Monday, January 24, 2011

We give you.... lots and lots of KNOWLEDGE! (Courtesy of Writers Digest.)

Want a free master class on the craft of writing, the publishing industry, and technology and social media from some of the most knowledgeable people in the business?

(We're talking Janet Reid, Donald Maas, James Scott Bell, Chuck Sambuchino, Richard Curtis, and many more people whose names you might not recognize but are so, so brilliant!)

(Hint: The answer is YES. It's FREE!!! NOTHING is free anymore, but this is.)

"I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

Check out the live blog post links below from the 2011 Writers Digest Conference for information on everything relevant to writers trying to break into the business. We've included the short summary info from the conference website to give you an even better idea of what you're about to learn, and if you click on the presenter's name you can read their bio!

Now go get yourself some learning!

The Future of Publishing: Don’t Give Up On Books (Richard Curtis)
Consider the following: Right now we are infatuated with screen-reading, and there’s a lot to be infatuated about. But the printed book remains the perfect reading device, and anyone who thinks books are over is in for a big surprise.
Though it’s too late to change the old business model there’s a new one, print on demand, that will eventually become the predominant way that books are distributed. Literary agent and book publisher Richard Curtis paints a picture of a near-future where no book is printed until a customer orders it.

Pitch Perfect(Chuck Sambuchino)
You’re at the Writer’s Digest Conference. How can you maximize the value of your time here? How can you get the most out of every contact you make – every agent, editor, and fellow writer in the room. Learn how to leverage your personal passion for the craft into a network of support, instruction and education that can help you attain your goals.

Branding Yourself (Dan Blank)
In this session, you’ll learn how to establish your “brand,” create engaging content and get it in front of your community – the three crucial steps necessary to make it as a writer.

Marketing Yourself in Digital Age (Guy LeCharles Gonzalez)
In this session, Guy will reveal the status is of “traditional” marketing provided by publishers (what do they really do for you, anyway?), why self-marketing is now a necessity for authors, and the most up-to-date tools available for actually doing it.

Your Publishing Options (Jane Friedman)
Should you pursue self-publishing, try to get the attention of a large publisher, or set your sights on a small press? In this session – back by popular demand – Jane Friedman, former Publisher and Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest, offers an objective look at all your publishing options.

Putting Fire in Your Fiction (Donald Maass)
In this session, you’ll learn not only how to infuse your story with deep conviction and fiery passion, but how to do it over and over again. You’ll learn how to think about the story you’re trying to tell, examine its heart and determine exactly what needs to be done to give it that “spark” that so many other works of fiction are missing.

Ask the Agents Panel (Janet Reid, Mary Kole, Jud Laghi, Donald Maass, Chuck Sambuchino (Moderator))
Moderated by Chuck Sambuchino, editor of Guide to Literary Agents, this Q and A with literary agents provides you with an opportunity to find out what agents really think of query letters, what they look for in sample chapters, and what they do—and don’t—like to hear during a live pitch.

Panel: Do It Yourself Publishing (and how to be successful at it) (Patricia V. Davis, David Carnoy, Moriah Jovan, Jane Friedman(Moderator), April Hamilton)
Panelists will discuss everything from self publishing with a service provider, POD options, instant publishing directly to the web and more. Every option will be explored with an additional focus on where DIY publishing might go next!

Building the Perfect Plot (James Scott Bell)
Plot is the engine that propels your story forward. In this session, you’ll get you a crash course in developing fast-moving plots and the story structures used to sustain them.

Keynote Address – How to Be an Author in a World Where Everyone Is a Writer (Richard Nash)
Editor, lecturer and award-winning publisher Richard Nash examines the new reality of publishing, its inherent challenges and its extraordinarily rich opportunities. You’ll come away from this session fired up, reenergized and prouder than ever to be a member of this rapidly growing, but no less passionate, community of artists.

10 Essential Things You Must Know to Craft an Effective Query (Janet Reid)
What does it take to hook someone in the first few seconds or lines and convince them that your work is worth pursuing? You’ll learn that secret here and much, much more.

Author 101 (Kevin Smokler)
* This was a late add to the conference sessions, and it covers the basics of being a successful professional author.

The Art of the Page Turner (Hallie Ephron)
In this session, you’ll learn the critical elements for crafting a tale that not only grabs readers and keeps them reading, but enables you to build an airtight mystery that delivers thrills, chills and a satisfying conclusion.

Three Hurdles to Publishing Success No One Tells You About (Phil Sexton)
Phil will detail what happens inside a publishing house, how your book gets sold, and how it gets positioned on the shelf. Knowledge is power. Knowing the business inside and out can help you succeed where your others may fail.

Panel: How to Use Social Media to Get Noticed and Sell Your Work (Dan Blank, Brent Sampson, Kate Rados, Moriah Jovan, Guy Gonzalez (Moderator))
There’s been a lot of talk about how investing in social media is necessary for writers who want to succeed. But what does it all mean? How do you facebook, tweet, blog and post effectively? And how much time – time that takes away from actually writing – should you spend doing it?

Writers and Mobile Apps: The Big Opportunity (Al Katkowsky)
Learn how to promote your book, or even turn it into an iPhone app, in this intriguing session that reveals the power of this tiny opportunity.

Showing and Telling (Laurie Alberts)
“Show, don’t tell!” How many times have you heard that old adage? It’s so common in writing courses and critiques that that it’s become cliché. But the truth is that the old adage is wrong.

The Writer’s Compass: Using Story Maps to Build Better Fiction(Nancy Ellen Dodd)
If you’re able to start a story well, but have trouble getting to the end, or avoiding a sagging mid-section, this is the session for you. Using a story map is one of many tools Dodd will provide to help you stay on track with a winning story that’s compelling through and through.

Revision: Learn How to Love It (James Scott Bell)
Don’t let the revision process intimidate you any longer. Discover how to successfully transform your first draft into a polished final draft readers won’t be able to forget. Award-winning novelist James Scott Bell shows you how, with revision tips geared to the first read-through, as well as targeted self-editing instruction focusing on the individual elements of a novel, like plot, structure, characters, theme, voice, style, setting and endings.

Successfully Promoting Your Book (Kevin Smokler, Brent Sampson, Kate Rados (Moderator))
One of the biggest challenges for authors is overcoming the marketing “noise” that bombards us from every direction. How, in all of that, can your book be noticed, much less paid attention to?

Creating a Backstory: How and Why It Can Make or Break Your Novel (Hallie Ephron)
As readers, we jump into a story at a fixed point in the life of a character. As writers, we can’t forget that this character has had a wealth of experience before this fixed point. A solid backstory fleshes out the humanity in a character on the page, makes the reader care and propels them forward. For this reason, the importance of a backstory cannot be emphasized enough—learn the how’s and why’s of backstory creation as an imperative writing tool.

Blogging as a Platform and Publicity Machine (Dan Blank)
Learn how to use online media to connect with other writers, readers and those who can help you to fulfill your goals in writing and publishing. In this session, you’ll discover not only the power of blogging, but the step-by-step process of creating a blog, developing its content, managing the process, and using it to market yourself and connect with others online.

The More Things Change… (Benjamin LeRoy)
Ben LeRoy, respected publisher and one of Publishers Weekly’s top “50 Under 40,” closes the Writer’s Digest Conference with an exciting session that reminds us no matter how much technology changes, no matter how readers get their books, and no matter what writers must do to get published, there’s one thing that never changes: a writers dedication to the craft.


What a lineup!

What was your favorite session? My favorites to attend were the craft sessions from James Scott Bell and Hallie Ephron -- but I learned some great tips from the blogging session too!

Stay tuned this week for some fun insider details on the rest of the conference weekend! (The awesome network-y stuff is coming!!!)


  1. Awesomely helpful post. Thanks so much, First Novels Club!

  2. Wow, thank you for this awesomely helpful post!! I've already bookmarked it. :)

  3. Holy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!! That is a heck of a lot of information. It will take me weeks to read all of this. Great job, ladies! Bookmarking now...

  4. Annie - So glad you found it helpful!!! You're welcome!

    Jenn, Natalie, and Joanne - Responses via email!


Thanks so much for reading our blog, and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment! We read every one, and we try to respond to all of them via email/comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...