Thursday, March 3, 2011

Countdown to the Conference: Week 4

WEEK THREE PRIZE:  A copy of FORMATTING AND SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT. To enter, leave a comment. Winners will be chosen on Tuesday. For another entry, visit the NCW Facebook page Friday through Tuesday and answer the Friday Question of the Week.  Congratulations to our winners for week 1-3: Brooke, Dean, Madeia and  Jenny

The Northern Colorado Writers Conference is only one week away! About 5 months ago, I sorted through all the presentation proposals that were sent to me. There were so many good ones it was hard to choose. But one of my goals when making my final decisions, was to have a lineup of sessions that crossed as many genres as possible or addressed various aspects of the business side of publishing.. I feel I accomplished that goal--hopefully you agree.

Here are the sessions being offered at the conference. See you at the conference!


First 100 Words
Presenter:Sandi Ault

Looking for an agent, an editor, a publishing contract? Most agents and editors request the first 50 to 100 pages of a manuscript because they can tell—often in less time than it takes to read that—whether they are in the hands of a skillful writer, and whether or not they are intrigued enough to want to read more. Most agents confess that they usually know within the first few paragraphs. Let award-winning, bestselling author Sandi Ault show you how to pack a punch with your first 100 words that will woo the reader into turning the page and wanting more.

Creating a Sense of Place
Presenter: John Shors
The best books make the reader feel as if she or he is right beside the characters, whether in Rome or Rochester. Creating a sense of time and place is crucial for a novelist, and bestselling author John Shors will share his secrets on how to make locations come alive on the page.

How to Avoid Making Childish Mistakes When Writing for Children
Presenter: Kelly Sonnack
What are some of the mistakes writers make when writing for children, and how can you avoid them? What are the things that make editors and agents cringe and stop reading? Kelly will discuss the pitfalls to avoid when writing your children's book.

Evolution a Writer
Presenter: Tim Wiederaenders
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh shook this country¹s foundations to their core on April 19, 1995.  Shortly thereafter, McVeigh¹s story and actions changed Tim Wiederaenders¹ life and career.  A newspaper editor, Wiederaenders¹ writing has evolved from short-and-to-the-point news reports to a non-fiction project.  Learn how writing can take on many different shapes, sizes and styles, depending on the information you are conveying and the audience you are writing for.

Turning Clichés on Their Heads:
Presenter: Lisa Zimmerman
One of my grad school teachers used to say that “clichés become clichés because they're true.” In this workshop we will explore dozens of clichés and write about them, perhaps returning some of them to their peculiar and humorous origins.

Unforgettable Characters
Presenter: Carol Berg
More and more readers are demanding believable, complex characters in genre, as well as literary fiction. Rich characters make a story take on a life of its own. What makes a character live on in a reader’s mind after the book is closed? (1) Name, physical description, and job description do not define a human being, especially not heroes, heroines, and villains. Learn techniques for inventing a person and how to give your characters an inner life that motivates their actions. (2) Reveal your characters to the reader through narrative, voice, and point-of-view, and learn how to use the developing story to expand your own understanding of your characters.


Fairy Tale Characters and the Real World:
Presenter: Lisa Zimmerman
What if Rip Van Winkel woke up in a Starbucks and Snow White was the barista behind the counter? This workshop will allow us to stretch our imaginations in the most magical ways.

Goddess of Fiction
Presenter: Linda Berry
Linda uses 8 line drawings (flatline, bell curve, sine waves,  sunburst, spring, square, triangle, and outline)  to illustrate some of the basics of good storytelling:  choosing meaningful detail,  pacing the introduction of events and turning points,  weaving story lines together, brainstorming your way into fresh ideas,  incorporating  back story, fitting the pieces together, creating tension and conflict, and organizing the material.   Her big finish is combining the line drawings into an odd—but recognizable—figure of a woman she calls The Goddess of Good Fiction.

Flash Fiction
Presenter: Sara J. Freese
The workshop looked at current flash fiction that is selling, discussed flash fiction techniques, allowed for writing time, and offered writers various publication ideas for their current flash fiction.


Getting Paid for Your Work
Presenter: Greg Campbell
Surviving as a freelancer or contract writer is harder than ever. This workshop will show you the nuts and bolts of how to make a living by being your own boss. Topics include: Making the switch from creative writer to being your own bookkeeper, administrative assistant and director of business development; maximizing your online presence to attract new work; how to pitch, how to invoice, how to collect; and finding work everywhere you look.

 Basics of Narrative NonFiction
Presenter: Greg Campbell
This workshop will serve as an introduction to the art and the elements of narrative nonfiction. Topics include: Using fictional devices to tell true stories; how to develop “characters” in your narrative with real life sources; structuring “plot” development; finding an omniscient voice; and when and how to use first person.


How To Build an Effective Platform
Presenter: Michael Ebeling & Kristina Holmes
With so much competition for reader's attention, you must have a strong platform to achieve solid book sales, whether you're a traditionally published, or self-published author.  As agents that have worked to develop authors' careers from the ground up, we know what it takes to develop a platform.  We will help you evaluate whether you're up to the challenge, and if you are, give you meaningful guidance, whether you're just starting out or already on your way to becoming publicly recognized.  This seminar is appropriate for aspiring and published authors focused on developing a career as an author

Book Promotion
Presenter: John Shors
Many authors would argue that writing a novel is the easy part of the process. The hard part is finding an audience for your book, and ensuring that readers come back to your work, time and time again. Bestselling author John Shors will share marketing strategies and insights destined to put your book on bestseller lists.

Killer Queries
Presenter: Sandi Ault
Award-winning, Bestselling author of the WILD Mystery Series, Sandi Ault, will show you the three tools you need to create a query that will sell your book. And she has the skills to back it up. Sandi's first query went to 31 agents as cold-queries. Thirty responded with a request for the manuscript, and Ms. Ault found herself in the enviable position of getting to interview and then select her agent from among these thirty. If you want to create a query that will work, this is the workshop for you.

From Pixels to Profit
Presenter: Brian Schwartz
If you’ve written a book or intend to, you simply can’t afford to ignore the fastest growing and highest profit market for your content – and that’s the Kindle, Nook, iPAD & iBookstore ebook marketplaces. This hands-on workshop will enable you to cash in on the exploding digital book market and get your book online in no time. Brian Schwartz,  will show how to convert your books to .mobi (Kindle) & .ePub (Nook & iPAD), setup accounts directly with the resellers – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple – so you get paid directly and troubleshoot the most common formatting issues such as: covers, margins, hyperlinked table of contents, page breaks, chapter headers & titles, picture alignment, eReader navigation, and file size. You will learn how to validate your conversion and insure they'll be accepted by the marketplaces, upload your eBooks directly to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Sony, and Apple and make revisions to your eBook and pull sales reports.

How to Make Self-Publishing a Successful Endeavor
Presenter: Justin Matott
Justin tells how his little book garnered a two-day auction with eight of the largest publishers in the world and began a career that has been a full time job for fourteen years. He’ll show how marketing and public awareness, events beyond signing, grass roots work and the Internet all play a vital part in selling your book.

The Changing Landscape of Book Promotion
Presenter: Kalen Landow
The Changing Landscape of Book Promotion As the book publishing landscape changes quickly and radically, the topic of "promotion" is a mine field  now more than ever before. What is encompassed in "book promotion"? Who is responsible for it? What are the tips and tricks for authors who have publishers? What about those authors who are going it alone? What role does social media play? How do we promote books in an increasingly crowded marketplace and a noisy media environment? Come with your questions and ideas and be prepared to leave with tools to strengthen your book promotion efforts.

Navigating Twitter
Presenter: Kalen Landow
Navigating Twitter: RTs, @replies, Fail Whales, hashtags, and more--what does it all mean? This Twitter 101 session will teach you the very basics of Twitter from how to set up your account, build a followers list, understanding just what the heck everyone is saying,  and how to become part of the conversation. Most importantly we'll talk about why writers should be part of the Twitter community at all. Bring your laptop, your iPad, or your smart phone and prepare to tweet along!

School Visits
Presenter: Justin Matott
Everything you need to know about setting up school visits.Quid Pro Quo - If your school visit is good for the school, it will be good for you.  Both gratifying and financially lucrative! How do you make your school events such a success that the staff will do your marketing job for you and recommend you into other school visit opportunities? Blending your imagination with school specified curriculum so everyone wins will ensure you get asked back and will become a school district favorite.

Writing Winning Entries
Presenter: Linda Berry
Offering work to an agent or  publisher is  much like entering a contest.  The better you understand the rules—written and unwritten—the more likely you are to succeed against your competition.  Linda uses the insights I've gained in helping judge different writing contests to highlight some common failings in submissions/entries.  You'll examine some contest rules and consider  the upsides (publication? feedback?) and downsides (stiff entry fee? loss of rights? ) that will help a writer decide whether or not to enter—essentially doing market research, as you would when approaching an agent or editor.

Breaking Through Publishing Myths
Presenter: Rachelle Gardner

We'll discuss common myths about the publishing business, and break through them to find the truth. Some of them include:
-A great idea is enough OR an extraordinary story is enough.
-You need to reach as wide an audience as possible.
-No news (from an editor or agent) is good news OR No news is bad news.
-Never give up. Persistence will pay off.
-It’s the publisher’s job to market your book.
-If you’ve completed your manuscript, there’s no need to write a book proposal.
-Getting a book contract means you’ll be getting a big paycheck.
-Your words are sacred, and it’s an insult if an editor wants to change them.
-All publishers know exactly what they’re looking for.
-Editors are scary people who love rejecting you.

Sh*t My Editor Says
Presenter: Mike Nappa
Find out the reasons why editors reject your book.

Getting the Story
Presenter: Tim Wiederaenders
Are you a writer or an investigator?  Actually, you're both. Getting the story in today's day and age can be as easy as the click of a mouse or as daunting as finding one memo in a mountain of legal files.  Tim Wiederaenders will give you direction on how to get the facts correct, accurate and straight for your writing project.  It all depends on your research techniques, technology, and a little bit of luck and determination.

Writing Winning Entries
Presenter: Linda Berry
Offering work to an agent or  publisher is  much like entering a contest.  The better you understand the rules—written and unwritten—the more likely you are to succeed against your competition.  Linda uses the insights I've gained in helping judge different writing contests to highlight some common failings in submissions/entries.  You'll examine some contest rules and consider  the upsides (publication? feedback?) and downsides (stiff entry fee? loss of rights? ) that will help a writer decide whether or not to enter—essentially doing market research, as you would when approaching an agent or editor.

What is This Thing Called Voice
Presenter: Carol Berg
Transform a character into a distinct, memorable individual by refining the character’s voice. Learn how an author can subordinate his or her own narrative voice to the persona of the point-of-view character, exposing the attitudes, beliefs, and intelligence unique to that character. Voice is created not only in dialog, but in narrative and description. Creating a vibrant, living voice incorporates everything from grammar and word choice to the character’s observations and emotional reactions. This workshop will involve brief writing exercises.

Back Matter Matters
Presenter: Natasha Wing
What do you do with all that information you found while researching your subject that didn’t make it into your manuscript? Turn it into effective back matter! Back matter (the information you find in the back of books after the main text) enhances your topic and your readers’ experience with your book. Adding back matter could also help sell your non-fiction and fiction manuscripts to editors, and your published book to librarians. This workshop will give an overview of different back matter uses with idea-generating examples, and a brainstorm session on ideas for your WIP.

Small Presses
Presenter: Sarah J. Fresse
This workshop would provide readers a look into small presses which are available for publication. Dzanc's Best of the Web anthologizes several great writers every year, and revealing to writers the options that are available to them may open their eyes to new avenues for publication.


Query Critiques
Presenters: Greg Campbell, Sandi Ault
Participants will submit a one page query (fiction or nonfiction) to be read aloud.  The panelists will then provide comments aloud for the audience to hear.

Agents & Editors Read the Slush Pile
This session allows participants to get an insiders peek at what an agent/editor is really thinking during the opening pages of a submitted novel. Think American Idol only for writers. A reader will read the pages aloud, and the agents/editors will provide honest feedback for all to hear. The author remains anonymous.

Which session sounds most intriguing to you?
Are you coming to the conference?


Bob McDonnell said...

Too many choices. I thought going to the pre-conference meeting last Sat. would help, but I need to clone myself for a couple of sessions.

I like the one about how book promotion is changing, and as a freelance newspaper guy, "Getting the Story" will be great too.

Heidi Windmiller said...

Turning Clichés on Their Heads sounds fascinating. First 100 Word also catches my interest. I always prefer presentations that concentrate on one particular detail instead of attempting to address many topics, and it seems like these two are limited enough in scope that the topics can be addressed with a fair amount of depth.

The offerings are nicely varied.

Kay Theodoratus said...

As usual, you're presenting more good opportunities to learn than there's time at the conference. When's the networking supposed happen? When our mouths are full?

Dean K Miller said...

The First 100 words, getting paid for your work, self publishing would top my list at first glance. Lots of great topics to choose from!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I so excited about this year's conference, but am also having trouble picking which sessions I want to attend. Decisions, decision.

Jan said...

This sounds like a wonderful conference. Wish I could go!

I'd definitely attend the Flash Fiction workshop. I've been writing flash fiction on my blog and just love the challenge of telling a story with a minimum amount of words.

Rini Kirkpatrick said...

Really wish I could be there, Carol Berg's sessions are so what I need right now. Sigh.

conference lines said...

I read your blog and found it very informative and helpful to me .Thanks for such an effort

Jenny said...

I'm really looking forward to my first Northern Colorado Writer's Conference (actually my first writer's conference of any kind). It is hard to choose from the many excellent choices.

srittner said...

This is the first writing event/conference I have ever attended. I am so excited to gain insight about writing and publishing books. I also hope to bring back some basic ideas for my teammates who teach third grade with me at Putnam! It has been my dream to become a children's author ever since I was a little girl and this marks the beginning of my journey!

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