November 5-7, 2020
VIRTUAL

The updated, virtual schedule is here! We’re in the process of filling the open slots and will have the completed program posted soon.

The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference offers a balanced program covering the fundamentals of craft—delving into specific genres and techniques—along with the business of being a writer, from traditional and self-publishing paths, promotion and marketing strategies, and managing a sustainable career.

We’re in the process of selecting speakers for what should be our best program yet so check back often, and be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to receive session and speaker updates as they’re announced!

Featured Events

Pre-Conference Workshops (11/5)

The Compass of Character: Creating Complex Motivations for Compelling Characters | David Corbett

Personal Essay Essentials: How to Break Into Print with First-Person Writing | Windy Lynn Harris

Sessions Schedule

FRIDAY, November 6, 2020

  Fiction Nonfiction Build Your Platform Publishing Business
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Everything You Need to Know to Write Crime Fiction – In One Hour
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Seven Key Questions You Need to Answer to Successfully Publish Your Nonfiction Book
Katrin Schumann

How to Publish Your Book
Jennifer S. Wilkov

Sponsored by: Your Book Is Your Hook

Book Publishing Trends in 2020: What Writers Need to Know
Jane Friedman and Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

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

10 Tips for a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal
Ryan Van Cleave
Marketing Collectives for Mutual Success
Ann Garvin

Query Letter Basics
Jess Regel

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Surprise & Delight Your Readers on Every Page
Jessica Strawser

Memoir or Fiction: How To Choose the Best Way to Tell Your Own Story
April Eberhardt

From Social Media to Goodreads: The Ins and Outs of Author Platforms and Branding
Andrea DeWerd

Panel: What Should Authors Expect From Publishers’ Marketing Efforts?
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Kathleen Quinlan, and Kilby Blades

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Lunch on your own
  Fiction Nonfiction Build Your Platform Publishing Business
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Rooting Suspense in Domesticity
Hallie Ephron

How to Sell an Essay, Humor, Op-Ed, or Service Piece Fast
Susan Shapiro

Emerging Story Platforms for Authors
Kilby Blades

Inspiration Session: Writer’s Digest Anniversary Panel
Jane Friedman, Jessica Strawser, Jack Heffron, and Amy Jones

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Developing a 25-Word Idea and Pitch Statement: The Heart of Your Story
Bob Mayer

Writing True Crime
Rebecca Morris

One Small Thing a Day: Marketing Made Easy
Amy Collins

Being a Hybrid Author: Reaping the Benefits of Being Both Traditionally and Self-Published
Abby Vandiver
5:15 – 6:15 PM Opening Keynote: Chuck Wendig

SATURDAY, November 7, 2020

  Craft Craft Inspiration Publishing Business
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

How To Plot Your Book With Ease
Ann Garvin

The Muddle in the Middle
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Be a Writing Machine: How to Never Run Out of Writing Ideas and Beat Writer’s Block Forever
Michael La Ronn

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Publishing: From First Pitch to Book Birthday
Nevien Shaabneh

11:15 – 12:15 PM

Creating a Conflict Box: The Fuel of Your Story
Bob Mayer

It’s a Small, Diverse World: Creating Authentic Voices for Your Characters
Abby Vandiver

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

Sponsored by: BooksGoSocial.com

The Nitty Gritty on Giving a Book Talk for Your Novel
Hallie Ephron

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Dialogue as Action, Not Conversation
David Corbett

Crafting Flash
Windy Lynn Harris

Find Your Writing Voice by Exploring Other Creative Arts: Arts, Music, Performance, Oh My!
Sharon Short

Evaluate Your Publisher’s Platform Before Signing a Book Deal
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Lunch on your own / Exhibits
  Craft Craft Inspiration Publishing Business
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Rock Your Revisions
Gabriela Pereira

The 5 Insider Secrets to Show-Stopping Novel Beginnings
Annalisa Parent

Sponsored by: Date with the Muse, LLC

Fearless Writing: Because Everyone Has What It Takes
William Kenower

Slush Pile Boot Camp
Chantelle Aimee Osman

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Panel: Debut Authors
PANEL: Joanne Ramos, Tariq Shah, Mia Mercado, Lisa Braxton, and Cassandra Lipp (Moderator)

Weaving the Character Web
David Corbett

Organizing Your Writing Life
Leslye Penelope

How to Sell to Libraries
Amy Collins

5:15 – 6:30 PM

Central Keynote: Maaza Mengiste and Viet Thanh Nguyen

5:30 – 7:00 PM Networking, Virtual Lounge