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Workshops by Track

View a list of RWA2019 workshops by track. This list is preliminary and will be added to as workshops are announced.

Workshops are open to registered conference attendees on a first-come-first-served basis. No additional registration is required. Any sessions designated specifically PAN or PRO are open only to conference attendees in those groups. Please email workshops@rwa.org for more information.

Tracks


Wednesday Immersive Sessions


Anatomy of a Best-Selling Book Launch
Speaker: Skye Warren

How can you give your book the best chance for success? A best-selling launch is more than an email or a tweet; it's a marketing plan that encompasses your backlist, your existing platform, and visibility to new readers. This workshop walks through a real-life release plan, including the return on investment for your most valuable resource—your time. You don't have to write faster. You just need to launch bigger.


Anatomy of a Scene
Speaker: Lisa Cron 

Although your novel is made up of individual scenes, in truth those scenes are not individual at all, but part of an escalating internal and external cause-and-effect trajectory. Each scene is made up of myriad layers, and performs multiple tasks: they move subplots forward, give the reader insight into the protagonist, develop secondary characters, ratchet up what’s at stake, foreshadow what’s to come, and trigger changes that will ripple throughout the novel.

Wow, that’s a lot! How do you keep track of it? And how do you get it onto the page so that all those layers merge to create what reads as a seamless whole? That’s exactly what we’ll unravel, giving you a clear, concise and concrete method of making sure that every scene you write not only serves the story you’re telling, but rivets the reader.

Never again will you face that frustrating struggle, wondering if the scene you’re contemplating is relevant or not. You’ll learn how to identify and create each layer in every scene, bringing your story to life and creating the irresistible sense of reality that hijacks the reader’s brain.
 
In this session you’ll learn:
 
  • What makes a scene work, and what every scene must do in order to be relevant and riveting.
  • Maddeningly common mistakes writers make when writing scenes and how to deftly avoid them.
  • How to keep track of every layer in your story—scene-by-scene—from beginning to end.
  • Why you should never write scenes out of order.
 
Although your novel is made up of individual scenes, in truth those scenes are not individual at all, but part of an escalating internal and external cause-and-effect trajectory. Each scene is made up of myriad layers, and performs multiple tasks—from moving subplots forward, to giving the reader insight into the protagonist and her evolving agenda, to ratcheting up what’s at stake, to triggering changes that will ripple throughout the novel. Wow, that’s a lot! How do you keep track of it? And how do you get it onto the page so that all those layers merge to create what reads as a seamless whole? That’s exactly what we’ll unravel, giving you a clear, concise and concrete method of making sure that every scene you write not only serves the story you’re telling, but rivets the reader.


RWA First Page Reads
2-3 p.m. 
Agents: Kelli Martin (Wendy Sherman Associates), Rebecca Strauss (DeFiore and Co.), Linda Camacho (Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency)

3:15-4:15 p.m. 
Editors: Esi Sogah (Kensington), Lynn West (Dreamspinner Press), Alex Logan (Grand Central Publishing), Cat Clyne (Sourcebooks), Ruoxi Chen (Tor)
 
Join host Sarah Wendell for RWA's First Page Reads event as a stellar lineup of editors and agents reveal what they're thinking about a manuscript's first page as they hear it live! They'll tell you what makes them pause, what draws them in, and, most importantly, what keeps them turning. And that's not all--one of the pages they discuss could be yours! Submit the first page of your WIP and we'll choose a random, anonymous assortment to be read and critiqued live at the event. Click for submission guidelines and instructions



Career Track


Additional Income Streams: How to Make the Most of Your Work (CAREER)
Speaker:
Jayne Rylon
Level: Intermediate
Learn how to make the most of your income streams from author Jayne Rylon, a New York Times and USA Today best-seller with more than 1.5 million books sold. She will teach participants how to increase their revenue streams, diversify income to protect against downturns in specific areas of the market, make more money from work they’ve already invested time and effort in, and leverage various skills inherent to authors to build a successful, well-rounded career.

The Best Book Launch Ever: Working with the Media (CAREER)
Speaker:
Sorboni Banerjee and Linda Hurtado w/a Linda Bond
Level: Intermediate
Get the tools you need to build your book tour and marketing plan from the ground up—with or without a publisher’s help—from TV news anchor and YA author Sorboni Banerjee and TV news anchor Linda Hurtado (writing as Linda Bond). These media professionals share real-life experience of the ins and outs of getting radio and television interviews, mentions in newspapers, magazines and other publications, as well as speaking engagements in book clubs and bookstores.

The Book Marketing Audit (CAREER)
Speaker:
Kilby Blades
Level: Intermediate
Award-winning author Kilby Blades takes us on a marketing journey. This presentation will discuss identifying your author brand’s strengths and weaknesses, choosing tactics based on the size and structure of your library, technical infrastructure to support analytics, using the right lenses to analyze, and optimize, your results, how to do targeting like an advertising professional, and prioritizing and staying on the critical path.

Building Your Author Brand (CAREER)
Speaker:
Laura Kaye
Level: Intermediate
New York Times best-selling author Laura Kaye teaches authors how to identify their brand and shares concrete examples of successful author branding. Participants will leave the session knowing how to implement the unified approach to author branding discussed during the presentation.

Build Your Readership with Libraries (CAREER)
Speakers:
Dena Heilik and Lateefah Zawistowski
Level: Intermediate
Dena Heilik, the head of the Fiction Department at the Central Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Lateefah Zawistowski, an account manager in publisher account services at OverDrive, teach about various lending models, share how to make content available on OverDrive, explain how to increase OverDrive sales and leverage the platform, and give tips on how authors can work with their local libraries.

Building Your Street Teams: The Secret to Selling More Books (CAREER)
Speaker:
Penny Sansevieri
Level: Beginner
Penny Sansevieri, the founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, will teach authors how to turn regular readers into superfans and street teams—and the key differences between them—and how to build, structure, and manage this reader empire.

DIY Swag (CAREER)
Speaker:
Heidi Hormel
Level: Beginner
Heidi Hormel—romance writer and craft-store maven—instructs participants on how to make their own swag (including a booklet, bracelet, and bookmark). This is not your ordinary craft class—get hands-on experience creating your giveaways!

EZ Money: Overseeing Your Books’ Translations (CAREER)
Speaker:
Cheryl Bolen
Level: Intermediate
Cheryl Bolen, a consistent number-one best-selling historical romance author in Germany, shares information to help authors decide whether to pay translators up front or to embark on a royalty share, how to use Upwork to hire translators, and how to use the Babelcube site.

Facebook for Marketing-Minded Authors (CAREER)
Speakers:
Marissa Caldwell and Laurie Cooper
Level: Intermediate
Pub-Craft’s Laurie Cooper and Marissa Caldwell teach authors the top ten essential tips for using Facebook, what and when to post on Facebook for the most engagement and organic reach, a step-by-step breakdown of ad creation and targeting strategies, and take-home examples of effective posts.

Finding Your Audience on Amazon (CAREER)
Speakers:
Amazon representatives
Join Amazon’s KDP and ACX teams to learn about the latest developments, tools, and programs Amazon offers to help indie authors publish, market, and drive discoverability of their books in Kindle, print, and audio.

From Page to Screen: Creating a TV Series Bible Based on Your Book or Book Series (CAREER)
Speakers:
Leslie Anne Lighton and Debi King McMartin
Level: Intermediate
Discover what a TV series bible is and how to generate ideas to expand your book into a book series, as well as where to market the series bible after completion, with author, screenwriter, and independent filmmaker Debi King McMartin and author and film associate producer Leslie Anne Lighton.

Funnels for Authors: How to Build Trust with Readers and Cultivate a Loyal Fan Base (CAREER)
Speaker:
Dana Kaye
Level: Advanced
Kaye Publicity founder Dana Kaye explains sales funnels and how they can drastically increase book sales. Learn the three types of sales funnels that have proven effective, the specific emails to include in the email marketing funnel, the types of ads to include in the Facebook ad funnel, dos and don’ts for creating reader quizzes and surveys, and how to get people into your funnel both organically and through paid traffic.

Giveaways, Newsletters, and Graphics, Oh My! (CAREER)
Speakers:
Elizabeth Bright and Mia Sosa
Level: Intermediate
Mia Sosa, a former media lawyer, and Elizabeth Bright, an environmental lawyer, are sharing their expertise to help authors set up giveaways without running afoul of state lottery laws, distribute author newsletters without running afoul of privacy laws, and comply with copyright laws when using promotional graphics and videos.

Global Trends in Digital Publishing: Insider Insights from Kobo (CAREER)
Speaker:
Tara Cremin, Kobo
Learn the latest strategies for growing your global self-publishing business, with behind-the-scenes stats from Kobo. With a special focus on audiobooks, this session is ideal for self-published authors looking to grow their “wide” distribution strategy.

Graphic Design for Authors (CAREER)
Speaker:
Alexis Daria
Level: Advanced
Award-winning author Alexis Daria draws on her background in computer arts for this workshop. Attendees will receive tips for working with stock photos and design programs, as well as gain a basic understanding of design principles to use in promo materials, branding, and communication with professional designers.

Group Projects That Boost Your Career Instead of Wasting Your Time or Landing You in Jail (CAREER)
Speakers:
Christi Barth and Avery Flynn
Level: Intermediate
Best-selling authors Christi Barth and Avery Flynn share how to enhance your career with group projects, from anthologies to reader events. This workshop includes communication templates, example timelines with deadlines for several types of group projects, and a decision tree to help determine who you should invite to participate in your project—and what to do if something goes wrong.

Indie Business, Branding, and Marketing (CAREER)
Speakers:
Eliza Knight and Kathryn Le Veque
Level: Intermediate
Join powerhouse indie authors Kathryn Le Veque and Eliza Knight as they share a wealth of information on business and branding in order to take your career to the top. Topics include: building your brand, your team, to incorporate or not, writing full time, analyzing the market, implementing marketing strategies, launching your brand/product, accounting, staying on top of business legalities, and so much more.

Instagram for Authors (CAREER)
Speaker:
Stephanie Scott
Level: Intermediate
Stephanie Scott, a 2017 RITA® Award finalist for Best First Book, shares how she uses Instagram to connect with readers, not just other authors. Discover what you should be including in your profile and learn her strategies for maximum engagement including stories, hashtags, finding new readers, and more.

It’s Never Too Late to Fall in Love: Writing and Marketing Seasoned Romance (CAREER)
Speakers: Karen Booth, Denny S. Bryce, Jeannie Moon, Jane Porter, and moderator Jennifer Gracen
As we’re living longer and aging better, romance is in the perfect position to depict later-in-life love stories. This panel will explore aspects of bringing age-diversity to the genre, including market factors, reader demographics, the best ways to reach readers and reviewers, and more. There will also be discussion about ageism in the industry, and strategies for making romance a friendlier environment for authors and characters of all ages.

Leverage the Power of Barnes & Noble with Barnes & Noble Press (CAREER)
Speakers:
Julie Braunshweiger and Sarah Dickman
Join Sarah Dickman, Senior Manager of Business Operations, and Julie Braunschweiger, B&N Press Coordinator, to learn about Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform, Barnes & Noble Press™. This in-depth talk will show authors at any level how they can maximize revenue and transform the way they reach readers by publishing with B&N Press for direct eBook and Print distribution to Barnes & Noble. They will discuss best practices for print distribution as well as new merchandising initiatives designed to reach readers, in whatever format they read and discover books.

Love Local: Creating a Passion for Romance in Independent Bookstores (CAREER)
Speakers:
Geri Krotow, Tracey Livesay, Michelle Mioff-Haring (Cupboard Maker Books), Emma Straub (Books are Magic), Elissa Sweet (Savoy Bookshop & Café), and moderator Pam Jaffee (Avon Books)
Over the past few years, there has been a movement by authors, booksellers, librarians, and publishing professionals to create localized love for Romance. There have been large-scale efforts; but the true spark comes from personal connections. This panel will address how authors, readers, and booksellers can work together to ignite awareness on the ground level and create continued growth and opportunity in this developing market.

Making Cross-Promotional Magic with Multiauthor Facebook Reader Groups (CAREER)
Speakers:
Xio Axelrod, Tif Marcelo, Priscilla Oliveras, Joanna Shupe, and moderator Sonali Dev
Level: Beginner
Best-selling authors teach us all we need to know about forming and maintaining reader groups. Learn how to put together a Facebook reader group and set goals, learn how to grow and engage membership, how to gauge return on investment for personal readership, and the advantages and pitfalls of working as part of a cross-promotional team.

Making the Most of Being a Hybrid Author (CAREER)
Speaker:
Molly O’Keefe
Level: Advanced
Molly O’Keefe gives tips for scheduling, using pen names, and how to make the most of an indie publishing career while still writing for publishers. She will discuss transparency and working with agents who can help in both the indie and traditional publishing world.

Marketing: How to Fake Being an Extrovert (CAREER)
Speakers: Pintip Dunn and Ella Quinn
Level: Intermediate
New York Times best-selling and RITA® Award-winning author Pintip Dunn and USA Today best-selling author Ella Quinn teach us how to reach conquer our inner or outer introvert. Learn strategies for talking to strangers about your book, how to make the most out of networking at conferences, and how to conquer nerves when public speaking—whether it is a panel, a workshop, or speech.

Maximizing Facebook Ads (CAREER)
Speakers: Kristan Higgins and Vanessa Riley    
Level: Intermediate
New York Times best-selling author Kristan Higgins and award-winning author Vanessa Riley guide you through maximizing Facebook ads. Learn the terminology (boosting versus organic reach versus targeted ads), techy stuff (implementing Pixels and Lists to build custom and look-alike audiences), traffic patterns (best practices in setting up ads that consider branding objectives), the look (designing ads that support an author’s key objective), and get the tea (how to dodge Facebook jail by knowing the rules and avoiding copyright infringement).

Money Matters: Financial Realities of Being a Full-Time Author (CAREER)
Speakers:
Nicole Helm and Maisey Yates
Level: Intermediate
Best-selling authors Nicole Helm and Maisey Yates share their experience as full-time authors. Attendees will be able to compare their financial goals to publishing realities, set new financial goals based on an understanding of the industry and their own needs, and understand everything they need to consider before making the leap to full-time author. 

Perfecting the Podcast: Empowering Authors to Explore a New Medium (CAREER)
Speakers:
Lindsay Emory, Sarah MacLean, Jenny Nordbak, and Laura von Holt
Level: Beginner
Join Lindsay Emory (author and host of the Women with Books podcast), Sarah MacLean (author and co-host of the Fated Mates podcast), Jenny Nordbak (author and co-host of the Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast), and Laura von Holt (host of the Mermaid Podcast and co-founder of HBIC Nation) as they walk us through starting a podcast. Walk away with a clear understanding of what a podcast is and how it can be useful to authors. Gain knowledge of how to begin a podcast, understand the time and resources required to start one, and the considerations you need to be aware of when starting a podcast. Also learn possible ways to fit a podcast (as a host or guest) into a marketing/publicity plan.

The Plain Appeal of Amish Fiction (CAREER)
Speakers:
Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepard Gray, and Natasha Kern
Amish fiction is one of the fastest-growing genres in both Christian and New York traditional publishing markets. Why is this genre such a success and still growing? Why are readers drawn to these books? In such a popular genre, how can you make your book stand out to editors and agents? In this workshop, two best-selling authors and an agent will take attendees through the nuts and bolts of how to write a selling proposal for an Amish story, what writers need to keep in mind to appeal to this readership, what editors are looking for in this genre, as well as how much of a faith element should be incorporated.

The Power of Positioning (CAREER)
Speakers:
Kay Birkner and Deb Werksman
Level: Advanced
Find out what strategies put you in position to grab the notice of publishers, reviewers, booksellers, and readers. Let Sourcebooks Assistant Publisher Kay Birkner and Editorial Director Deb Werksman teach you how to polish your brand and fix inconsistencies, create book and series positioning that sells, and implement marketing that causes books to sell.

Self-Publishing Hard Truths: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (CAREER)
Speakers:
Kelly Maher and Farrah Rochon
Level: Intermediate
Authors Kelly Maher and Farrah Rochon share everything you need to know about self-publishing. Attendees will be able to estimate the costs of pursuing one year of self-publishing, to understand the distribution choices that must be made, and be able to develop a rough business plan for their first year of self-publishing.

Standing Out in a Crowded Market (CAREER)
Speakers:
Lauren Layne, Jennifer Probst, Rachael Van Dyken
Level: Advanced
Best-selling authors Lauren Layne, Jennifer Probst, and Rachael Van Dyken show participants how to identify that key element in their writing that establishes their niche. Learn strategy for knowing when to think outside the box versus staying true to the basics and ideas for bonus content to keep readers engaged in between book releases.

A Strategy for All Seasons: Creating a Twelve-Month Marketing Plan (CAREER)
Speakers:
Maria Connor and Callie Hutton
Level: Intermediate
Feel more in control and less overwhelmed with tips from Maria Connor, the founder of My Author Concierge, and USA Today best-selling author Callie Hutton on how to optimize marketing resources and how to create a comprehensive twelve-month marketing plan that can be personalized for each author’s needs.

Synopses, Blurbs, and Marketing Hooks: How to Sell Your Book Before You Even Write It (CAREER)
Speakers:
Julia Kelly and Alisha Rai
Level: Beginner
Award-winning authors Julia Kelly and Alisha Rai teach authors the ins and outs of marketing, including how to write a synopsis to sell their book on proposal (and actually enjoy—or not hate—the process), how to write a blurb/marketing copy, and how to spot what the marketing hooks are in their books to create their synopsis/blurbs and for general marketing purposes.

That Hybrid Life (CAREER)
Speakers:
Rachel Dylan, Vanessa Riley, and Sarah Younger
Level: Intermediate
Learn everything you need to know to straddle the worlds of traditional and indie publishing from both authors and agents: what it means to be hybrid; opportunities for going hybrid; reverting of rights; legalities; managing expectations; best practices for the hybrid brand; strategies for co-marketing; how to approach/discuss with your agent; followed by a Q&A.

Understanding and Implementing Branding as an Author (CAREER)
Speaker:
Blue Saffire
Level: Intermediate
Let Blue Saffire help you identify the difference between marketing and branding, learn to use branding to market books, to establish a brand as an author, to translate and apply this knowledge to connect with readers, and how to use this knowledge to build social media presence.

What’s Feminism Got to Do with It? Crafting an Identity as a Feminist Romance Writer (CAREER)
Speakers:
Kilby Blades and Roan Parrish
Level: Intermediate
Discover how to craft an author identity that includes feminist goals/ideas. Learn how to respond to criticism of the romance genre as anti-feminist and how to identify feminist (and anti-feminist) tropes/themes/ideologies in your own writing and in the writing of others.

A Year of Marketing without Writing (Much) (CAREER)
Speakers:
Jackie Lau and Zoe York
Level: Intermediate
Authors Jackie Lau and Zoe York teach participants how to assess their back catalog, identify what basic marketing options work for backlist titles, and draft a plan for the next year that gives them one actionable marketing job for each calendar month to create stability and growth.



Craft Track

Better, Faster, Stronger First Drafts (CRAFT)    
Speaker:
Kate McMurray
Level: Intermediate
Write a great first draft in less time than you think! Thinking about story before sitting down to write can help you craft a better first draft. We’ll also discuss tips and tricks for writing that draft in less time.

Beyond He Said, She Said: The Art and Architecture of Compelling Dialogue (CRAFT)
Speaker:
J. Kenner
Level: Intermediate
Join New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly best-selling author J. Kenner for this fun, informative, and in-depth master class workshop on dialogue. This workshop digs deep into the analysis and manipulation of the multiple roles played by dialogue in a story. In addition, we’ll discuss the types of dialogue (hint, it’s not just what’s between the quotation marks!) and also get into the nitty-gritty ways of best conveying dialogue on the page, with a focus on rhythm, cadence, tags, and the unrelenting impact of characterization on those and other elements.

Brainstorming Like a Boss (CRAFT) *Not Recorded
Speakers:
Falguni Kothari and Nisha Sharma    
Level: Intermediate
Whether writers receive support from a critique group or prefer to create stories in isolation, brainstorming like a boss can help spark the creative juices for a new novel, get past the sagging middle, or determine the elusive ending. In this interactive workshop, writers will participate in a hands-on brainstorming session where they analyze their story’s structure, partake in exercises, and learn tips and tricks to propel their novel forward.

Conflicting Agendas: Exploring the Sources of Character Friction in Romance (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Amy Lane
Level: Intermediate
Exploring character for conflicts is something writers are often told to do but have difficulty visualizing. Using a printed character agenda, which can help articulate why characters conflict and drive plot, this class looks at basic human motivation and mines it for the intrinsic conflict that’s so compelling in romantic characters.

Consent Is Sexy: Writing Explicit Consent and Respectful Boundaries (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Zoe Archer/Eva Leigh, Tracey Livesay, and Cat Sebastian
Level: Intermediate
What defines consent? What does it look like? Can explicit consent exist in romance? In this workshop, authors Zoe Archer, Tracey Livesay, and Cat Sebastian will answer those questions using a series of examples and will go through a checklist of whether or not the character interaction in a scene is consensual and if boundaries are respected.

Crafting a Slam-Dunk Hook (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Mary Altman and Cat Clyne
Level: Beginner
In this workshop, two Sourcebooks editors walk through the research on hooks and teach the importance of understanding genre (AKA where your book sits on the shelf), a solid series hook (and why it doesn’t pay to ignore it), and how to go from a great single book to a full series. Using case studies, they take a deep dive into genre and how to find your core audience, how authors have taken a single book idea and transformed it into a career, and how to make sure your core readership is being served and you aren’t losing what made them fall in love with you in the first place. We end with how to take that polished hook and present it to agents, editors, and readers (for the self-published authors) in the way most likely to lead to a sale, including a submissions Mad Libs.

Crafting Series That Sell (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Jennifer Blackwood, Nina Crespo, Jenny Holiday, and A. J. Pine
Level: Intermediate
What happens when a reader picks up the second book in your trilogy without realizing they missed book one? Jennifer Blackwood, Nina Crespo, Jenny Holliday, and A. J. Pine will illustrate how to make each book work as a standalone while also planting little treasures throughout the books for series loyalists. Whether you are writing three books or seven, high concept is key. Learn how to grab the attention of agents/publishers/readers with a series hook they won’t be able to pass up. This panel is your one-stop shop for crafting your next successful series!

The Editor/Author Relationship

Speakers: Roan Parrish and Anna Zabo
Level: Intermediate
Join two best-selling authors as they reveal the secrets and tips they gleaned from working as romance editors. What are editors looking for? What does an author need from their editor?  Get a rare chance to see both sides of the publishing coin and use the insight to help you write better romance!

Eliciting Emotion: Make Them Feel (CRAFT)    
Speakers:
Winnie Griggs, Reese Ryan, and Renee Ryan
Level: Intermediate
Authors Winnie Griggs, Reese Ryan, and Renee Ryan discuss why emotion is so integral to the romance genre and how to weave it in effectively. Attendees will gain a better understanding of how to “show, don’t tell” a character’s emotional state and learn how to identify and highlight key steps along the character’s emotional arc. They’ll also offer insight into how to nurture both your characters’ and readers’ emotional responses and why these aren’t always the same.

Erotic Romance for the 2019 Reader (CRAFT)
Speakers:
LaQuette, Blue Saffire, and Sierra Simone
Join three of the hottest authors of the steamiest romance for a session that will teach you the best way to make sure your story singes the page. Everything from characters to plot, to those sexy scenes are integral to making a romance that leaves readers begging for more. If you want to raise the stakes on your erotic romance - don't miss this workshop!

Finding Deep POV at the Intersection of Author Voice and Character Voice (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Sonali Dev and Kristan Higgins
Level: Intermediate
Mastering deep POV is the way to make our writing not only more immersive, but also more emotional, evocative, and fun. Learn to identify, hone, and manipulate author voice and character voice to deepen POV and understand the connection between the two to make your stories distinctly your own and so memorable that they stick in the readers minds forever and ever.

How Not to Plot: The Fine Art of Pantsing While Staying Sane and Productive (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Monica Murphy and Lexi Ryan
Level: Intermediate
There are as many ways to not-plot a book as there are ways to plot one. Being a professional writer who chooses not to plot doesn’t have to mean wasting hours writing drivel until you land on something good. You can be a productive and efficient pantser! This interactive workshop is intended for pantsers, reluctant plotters, and writers looking to shake up their writing process. Attendees will be asked to create lists of their biggest problems and sticking points in their writing process. Lexi Ryan and Monica Murphy will lead the group through a discussion of strategies for overcoming those sticking points, including the challenges presented by each.

The Language of Genre (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Darcy Burke, Dee Davis, J. Kenner, and Elisabeth Naughton
Level: Intermediate
Writing different genres presents unique challenges, as each genre has its own set of expectations and realities. Using pacing, word choice, voice, and other tools a writer can shift decisively from one subgenre to another. Join best-selling authors Darcy Burke, Dee Davis, J. Kenner, and Elisabeth Naughton for a discussion on how to tailor pacing and voice to genre and time period, how to use specific word choices to amp up both emotion and authenticity, and how to align genre expectation with reality to make the story resonate with readers.

The Last Three Chapters: Tying It All Together (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Tere Michaels
Level: Intermediate
When a reader embarks on a new book, they are entering into a convent of trust with the author. They want to be thrilled, delighted, charmed, and at the end, be satisfied with a well-earned HEA. Join Tere Michaels for a workshop that will help writers go through their own work to identify end-of-book weaknesses and how to structure future books to avoid them. She’ll also help authors identify the concept of what HEA means for individual stories and how to use this in their own work.

Laughing in the Face of Danger: The Hows and Whys of Using Humor to Freshen your Prose, Strengthen your Story, and Deepen your Characterization. Oh, and Hook Your Reader! (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Darynda Jones
Level: Intermediate
Join New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Darynda Jones on an exploration of why using humor is one of the fastest ways to create empathy in their readers for their characters and how to use it effectively. Attendees will learn how humor plays a huge part in the human psyche and how using it will not only deepen characterization, but will take their story to the next level. They will come away with an understanding of how using the right amount of humor will help them create a fresh voice that agents, editors, and readers crave.

Making Sparks Fly in Inspirational and Sweet Romance (CRAFT)    
Speakers:
Belle Calhoune, Danica Favorite, and Jolene Navarro
Level: Intermediate
How do writers in the inspirational and sweet markets create powerful romantic tension between the hero and heroine without sex? In this workshop, three best-selling authors will provide tips on how to incorporate heat into typically chaste genres, as well as how to deepen the hero and heroine’s romantic connection to add depth and chemistry. Finally, learn what kind of language to use to heighten romantic tension while staying true to the expectations of the genre.

Men on Writing Men: The Romantic Male POV (CRAFT)
Speakers:
M. L. “Matt” Buchman, S. C. Mitchell, and Damon Suede
Level: Intermediate
Romantic heroes can be so much more than tall, dark, and ab-tastic. Join three male romance writers in a discussion of how to develop complex male characters. Write past XY stereotypes and cookie-cutter gender signaling to get at the core of the male animal. This workshop will discuss how to express emotion in characters that don’t tend to express emotion and to plumb your story’s depths using your fictional men.

Not Your Mother’s Inspirational Romance (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Rachel Dylan, Dana R. Lynn, and Lee Tobin McClain
Level: Intermediate
Many stereotypes and misconceptions prevent talented writers from giving the inspirational market a try. In this workshop, three successful inspirational writers debunk the myths and explain the constraints and opportunities in this popular subgenre. They also discuss the market (traditional and indie) for inspirational romance, how to get an agent, and how to avoid mistakes in queries and proposals to inspirational publishers.

Novel Prep for Writing Fast (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Alexis Daria
Level: Intermediate
Get quick tips for prepping your novel before starting any project. Grab the tools of deep outlining, scene cards, character development, backstory scenes, playlists, and mood boards to hit the ground running and keep up the pace. This workshop will answer the question, why outline? Review the basics of outlining, and get resources and tools for novel prep and fast drafting. Join RITA award-winning author Alexis Daria to rethink your approach to story planning, renew your commitment to telling good stories, and revitalize your writing process.

Pacing (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Sherry Thomas
Level: Intermediate

Join Sherry Thomas, USA Today best-selling author and two-time RITA® winner as she tackles a subject that she's never taught before: pacing! Whether she's writing historical romance, young adult romance, or mystery, she's learned just how important pacing is to creating a story that keeps a reader turning pages way past their bedtime. This is a must-attend class on an element that can make or break your book.

Recognizing Implicit Bias in Your Writing (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Heather Leonard
Level: Intermediate
When most people think of bias, they think of overt discrimination or conscious decisions to treat people differently because of immutable characteristics. Everyone carries biases of which they are not aware, and these unconscious biases influence their behavior and writing. Join Heather Leonard, a two-time Golden Heart finalist and top civil rights lawyer, for a workshop that seeks to reveal biases to authors they may not know they are carrying, examines how those biases influence their writing, and combats stereotypes in their storytelling.

Serving Up Stories with a Twist (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Charles Griemsman
Level: Beginner
Harlequin Desire editor Charles Griemsman offers tips on adding that certain special something to a story that really makes it stand out: the twist. It can be plot, it can be emotion, it can be an “aha!” moment to end all “aha!” moments, but making a standard trope your own is the name of the game in a very crowded marketplace.

The Six-Figure Indie Author: Writing to Market to Sell Books (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Victorine E. Lieske and Amy Meyer
Level: Intermediate
In this class, New York Times best-selling author Victorine E. Lieske and first-year six-figure indie author Amy Meyer will teach how to position yourself to make money by self-publishing. They will talk about writing to market, what it means, and how to do it. They will dispel prevalent myths about writing to market and will share how to feed your creativity while still writing what the public wants. You’ll learn how to launch a book successfully, what branding is, and how to create an author platform that will sell books for you.

Slow Writing Is Not a Sin: Taking the Artisanal Approach to Wow Readers (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Roni Loren
Level: Beginner
RITA-award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Roni Loren wants to tell you a secret: If you can’t do your best work at high rates of speed, there’s another way to keep readers coming back for more: Take an artisanal approach to your writing and focus on producing ultra-high-quality fiction at a steady, but not lose-your-mind, pace. In this workshop, Loren will explain the benefits of the artisanal approach, how to incorporate it into your writing life, and will show you ten ways to transform “good enough” writing into top-notch fiction that readers will rave about, remember for a long time, and, most importantly, wait for with bated breath.

Storyboarding for Success (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Megan Ryder
Level: Intermediate
Have you heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? A plot board, or story board, is a visual representation of your book—a quick overview of the flow of your story. It allows you to quickly see your book without having to read paragraphs in a synopsis or notes in a notebook. It also facilitates plot brainstorming and helps keep you writing during the process. In this workshop, Megan Ryder will discuss how to set up your storyboard for brainstorming, writing, and revising your manuscript.

Submission 101 (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock    
Level: Beginner
Join Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock in this intensive workshop to help authors polish a submission package. Writers will learn how to follow up their pitches with substantive, thoroughly polished pieces that demonstrate a knowledge of the industry expectations for a selling proposal. The workshop discusses pitching, smart use of hooks, writing a query letter and synopsis, and gives an overview of what to include in your proposal package. This workshop is invaluable to RWA members ready to take the next step toward publication, and Submission 101 offers clear, constructive advice for a stronger final product.

Tension’s the Thing (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Jackie Ashenden and Maisey Yates
Level: Intermediate
We all know that romance novels are going to end up happily. So, what is it that keeps a reader turning pages even when they know the inevitable end? Tension. In this workshop, Jackie Ashenden and Maisey Yates discuss how they use tension to keep readers hooked in their books.

Trope-tastic (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Damon Suede
Level: Advanced
Tropes are the rocket fuel of romance. Classic story patterns signal the ride ahead so that everyone can find the perfect book to take them where they want to go. Whether industry pros or passionate fans, trope addicts crave their favorites and build their booklists accordingly. Learn to tap the language that attracts the right audience, streamlines your stories, and leaves them needing more. In this advanced two-hour session, we’ll untangle the evolution of tropes and their timeless power to sell a project, shape a story, and grab imaginations. Whether you like to wing it or bring it, you’ll leave this workshop with a new handle on harnessing reader expectations for pleasure and profit.

Using Visual Storytelling from TV, Film, and Comics in Prose (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Alisa Kwitney
Level: Intermediate
In this workshop, attendees will learn how to think like an art director when creating settings, how to think like a director working with actors on blocking and activity to help ground and pace a scene, and how to think like an actor in order to show complex and often contradictory emotions. Join former DC comics staff editor and Eisner Award nominee Alisa Kwitney for this fun and interactive event.

When YA Met Rom-Coms: Inside the Craft of Laugh-out-Loud Love Stories for Teens (CRAFT)
Speakers:
Lauren Morrill, Tiffany Schmidt, Nisha Sharma, Sarvenaz Tash, and Blair Thornburgh
Level: Intermediate
With movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Dumplin’ premiering to huge acclaim on Netflix and playful love stories hitting the New York Times best-seller list, YA romantic comedies are back in a big way. Join these authors of young-adult rom-coms to learn what sets these humorous stories apart from the rest of the YA genre and how to craft a can’t resist, quirky, and heartfelt love story for teens.

World Building Around Your Romance (CRAFT)
Speakers:
James Abbate, Kelley Armstrong, Pat Esden, Debra Jess, Jeffe Kennedy, and Sarah Younger
Level: Intermediate
Writing in the science fiction and fantasy subgenres requires an author to sell not just the romance, but also the fantastical world they’ve created. Come join Kensington author Pat Esden, award-winning indie author Debra Jess, literary agent Sarah Younger, RITA-award-winning author Jeffe Kennedy, assistant editor James Abbate, and New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, who will show you what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t work when writing and pitching science fiction and fantasy romance.

Writing Accurate HEA/HFN’s for People with Disabilities without the Miraculous Healing (CRAFT)
Speakers:
J. T. Bock, Laurie Alice Eakes, Tracee Lydia Garner, and Rachel J. Good
Level: Beginner
Today’s readers desire and yearn to see characters that reflect who they are, and this means not only diverse characters be depicted in issues around race, gender, and ethnicity, but also in areas that concern disabilities. There is still work to be done to depict characters accurately, and these authors will share ways to avoid perpetuating stereotypes and behaviors toward underrepresented groups that can be detrimental and further limit participation in our society.

Writing Crime: When Your Next Scene Is a Crime Scene (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Geoff Symon
Committing your crimes to paper can be a mysterious and thrilling endeavor. Come ready to get criminal in this hands-on workshop where we’ll connect the dots from crime scene to closed case. Geoff Symon, author of the Forensics for Fiction series, will tackle the traps and tricks to unleash your criminal impulse.

Writing Killer Suspense (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Melinda Leigh
Level: Intermediate
Do you want to write a page turner? The key to writing unputdownable fiction is creating tension. The reader must need to know what is going to happen next! Best-selling author Melinda Leigh will teach techniques, tips, and tricks for revving up the tension in stories of any genre, including her favorite category—romantic suspense.

Writing the Synopsis That Works for You (CRAFT)
Speaker:
Colleen Thompson
Level: Intermediate
In this workshop, romantic suspense novelist Colleen Thompson discusses crafting a synopsis you can use as both a sales tool and an aid to structuring your novel. Topics covered include shortcuts to conveying character, critical elements romance editors look for, and how to focus your message without losing your mind.



Research Track


Domestic Violence in Romance: Write the Story Survivors Deserve (RESEARCH)
Speaker:
Adriana Herrera
With years of experience as a social worker serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence, Adriana Herrera brings real-life insight to this powerful workshop. Attendees will explore what domestic violence is and the facts and harmful myths surrounding this topic. Examine intimate partner violence and use the R.I.C.H. model to write survivor stories with respect, information, connection and hope.

Forensics for Fiction: Make Your Crime Pay (RESEARCH)
Speaker:
Geoff Symon
When writing about crime and investigations, what is the balance between accuracy and overkill? Geoff Symon shares his experience as a 20-year Forensic Investigator with authors of every popular genre. Learn about actual forensic techniques and terminology in order to avoid common fictional mistakes. Come with forensic questions to this interactive Q&A session, and we’ll bring authenticity to the scene of your crime.

Hands on History: A Physical Experience into the Past (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Sara Dahmen and Molly Maka
Nothing can make your book come alive like hands-on research and experiences. This workshop makes the past come alive with a hands-on approach to understanding the past, the truth behind some historical stereotypes and myths, and a tactile experience to help you better explain history and take your readers on a deeper journey.

The History Games: Using Real Events to Write the Best Fiction in any Genre (RESEARCH)
Speaker:
Jennifer Hallock
True stories inspire the best fiction. Let history help you find the usual, precocious, and maybe even dangerous heroes and heroines you need! A veteran teacher and researcher will show you how to exploit free sources online: memoirs, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, maps, photographs, clothing, artifacts, videos, and more. This workshop's emphasis will be on historical research, especially the Regency through the Roaring Twenties, but it will include practical tips and tricks for all authors.

Not Every G.I. Is a Joe: Women in the Military and How to Write an Alpha Heroine (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Tarina Deaton, Geri Krotow, Jessica Scott, and Jessica Snyder
G. I. Jane isn’t just a movie! Join four current and former active duty military officers and romance authors who can give you the real deal on what it means to serve as a woman. After attending this workshop, you’ll know the current roles of women in the military and how those roles are evolving, how the experiences of women differ from their male counterparts, the challenges women face due to their gender and how they overcome them, and the psychological impact of combat service. You’ll leave knowing how to craft a realistic alpha heroine without resorting to clichés.

Playing with the Boys (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Tee O’Fallon, Jessica Speart, and M. A. Taylor. Pintip Dunn, moderator.
Join a federal agent, a former state officer, and an investigative journalist who learned firsthand how to play with the big boys. They’ll speak candidly about the real-life challenges facing federal agents and police and how these challenges impact their ability to interact with others (especially the opposite sex!), as well as the different archetypes in law enforcement and how you can integrate these differing personalities into your romance stories for maximum emotion and maximum impact.

Researching and Writing the Gilded-Age Romance (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Jennifer Hallock, Maya Rodale, and Joanna Shupe
All that glitters isn’t gold, but the Gilded Age can make your manuscript shine! Join three experts who will share what to read/watch/listen to in order to start discovering the Gilded Age world. Take advantage of the Big Apple to explore historical New York City and brainstorm Gilded-Age romance novel plots after learning more about the history and how popular romance tropes fit in this historical time period.

Romance in the Hospital Setting: A Doctor Tells All (RESEARCH)   
Speaker:
Dr. J. S. Savage
Shonda Rhimes knew that hospitals were the place to set high-stakes stories, and now you can do the same. Join a board-certified trauma center physician as you explore how to incorporate high-stakes drama of the hospital setting in your romance while avoiding blunders that pull readers out of scene. This hour-long session will give you the tools to incorporate interpersonal and interprofessional hospital dramas into your books to increase tension for readers.

The Rom-Com Renaissance: How to Incorporate Elements from Our Favorite Film Genre into Your Writing (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Lindsay Emory, Nancy Naigle, and Teri Wilson
The way to win a reader’s heart is to make them laugh! Join this workshop and examine several popular rom-com films to learn how to identify the key components of a romantic comedy film, how to incorporate classic rom-com elements into your writing, and leave with a read/watch list of rom-com films paired with recent, comparable romance novels.

STEM in Romance: More than Lipstick and Lab Coats (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Marie Johnston, L. Penelope, Margot Ryan, and Sarah Storin
Integrating all things scientific into your manuscript doesn’t have to feel like a lab experiment. Join four talented authors who all work in STEM fields as they teach you all about the requirements and rigors of graduating and working in a STEM field of study, the resources to aid in researching those fields, as well as how to become comfortable writing about STEM settings and characters. Bring your lab books and leave with a clearer picture of people in STEM, inaccuracies of stereotypes of STEM workers, and how you can apply that knowledge into your current WIPs or new novels.

Tap that App: Modern Love and Your Contemporary Romance (RESEARCH)
Speaker:
Alisha Rai
Join Alisha Rai as she explores the topic of love and romance—twenty-first-century style! After this workshop, you’ll be able to articulate the various forms of digital dating and how they’ve changed the landscape of love, create a contemporary world that is realistic in terms of characters, and know how to integrate technology into contemporary world building.

Villains, Deviants, and Killers: Inside the Criminal Mind (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Martin Hafer, Christy Jefferies, Sara Lunsford, Karen Rose, and M. A. Taylor
Every great heroine needs an equally great villain. This workshop will help attendees understand the mindset of their criminal antagonists and delve deeper into their character’s point of view. A panel of prior law enforcement, a mental health professional, and a NYT best-selling author will explore the differences between a victim and a survivor. Warning: this workshop will deal with highly sensitive topics, which may be difficult for some attendees.

Where the Cowboys Are: Finding the Resources to Make Your Western Authentic (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Kari Lynn Dell and Laura Drake
Join a real-life rodeo champion and a city girl with a love for bull riding to explore the amazing world of Western romance. Attendees will leave with an extensive list of websites, blogs, and social media streams where they can interact with people who live the lifestyle, as well as ways to experience the unique world firsthand at events all across the US and Canada. The presenters also will highlight the multicultural aspects of the sport of rodeo and provide a list of movies, books, and other media that accurately portray the cowboy culture.

Whose Story is It? Writing Diversely in Romance Fiction (RESEARCH)
Speakers:
Sonali Dev, Laurie Alice Eakes, K. M. Jackson, Rayna Vause, and Anna Zabo. L. Penelope, moderator
We are storytellers, and that role carries responsibility when we strive to tell narratives that are not our own. This panel will tackle the questions of “Am I the person who should tell this story?” and “How do I tell it responsibly and respectfully?”

Writing Intelligently about Law Enforcement and Intelligence in Your Novels (RESEARCH)
Speaker:
K. L. Brady/S. D. Skye
With a lifetime of intelligence experience in the FBI, DIA, and the military, K. L. Brady will give attendees solid and accurate information about the intelligence field. You’ll gain an understanding of the U.S. Intelligence Community and the jurisdictions that determine who does what, the correct terminology, personnel, and agencies to use when describing law enforcement operations versus spy operations, and a list of descriptors and characterizations to avoid to prevent throwing the reader out of the story. This workshop will help writers create more realistic stories that don’t throw the reader off because they are factually inaccurate.




Special Sessions


Ask Me Anything Featuring Brenda Jackson (SPECIAL)

Ask Me Anything Featuring J. R. Ward (SPECIAL)

Ask Me Anything Featuring Julia Quinn (SPECIAL)

Ask Me Anything Featuring Madeline Hunter (SPECIAL)

You Can't Do That! Or Can You? (SPECIAL)
Speaker:
Kevin Kneupper
Romance authors got a crash course in trademark and copyright during Romancelandia's infamous "Cockygate." Writer and lawyer Kevin Kneupper, one of the key figures who took the "cocky" fight to victory, will teach attendees about current legal issues impacting authors in this can't-miss session!



Writer’s Life Track


#Tired: Wielding Your Pen When the World’s on Fire (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speakers:
Kianna Alexander and Synithia Williams
Two prolific, battle-tested authors discuss how to write when everything else is overwhelming. We’ll talk about how to identify what’s triggering procrastination and lack of productivity, how certain activities increase stress and manifest as mental, physical, and emotional symptoms, and how to evaluate and overcome common creative blocks.

Building Better Writing Communities through Empathy and Inclusion (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speaker:
Adriana Herrera
Social worker Adriana Herrera will discuss how to foster better and more inclusive writing communities. Attendees will develop a better understanding of how diverse writing communities are better for all, gain an understanding of how to foster communities where diverse voices can flourish, and learn about how using empathy and understanding one’s positionality can help us be better community members and allies.

Burnout: The Science and Art of Unlocking the Stress Cycle (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speakers:
Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski    
The authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle will help writers avoid and cope with burnout. Writers can select from among at least a dozen evidence-based strategies for dealing with stress or burnout that they can begin today. They also will recognize the ways gendered expectations of “giving” serve as an obstacle between us and our own well-being and explain to loved ones why and how to collaborate on self-care.

Dictation Dos: Learn the Ins and Outs of Dictating Your Next Book (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speakers:
Anna Alexander, Danica Favorite, Shana Gray, and Elle James
This workshop will help writers dispel any fears they may have about dictation and help them feel confident to take the leap. We will discuss software, hardware, and other tools and show participants how to use them. We also will review the pitfalls and drawbacks to dictation and how to work with and around them.

Digital Project Management (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speaker:
Marianne Knightly
In this workshop, you’ll learn how to find a digital project management tool that works for you, discover ways to map a series—or even a single book—to keep track of all the little details, tips to plan out your social media content, and learn how to apply these digital tools to your everyday life to track bills and more.

Eleven Productivity Myths and Why You Should Stop Believing Them (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speaker:
Becca Syme
Learn how to increase productivity by making small tweaks, change one thing to align your writing system, and understand how personality changes productivity. Boost your productivity and get more done!

Get Unstuck: Recalibrating the Creative Brain (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speakers:
Alexandra Haughton and Laura von Holt
Get unstuck with tips on how to understand what a mindful self-compassion practice can bring to your life. Silence your inner critic, so you can fearlessly go after your dreams. Reframe and redirect negative self-talk. Practice powerful visualization to help you overcome indecision. Create your own roadmap to refresh and renew your creativity.   

Goal Setting for the Chronically Disappointed Writer (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speaker:
Jeanette Grey
Attendees will leave this workshop with clarity about the sources of their disappointments in their careers; concrete, actionable steps for how to address these sources of disappointment; and new strategies for how to set daily, monthly, and annual goals to keep their careers and their lives on track.

Keep It Simple: Using Kanban to Plan Your Marketing, Plot Your Book, and Organize Your Life (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speaker:
Alexis Anne
Boost your productivity and manage your time better! This workshop will show how to implement an easy and simple system for managing your marketing, use the kanban system to plot a book, and adapt the workflow for anything else in your writer life.

Morning Yoga (WRITER’S LIFE)
Instructor:
Lucy Farago
Start your day well with stretches, breathing, and strength exercises.

The Stuff No One Talks About: Writing and Money (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speakers:
Erin Steele, Danica Winters, and Dan Wood
Get into the nitty gritty of finance for writers: how to save for retirement and taxes, how to make smart investments, and what to expect from both traditional and indie publishing, in terms of take-home money for authors from a variety of genres and distribution platforms.

Surviving and Thriving (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speakers:
Andrea Penrose/Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susanna Kearsley, and Mary Jo Putney
Learn how to thrive in an ever-changing market with advice from a panel of best-selling authors. They’ll discuss how to find your career happy place, which will help with survival; how to survive catastrophic career changes, because we all have them; and how to balance life, creativity, and the business of writing, which is more complicated than it used to be.

Wellness for Writers: How Yoga Can Balance Your Body, Mind, and Creativity! (WRITER’S LIFE)
Speaker:
Lin Lustig
Learn yoga poses to negate wrist strain and shoulder tension, as well as breathing exercises to combat overwhelm and stress. Get a list of online yoga resources, including free classes, to keep the practice going after the conference.


20/20 Sessions


20/20s on Audiobooks

From a Whisper to a Scream: How to Market Your Audiobook
Speaker:
Michele Cobb
A title is a title, but there are differences when marketing books versus audiobooks. Walk away with a checklist of tasks to tackle, as well as tips for creating marketing tools using the unique materials of the format.

Making Ear Candy: Audiobook Production for Indie, Traditional, and Hybrid Authors
Speaker:
Karen White
Discover current options for publishing in audio and steps to take in determining what will work for you. You’ll gain insights regarding when and how to get your books into the audiobook arena and leave with a list of service providers that can help get your books to listeners' ears.

The Price You Pay: The Cost of Making an Audiobook
Speakers:
Amy Landon and Teri Schnaubelt
You’ll be given a breakdown of a realistic budget for audiobook production and walk away with an understanding of what you’re paying for, what you shouldn’t pay for, where to cut costs, and where not to.

The Voice in My Head: Casting Your Audiobook
Speakers:
Amy McFadden and Sarah Mollo-Christensen
There are important factors to consider beyond the sound of a narrator’s voice when casting your audiobook. Learn what solo, dual, and duet narration are and the strategies for deciding which is the best fit for your book.

20/20s on Beginner Craft

Back to Basics: Show, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Be Passive About It
Speaker:
Susan C. Muller
What’s the difference between showing and telling? Learn the difference between active and passive voice and when to use—or not use—each.

Game of Genres: Where Do You Fit In?
Speaker:
Annag MacCallum
By the end of this session, attendees will be able to identify and combine subgenres, identify their novels, and clearly describe them to any editor, agent, or reporter. Walk away with worksheets and flow charts that will help you find the genre(s) that best fits your writing.

How to Eliminate -ly Adverbs
Speaker:
Rose Ross Zediker
Learn how to cut -ly adverbs from your manuscript and increase your word count, making your writing more vivid. You’ll be given examples of how to create concrete sentences that drop your reader into the middle of the action.

POV from A to Z
Speaker:
Lizzie Shane
Discover how to identify the different kinds of point of view (POV) as well as how to select which POV is right for your books. You’ll leave with a greater understanding of common pitfalls like head hopping and POV jumping within scenes.

20/20s on Craft Techniques

The 411 on GMC: Do You Know Your Characters?
Speaker:
Priscilla Oliveras
Learn to hone your GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Come prepared with one of your characters in mind. You’ll be given a GMC chart for them and asked to complete it. A sample GMC chart for the heroine and nemesis in Pride and Prejudice, as well as examples using characters from the romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, will be used to help you conquer this basic tenet of writing fiction.

Cultivating Your Plot: How to Build Tension through Every Chapter
Speaker:
Anabelle Bryant
Gain knowledge of how to build tension within your story by planting seeds of the plot in each chapter. You’ll learn a dissection technique you can apply to your manuscript to uncover plot weaknesses and holes. Examples of effective plot execution will be given, as well as suggestions for application, so you can improve your own manuscript by building tension within the story arc.

Cut It Out: Advanced Craft Tips
Speaker:
Laura Drake
Learn how to eliminate filter words and improve your use of dialogue tags. You’ll discover how to say it once, say it well, and how to show thoughts effectively, creating tight, well-paced stories that grab the reader from start to finish.

Editing Hacks: Ten Simple Steps to Clean Up and Improve Your Manuscript
Speaker:
Jessica Snyder
You’ll learn how to clean up the formatting of your manuscript using the Find/Replace command, how to understand what dialogue tags are (and what they aren’t!) to avoid making editors twitch, and how to successfully remove pesky filler words like just, very, and really from your writing.

Writing for Readers with Communication Challenges
Speaker:
Julia Day
Discover revision techniques to improve accessibility for readers with communication challenges. You’ll learn how to use the “rule of three” to give readers a mental pause, how to clarify the context of slang, sarcasm, idioms, and inside jokes, and how to ensure that emotions have matching physical reactions on the page.

20/20s on Marketing

Mastering the SWAG Game: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck
Speaker:
Lynne Silver
Geography matters. Learn where, when, and why to buy your promotional items including the strategies for selecting them and how to save money in freight costs. You’ll learn about best-practice art requirements for promotional items and some behind-the-scene secrets of the industry.

True Fans: Using Your Newsletter to Identify and Nurture Them
Speaker:
Aimee Easterling
Discover how to set up a starter autoresponder sequence in a few hours. You’ll learn ways to channel new subscribers through your autoresponder sequence and how to streamline your autoresponder sequence to sell your backlist and turn casual readers into true fans.

20/20s on Publishing

Cutting through the Jungle: How to Decide What Publishing Choices Are Right for You
Speakers:
Christi Caldwell
You’ll walk away with a comprehensive list of the current publishing options, including the pros/cons of each option, and learn how to dig in and decide which choice is right for you.

Gone Fishing: How to Catch an Agent
Speaker:
Tracey J. Lyons
Discover how to put together a solid list from which to query agents, how to track your submissions, and how to deal with rejections. You’ll learn what to look for and what questions to ask before you decide to hire an agent, as well as some of the warning signs.

Keep It Brief: The Synopsis in 850 Words or Less
Speaker:
Anna Alexander
Discover how to focus on the meat of your book and create a clear, dynamic synopsis of your novel. You also will learn how a strong synopsis can assist in fixing plot holes and save the saggy middle, as well as create the starting point for your marketing campaign.

More Than a Hashtag: How to Get Published via Twitter
Speakers:
Stacy Hoff and Eva Scalzo
Learn how to use Twitter to get published and what agents and editors are actively acquiring at any given moment. You'll discover how to connect with readers and the Twitter writing community as well.

Write Good, Write Well: Am I Ready for a Professional Editor?
Speaker:
Sarah Allan
You’ll learn about the different types of editing (developmental, line edits, proofreading, etc.) and will walk away able to better gauge which edits you need for your manuscript. Free options for editing will be discussed, and you’ll get tips on how to find a reputable professional editor, as well as learn how editors operate. Attendees will receive an overview on how editors charge for services and what to expect from a professional edit including how to use, and what to include on, a style sheet.

20/20s on Research

Going Deep: Exploring Core Wounds
Speaker:
Kathy Lyons/Jade Lee
Discover how to identify personal and character core wounds (abuse, neglect, co-dependence, loss) as well as how to identify the needs that lead to healing (safety, attention, freedom, wholeness/love). Attendees will learn both positive and negative strategies for healing that will help them get to the heart of their characters and take their writing to the next level.

A Lesbian’s Guide to Straight Sex: How to Make Your Heroes Better Lovers with Tips from a Sapphic Sister
Speaker:
Karelia Stetz-Waters
Learn about the “pleasure gap” and how combating this phenomenon in romance can lead to hotter sex scenes and offer an opportunity to educate readers about women’s bodies. Discover sexual techniques you may not be incorporating into your romance novels (and probably should!). You’ll leave with a list of resources to explore at home. It will also include recommendations for things as diverse as a video game that teaches healthy consent in BDSM relationships, as well as a video series that explores female masturbation.

Put Your Characters to Work, Work, Work
Speaker:
Nadine Gonzalez
Discover how to craft characters with complex, interesting, and credible professional lives. Learn how to develop creative research strategies to build realistic careers for your characters as well as how to create diverse fictional workplaces. By the end of this session, attendees will be able to identify stereotypes and clichés, as well as how to enrich their plots with topical industry trends.

Taming the Beast: Historical Research
Speaker:
Kimberley Woodhouse
Writing historical romance is about more than corsets and swords—respect your reader by getting it right. Learn research techniques that will help you stay true to any period and immerse the reader in your story.

20/20s on Writer's Life

Cheapskates Unite! How to Do RWA Nationals on a Budget
Speaker:
Tawna Fenske
We’re all on a budget. Learn how to save money on flights to the RWA Annual Conference (or any conference or convention) using rewards programs and comparison websites like Kayak. You’ll discover how not to go broke buying conference clothing, as well as how to save on meals. As a bonus, you’ll learn how to never pay baggage fees again by using only a carry-on or two, no matter the length of your trip.

Don’t Panic! Learning to Manage Deadlines
Speaker:
Allison B. Hanson
Whether they’re self-imposed or set by your publisher, deadlines can cripple your creativity. You’ll learn best practices to use to plan for a deadline and how to keep on track and what to do if you fall behind.