Guidance and Lessons Learned: Collaborative Worlds for Author Owners and Collaborators
Speakers: Penny Reid of Smartypants Romance, Kilby Blades, and Cathy Yardley
*Conference Exclusive! Not available for on-demand access after conference.
Join three best-selling, award-winning romance authors as they delve into author worlds from both the owner and collaborator perspectives. This in-depth master class will cover everything from different author world models, communication between collaborators, marketing approaches, legal considerations, how to measure success, and so much more.
Growth Hacking a Bestseller
Speaker: Liz Pelletier, Publisher and CEO of Entangled Publishing
Growth what? Growth hacking is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing today, responsible for start-up viral sensations like Dropbox, Instagram, Facebook, and the original Hotmail. Few people realize
that to guarantee success, the principles of growth hacking must be implemented long before a product is released. But how can an author apply these techniques when writing/self-editing/marketing their novel to better ensure a hit? Join publisher and editor
Liz Pelletier as she demonstrates a new and innovative way to develop, write, edit, and market a book with the greatest chance of making your next release a best seller.
Mastering the Book: Agents Tell All
Speakers: Louise Fury, Eva Scalzo, Latoya Smith
Facilitator: Avery Flynn
Agents Louise Fury (The Bent Agency), Eva Scalzo (Speilburg Literary Agency), and Latoya Smith (LCS Literary Services) discuss the state of romance publishing and what agents can do for authors at different career levels. They're honest, straightforward, and entertaining… there might be one or two #pubrants in this session. Topics covered include making a deal as a traditional romance author; advice for mid-listers; markets for indie authors; options for romance; and trends.
Updated August 24, 2020
Audiobooks 101 (CAREER)
Speakers: Kelsey Navarro and Tim Paige
As audiobook sales grow and romance fans demand audio versions of their favorite authors' books, it's more important than ever to bring your titles to audio. In this session, professional audiobook narrators Kelsey Navarro and Tim Paige will take you step-by-step through the process of getting your audiobook produced. You'll learn how to find and audition narrators, what you need to have ready before you start, how to navigate the various platforms, which style of narration to choose (dual, duet, full cast, solo), and more. By the end of this session, you'll have the knowledge you need to cash in on the audiobook boom.
Awaken the Senses (CRAFT)
Speaker: Eden Bradley
New York Times and USA Today best-selling erotic romance author Eden Bradley leads you through an exercise in sensuality in this hands-on workshop. She’ll teach you how to tune in to the five senses and use them to enrich every scene you write—not just love scenes! Learn how to focus your sensory response and translate those sensations into language that will engage your readers and deepen your characters, making for more compelling stories. There will be writing exercises and prompts as we explore sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch! (A list of sensory items to gather in advance of the workshop will be made available.)
*Conference Exclusive! Not available for on-demand access after conference.
Bangin' Hot Betas (CRAFT)
Speaker: Karen Stivali
Take-charge alpha heroes are hot, but they're not the only men who know how to rock their lover's world. The sexy BFF, the best friend's shy brother, the sultry barista, or bespectacled hot guy reading—these are the ultra bangable beta heroes, and they're every bit as smokin' as their alpha rivals. Learn how to craft bangin' hot beta heroes that will make readers swoon as they learn to love their new beta book boyfriends!
Copyrights and Contracts (CAREER)
Speaker: Cheryl L. Davis, The Authors Guild
Authors’ livelihoods depend on their ability to license and sell their hard work, and this ability is premised on the copyright law. Authors Guild General Counsel Cheryl Davis will give a brief overview of the U.S. copyright law and outline some of the basics of a traditional publishing contract, focusing on critical provisions and perils to avoid.
A Critical Discussion on the History of Black Category Romance (INDUSTRY)
Speakers: Shirley Hailstock, Donna Hill, and Sandra Kitt
Moderator: Jamee Pritchard
Published 40 years ago, Entwined Destinies by African American journalist Elsie Washington (a.k.a. Rosalind Welles) was the first category romance to portray Black love. The novel was introduced by Dell Candlelight in 1980 under the editorial leadership of Vivian Stephens as the “first ethnic Candlelight Romance” in a new program designed to reach a neglected market of readers of various ethnic backgrounds. Stephens and Washington set the precedent for Black category romance, ushering in a vanguard of Black writers that offered representations of Black love and relationships in a genre that had historically excluded them.
In this panel, Sandra Kitt, Shirley Hailstock, and Donna Hill discuss their careers as romance writers and pioneers in Black romance. They offer their experiences, insights, and perspectives on a diverse range of topics on the history of the genre that includes the 1990s boom of Black category romance, the importance of Black imprints, and the future of the genre. The panel is moderated by Jamee Pritchard, a graduate student of history and women's and gender studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Dark Moments and Killer Endings (CRAFT)
Speaker: Annika Martin
A great dark moment is everything! It’s that gut punch your characters didn’t know they needed, the burn-it-all-down scene that leads to their rising from the ashes transformed, worthy of that HEA. It’s also one of the most OMG-difficult things to write. We’ll go over approaches to crafting a fierce dark moment, the five types of dark moments, and ideas for keeping those emotions high right up to your galloping end!
Enhancing Awareness, Inclusivity, and Cultural Competency: Exploring the World of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Speaker: Devona F. Pierre, Ed.D. and Sabrina Griffith, SHRM-CP, CDP
This presentation seeks to explore the tenets of equity, diversity, & inclusion. It will familiarize participants with different elements of diversity and explore several topics including cultural competence, bias, and privilege. During this presentation the facilitators hope to challenge participants as individuals and authors to (re)consider their worldview, biases, and privilege in order to inform their writing; and to set the expectation of what an inclusive and welcoming organization should be and represent.
Erotic Romance: A Journey of Heart and Sexuality (CRAFT)
Speaker: Anna Zabo
Erotic romance is more than just romance with extra sexual content. It's an intertwining of erotica and romance, two genres that have both historically been misunderstood. While romance focuses on the journey of the romantic relationship, erotic stories result in deep journeys of sexuality. When these two genres are brought together, the resulting story becomes an intertwined journey of both heart and sexuality. This workshop will discuss the aspects of these journeys and how to successfully craft an erotic romance.
From Heart to Page to Print: A Primer Guide to Book Publishing (CAREER)
Speaker: Savannah Frierson
Publishing a book is now more accessible than ever, but people often are stuck on what path is best to take. This workshop presents basic tips and advice on how to:
- approach the stages of the writing and publishing process,
- become clear on what you're writing for whom and why, so you can find and build your audience before hitting the marketplace,
- identify and dismantle blocks and minimize challenges experienced on this journey, particularly ones rooted in mindset,
- gain empowerment to pursue your publishing journey, and more.
Getting Real with Bloggers
Speakers: PJ Ausdenmore, Lorelei Buzzetta, and Janet Rodman
Moderator: Christine Enta
Join bloggers PJ Ausdenmore (The Romance Dish), Lorelei Buzzetta (Lorelei’s Lit Lair), and Janet Rodman (Joyfully Reviewed and Once Upon an Alpha) for a behind-the-scenes look at reviewing from a romance blogger's perspective. They’ll discuss how they pick books to review, genre/subgenre trends, their blogging process, how to stand out as an author, and much more!
Hot with Plot: Love Scenes that Push the Story Forward (CRAFT)
Speaker: Nikki Sloane
You can’t pause the story when your characters want to hop into bed, but how do you keep the plot going as they get down to business? Join a three-time erotic romance RITA finalist as she discusses creating memorable love scenes that drive the story forward, reveal character, and generate page-turning conflict.
How to Edit Your Book Using Character-Driven Details (CRAFT)
Speaker: Roan Parrish
You know your characters — you created them. Now use the work you've already done to edit your book into the best version of itself. In this session, we'll explore concrete ways you can mobilize the details of your characters' personalities, world views, attitudes, interests, and histories to deepen the world and tighten the themes of your romance.
Inclusion and Equality in Practice: How Romance Writers and Editors Can Create Change
Speaker: John Jacobson
As diversity and inclusion become increasingly common in romance, we must consider what it means to put those terms into practice rather than use them as buzzwords. In this workshop, John Jacobson (they/them) proposes the creation of a practice within romance publishing that centers and uplifts marginalized voices. They will provide tangible ways that editors and marginalized authors can create a healthy, symbiotic relationship that is liberational and works against oppression. They also will continue a long-standing conversation about how genre romance and all of its participants can aid in the liberation of marginalized people and make our genre a welcoming and affirming space for their stories.
Laughter Is Serious Business (CRAFT)
Speakers: Tracy Brogan and Sally Kilpatrick
Adding humor to your work is no joke. Two best-selling authors share their tried and true tricks for tickling your readers' funny bones--and for keeping those readers turning pages. (NSFW)
Let’s Talk About Sex (CRAFT)
Struggling with writing believable sex scenes? This is the workshop for you. Learn how to create emotional, concrete, believable sex scenes that leave your characters breathless and your readers begging for more. (NSFW)
Leverage Photoshop to Help You Sell (CAREER)
Speaker: Regina Wamba of Mae I. Design
Join book cover designer and photographer Regina Wamba for a creative and comprehensive beginner's course for authors who want to level up their design skills, create their own marketing graphics, and leverage Photoshop to help them sell!
Long Game (CAREER)
Speaker: Nikki Sloane
Join Nikki as she discusses her year-long approach to leveling up. Two case studies will be presented, including strategies, marketing, budgets, and results. Learn what worked—and what didn’t—as she attempted to hit the USA Today bestseller list for the first time.
Marketing When Your Dough Is Low
Speaker: Siera London
USA Today bestselling author Siera London will share her strategies for generating book sales and creating a stable income with a budget-conscious marketing plan.
Moments of Brilliance: 3 Techniques for Creating a Sticky Story (CRAFT)
Speaker: Rebecca Hunter
In this workshop, we’ll focus on three techniques to make a solid book into an outstanding book during the editing phase of writing. These techniques focus on small, manageable chunks of the story, building them to lift a reader’s larger experience of your book. You’ll learn to create “moments of brilliance” that last with readers, even after they finish reading, making your story stand out in a crowded market. You’ll leave this workshop
with three very practical tools for your writing toolbox as well as new ways of thinking about your stories.
Not Just for Laughs: Adding Emotional Depth to Your Rom-Com (CRAFT)
Speaker: Lyssa Kay Adams
We read romance because we want the emotional roller coaster that comes from following characters on a romantic journey. But what about romantic comedies? Are rom-coms only about the laughs? No! In fact, if your rom-com is nothing but nonstop slapstick on every page, even the laughs will get stale. But how do you balance the happy sighs and ugly cries? The light and heavy moments? How do you bring readers to laughter if you’ve just made them cry? In this workshop, Lyssa Kay Adams, author of The Bromance Book Club series, will teach you how to layer in emotional depth to your rom-com through backstory, character arcs, theme, and conflict so that every laugh is earned, every cry is soothed, and every HEA brings the best kind of punch in the feels.
Pack Your Bags: Using Travel to Enhance Your Writing (CRAFT)
Speaker: Hudson Lin
Every time you step outside, you are traveling. Whether it be down the street to a local coffee shop or on a plane to the other side of the world, seeing your story through the lens of travel can greatly enhance your writing. How do travel hijinks such as a fender bender or a missed flight add complications to your story? How does your character feel when returning home for the first time in a long time? How can a character’s development be mirrored in the starting point, transition, and ultimate destination of travel? Explore all this and more in this interactive workshop. Bring your WIPs and your travel experiences for an entertaining discussion!
Planning Your Career: An Agent's POV (CAREER)
Speaker: Michelle Grajkowski
Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary Agency gives authors the inside scoop on how agents can help authors (print, hybrid, and indie) plan their career.
Plot or Pants with Scrivener 3 (CAREER)
Speaker: Gwen Hernandez
Scrivener is excellent writing software for both plotters and pantsers. Want to find out what makes it so popular or learn some new tricks? The author of Scrivener For Dummies will walk you through the basics and cover some of her favorite features.
Plot Smarter, Not Harder (CRAFT)
Speaker: Annabeth Albert
In this workshop, we'll take an in-depth look at how scene-by-scene plotting can help you write smarter and faster. Hit necessary story beats regardless of your target story length, predict scenes needed to achieve your goals, and avoid extensive rewrites in edits with tighter plotting. Go deep on character growth, keep pacing crisp, and tension high. Extensive examples and an interactive worksheet will be provided as we take your existing process to the next level! Never plotted? No problem! Resources for beginning and experienced plotters will be included.
Podcasting for Authors (CAREER)
Speaker: L. Penelope
Join author and podcaster L. Penelope in a workshop on the benefits of podcasts for authors. Learn tips and best practices for being a good podcast guest, what it takes to start and maintain your own author podcast, and why you may want to.
Quarantine Blues: Getting Your Mojo Back After a Major Event (CAREER)
Speaker: Jamie K. Schmidt
When life kicks you in the teeth and all seems lost, little things start can start slipping away until you're left feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. In this workshop, USA Today best-selling author Jamie K. Schmidt will show you how to get some control over the little things so they don't avalanche and bury you neck deep. From smoothie recipes to the perils of doom scrolling, you'll come away from this workshop with tools to help right your course and write your novel.
Save Your Sanity — and Your Writing: Password Management, Computer Security, and Backup Strategies for the Busy Writer (CAREER)
Speaker: Win Day
Implementing some simple practices for computer security, password management, and backups can save your bacon — and your sanity. Ever locked yourself out of an online account because you forgot your password? Or realized your computer was acting a little weird or sluggish? Or lost a day’s work (or more!) because you hadn’t backed up your work in a while? There are easy fixes to all these issues. It might take some time to set up, but once you have made a habit of taking care of your technology, your technology will take care of you.
Six-Figure Serials (CAREER)
Speaker: Alana Albertson
In this session, we will explore the world of serial fiction: What is serial fiction? How can I write serial fiction? What are some different options for publishing serial fiction? Best-selling author Alana Albertson has over 1.1 million reads on her Se7en Deadly SEALs serial. She will share the exact strategies she used to make more than six figures on this serial.
Spotlight on Google Play Books
Speakers: Representatives from Google Play Books
Representatives from Google Play Books will talk about opportunities for authors and answer attendee questions.
Tell Me the Why: Character Motivation and Why It Is a Vital Part of Your Book (CRAFT)
Speaker: Anna J. Stewart
While GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) is one of those unofficial golden rules of romance publishing, motivation is frequently overlooked. The focus of this workshop is to help authors understand and dig deep for believable and realistic motivations behind why their characters (all their characters) act, feel, and think as they do.
Top Ten Checklist for a Successful Promo Push! (CAREER)
Speakers: Marissa Caldwell and Laurie Cooper, Pub-Craft
The Pub-Craft Team is ready to equip you with a complete checklist of everything you need to execute an effective (and stress free!) promotional push! Laurie and Marissa offer you tips on the ins and outs of marketing books -- whether you are traditionally published, self-published, or hybrid. Their Top Ten Promo Checklist is perfect for authors dipping their toes into a concentrated marketing push for the first time or for those who need a little more order and organization put back into their advertising efforts. This top-ten list covers everything from the pre-published to post-release stages of promotion. This workshop will be presented in a panel format with time dedicated to Q&A. Speakers plan to respond to the specific concerns of the attendees and spend a portion of the workshop answering questions.
Turn That Book into a Movie Script (CRAFT)
Speaker: Kim Hornsby
Hollywood loves book adaptations and producers love authors! Have you thought about adapting your book to a movie but didn't know where to start? You're halfway there as an author. In this packed workshop, you'll learn how to boil down a story to the key scenes to transfer your book to a script format. Guaranteed pain-free, you'll study Kim's easy adaptation method while learning the three-act structure, script formatting, and more. Join USA Today best-selling author and awarded screenwriter Kim Hornsby to turn that book into a feature film or a TV show!
Writing Alpha Heroines: How to Create Alpha Heroines Who Prove that Femininity Is Fierce (CRAFT)
Speaker: Angelina M. Lopez
Angelina discusses how to create kick-ass heroines who are strong because of their femininity, not in spite of it. Angelina’s debut novel, Lush Money, featured a billionaire businesswoman, but she doesn’t believe “strong” women are defined by their roles or their toughness. Let her help you craft women ready to take on whatever stands in their way that readers will root for.
Writing Intimacy and Sexual Tension (CRAFT)
Speaker: Molly O'Keefe
No matter what you are writing -- romance, women’s fiction, YA, mystery -- the key to any book with characters in and out of relationships is intimacy. And, in romance, the key to believable sexual tension that creates hot and interesting sex is … you guessed it, intimacy. In this interactive workshop, we will learn how to develop intimacy and create sexual tension that will keep your readers glued to the pages.