satisfactory conclusion for each book, as in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series and Donna Russo Morin’s Da Vinci’s Disciples Trilogy.

The material will address creating recurring main characters who must, like Diana Gabaldon’s Claire and Jamie Fraser, have such compelling personalities and face such breathless adventures that readers will eagerly follow them through book after book.

The lecture will include discussion of continuity of tone and character, which are so essential for crafting a successful series/trilogy, provide how-to tips for bringing readers in mid-series, and weighing the pros and cons of making the main character a historical figure versus a fictional character surrounded by historical figures and events.

Lastly, tips will be offered for bringing the series/trilogy to a full and fulfilling conclusion.

10 Tips for a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal

Writers who followed the advice in The Weekend Book Proposal have earned well over $1 million in advances with their nonfiction book proposals. This session reveals some of my–and their!–best tips for making YOUR nonfiction book proposal stand out and get noticed by industry gatekeepers. We’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A at the end, too, to address specific questions from the audience.

Fearless Writing: Because Everyone Has What It Takes

Learning the craft is only the beginning of a writer’s journey. Most of the obstacles both beginning and experienced author’s face have less to do with finding a compelling opening or creating believable characters and more to do the many emotional challenges inherent in sharing our work with other people. In this session, I’ll shine a light on some of the dark questions about talent, intelligence, time, and money that haunt many writers. I’ll also provide tools to keep our attention where it needs to be to write what we most want to write.

Writing True Crime

The market for true crime books, podcasts and documentaries has never been better. In this session, New York Times bestselling true crime author Rebecca Morris will discuss how writing true crime is different than any other genre. Whether a cold case or a contemporary one, there are challenges involving research and conducting interviews with victims and their families as well as with the convicted. She will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working with a co-author, writing a successful book proposal, finding a publisher, and the decision to go the self-published route.