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Friday, september 30

ZJ Loussac Library, Anchorage

 8:30am  Check-In for Optional Friday Morning Workshops
 9:00am - 12:00pm

Workshop 1: Bill Kenower, Author and Writing Coach

Fearless Writing

Location: Moose Room

Learning the craft is only the beginning of a writer’s journey. After your story is told you must share your work with friends, classmates, agents, editors, and readers. This is what we call being an author, and it is what beginning and experienced writers alike find most challenging in their working lives. Based on his popular book Fearless Writing: How To Create Boldly and Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self-Doubt, Kenower leads a guided roundtable discussion where participants can talk candidly about the real barriers to writing success – questions of voice, intelligence, time, money, and talent.

 9:00am - 12:00pm

Workshop 2: Laura Bradford, Agent, Bradford Literary Agency

Your Publishing Game Plan

Location: Salmon Room

Develop a personalized plan for tackling the journey to publication YOU want. Traditional or self publishing, agent or no agent, there are lots of paths possible to get to publication. We will workshop your pitch, query letter and comparable works list as well as discuss market research, branding, targeting agents and/or publishers and goal-setting. 

All participants should leave this class with some kind of game plan for your writing projects and goals that have been tailored to your needs. For those seeking traditional publication, we will also start on a query letter, workshop comp titles, and practice pitches. This class is intended for those with a completed or near-complete manuscript who are wondering what to do next.

 9:00am - 12:00pm

Workshop 3: Abigail Samoun, Agent, Red Fox Literary Agency

Those Tricky First Paragraphs—How to Create a Powerful Introduction to Your Story

Location: Beluga Room

Learn to create a powerful introduction to your story that hooks the reader (agents and editors, too!) with an intriguing character, sense of setting, and promise of the premise. In this 3-hour workshop, there will be plenty of time to bring out the “ta-da’s” and “ah ha’s!” in your work-in-progress. So bring it, pencil and paper or computer, and be ready for magic! 

 12:00pm  Optional Lunch Available in Foyer (please pre-pay for lunch on your conference registration)
 12:30pm - 2:30pm Event Center: Optional First Pages Roundtable Reviews with Angela James, Jennifer Newens, Laura Bradford, and Abigail Samoun
 2:30pm Check-In for Optional Friday Afternoon Workshops
 3:00pm - 6:00pm

Workshop 4: Bill KenowerAuthor and Writing Coach

Fearless Marketing

Location: Moose Room

Most writers’ love of storytelling does not easily translate to marketing those stories once they are published. Unfortunately, authors are increasingly responsible for their own marketing, a task most writers find boring, irritating, depressing, and often fruitless. In this class, William Kenower turns marketing on its head so that authors can take the skills and passion they have for writing and learn how to apply them to marketing. This is not a how-to-market workshop. Instead, it is a how to enjoy marketing workshop. Once you enjoy it, once you stop being afraid of it, you’ll learn how to market your book the same way you learned how to write it.

In this class you’ll learn:

·       How to get over your fear of pitching and writing query letters.

·       How to use your love of your story to find its best marketing strategy.

·       Why making yourself use Facebook or Twitter rarely translates to more book sales.

 3:00pm - 6:00pm

Workshop 5: Brooke Hartman, Children's Author

Picture Book Chop Shop

Location: Salmon Room

So you've written a picture book... Or you have an idea for one... Or you think you might need an illustrator... 

Bring your works in progress to the Picture Book Chop Shop! Award-winning picture book author Brooke Hartman will start with presenting  various ways to write, edit, and format a picture book, then discuss where to go from here, including publishing options, illustrations, and more. For nonfiction and fiction projects, and everything in between.

 3:00pm - 6:00pm

Workshop 6: Angela James, Editor, Before You Hit Send

Be a Book Boss: A 5-Part Master Class on the Business of Writing, Editing and Publishing

Location: Beluga Room

Join #1 NYT bestselling editor Angela James for a 3-hour presentation and discussion on some of the most important aspects of your publishing career, including editing & writing, brand, choosing the right publishing path for you, common missteps authors make in their careers and how to avoid them, and the power of community.

Saturday, october 1


8:00 - 8:30am Conference Check-In
8:30 - 8:50am Event Center: Welcome and Awards
8:50 - 9:30am  Event Center: Keynote by Author William Kenower; Everyone Has What It Takes: Debunking The Talent Myth
9:30 - 9:40am BREAK

 9:40 - 10:40am 



Event Center  Moose Room Salmon Room

Beluga Room

Angela James: Making the Reader-Character Connection: How to Get to a Deeper POV.

Join #1 NYT bestselling editor Angela James for a quick & dirty look at connecting the reader to your character and getting deeper into your character's head and experiences. This workshop explains what deep point of view is, why it can be a good thing (and when you might not want it), and gives you practical tips and advice for taking a deeper dive into your characters' point of view. 

Abigail Samoun: What Drives Your Story Engine? Writing tension, structure, payoffs and other plot mechanic tools every writer needs to pull your reader through your storyline. Lorna Rose: From Journal to Story; Writing for resilience, writing your life.

Everyone has a story inside. It is the story of our lives, our experiences, our choices. Through journaling, we lay claim to those experiences. Through memoir, we tell our story as a vehicle for connection. Come explore how to turn those journal entries into a memoir. Specifically, we’ll discuss: How we find resilience through journaling, how to make sense of your story, and how to tell your story in an artful way. We’ll also drill down to the basics and talk about how to start journaling, how to know when you’re ready to tell your story, and autobiography vs. memoir.

Sharon Aubrey: Foundations for Self-Publishing or Building a Small Press.

This session covers the foundational steps necessary for self-publishing or starting a small press, and also teaches the differences in publishing models, how to select the best options for your book, basic publishing steps, and ways to save money.  

10:40 - 10:50am    BREAK      

10:50 - 11:50am



 Event Center   Moose Room  Salmon Room

Beluga Room

Bill Kenower: Failure to Launch. Have you ever spent a year or ten writing a book, and then let it sit on your hard drive or in your drawer without ever sending it out? Have you ever gotten halfway through a book and then got bored or frustrated and started another? Do you routinely choose not to pitch at a conference, even though you’ve finished four novels? If so, you’re not alone. Many writers love to write but struggle to finish or submit their work. In this workshop, William Kenower, author of Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self-Doubt, offers advice and exercises to help writers of all genres and experience levels get out of their own way and share their work.
Jennifer Newens: Alaska Inside Story Editorial Panel featuring local authors Matthew Lasley, Brooke Hartman, Tricia Brown, Ethan Atwater, Barbara Atwater, and Dan Walker. Learn the inside scoop on West Margin Press / Alaska Northwest Books direct from the publisher's mouth, and hear the stories of how local authors found their publishing success through this unique and well-established regional press. Shane Castle: Literary Journals, Advice from an Editor and Writer. Learn and ask questions about all aspects of publishing short prose in literary journals from a senior editor of Alaska Quarterly Review who regularly publishes in (and receives rejections from) well-regarded presses nationwide.

Honing Your Craft: The MFA Experience with David Onofrychuk, Mia Heavener and Vered MaresMany writers turn to a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in their pursuit of the writing life. This panel will discuss the benefits and opportunities of such programs in the worlds of publishing and academia. It will also review Anchorage’s current MFA opportunities, including the low-residency program at Alaska Pacific University.  

11:40am - 12:50pm Lunch Available in Foyer      

12:50 - 1:50pm



 Event Center   Moose Room Salmon Room Beluga Room
  Abigail Samoun; What is Essential? The Covid crisis has us thinking hard about what are the essential things in our life. But the word “essential” can also be helpful when thinking about story. We will explore how to discover what is essential to your story and how to identify what isn’t. I’ve read many many manuscripts that were solidly written, had interesting premises, but missed the mark because the story lacked focus. We will learn how to avoid this pitfall and embrace the heart of your story. For picture book and novel writers alike.     
Jennifer Newens, Perfecting Your Pitch and Proposal: It has been said that an author has about twenty seconds to capture the attention of an acquisitions editor at a publishing house before they move on. In this session, learn how to craft a compelling book proposal that captures an editor’s attention and gets them to keep on reading…and gets you a book deal! Veteran editor and publisher Jen Newens will share best practices; tips and tricks; how to think like a publisher; what to do with disappointing feedback, and more.
Caitlin Buxbaum: How to Write a Good Free Verse Poem…and What to Do with It. Have you always been puzzled by poetry that doesn’t rhyme? Or have you written free verse poetry without much success in the form of publication? Join Alaskan author and publisher Caitlin Buxbaum for a presentation workshop on how to write and publish quality, free verse poetry in a variety of ways. Bring something to write with and something to write on, as well as a free verse poem you’ve already written, if you’d like. To submit questions or concerns ahead of time, please email cait@redsweaterpress.com.  
Kristen Ritter: Stealing From Sitcoms, How to Move Your Story Forward with Comedy and Dialogue. In this breakout, we’ll look at three comedy shows: Superstore, Ted Lasso, and The Good Place in order to explore how telescripts move story forward through dialogue. Special emphasis will be placed on the use of humor to explore women’s roles and the subversion of stereotypes that make these stories unique within the genre.
 1:50 - 2:00pm     BREAK      
 2:00 - 3:00pm



Event Center  Moose Room   Salmon Room  Beluga Room
  Laura Bradford: What Agents Want. Agent Laura Bradford pulls back the curtain on how an agent thinks and makes decisions. From the business of being an agent to market trends and publisher mandates, learn about the considerations that inform whether we say yes or no to YOUR manuscript. Jena Benton-Lasley: Illustrating My Book, When and Where to Find an Illustrator. Have you written a picture book and now you’re wondering if you should illustrate it yourself? Or where to find an illustrator for your graphic novel? Or wondering if you even need one? Come to this session to learn more about illustrators and how SCBWI can help you find a good fit. SCBWI Alaska Illustrator Coordinator Jena Benton Lasley will discuss what you need to know in your search.      What is a Sensitivity Reader and Why Do I Need One? with MoHagani Magnetek. You may have heard of sensitivity readers, but what are they? Does your manuscript need one? If so, where do you find one, and what do they charge? This session will lead you through the ins and outs of when and where to find  sensitivity readers for your writing, whether you have a work-in-progress or finished piece. Building a Compelling World (No Matter Your Genre)  Panel with Romance Writers of America, Alaska Chapter Authors Karen Kiely, Neva Post, Christa Looney, CG Williams, and Elizabeth Allyn-Dean:  Creating a believable world in which to set your story can be as important as diverse characters or a rousing plot. And it applies to any genre or sub-genre, from fantasy to historical to contemporary fiction. AKRWA members talk about how they build worlds and what happens when they run into challenges.

 3:00 - 3:10pm  
 3:10 - 3:50pm 
 Event Center: Local Editors and Publishers Panel with Sandra Kleven, Shane Castle, Caitlin Buxbaum, and Sharon Aubrey 
 3:50 - 4:00pm 
 Event Center: Closing Announcements 
 4:00 - 5:00pm 
 Author Book Signing and Mingle in Foyer 
  • Times, speakers, and topics subject to change.




Questions? Click HERE to email us!



Alaska Writers Guild

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