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2018 PRO Steering Committee Presents:

The 2018 PRO Retreat at the RWA Annual Conference

Thursday, July 19, 8:00–11:40 a.m.

“Come Fly with Us”


8:00 a.m.


Denny S. Bryce, Chair of the PRO Retreat and 2018–19 PRO Advisor

Kimberly Kincaid, Chair of new pilot program for PROs and PANs


8:10 a.m.

Come Fly with Us—Super Easy and Practical Tips for Thriving as an Author

Moderator: Pintip Dunn

Speakers: Brenda Drake, Lea Nolan, Mia Sosa, and Darcy Woods

Writing is hard. Published and unpublished authors alike must endure the self-doubt monster and almost-daily rejections. Sure, you’ve all heard the vague advice to “believe in yourself” and “persevere.” While true, these platitudes can leave you at a loss for how, exactly, to proceed. In this panel, authors share super easy and practical tips for rising above the emotional roller coaster of writing. These concrete steps — such as “write seven words” or “set your alarm clock ten minutes early” — are simple to implement but can be potent in helping you thrive in this very difficult career.


8:45 a.m.

The Journey to Publication: First Year, Come Fly with Us

Moderator: Priscilla Oliveras

Speakers: Michele Arris, Shelly Chalmers, McCall Hoyle, Pamela Kopfler, and Sharon Wray

Getting “the call” and signing your first contract or deciding to self-publish and hiring your first cover artist/editor/formatter; writing to a contract/self-pub deadline; revising and promoting your debut while writing book two; growing your newsletter list and branding yourself … all while juggling family and day job responsibilities. It’s the stress we all dream of having, only we probably didn’t think it’d feel like stress.

How do you keep that dream state alive while your to-do list exponentially grows like one of Jack’s magic beans? These debut authors will share lessons learned and if-I’d-only-known-then-what-I-know-now tips about how they’ve stayed sane, met their deadlines, battled off imposter syndrome doubts, and found the positive in the “dream come true” stress involved with being a published author.


9:20 a.m.

First Round of Gift Basket Prize Winners Announced (Susan M. Miller, PRO Steering Committee)


9:30 a.m.

Come Fly with Us: The Authorpreneur Path

Moderator: Leslye Penelope

Speakers: Sarah Andre, Xio Axelrod, Amy Patrick, and Jessica Ruddick

These days, how you publish is just as important a decision as what you publish. Authors have more ways to reach an audience than ever before, but with great choice comes great responsibility. In this panel, indie & hybrid authors will discuss how they manage their author businesses. Learn tips for being your own publisher, as well as important considerations, benefits, and roadblocks when also working with traditional publishers.


10:10 a.m.

PRO Mentor of the Year Recognition and Second Round of Giveaways


10:30 a.m.

Herding Cats and Honey Badgers: It’s Not for Amateurs (Making Plans, Changing Plans, and Enjoying Success)

Special Guest Speaker: Robin Covington

Today’s publishing journey is a marathon – with plenty of sprints to keep it interesting!  You can plan it all out and still find yourself having to pivot and re-invent everything at any time. And add to that life, jobs, families and taking a shower on a regular basis and it all gets complicated. Making plans, remaining agile, laughing at the crazy and celebrating success are the keys to making it . . .well, herding cats looks easy. Join me as we figure how to plan and laugh and succeed. 


11:00 a.m.

"Self-Belief and Productivity:" Two Sides of the Same Coin

Keynote Speaker: Scarlett Cole

Ever wondered what it takes to reach the mythical place where you can balance it all? Are you curious how to squeeze out the precious hours to write, or how to protect them as though they were sacred? Are you looking for practical, useable tips that you can start deploying today to change the way you think about yourself, your writing, and your success to let your writing career fly? In this discussion, you'll be shown ways to determine how you spend your time, juggle priorities, and how self-belief is the greatest time-creator of all.


11:30 a.m.

Closing Remarks and Final Gift Basket Giveaways


11:40 a.m.

Event Ends


*Please note: You must be present to win gift basket, which will include critiques, one-on-one sessions, autographed books, and more.