November 5-7, 2020
VIRTUAL

Click the tabs to show sessions filtered by instructional level.

10 Steps to Writing a Business-Tight Nonfiction Book Proposal

If you want to traditionally publish a nonfiction book, a completed manuscript usually isn’t enough to land you a book deal. You’ll also need a book proposal. A book proposal is essentially a business plan for your book; it convincingly argues why your book is a salable product in today’s market. Because of the research involved in putting together a book proposal, they can take weeks (or longer) to write if properly developed, so this session breaks down what can be an overwhelming process into ten, clear manageable steps. Everyone will receive digital access to book proposal worksheets to help begin your research and write the proposal—starting with the easy parts first, to build your confidence. By the end of this session, you’ll learn the difference between a nonfiction book proposal that gets an immediate, enthusiastic response from agents and editors, and one that gets no response.

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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.

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10 Top Writing Lessons From 10 Years of Interviewing Bestselling Authors

This session distills a decade of collected wisdom into the all-time best insights into the creative process, the writing life, the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Get new perspectives on revolutionizing your writing routine, following the path of your story, revising with the right mindset, persevering through rejection, and more—from award-winners and bestsellers including Alice Walker, David Sedaris, David Baldacci, Patricia Cornwell, Khaled Hosseini, Brad Meltzer and Lisa Scottoline.

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A Recipe For Disaster: The Four High-Stakes Elements Every Story Needs

In real life, we should be nice and kind to the people we love. In fiction, we must make things as complicated and complex as possible to keep readers on their toes. This session will address four key elements that keep tension and stakes high in any story, and show you how to wield them in the plot, the scene, and within your characters.

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Adaptation: From Bookshelves to Big Screens

Adapting a book for the screen can be a daunting process for both author and screenwriter. The reality is, slicing the author’s darlings is essential. In this session, we’ll cover how to cut down a full-size novel into a two-hour story as well as discuss Hollywood’s take on intellectual property. Whether you’re a screenwriter looking to adapt or a novelist wanting to know the realities of getting your own story to the screen, it’s time to demystify the adaptation process.

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After the Final Edits: An Indie Author Tells All

Will you accept this POD file? Justine Bylo, IngramSpark’s Author Acquisitions Manager, sits down to talk to bestselling author, Vanity Fair editor, and humorist Mike Sacks. They’ll talk about his leap from traditional publishing to indie publishing, his journey from idea to finished book, and the helpful tips and tricks he’s learned along the way. This session will not only be a master class in self-publishing but an honest look at a real indie author’s experience.

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Amazon Sponsored Product Ads: Get Started With This Powerful Tool

You know you need to advertise your books on Amazon but maybe you don’t know how to start? Amazon’s Sponsored Product ads are among the most powerful marketing options for authors who sell books on Amazon. But the learning curve prevents many authors from taking advantage of this robust advertising tool.

In early 2019, PublishDrive became the first self-publishing platform to offer a built-in Amazon advertising tool. Now, drawing on rich data from PD platform users, this presentation will reveal the basic strategies, what works, and the interesting conclusions that will make it easier for newbies to navigate.

With several years of book advertising and publisher marketing under her belt, PublishDrive’s Business Development Director Phyllis Azar will help you get started.

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

Do you want to write a lot of novels, but can’t improve your writing speed?

Writing fast is the most important skill you can develop as a writer. While it seems hard to hit high word counts, the secrets are easier than you think.

In this presentation, prolific author Michael La Ronn pulls back the curtain on the process that he used to write over 50 books. He accomplished this feat while juggling responsibilities as a husband, father, manager at a Fortune 100 company, and a law school student.

You’ll learn to:

  • Create a writing habit that suits your lifestyle
  • Learn strategies to beat writer’s block forever
  • Discover how to write smarter by using unorthodox strategies used by the masters

Write faster, write smarter, beat writer’s block, and be the prolific author you’ve always wanted to be!

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Behind the Scenes of the Agent/Author Relationship w/ Jeff & Janet

Author Jeff Somers discusses the role of agents in an author’s life: offering sage career advice, buying him drinks, telling him how smart he is, bailing him out of jail, telling him his writing is brilliant, helping him choose projects, mailing him checks, all while tormenting him on a near-daily basis. He’ll answer questions like ‛How terrifying is it when your agent invites you for cocktails out of the blue?’ and ‛Do you ever do the math on just how little money your agent earns from your work?’ and ‛Are you trying to blink a plea for assistance using Morse Code right now but you never actually learned Morse Code so you have no idea what you’re saying?’

Meanwhile, Jeff’s agent, Janet Reid will laugh merrily as he blinks out those pleas for help. She will reveal for the first time ever what feats of strength and magic rituals Jeff had to perform to secure representation. What she does when Jeff digs in his heels about plot twists, contract language, or wearing pants to this writing conference. You’ll get insight into her perverse pleasure in tormenting Jeff about publicity, promotion, and living in New Jersey. And why the highest form of praise is being a character who gets killed not once but twice. 

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Being a Hybrid Author: Reaping the Benefits of Being Both Traditionally and Self-Published

The gateway to being a published author is now a double door. The publishing industry has gone through a lot of changes in recent years and the one of the big ones is the model of authorship. A hybrid author has the perks of both traditionally and self-published, and not so many of the pitfalls.

In this informative session we will discuss:

  • The differences in being traditionally or self-published
  • The pros and cons of both and why it doesn’t matter as much for hybrid authors
  • The world today of being traditionally published.
  • Marketing: the logical relationship between the two
  • Self-Publishing in a nutshell

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Beyond Comp Lists: Market Research for Novelists

Understanding your genre’s readership, fellow authors, and how publishers’ marketing efforts really work is critical for developing an actionable marketing plan for yourself and your book(s). In this interactive session, Amy Collins will help you identify and track down the most successful authors in your genre, not just to build a comp list, but to develop a step-by-step action plan to find and engage the right readers for your book—before it’s published.

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Book Publishing Trends in 2020: What Writers Need to Know

It’s been a transformative year for all businesses and creative people, and that includes even the slow-moving and stable business of book publishing. While book sales are known for resiliency during recession, and social justice issues have led to increased sales this year, it’s not possible or desirable for book publishing to proceed business as usual. No one will go unaffected—not authors, editors or agents, not booksellers, librarians or reviewers. Two industry veterans discuss the big-picture changes still unfolding, the questions raised for writers, and what to watch for in the months ahead.

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Building Suspense by Acting Out of Character

Once you’ve established who your characters are, you can thicken your plot by giving them reasons to act out of character. (Think of the meek heroine who suddenly lashes out, the reliable parent who runs off, or the villain who shows an unexpected kindness—they all make you want to know why.) Learn how this underutilized technique can be used on a large scale (propelling an entire novel’s plot) or a small one (adding twists, turns and interest) to create page-turning stories sure to satisfy.

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Buzz: The Anatomy of a Powerful Book Launch

Most authors think releasing their book looks like how one launches a rocket in a movie—hit a big, red button and then…take off! But the truth is that a great book launch (the kind that generates the most momentum and sells the most books) has a lot more to it. This session will reframe how you think about launch and show you how to take advantage of that sweet spot between writing and selling. The months before your release date are where intentional positioning, outreach, relationship-building, and automation matter most if you want to drive engagement and grassroots interest and avoid running out of fuel.

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Crafting Dynamic Characters

Creating dynamic characters with rich internal worlds can be a challenging task–we are, after all, complex and paradoxical at our core as people. Emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and motivations all play a part in understanding our characters in a deep, meaningful way. Learn how to tease apart these complicated personal effects, and how to channel into the heart of your protagonist. You’ll learn the basics of crafting vibrant characters that walk off the page and delve deeply into your protagonist’s heart through guided prompts and discover a whole new side to them.

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Crafting Flash

At 1000 words or less, flash fiction and flash memoir represent the smallest of our creative stories. Flash writing includes mini-essays, vignettes, prose poems, lists, fables, and rants, among other more traditional narratives. A flash piece might look like a recipe card or a postcard or even a report card. Anything goes!

Great news: Flash is one of the most sellable pieces of writing in today’s journals. Join this session and learn how to add your voice to this segment of publishing. You’ll leave with information, inspiration, and a list of 100 magazines acquiring flash today.

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Creating a Conflict Box: The Fuel of Your Story

A novel runs on conflict. The conflict box is a way of diagramming the core conflict of your book. You’ll learn not only what your conflict is, but to identify your protagonist and antagonist and their goals. Participants will learn how to create conflict boxes and have a chance to get their conflict box evaluated.

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Demystifying Publishing Deals

Literary agent, Maris Corvisiero, will walk you through what happens after work is pitched to publishers, from the offer to the contract, and everything in between, with examples of possible outcomes and solid advice. Important terms will be explained and compared to industry standards to help authors set expectations and help them choose the best deals, and negotiate the most favorable terms that lead to success in publishing.

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

Can you say what your book is about in 25 words or less? Does it convey the heart of the book? Produce a shiver of intrigue? It’s important not just for selling the book, but at the very beginning it’s needed in order to write the book. It gives you focus. In this session, we’ll cover how to create pitch statements and participants will get a chance to have their sentences evaluated.

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Dialogue as Action, Not Conversation

Dialogue in fiction must serve numerous purposes—enhance characterization, advance the plot, provide information, suggest subtext—all of which demonstrate the fundamental truth that dialogue is not mere conversation. It is action. In this hour long workshop, award-winning author David Corbett (The Art of Character, The Compass of Character) will guide students in an exploration of how to root dialogue in the core objectives and obstacles within the scene, how to reveal through conflict, how to create and balance multiple voices in a scene, and how to escape the Tit-for-Tat Pitfall, Narrative-as-Dialogue, Run-on Speeches, “Colorful” Speech Tags, and other common shortcomings. The class will also explore the limits of verisimilitude, knowing what to cut, and the mechanics of getting your dialogue right on the page.

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

This session will aim to educate writers on diversity in the current publishing climate. It will provide writers with takeaways related to traditional publishing, dispel myths regarding diversity and inclusion in the publishing world, and provide important information to consider when pitching their books to literary agents and the journey towards publishing. Writers will also gain a deeper perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly of literary tropes.

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Editing Your Short Stuff

Nailing the narrative of a short story or personal essay requires a specific frame of mind. Unlike novels and memoirs, short creative works have a small amount of space to make a big impact. In this session, you’ll learn how to analyze your short creative prose with Windy’s 10-point system. She’ll walk you from developmental changes to the all-important micro polish, and lead you to a publishable piece of writing.

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Effective Nonfiction Book Proposals

A book proposal is a critical document in the life story of your book. It’s what convinces an agent or editor to invest their time and money in your project. It also serves to help you clarify the scope of your project for your own sake. In this session, we’ll look at each critical piece of a nonfiction book proposal including several sample proposals that ended up selling the book. We’ll also look at how editors use the information you provide and why it’s important to follow the guidelines they set.

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Elevate Your Book’s Brand—A Case Study

Brands have the power to influence people’s perception, and by being intentional in creating a unique brand for yourself and your book, you have the power to communicate its value to potential readers. In this session, Dima Ghawi shares her process of self-publishing Breaking Vases—winner of WD’s 26th Annual Self-Published Book Awards Grand Prize. You will learn practical tips for creating a memorable brand, monetizing your book and generating earned media.

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Emerging Story Platforms for Authors

The market for stories is much bigger than books as we view them in their traditional sense. Just as ebooks disrupted the print market, the storytelling industry has new disruptors. This session will introduce some of the newer formats that authors are using to distribute their work (e.g, chat, interactive and gamified stories) and will analyze the trajectories of several platforms that have been around for a few years or more (e.g., Radish, Tap by Wattpad, Hooked, Choice of Games, etc.). This session will be part commentary and emerging industry analysis, part overview of the submission process, and intel culled from interviewing current authors.

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Evaluate Your Publisher’s Platform Before Signing a Book Deal

Authors have been told for years that they need a platform if they want any chance of finding an agent and/or getting a book deal with a major publisher, but you rarely hear about publishers’ platforms. Plenty of authors lacking traditional platforms have had successful books published by publishers of all sizes, while remainder bins are full of books by authors with large platforms and Big 5 publisher imprints on their spines who never earned out their advances. If you’re querying a publisher—big or small, traditional or hybrid—you should be evaluating their platforms long before they’re evaluating yours. In this session, you’ll learn some of the most critical planks to look for—each one as important as the size of your advance, and far more important than the size of your own Twitter following or email list.

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

Full disclosure: actually writing it is going to take longer than that. But if the question is: can award-winning and bestselling thriller author Hank Phillippi Ryan show me exactly how to take my idea for a crime fiction novel and turn it into a living breathing book? Yes, indeed. You’ll need talent, and persistence, and craft. And some magic. But in this fast-paced, high-intensity class, suitable for any type of crime novel, Hank will give you a structure, a template, an architecture—exactly what you need to help you structure your idea and grow it into the book it is meant to be. You’ll leave this class with a personal plan for your crime novel, a list of absolute necessities, and even some inspiration.

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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.

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FightWrite: From Practical to Tactical

Learn the basics of fighting through live demonstration and hands-on instruction, including hand-to-hand fighting and weapons basics. Physical participation is optional; Q&A for all.

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

Voice is perhaps the most daunting and elusive of all fiction writing elements. Yet voice is also key to writing memorable, compelling and believable novels. Let’s break the struggle to understand and develop our writerly voices in this session which draws on specific examples of music, visual arts, and performing arts to help writers explore the concept of “voice,” find their own, and bring it to life in their writing. Attendees need not know how to play a flute, tap dance, or sculpt to enjoy and get key takeaways out of the session! With an open mind, they’ll find fresh ways to understand and use voice to bring their characters and plots to life, and take away specific tips for developing, expanding, and applying voice to their current and future novel projects.

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

It’s not enough to just be a great writer anymore. With the loss of traditional retail space, it’s more important than ever for authors to have their own platforms to reach and engage with readers directly. But where to start? And when to start? Do I need a platform before querying agents? Before contracting with a publishing house? Do I need to be on every platform? What the heck is TikTok? This session will address all of these questions, as well as specific best practices for building your author platform, timing, content strategy, and tips for specific platforms.

In this hour-long session, HMH Books & Media Senior Marketing Director and long-time book marketer Andrea DeWerd will cover:

• Author websites
• Amazon Author Central
• Bookbub
• Facebook
• Goodreads
• Influencers / Bookstagram
• Instagram
• LinkedIn
• Twitter
• Spotify, Snapchat, TikTok and the other niche/emerging platforms

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Funny Sells: Adding Humor to Your Writing

Many writers avoid using humor because of the self-assigned label, “I’m not funny.” Though the assessment might be accurate, the assumption is wrong. Being funny is the requisite for performing comedy, while creativity is the key to humor writing. To write funny, you must think funny, and that’s a learnable skill. During this interactive session, individual and small-group exercises will highlight brainstorming strategies, identify guidelines for adding humor to fiction and nonfiction, and outline tips for maximizing the funny in your writing.

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Funny You Should Ask! Ask the Agents (& Editor) Anything.

What does it really mean when my submissions draw personalized rejections? When is it OK to follow up with an agent who asked to see my manuscript? How am I ever going to overcome my fear of sharing my work, or my writer-jealousy, or my unsupportive partner? Literary Agent Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency has been fielding these questions and many more with hilarity and candor in WD magazine’s popular “Funny You Should Ask” column. On this panel, she gathers some like-minded publishing friends and dares you: ask them ANYTHING.

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How to Craft the Perfect Media Pitch

Reporters are a lot like agents—they love a good story. But convincing them to cover your book requires a strategic and newsworthy hook that must go beyond writing a simple press release. This class will teach you how to craft the perfect media pitch for a wide variety of target audiences, including local reporters, feature editors and book bloggers.

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How to Evoke Emotion in Every Scene

From fast-paced thrillers to contemplative literary novels and everything in between, readers need to connect to your characters to create a page-turning experience. Emotion is the thread that binds readers to your characters’ experience. This session will help you use sensory cues, powerful imagery, character demonstration and other tools to evoke the emotion that hooks readers and creates deep, compelling characters.

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How to Get a Bangin’ Book Cover

Do people really judge a book by its cover? Absolutely. So what can you do about it? In this session, author Zachary Petit, a former Writer’s Digest editor who went on to lead the National Magazine Award-winning design publication PRINT, brings together a trio of the industry’s best book cover designers to reveal what makes a great jacket—and how you can work with a designer to get one. Whether you’re an indie author looking to commission a killer cover or a traditionally published author trying to navigate the mysterious and often confusing waters of your publishing house, this vital session will bring you one step closer to getting a cover that not only does your words justice, but keeps them flying off bookshelves.

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How To Plot Your Book With Ease

What’s the biggest mistake writers make? They don’t know how to merge the technical aspects of plot and cohesion with the emotional aspects of characters and desire. Without these things working together authors get rejected time and time again. The job of a writer is to entice, compel, and seduce readers; to tell a story while entertaining and evoking emotions so readers can feel beyond normal feelings. Emotion and scene are the secret weapons of plot and creating a truly compelling story. In this workshop, participants will be taken step by step from idea to emotion to story. Participants will have a clear understanding of how to move forward with their story after just 60 minutes of instruction. Examples from the participants will be workshopped.

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How to Publish Your Book

Every writer writes a book with the intention to publish it, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction or a children’s book. However, understanding what it takes to actually publish it, get your book out into the marketplace, and attract attention and/or grow your sales can seem like a mystery of its own, especially as an academic or business owner. In this presentation, Jennifer S. Wilkov, popular host of the podcast, “Your Book Is Your Hook!” and sought-after book consultant, will show you how to master the art of publishing your book! Break through the bottlenecks, complete your book, discover how you can publish your book and start using it to attract more readers, agents, publishers, publicists, press and clients to your book and work. Expect to learn:

  • How to determine the right way to publish your project
  • What is required to publish each type of book
  • The basics for publishing effective books that sell
  • The secret to using your book as your “hook” in your industry, business,
    organization, project or career
  • Fool-proof ways to master networking introductions with your book
    inside and outside of the publishing industry
  • Proven techniques to use your book to reach Hollywood producers and
    the media
  • Top strategies to leverage your book for various audiences, opportunities
    and markets

Sponsored by: Your Book Is Your Hook

 

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

Editors from The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Esquire, New York, and Oprah magazines buy short pieces from new authors every day. Why not from you? Susan Shapiro, author of The Byline Bible, will spill 12 secrets of how to break into top publications quickly, make the most of your new clip, and how three pages can change your life.

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How to Sell to Libraries

Learn how libraries buy and how to get your book on their shelves.

US libraries spend billions of dollars on books every single year. Is your book one of them? Not sure how to make money with libraries? Want to learn how just a few minutes a day could turn into a thousands of dollars? In this course, you’ll discover the immense potential of getting your book stocked in a single branch, a multi-venue library system, or even nation-wide library distribution. Libraries do buy books like yours and this session will teach you how authors and small presses can effectively pitch to librarians.

Get the full details on how books get into libraries, how to approach librarians, and what materials you need to convince a library to stock your book.

We will cover:

  • Why libraries should be one of your top priorities
  • What librarians look for when buying books
  • Why and how to get your titles listed with wholesalers
  • How to sell librarians on both you and your book
  • What to do once the library says ‘yes’

Comments about Amy’s Library Presentations:

“I am so grateful we found Amy Collins! We love seeing our books in libraries, and Amy’s comprehensive, user-friendly learning modules on everything from Library of Congress numbers to finding wholesalers helped us get our books library-shelf-ready … setting us on a more successful indie publishing path.”

“Results are building fast from your class about librarians. I have checked on Worldcat.org, and I find that my book is now in many libraries across the United States—just what I have been hoping for, to get my message out to new readers! My book is even in two libraries in Europe, one in England and one in Holland.”

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How to Subvert Cliches for Fun and Profit

How do you know if your work is original enough? How do you find new ideas? Bestselling author Tobias Buckell will show you methods to take the familiar and stretch it into something new and innovative with a set of exercises and methods to unlock fun combinations and ways of thinking about where ideas come from, and even the craft of writing on a sentence level. Bring pen and paper!

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How to Tweak Your Query So It’s Effective (Tips for Writers Currently Querying)

You’ve queried and gotten nowhere. It’s time to take a deeper dive into what can go wrong at the query letter stage in this insight-rich session with “The Query Shark” herself, Janet Reid.  This session is not for beginners, but if you’re an experienced (if unsuccessful) querier, Janet will give you actionable advice and straight talk about what queries get answered.

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How To Write & Publish A Book In 90 Days

In this presentation, Self Publishing School founder Chandler Bolt breaks down the 3 step process used by 4,500+ SPS students to go from no idea to published author in 90 days. If you are in the idea phase (or even if you’ve already written one), you don’t want to miss this session!

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How to Write a Killer Logline and Synopsis

You may have a great script, but unless you also have an exciting logline and synopsis, no one will want to read it—it’s your ‘sales tool’ to generate interest from producers, studio executives, and agents. Yet many writers, even those who can artfully craft a screenplay, don’t know the proper format and elements of these important pieces of writing. In this interactive session, you’ll learn how to write a compelling logline and how to expand that logline into half page and full page synopses. The session includes exercises to help you identify the seven key elements of an intriguing logline, along with actual loglines and synopses from two of Christine’s made-for-TV movies which aired on Lifetime and Hallmark. She’ll also discuss the difference between synopses and treatments, when you should reveal the ending or leave the reader hanging, and how to choose the right level of detail for synopses of various lengths.

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How to Write an Effective Query Letter (the Basics)

Query letter newbie? Start with this session and get all the query letter basics. You’ll leave clearly knowing why and when you need one, and what it should contain. This workshop helps you avoid the mistakes that lead to rejection before an agent reads your pages and will help you see things from their point of view.

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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.

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

Creating characters who are authentic is the goal of fiction writers and is not an easy task. Creating diversity through ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identification can make it more difficult, but can open a world of new possibilities for your story. Step outside of your own experiences and learn how to create the voice of diverse characters while remaining respectful of culture and community and reflecting the actual world.

In this session you will learn to:

  • Consider when inclusivity helps tell the story
  • Examine how culture and community influence characters
  • Write diverse characters that are not stereotypes
  • Examine failures and success of diverse representation by looking at works of contemporary authors

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It’s Amazon’s World – We’re Just Writing in It

Amazon sells nearly 50% of all print books and over 70% of all e-books in America! If you want to sell more books, the secret is to learn how to sell more books through Amazon. It doesn’t matter if you’re self-published or traditionally-published, write fiction or non-fiction, a first-time author or an experienced veteran. Every author is in the same boat. Success hinges upon knowing how to maximize Amazon’s system to your advantage. Book marketing expert, Rob Eagar, will share proven techniques based on his popular Writer’s Digest course, Mastering Amazon for Authors. You will learn how to:

  • Convert more sales when readers view your book on Amazon
  • Secure more customer reviews for free
  • Get your books noticed on Amazon’s huge website
  • Create advertising that drive readers directly to your books

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Jeff Somers Tells All, Janet Reid Revises Him: Behind the Scenes of the Author/Agent Relationship

Author Jeff Somers discusses the role of agents in an author’s life: offering sage career advice, buying him drinks, telling him how smart he is, bailing him out of jail, telling him his writing is brilliant, helping him choose projects, mailing him checks, all while tormenting him on a near-daily basis. He’ll answer questions like ‛How terrifying is it when your agent invites you for cocktails out of the blue?’ and ‛Do you ever do the math on just how little money your agent earns from your work?’ and ‛Are you trying to blink a plea for assistance using Morse Code right now but you never actually learned Morse Code so you have no idea what you’re saying?’

Meanwhile, Jeff’s agent, Janet Reid will laugh merrily as he blinks out those pleas for help. She will reveal for the first time ever what feats of strength and magic rituals Jeff had to perform to secure representation. What she does when Jeff digs in his heels about plot twists, contract language, or wearing pants to this writing conference. You’ll get insight into her perverse pleasure in tormenting Jeff about publicity, promotion, and living in New Jersey. And why the highest form of praise is being a character who gets killed not once but twice.

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Love Crosses Genres: Why All Readers Love a Good Happily Ever After

If books are a drug, addicted readers all want the same dopamine rush: an emotionally-satisfying ending. Satisfaction, we are taught, comes from story resolutions that align to genre. Mysteries end once they identify the killer. Suspense/thrillers let the protagonist get out alive. Romance lets lovers ride off into the sunset. Yet the best—and, indeed, the most satisfying—stories rarely pick a lane. They stay true to their dominant genre, but use sub-plots that double down on the emotional stakes. Romance author Kilby Blades will explore how romantic sub-plots can be used in novels outside of the Romance genre to hook more readers and deepen their emotional investment in your books.

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