Friday, February 15, 2013

Countdown to Conference: Updates

By Shannon Lawrence

We're getting closer to April and the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, which takes place Friday, April 19 to Sunday, April 21. What some may not realize is that there is also a Thursday portion of the conference that can be added onto the rest of the weekend or taken on its own.

Why go to the Thursday Pre-Conference Programming?

     1.  If there is a reason you can't attend the rest of the conference, you can still take part by attending Thursday.
     2.  It's an easy way to feel out the conference if you're unsure of what it can do for you.
     3.  You're attending the conference already, but want to flesh it out with the Thursday programming.
     4.  You get two intensive three-hour sessions, allowing you to get deep into the topics available.

So what will these sessions involve? Let's look at what's available for this year's Thursday Pre-Conference workshops. There are four directions you can take:

The morning session runs from 9AM to Noon.

Thursday Morning, Track 1
Truth and Consequences: The Pleasures and Perils of Writing Memoir, Personal Essay and Creative Non-Fiction
Presented by Kathryn Eastburn

We'll cover the limitations of memory, recreating scenes, ethical considerations, researching, etc. Learn the concepts behind turning personal experiences into riveting stories with universal themes.

Thursday Morning, Track 2
Pitch Perfect
Presented by Chris Mandeville, Bonnie Hagan, and PPW Staff

In this interactive workshop, you'll learn all the ins and outs of pitching your manuscript, be able to ask questions of seasoned pitchers, get hands-on practice honing your "logline," and see pitching demonstrated live. You'll also have the opportunity to practice your own pitch in a small group and receive immediate feedback from PPW staff.

Thursday Morning, Track 3
Sell Your Book, Not Your Soul - A Sales and Marketing Bootcamp, Featuring a Newly Published Author, an Independent Publisher, and a PR Guru
Presented by Deb Courtney, Sue Mitchell, and Aaron Ritchey

In this multi-layered workshop, we'll start with planning for your success and what to do when you're pre-published. Crafting a marketing plan is as important as putting your plan in motion when your new book hits the stores, whether brick-and-mortar or virtual. Then it's all about keeping "Top of Mind" awareness. Each of our experts will bring their own unique angle to the conversation, from the newbie author, to the savvy publicist, to the small press editor. The workshop will also include interactive mock interviews, examples on how to hand sell, and media story pitches that will make your press kit shine!

Thursday Morning, Track 4
Writing for Today's YA and MG Market
Presented by Kate Testerman

An overview of the current market for YA and MG fiction, touching on top titles, authors, and trends, including aid from literary agent Kate Testerman, specializing in the market on querying.

When the first session ends, a boxed lunch will be provided. There will be a one hour break.

The afternoon session goes from 1PM to 4PM.

Thursday Afternoon, Track 1
Writing and Marketing Historical Fiction
Presented by David Liss

Writing historical fiction has its own set of rewards, and its own dangers.  In this seminar, we will explore the specific traps of this brand of novel, how to avoid them, and how to make historical fiction work for you.  Specific topics will include research methods, effective use of research (or, how not to overwhelm your reader with detail), world-building, how to render plausible historical characters, and how to make your specific area of interest, no matter how arcane, marketable.  Participants will have the opportunity to share and brainstorm specific trouble spots.  If you are considering bringing a historical to the market, you won’t want to miss this practical, craft-based seminar.

Thursday Afternoon, Track 2
The Query Lab
Presented by Sorche Fairbank

Most agencies receive between one and three hundred query letters each week, yet respond positively to a very select few. Do you know the secrets to writing a winning query? Have you ever wondered if there are fonts agents intensely dislike? Is any one day/week/month better to send your query? What commonly gets a letter rejected before it’s read all the way through? Join agent Sorche Fairbank for lessons on the basics of a powerful query, review of a laundry list of query Dos and Don’ts, and open Q&A.  Bring two copies of your single-page query letter to be edited on the spot!

Thursday Afternoon, Track 3
The Four P's of Nonfiction
Presented by Matthew Frederick
This workshop will help you assess the status of your nonfiction work and identify the next steps you need to take to improve your chances of publication. You will read aloud a brief statement or description of your work—a pitch, synopsis, first page, or similarly informative piece of 250 words or less. The instructor and class participants will assess your project in terms of the Four P’s: Platform (can you convince a publisher you have the expertise, reach, or name recognition to attract an audience of readers?); Prose (are your writing and narrative skills suited to your project?); Proposal (what is this peculiar document required by agents and publishers for nonfiction projects, and what makes it most effective?); and Purpose (is the concept or format you have chosen for your book appropriate to the needs of readers as well as your own goals?). From there, the instructor will guide you as you work on your weaker area(s). Bring to the session the first chapter of your manuscript, a chapter outline, and any related documents you have been working on (query, proposal, etc.).

Thursday Afternoon, Track 4
Lie Like You Mean It
Presented by Stephen Graham Jones
What makes a story 'real?' Why can we always distinguish a verifiable story from one somebody's making up as they go? Or, can we? In here we'll talk about crossing that line so much that it smears, and we can't tell which is what, so that, hopefully, all that finally matters is the power of the story.

The cost of the Pre-Conference Programming, found on Thursday, is $85 if added onto your conference registration, or $135 if you attend Thursday only. Lunch is included in the price.

Whether you're attending the rest of conference or not, you'll find the Thursday Pre-Conference Programming to be an immersive and intensive experience, and one well worth having. You can choose any combination of morning and afternoon track, so you get in-depth experience with two topics.

See you in April!

P.S. Wondering who the speakers, writers, editors and agents at PPWC are? Check back each week for profiles on our conference speakers, here on Writing From the Peak!

About the Writer:  Shannon Lawrence is a mom of two, a freelance writer and aspiring novelist. She lives in Colorado Springs and is inspired by the beauty of Pikes Peak and the Rockies. After years of letting her writing fall by the wayside, she has recently thrown herself back into it. Her main focus is fantasy and horror and she has just finished a Young Adult Fantasy novel and started on an Urban Fantasy for adults. Her flash piece "The Family Ruins" will be in the upcoming Sunday Snaps: The Stories. She has also recently discovered a love of photography and enjoys photographing the breathtaking Colorado scenery and wildlife, as well as her children. She blogs about writing at