Schedule: 2020 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. Getting Published in Today’s World: 10 Tips to Make You the Writer Agents and Publishers Want, taught by Brian A. Klems. If you want to land an agent and a book deal in today’s market, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just write a great book (though that’s a good start). In this session, former Writer’s Digest editor Brian A. Klems discusses the challenges writers face in publishing today and offers up 10 practical tips to help you break through the barriers and find success.


BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Characters: The People of Your Story, taught by Bob Mayer. The most critical component of a novel is character. How do you go from flat two-dimensional characters to vibrant three-dimensional ones? Bestselling author Bob Mayer will discuss templates you need to develop characters as well as the concept of character arc and change. These include profiling, psychological frameworks, and the to show character arc and change.

2. Making Social Media Work For You, taught by Kenzi Nevins. As authors, most of us wish we could spend more time writing and leave marketing to the experts, but in today’s world, social media is a necessary part of our job. Fortunately, with a little work, you can turn it in to a vehicle for reaching the world with your words, rather than a frustrating time-waster.


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 (Bluegrass AB) 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 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.)


BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Platform, Product & Promotion: Understand Your Unique Position as an Author, taught by Bob Mayer. A writer can easily be overwhelmed by all the well-meaning advice given by experts, industry professionals and even other authors. The reason for this is that every single writer is in a different place and has to figure out their position and point of view with which to boil down all the information into intelligence (useable information). If you consider these three variables, with a sliding scale from ‘none’ to ‘the best’, you end up with an infinite variety of authors. This course taught by bestselling author Bob Mayer will help authors make decisions, such as should whether to traditional publish or self-publish; what areas they should focus their creative and marketing efforts on; and much more.

2. Author Brand Building, taught by Alexandra Weiss. Whether you like it or not, an interested agent/editor will be typing your name into Google. While having a website and an active social media presence isn’t an absolute must for new writers, it’s important to develop a positive online presence in some shape or form. There are also a lot of key opportunities and free resources available to writers online. During this presentation, associate literary agent and PR Pro Alexandra Weiss will discuss: how to identify and establish your unique brand as a writer, what to include (and not include) on your website, understanding the differences between social media platforms and determining which one is right for you, utilizing free and accessible online resources,  and managing and growing your brand over time

3. Panel: Ask an Agent Anything. In this session, attending literary agents, publishers and editors sit on a panel to answer your questions on everything to writing, publishing, building a platform, what agents want, what are the latest trends in publishing, how movie options work, and more. Come ready to ask questions about anything you want related to the writing and publishing industry, and our panel will answer them.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 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.