THIS YEAR’S SESSION & WORKSHOPS:
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 and updates:
BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30
1. Revising the Memoir Manuscript, taught by Lisa Romeo. While revision is vital for any genre, in addition to meticulous attention to writing craft, memoir writers must navigate unique challenges and more complicated personal considerations. Explore the perils (and pleasure) of memoir revision, including final considerations about how much to reveal (or protect) the narrator, family, and friends; when and how to incorporate newly unearthed memories or evolving outcomes; and what last-pass techniques memoir writers can borrow from novelists—and which to leave alone.
2.Knock ’em Dead: Tips on Writing Mystery, Thriller, and Crime, taught by Wendy Tyson. You have an idea for a thriller/suspense novel that you think will be a winner. Now what? This class is designed to help you get from concept to published book. Beginning with understanding the kind of novel that will be the best vehicle for your idea (mystery vs thriller?), this workshop will help you develop your own best process to write your book, offer tips on staying focused, and give pointers on effective editing. Finally, you’ll learn how to describe and present your work to get the attention of agents and publishers.
3. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today, 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.
BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50
1. Getting (Traditionally) Published by Small and University Presses, taught by Lisa Romeo. Traditional publishing goes beyond the big five New York City houses. Hundreds of traditional boutique and small publishers and university presses seek polished manuscripts submitted directly by writers who are not represented by agents. There’s a lot you need to know, to find, target, prepare, and submit to these publishers. Learn what’s expected, what not to do, and how to increase your chances for success with these publishers that value high quality literary work above platform, prior sales, and bestseller potential. Plus: 11 reasons why you and your book might be ideal candidates for small/university publishing.
2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters, 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.
3. Outlines For Pantsers: How to Outline Your Book Even When You Don’t Enjoy It, taught by L.E. DeLano. This workshop will show how to chart your story with an outline grid that gives you the freedom to write part of your story where you feel like it today. The session is for both writers of MG/YA kidlit as well as adult novels.
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 (Adult Fiction & Memoir Manuscripts), with participating literary agents and editors. 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 kidlit of any kind, 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. (Please note this session during Block 3 is for adult fiction [any kind] and memoir. If you are writing any kind of young adult or middle grade fiction, there is a panel just for you during Block 4.)
2. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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.
3. Write Picture Books That Sell: Avoid the Top 10 Picture Book Pitfalls, taught by Marie Lamba. In this workshop you’ll gain a better understanding of the picture book market, its challenges and opportunities, and what agents and publishers currently seek. Next we’ll cover what makes a story truly “book worthy,” including point of view, language, voice, and originality. We’ll discuss how a story must blend with images, and what it means for it to have a marketable hook. Marie will then cover the 10 top mistakes agents and editors most often see picture book writers make in their manuscripts. Using clear examples, she’ll show how to spot these mistakes in your own work, and also offer methods that you can use to fix these problems, strengthening your story. Marie will also share plenty of insider’s tips that will help you along the road toward picture book publication.
BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45
1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (Young Adult and Middle Grade Manuscripts Only), with participating literary agents and editors. 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 YA or MG novels—no adult books or children’s picture books of any kind, 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. (Please note this session during Block 3 is for young adult and middle grade fiction only. If you are writing any kind of book for adults, there is a panel just for you during Block 3.)
2. The Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Was Published, taught by Wendy Tyson. In this speech, a published author helps you navigate the challenges that lie ahead by sharing advice on patience and perseverance, the importance of developing craft, the value of networking, and more.
3. The Editing Process: Tips on Revising and Rewriting Your Work, taught by Michelle Lazurek. So, you have a manuscript, but it’s far from fit to submit to publishers and agents yet. In this class, you will learn how to Be a good self-editor, how to tighten your writing, and how to avoid “manuscript killers” that keep you from a stellar manuscript. In this class, literary agent instructor Michelle Lazurek will give attendees a sample of writing, which we will edit together.
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform, 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.
2. So You Have an Agent or Book Deal — Now What?, taught by Eric Smith. Many writers seek to get an agent and book deal. But what happens after these steps? Hear from literary agent Eric Smith on how to effectively work with a literary agent, what to expect in the submission process, what it’s like to work with a publishing house editor, how to sell multiple books in your career, and much more.
3. Writing Young Adult and Middle Grade in an Ever-Changing World of Technology, taught by L.E. DeLano. Technology and social media figure heavily in the lives of today’s teens. How do you write what’s current without it going out of style before your publication date? And how do the current click-bait and slideshow trends online influence the perceptions of young readers? Published YA author L.E. DeLano will walk you through this and more in her speech.
SESSIONS END: 5:00
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.