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Friday, June 23, 2023


3pm – 3:30pm Opening & Welcome Session

Shanon (S.D. Huston), Margaret Pinard, with Alyssa Matesic, Leslye Penelope, & Becca Syme

During this half hour welcoming ceremony, there will be a brief discussion about where to find the schedule and what to expect. Giveaways and how to enter will be announced. We'll also introduce the Keynote Speaker.

3:30pm – 4pm Keynote Speech 2023

Keynote Speaker, Mark Leslye Lefebvre with Draft2Digital

"Embracing Technology for Success"


4pm – 5pm Session #1

Special Guest Speaker, Alyssa Matesic

“How to Track Your Queries and Boost Your Chances of Getting an Agent”

Querying literary agents can quickly become an overwhelming, disorganized mess, especially considering most authors have to send dozens of queries before receiving an offer of representation from a literary agent. On top of that, since agents typically take weeks to months to respond to queries, it can be difficult for you to keep track of where all your queries stand. In this seminar, you'll learn how to successfully track your queries (with a walkthrough of an example tracking sheet) and what statistics can be helpful to calculate (and when to ignore the numbers entirely). Additionally, you'll get tips on how to improve your query package overall to boost your chances of getting positive responses so you can reenter the querying process with renewed energy and optimism! 


5pm – 6pm Session #2

Guest Speaker, Nicole Wilbur

“How I Use AI to Kick-Start My Creativity: A Computer Engineer's Guide to an Automated World”

Artificial Intelligence. Everyone is talking about it. No one knows what it really is. Come behind the curtain with Nicole Wilbur, a writer and computer engineer, to understand the building blocks of AI, how it works, and how she uses it to enhance her writing career.


No, really, when you leave this presentation, you will understand how AI works, no matter who you are and what your educational background is.


Once we know what it really is, we'll explore key questions like: How can AI change how and what we write? How can it support platform-building, brainstorming, and roadblock-free writing? And what are the critical pitfalls everyone needs to be aware of before using AI tools?


5pm – 6pm Session #2

Guest Speaker, Bryan Cohen

“Ditching the FOMO of Self-Publishing”

Trying to do "all of the marketing things" in self-publishing can lead to low sales and burnout. What's the alternative? Do less of what drives you up the wall and more of what you love.


During this presentation, you'll learn:

    + How to choose the path of “less but better” to give yourself a greater chance to succeed

    + Why small, regular actions can lead to massive growth in less time

    + Which marketing method you could focus on to cater to your strengths, and much, much more


This presentation will answer the following questions:

    + What is the joyful alternative to the fear of missing out?

    + How can I better cater to my strengths as a writer with my marketing?

    + Why do tiny actions done over time make a big difference?

    + Which thing should I focus on for marketing if I only like: writing, photography, video editing, data

       analysis, planning, or people?


Bryan Cohen has taught over 50,000 authors how to find more profit and less stress. He's excited to share this advice for a calmer, saner, and more sustainable path to self-publishing success.

5pm – 6pm Session #2

Guest Speaker, Elaine Canyon

“Thriving as a Discovery Writer”

The advice Discovery Writers often receive falls in one of two veins: become an Outliner, or figure it out yourself, neither of which is helpful. It’s one thing to speak to following your intuition, but that doesn’t help an early Discovery Writer improve their craft, nor does it help one that feels stuck in their manuscript. Elaine Canyon has spent the last seven years collecting information from other Discovery Writers, along with keeping track of what helps her in her process. In this class, she shares these tips and tricks, helping Discovery Writers fill their tool boxes with what she’s learned from years as a Discovery Writer. There is success and fulfillment for Discovery Writers, and it never has to include an outline.

6pm – 7pm Session #3

Guest Speaker, Laura Nettles

“Publishing Short Stuff: Finding Open Submissions and Beyond”

Ever wanted to get your short stories, poetry, essays, flash or 100 word drabbles published? Learn my step-by-step process on using web resources to find open submission calls for your shorter works, finding common practices, knowing how to submit, and what to do after acceptance or rejection, and more.

6pm – 7pm Session #3

Guest Speaker, Morgan Hazelwood

 “Better Beta Reading”

So you've been asked (or offered) to beta-read for someone. Now what? If they don't tell you, what sort of feedback are they looking for? What sort of feedback should they be looking for? And, of course, how to give feedback that helps — and still be on speaking terms with the author after they've read your comments.

6pm – 7pm Session #3

Guest Speaker, Andy at Easy Graphics

"Using Technology for Amazon KDP Keywords and Beyond"

I don't want my books found by anyone!


Said no author ever.


Is it a silly idea to want readers to be able to find your books? Would it be such a bad idea if finding keywords were made easy? Keywords are the life-blood of how books are discovered. Don't roll the dice, rely on gut-feel or voodoo when it comes to selecting the right keywords for your books.


In this seminar, you'll discover how to unearth keywords that rank on Amazon KDP and beyond. We'll use technology to make finding keywords easier and to make sure you adhere to Amazon KDP's guidelines.


We'll cover the following: 

    - how to find keywords

    - where to find keywords data

    - leveraging various technologies for keywords


Do yourself a favor. Arm yourself with keywords and data to make informed choices. Join me for the premiere!

7pm – 8pm Session #4

Guest Speaker, Troy Lambert with Plottr

"5 Steps to Organize Your Books (and Series) with Plottr"

Plotters and pantsers of the world, unite! If you haven’t seen the popular visual book planning and series bible software Plottr, you’re missing out.


In this interactive session with mystery author and book coach, Troy Lambert, you’ll learn a simple 5 step process you can follow to organize the details of your books and series in Plottr, no matter what or how you write.


You'll learn actionable strategies for:

    - Managing your character and location details across books and series

    - Visualizing your book and series arcs to give you the big picture at a glance

    - Plotting faster (and avoiding plot holes) with the help of proven story structures

    - Organizing story details as a pantser

    - And much more!


If you’re ready to organize the story ideas rampaging through your head, then join the session, ask questions, and see why Plottr is rated the #1 outlining software by Kindlepreneur.

7pm – 8pm Session #4

Guest Speaker, Nia as Vixen of Fiction with Esther Andujar and Laura Nettles

"Book Covers Made Easy”

This will be a quick and easy to follow guide to using Canva to create a beautiful book cover. From using your own pictures or finding Images available online, to choosing the right Font and word placement for your Genre, we will help you get on your way to making a great digital or physical cover for your book!

7pm – 8pm Session #4

Guest Speaker, Desiree M. Ortega

"Discovery Writing With a Plan”

There’s this line in the sand between Plotters and Pantsers. Creative people have creative ways of approaching their art. There’s no right way or wrong way. In “Discovery Writing With a Plan,” we'll explore simplistic approaches such as Micro-Outlining and other various tools to execute a foundation to fall back on while drafting. Famous authors like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin are discovery writers. Are you? If so, do you also need to have some sort of plan going into a new story? Let’s embrace and encourage this unique process and find joy in writing.

8pm – 9pm Happy Hour

Margaret Pinard, Shanon (S.D. Huston), with M.K. Williams, Morgan Lee, J.D. Estrada, A.F. Stewart, Gillian St. Kevern, & Nia James

During this hour, we’ll relax, discuss anything great we learned that day, and make connections with our audience members. At the end, we'll break off to go to the After Parties!



Saturday, June 24, 2023

10am – 11am Session #5

Special Guest Speaker, Michael La Ronn

“How to Dictate a Book: The Author’s Guide to Effortless Dictation”

Want to get started with dictation but don’t know where to begin?

Dictation can triple your word counts overnight. In this session, prolific author M.L. Ronn will teach you how to unlock the power of dictation using the methods he's used to dictate over 30 books of fiction & nonfiction.

You'll discover:
    * How to dictate (and why you should)
    * The tools and equipment you'll need
    * How to optimize your dictation setup
    * The 3 types of dictation (the 2nd one will blow your mind)
    * How to dictate cleanly the first time so that you don't have to spend as much time editing
    * And more!

Michael will even perform live dictation to illustrate some pro tips to help explode your word counts! 
This session will teach you how to become a dictation master. Whether you’re a newbie to dictation or familiar with it, you’ll leave with tips to help you improve. You’ll be speaking your stories so fast it won’t even be funny.


11am – 12pm Session #6

Special Guest Speaker, Mark Leslye Lefebvre with Draft2Digital

“Next Level Global Publishing with Draft2Digital”



12pm – 1pm Session #7

Special Guest Speaker, Bethany Atazadeh

“Three Ways to Advertise Your Book on BookBub and Reach Thousands of New Readers”

BookBub can be a fantastic marketing tool for authors. This strategy applies to ebooks specifically, usually requires a book to be on sale, and is considered most successful when an author has multiple books for sale beyond the featured book, especially if those books are in a series. Bethany will break down the three different advertising options on BookBub (the Feature Deal, the New Release, and standard BookBub Ads), as well as how to utilize them most effectively to reach thousands of new readers who've never heard of you before.

1pm – 1:30pm Break
1:30pm – 3pm First Page Critique Panel

Judged by Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Alyssa Matesic, and Margaret Pinard

Hosted by Shanon (S.D. Huston) and Margaret Pinard

The First Page Critique Panel will critique first page submissions by anonymous writers.  During the Panel Session, these works will be read aloud, and panel members will raise their hand if and where they would have stopped reading the work. At the end of the reading, panel members will be able to comment on what stopped them, and then give one positive note about the work.

3pm – 4pm Session #8

Guest Speaker, M.K. Williams

Self-Narrating and Producing an Audiobook for Newbie Authors

Many new authors don't have the budget to hire a professional narrator or audiobook producer. In this presentation I will walk authors through the process to prepare their audiobook script, how to record it in Audacity, and then mastering the files so they are approved by ACX or Findaway Voices. I taught myself how to do this the hard way. Learning these skills can help them save time and money on their author journey. I'll also review if this is the best option for their book, and if their time is better spent on other projects.

3pm – 4pm Session #8

Guest Speaker, Leslye Penelope

“Creating a Story Bible”

A Story or Series Bible is the canonical documentation of your character, settings, and other elements in your fictional world. Think of it as a personal reference guide, and whether you're writing a standalone novel or a long series, it's an incredibly useful tool.


At the end of the seminar, participants will have a solid understanding of how to create and organize their Story Bibles, as well as an introduction to different software options to make the task easier.

3pm – 4pm Session #8

Guest Speaker, JD Estrada

“Unlocking the Poetry Within”

There is poetry within everybody. This workshop is designed to help you tap into some of your soul wells to create something genuine, unique, and all yours. We will lightly cover basic topics like rhyme and rhythm but will take a closer look and deeper dive into the tools that you can tap into to unlock your creativity.

4pm – 5pm Session #9

Special Guest Speaker, Courtney Young from The Courtney Project

Automation for Authors—Working Smarter, Not Harder in 2023

Living in a digital age means being present online, but we all know there aren’t enough hours in the day to be active on every platform when you have books to write. Instead of struggling to find ways to do it all, we’ll discuss automation along with different applications to make your “social media life" much easier. The goal is to help you work smarter, not harder, which means having more time to write and publish. 

5pm – 6pm Choose Your Own Adventure: The Publishing Workflow Panel

Guests Speaker, A. F. Stewart with Greg Pizzino, Crysta Coburn, M. Leigh Hood, Paul Hiscock, and Karen J. Carlisle

Hosted by Margaret Pinard

An author panel on the nature of the "punk" genres. What is the difference between steampunk, clockpunk, dieselpunk, cyberpunk, etc. with tips and tricks for writing these genres.

6pm – 7pm Session #10

Guest Speaker, A. F. Stewart

“How Authors Should Prepare for Video/Audio Podcasts”

One of the best ways to engage people as an author is through video interviews, panels, and online appearances. In this session, you’ll find tips and tricks for being a guest on podcasts, etiquette do's and don'ts, and how to host your own video show.


Topics will include: Hosting platforms, how to find guest appearances, what to do if you need to cancel, and live streaming vs. recording. Plus a Q and A at the end for any questions.

6pm – 7pm Session #10

Guest Speaker, Amy Rosenfeldt

“ideo is the Future: Tips and Tools for Book Marketing Using Video”

Video has taken the social media world by storm. A solid knowledge of video and video editing is crucial now more than ever to market our books. Though I have seven years video editing experience under my belt, sometimes the simplest and most basic solutions to create amazing videos is the answer. “Video is the Future” is a seminar that will introduce viewers to accessible digital tools and softwares to assist with video production, whether it be on TikTok, in the Authortube space or in some other corner of the internet. Authors will be rocking their social media game anywhere and everywhere.

6pm – 7pm Session #10

Guest Speaker, Shantaye Brown

“Fear of Vulnerability & Authenticity While Writing”

“There are people out there who will adore your story simply because you gave it every bit of you there was to give.”


After battling with my own sense of what it means to be vulnerable while writing I understand now. It takes a lot of guts to truly be vulnerable and lay yourself bare for others without fear of being judged or rejected. I´ve come to accept that the best way to combat this is to write the book you want to read. I hope to inspire others to do the same as well as I enjoy the journey and encourage others to do the same. Before you know it you´ll have written THE END with a smile on your face, knowing that you gave it all of you.



7pm – 8pm Happy Hour

Shanon (S.D. Huston), Margaret Pinard, with J.D. Estrada, Tiffany Russell, Margaret Pinard, M.M. Ward, Lauren Wheatley, Haley Stevens, D.L. Tillery, Ben Pick

During this hour, we’ll relax, discuss anything great we learned that day, and make connections with our audience members. At the end, we'll break off to go to the After Parties!


Sunday, June 25, 2023

10am – 11am Session #11

Special Guest Speaker, Camaa Pearl

“Technology Tools Every Writer Needs”


11am – 12pm Session #12

Guest Speaker, Morgan Lee

How to Know if Your Manuscript is a Dumpster Fire: Preparing for an Editor

“How to Know if Your Manuscript is a Dumpster Fire” will dive into information that explains to viewers when their manuscript is ready to submit to an editor and tips on how to get their manuscript ready. I will go through the different levels of editing: developmental, line editing, proofreading, and copyediting. I will also dive into how to know when your manuscript is ready for each type of editor. Last, I will discuss when NOT to send your manuscript to an editor and go into ways to self-edit to prepare your manuscript.


11am – 12pm Session #12

Guest Speaker, Emma Bennet

“How to Perfect Your Author Brand”

In today's world where social media presence is increasingly important, how you present yourself, your life, and your work to potential readers is something all authors should be aware of and work on.


In this seminar, I will explain what exactly an author brand is, give examples of authors who use their brand well, and give you tips on what you can do to start, tweak or overhaul your own author brand to make it work for you and attract readers who'll love you and your books!

11am – 12pm Session #12

Guest Speaker, Estelle Van de Velde

“How to Appeal to Your Readers through Your Amazon Page”

What if you could optimise your book's Amazon page in eight easy steps to attract more readers? Self-publishing on Amazon can be tough. There's a LOT of competition out there for a reader's attention. With 10 years in the marketing industry, Estelle Van de Velde will walk you through her process when creating and optimising an Amazon page.


In this talk, you'll learn:


- what your readers look at when on the page;

- tips and tricks to find good categories and keywords;

- and other tools you might have not thought of.


12pm – 1pm Session #13

Guest Speaker, Evan Gow

“1 Tool to Do It All”

In this talk, Evan Gow will cover how to use 1 tool in the end-to-end process of writing and launching a book: tracking word count goals, streaming feedback from beta readers, building a mailing list and review team, then cross-promoting your work with other authors.


Where previously, you might have had logins across 5 different services and 8 different spreadsheets to track things, StoryOrigin simplifies the business and marketing sides of being an author by putting it all together in 1 platform.

12pm – 1pm Session #13

Guest Speaker, Natalie Locke, with Chandra Arthur

“Putting the Flash in Your Fiction”

Flash Fictions are a glimpse, a moment, and there are many routes to change a blank page to a full page. Starting with an editing mind while remembering the reader is the common theme among them.

12pm – 1pm Session #13

Guest Speaker, Sako Tumi

“Custom Wiki for Series Bibles”

I will not only walk you through making your own Wiki, but I’ll help you organize it as a Series / Book Bible, with all the bits and bobs that goes into a bible.

1pm – 1:20pm Session #14

Speaker, Richard Holliday

“Investing in Yourself: Affordable Tech Solutions to Succeed in Writing”


In this presentation, Richard Holliday will give a brief outline of why we, as writers, should look to invest in the writing tools to succeed in a digital world and how these tools can be affordable. He will break some myths about why we should invest in our hobby and passion if we want to take this seriously, but this doesn’t mean costing the earth.

1pm – 1:20pm Session #14

Speaker, Author D.L. Tillery

“How To Structure and Complete a Short Story”

In this workshop, you will learn how to structure and complete a short story. Author D.L. Tillery will show you how she goes from the idea and notes to her short story outlining process. She will give you insight of how she schedules writing sessions and more to get the story done and keep it at a short story level. Ready your pens, papers, and keyboards. It's time to craft your short story.

1pm – 1:20pm Session #14

Speaker, Lauren Wheatley with Nicole Wheatley

“Co-Writing with Another Author”

We'll be going over the benefits and things to consider when working on a creative project with a fellow author. We'll discuss what our process is, what things work for us, things that we avoid, and finally things that need to be discussed with your writing partner.

1:20pm – 1:40pm Session #14

Speaker, Sako Tumi (Cass Voit)

“Websites for Authors”

What goes into an author’s website? Why do you need one? When should you get one? Why, right now! If social media goes down, you need a hub, and Sako will walk you through a simple site that any skill level can make.

1:20pm – 1:40pm Session #14

Speaker, Heather Dewey Pettet with Jenna Writes Romance, PenumbraMine Writing with M.M. Ward, and Coffee, Create, Connect

“Q&A on Working with Freelance Editors”

Have a question for a freelance editor or ghostwriter? Have you ever wondered how to submit a sample of your work to an editor or ghostwriter? Please join us for a Q&A, and you can find out!

1:20pm – 1:40pm Session #14

Speaker, Liz Poder

“The One Mistake in Blurb Writing You Should Never Make”

Did you know that 80% of selling your book to a new reader happens within the first two lines of your book blurb? Learn what a Headline is, why you absolutely need it, and how to write one in this quick lesson from a professional blurb writer. BONUS: Live chat with Blurb Medic herself! Join in and fix your blurb with me, so that your book can finally get the attention it deserves.

1:40pm – 2pm Session #14

Speaker, Andy at Easy Graphics

“The Keys to Unlocking KDP Keywords”

Would you want to get into the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali with one hand tied behind your back? That's exactly what you're doing if you do NOT have a handle on keywords for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon's publishing side of the business. The majority of self-published indie authors publish their work via KDP. It's also common knowledge that the vast majority of book sales are through Amazon. Having the right keywords should be part of any indie author's strategy to get discovered on Amazon. Suffice to say, your fellow authors in the community will certainly have a keyword strategy and do their utmost to get the attention of potential readers (aka paying customers). Are you ready to skill-up and give yourself a fighting chance to get more book sales?

1:40pm – 2pm Session #14

Speaker, Julie Zantopoulos with Katlyn Duncan and Amber McManus

“The Best Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills”

This will be a panel where we discuss the best ways to improve your writing skills between three writers at different stages in their careers and open it to discussion with those who attend. It will be formatted much like our series on YouTube.

1:40pm – 2pm Session #14

Speaker, Laura Nettles

“Writing Descriptions That Suck Your Reader In”

How to draw your readers into your world by having your hand crafted environment effect your characters and their senses. (More than just visuals.) Limiting the descriptions to what really matters to the POV character. Descriptions that break cliché, and are world specific. How to expand or contract your descriptions to fit your story length (100 word drabbles to full on novels). Useful for all genera. 

2pm – 3pm Closing Session

Margaret Pinard, Shanon (S.D. Huston), with Becca Syme, Tiffany Russell, Julie Zantopoulos, Morgan Lee, Laura Nettles, D.L. Tillery, Haley Stevens, M.M. Ward, Lauren Wheatley, Heather Dewey Pettet, & Natalie Locke

During this last hour of the writing conference, we’ll explore our favorite parts and how we feel moving forward in our writing lives. Giveaway winners will also be announced.

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Friday, July 15, 2022
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Sunday, July 17, 2022

Reminder: all times are listed in EDT/New York City.
Please convert to your local time. Thank you!

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