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Workshop Electives

As part of your conference registration options, you will be given the choice of one of the following Workshop Electives from each of the available time slots.

As you review the options, you will see that each class is marked with a Level. The Levels are a tool to help you determine which classes will be most beneficial FOR YOU. These same Levels are also used to to help you select Continuing Education Sessions. You can find Level Definitions by clicking HERE, or you may also use the link provided in the navigation menu to the right. After reading the Level Definitions, make note the workshops and sessions you most want to attend and have it handy when you complete your registration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You are encouraged to study the workshop sessions carefully before registering. In an effort to be as environmentally responsible as possible, handouts for sessions will not be available onsite. You’ll receive handouts for your sessions via email the week prior to conference. If you purchase the complete syllabus, that electronic copy will be included in your registration packet.

Workshop Elective Session 1: Saturday- 9:30 am – 10:30 am

WS 1: Creating Settings that Become Characters

Presented by: Liz Johnson
Level: Freshman
Prerequisites:
Description

Setting is an integral part of every story, and you can elevate your writing by creating a setting that moves beyond time and place and becomes a character in its own right.


Workshop Outline

What would Anne of Green Gables be without Avonlea? Gilmore Girls without Stars Hollow? Christy without Cutter Gap? Jan Karon’s Mitford series without the wonderfully quirky small town?

Setting is an integral part of every story, but in some books the setting moves beyond simple time and place and becomes a character of its own.

In this workshop, we’ll cover the four keys to creating a setting that becomes a character and prepare you to write settings so memorable that your readers will want to return to them time and again.


Information Video:



WS 2: Mentor-Mentee Partnerships:
How It Works
Presented by: Lynn Blackburn & Lynette Eason
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

Mentors and mentees have a special relationship that is hard to find, so Lynette and Lynn have some great advice for those seeking mentors and for those who want to mentor and how to make it all work.


Workshop Outline

Mentoring others is a way for multi-published authors to give back to those wish to invest the time in learning the craft. This workshop will delve into the complexities of the mentor/mentee relationship.

After giving the definition of mentoring and what a mentor and mentee are, Lynette will briefly share about her journey to publication and the people who mentored her, enabling to reach for her dreams.

Lynn will briefly talk about being mentored, how she found her mentor, and how her first book won two awards (one of those beating out her mentor!)

Lynette and Lynn will also talk about the do’s and don’t's of the relationship and offer tips to creating a successful partnership that will most likely turn into a lifelong friendship.


Information Video:



WS 3: What Can a Freelance Editor Do for Me?

Presented by: Kathy Ide
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

Should you hire a freelance editor, and if so … where can you find one, how much will it cost, how to choose the right editor for you, what to expect, and how to get the most out of your experience.


Workshop Outline

In this workshop, professional freelance editor Kathy Ide will help you determine whether you need an editorial freelancer at this point in your writing journey. And if you do, she’ll discuss how to find the right editor for you, what to expect from a freelance editor, how to prepare for your edit, and how to analyze what you receive to get the most out of the experience. She will also provide tips on how much a professional edit costs, what the different types and levels of editing are, the various methods of editing, and what to do if you like (or don’t like) the edit you get.


Information Video:



WS 4:Patrol and Crime Scene Work

Presented by: Joesph Courtemanche
Level: Junior
Prerequisites:
Description

Since most writers utilize local law enforcement in their stories, this segment is designed to open up the world of the average cop to inspection, allowing the writer to authentically describe action to the reader.


Workshop Outline

It will cover what a day-in-the-life is really like, how partners impact the job, and what a typical patrol unit encounters. This segment will cover the variety of typical experiences that an officer faces in a shift, and how they can be worked into a book (even a romance.)

Pre-shift inspection
Car preparation
Patrol districts
Radio technique/computer datalink
Equipment loadout in vehicle
Typical types of calls in a shift – domestics, burglary, drunk driver, business patrol, dumpster wakeups, disorderly conduct, traffic stops, fights, prowlers, the dreaded incident report

Meals – why most cops love & dread their coffee/meal breaks

The paperwork that goes along with it all.

Partners – a gift from God or your worst nightmare

Crime scene technique – patrol protects the scene. Almost never a participant in the scene unless invited in for some special reason – a skill or talent that none of the detectives have; something like a language (sign or foreign) or the ability to understand some cultural aspect of the scene that may be missing (sexual, national, religious) in their ignorance.


Information Video:



WS 5: Beyond the Book Deal:
What an Agent Can Do for You
Presented by: Steve Laube and Tamela Hancock Murray
Level: Junior
Prerequisites:
Description

This class will let authors know the benefits of agency representation throughout their careers.


Workshop Outline

Authors often wonder when and if it’s a good time to engage the services of a top literary agent. Steve Laube and Tamela Hancock Murray, both veteran agents representing top CBA authors, offer their insight on how an agent helps authors from their very first book proposal submissions, to successful careers that often involve complex situations best left in the capable hands of experienced agents. This class will help you answer the questions of how an agent can help you through all stages of your career, and offer advice on how to find a great agent for you!


Information Video:



Workshop Elective Session 2: Saturday- 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

WS 6: How Becoming A New York Times Bestselling Author Didn’t Change My Life

Presented by: Rachel Hauck
Level: Freshman
Prerequisites:
Description

Maintaining the writer’s emotional and mental health. “How hitting the bestseller list didn’t change my life. But a reader letter made me cry happy tears.”


Workshop Outline

1. Setting Expectations
a. Why do you write?
b. Who do you write for?
c. The thin line between success and failure.
d. Who manages “the outcome?”

2. Wound Lie Fear.
a. Dealing with emotional wounds, lies and fears?
b. Bringing it to the Cross.

3. The Butt-in-Chair Grind
a. How work heals.
b. How work empowers.
c. Time Management

4. Who Does God Say You Are?
a. Finding our identity in Jesus.
b. Loving Well.
c. Another’s success does not ensure your failure

5. Where to from here?
a. Dealing with disappointment
b. Dealing with success
c. Defining the long road – the writer’s journey


Information Video:



WS 7: Will the REAL Agenda Please Stand Up?

Presented by: Allen Arnold, James Rubart, Mary Weber
Level: Freshman
Prerequisites:
Description

How to Get Free of the Politics and Spiritual Preferences of Christian Publishing and Write with the Heart of Jesus.


Workshop Outline

In this session, Christy Award winning authors, Mary Weber and James L. Rubart, along with author and former Senior VP and Publisher of Thomas Nelson fiction, Allen Arnold, will engage in a vulnerable and deeply honest conversation about what it means to be a creative follower of Christ in the world of marketing, media, and messy living. Using an interactive format, they’ll combine simple empowering strategies to keep your head and heart clear, and show you how to write stories that stay authentic and true even in the midst of an ever changing “Christian” landscape.


Information Video:



WS 8: Book Marketing in 2017 – Pulling all the levers

Presented by: Paul Fisher
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

This workshop will provide some marketing fundamentals to help authors attract and cultivate a following and promote their books.


Workshop Outline

Marketing tactics continue to evolve as new platforms are created and consumers select the media they follow.  However, there are marketing fundamentals that remain consistent – identify your target market, determine their need (or want) and reach them with the right message, in the right place, at the right time.  It sounds simple but it is difficult to break through in a cluttered eco-system where attention spans are short, people are less receptive to ‘marketing’, and many things are competing for our time.  This workshop will provide some marketing fundamentals to help authors attract and cultivate a following and promote their books.

I. Getting Started
What do publisher’s look for during acquisition from a marketing perspective?
• What kind of following do you have?
o How large is it?
 Are you growing it?
o Are they engaged?
o What platforms are you using?
Create a Successful Online Presence
• Social Media Overview (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
o Your Authentic self
• Website Importance/Fundamentals
o Book Pages w/ Retailer links
• Newsletters + Reader Engagement
• Importance of Blogging + Blogging well

II. You’ve written the book, now what?
Loyal Fans
• Engage your readership
Acquiring New Fans
• Generate Awareness and Enable Discoverability
• Book Reviews
• Advertising
• PR
• Generating ‘Buzz’
• Endear yourself to Retailers
• Get in with Librarians


Information Video:



WS 9: Everyone Can Spot a Fake
How to Build Compelling Clues & Convincing Evidence
Presented by: Jennifer Dornbush
Level: Junior
Prerequisites:
Description

This class offers writers story tools that will help them create high stakes, entertaining crime dramas and showcase current, authentic forensic methods.


Workshop Outline

We can all spot a fake, right? The last thing you want is your audience becoming bored with your crime drama because your details lack the necessary authenticity to be believable. However, very few of us have the time, money or desire to spend years learning about forensic science.

In this class, I share real-life examples from my forensic education,background, and vast forensic resources to help writers create convincing scenes with forensic details that elevate plot and character.

You’ll leave with gems of knowledge to make your next mystery or suspense even more captivating, authentic and exciting.

What you’ll learn:
• How to use crime scene evidence to move your plot forward
• The do’s and don’ts of using DNA as evidence in your story
• How to successfully take your audience down dead end roads while keeping them intrigued
• The art of writing characters that are convincing and endearing
• Write circumstantial evidence into key areas of your plot to add layers of mystery
• 6 types of evidence and how to use them
• The importance of chain of custody and how to use it for dramatic purposes
• How real CSIs collect evidence, test evidence, and use evidence in court


Who should attend?
• Writers who want to keep audiences on the edge of their seats
• Writers who want to ensure they’re covering every possible angle.
• Writers who want to learn how to use new leads to create turning points
• Writers who want to gain a competitive extra edge.
• Writers looking to elevate their crime writing skills.
• Writers who are having trouble making their story stand out.


Information Video:



WS 10: A Novel Career

Presented by: Susan May Warren
Level: Senior
Prerequisites:
Description

Learn how to navigate the worlds of indie and traditional publishing to build a powerful career as a novelist.


Workshop Outline

So, you’ve written a book, even published it—congratulations! What an awesome accomplishment. Now what?  How do you turn that one book into a long-term career, (one that pays the bills?)  It’s all about looking at your passions and gifts, understanding your personality, and developing a vision, strategy and a plan for success.  (and creating tactics to make it happen!)

In this hands-on workshop that gets down to the nuts and bolts of building a career USA Today bestselling, hybrid author, Susan May Warren will walk you through a self-evaluation designed to discover your passions and unique
writing strengths. You’ll develop a vision, strategy and a game plan for your writing career. She’ll cover both traditional publishing as well as indie publishing (and when to do either, or both!), how to grow as a writer, manage your time, marketing for the busy writer, working with your agent (and other options), building a reader base, and how to build a career suited uniquely to you and your goals. With practical tactics and insights she’s gleaned over 15 years in the industry and 60 novels, you’ll learn:

1. The key to staying focused through the tides of trends
2. Why it’s important to know yourself
3. How to maximize your writing time
4. One powerful trick to growing your reader base
5. How to actually make a living as a writer

For both indie and traditional authors, at every stage in the writing journey, learn how to build a Novel career!


Information Video:



Workshop Elective Session 3: Saturday- 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

WS 11: Crafting the First Line

Presented by: Rachel Hauck
Level: Freshman
Prerequisites:
Description

First lines can define a book. But first lines aren’t easy to craft. This workshop will take a look at how to craft a meaningful if not powerful first line.


Workshop Outline

1. Examine the purpose of the opening line(s.)
a. Setting the book’s tone.
b. Establishing the story hook.
c. Hinting at the story question.

2. Examine first line philosophy.
a. Why do first lines matter?
b. Physical action vs emotional action.
c. Can you determine if the book is good by the first line?

3. Examine crafting first lines.
a. Elements of the first line. Hint of the story question, problem and character goals.
b. Hinting at the story ending from the first line.
c. Hooking the reader.

4. Reading and studying classic first lines.
Class exercise with crafting first lines


Information Video:



WS 12: Love ‘em To Death

Presented by: Lynette Eason & Colleen Coble
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

Love ‘em To Death will enhance skills in developing the Romantic Suspense story to include all elements in such a way to make editors and agents sit up and take notice.


Workshop Outline

Learning how to write romantic suspense takes practice—and knowing what elements to include in the book.

“Love ‘em to Death” will cover necessary components to be included when it comes to writing the Romantic Suspense novel. Some topics to be covered (but not limited to) are: characterization, plot, pacing, backstory, red herrings, villains, emotions, point of view (how to choose the best one to use), dialogue (how to write it for a RS as opposed to another genre), research, beginnings, middles and ends, and more!

This workshop will teach you how to create a romantic suspense story that stands out among the rest and catches an editor’s or agent’s eye.


Information Video:



WS 13: Writing in Layers

Presented by: Hallee Bridgeman
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

Bestselling author Hallee Bridgeman teaches you her method for writing a novella in a week or a full length novel in just a month.


Workshop Outline

Using a scene, Hallee Bridgeman will show how she layers writing a story, element by element, with efficiency and speed.


Information Video:



WS 14: Basic Personal Weaponry

Presented by: Joesph Courtemanche
Level: Junior
Prerequisites:
Description

Simply stated, many writers who are not familiar with weapons use the wrong ones when writing, and this workshop is designed to address that pitfall with a discussion of common weaponry.


Workshop Outline

Each category of weapon that an
individual might employ will be discussed. Purpose, function, and
utilization will be described in this section.

This workshop will cover most weapons that are easily handled by a single person, and available throughout the world.

A specific effort will be made to guide the students in employing the right kind of weapons for the right situation in their work. Lacking this authenticity, many readers will put the book down before it gets started.


Information Video:



WS 15: Transform Your Facebook Presence TODAY

Presented by: Rachelle Gardner
Level: Senior
Prerequisites:
Description

Learn powerful strategies you can implement today and start seeing better results from your Facebook page.


Workshop Outline

Everyone’s on Facebook, but we all experience frustration when we don’t get the results we’re hoping for. There are dozens of blogs and podcasts devoted to helping people use Facebook effectively, but it’s difficult to get good information tailored specifically for authors.

I’ve culled through the best information I could find and chosen several simple tips to share with you – things you can implement immediately, and start seeing improved results from your Facebook page.

You’ll learn how to implement three important strategies:

1. Using a Call to Action
-Which ones work best for authors.
-Making your Call to Action fit your objective.
-Choosing the correct landing page for your Call to Action.

2. Boosting posts
-How to know which posts to boost.
-How often to boost, and how much to spend.
-Knowing your objectives for boosting.
-How to track your results.

3. Creating and saving audiences
-Figuring out your target audience.
-Telling Facebook to only show your boosted posts to people in your target audience.

We’ll also discuss:
• Why authors have Facebook pages.
• How to determine your objectives for using Facebook.
• How Facebook prioritizes different kinds of posts (video, images, etc.)
• Using an editorial calendar to plan your posts and repurpose them across social media platforms.
• How to measure your results from Facebook.
• The importance of your sales funnel, and where Facebook fits into it.
• and much more!

As a result of this workshop, you should be able to go back to your hotel room, get on your laptop, and implement at least one new thing on your Facebook page.


Information Video:



Workshop Elective Session 4: Saturday- 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

WS 16: Marketing 10.0

Presented by: Nadine Brandes, Sara Ella, and Mary Weber
Level: Freshman
Prerequisites:
Description

The latest, most effective marketing tools for growing your tribe—including info on newsletters, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, photo sites, and apps—as well as step-by-step guides to setting them up in a way that’ll enable you to go beyond simply selling a product to sharing the Gospel.


Workshop Outline

What if our marketing went beyond the traditional to the powerfully influential, and—dare we say—even sacred?

The good news is, while we all know marketing strategies are an ever-changing beast, the HEART of marketing remains the same for the Christian writer. And the examples Jesus set 2000 years ago ring just as authentically and redemptively true for today.

But how exactly does the message of the Gospel fuel marketing? And what’s new and most effective in today’s sometimes anti-Christian climate? And HOW ON EARTH do we set up various apps and channels to run simply?

In this interactive session, a fellowship of three multi-published, bestselling, marketing-powerhouse authors discuss the examples Jesus set in reaching the world, while presenting an in-depth examination of the latest and best on everything you can use to follow in His winsome footsteps. Consider this your one-stop-spot for all you need to know about YouTube, Author Newsletters, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more. Plus you’ll get their simple step-by-step guides to not only get you set up, but provide you with the best tools, formats, latest apps, free photo sites, and easy schedules to go beyond strategically and successfully selling books to also powerfully sharing the Gospel.


Information Video:



WS 17: Cracking The Indie Egg—A Recipe for Publishing Your Book

Presented by: Patrick Craig
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

A four step recipe for setting up, writing, publishing, and promoting your book.


Workshop Outline

Getting your book published used to be a long and arduous task. You needed an agent, an editor, and most of all, a traditional publisher that actually bought your book. But in the last five years, the publishing world has changed radically. It is now possible for anyone to publish a book—and in fact, millions of people do. But just putting your book on Amazon doesn’t mean anything. There are over a million books languishing at the bottom of the heap, with no sales and no recognition. This workshop is designed to give a writer new to self-publishing some beneficial tips and guidance through the rocky shoals of self-publishing. From setting up some basic guidelines to help you actually write the book, to cover design, editing and formatting, all the way to promotion. You will leave this workshop with a real idea of what it will take to get your book into a position where you can actually see some return for your work.


Information Video:



WS 18: From Proposal to Contract:
An Inside Look at the Acquisitions Process
Presented by: Amanda Bostic & Becky Monds
Level: Sophomore
Prerequisites:
Description

An inside look at the acquisitions process at a large, traditional publishing house.


Workshop Outline

This workshop will take prospective authors inside of the acquisitions process of a traditional publishing house. We’ll start with an exploration of how we evaluate prospective authors and the specific details of what we’re looking for in proposals. From there, we’ll walk through the Acquisitions Board process, the Pub Board process and finally, the offer process. Finally, we’ll spend some time discussing what authors can be doing to prepare themselves for what happens after they get their first contract.


Information Video:



WS 19: An Agent’s View of Traditional, Self, & Hybrid Publishing

Presented by: Jessica Kirkland
Level: Junior
Prerequisites:
Description

In “An Agent’s View of Traditional, Self, & Hybrid Publishing” author’s will learn the good, bad, and ugly of these three publishing paths, and will leave with a clear understanding of which path best fits their long-term career goals, talents, and resources.


Workshop Outline

I. Welcome to the best era for authors
II. The options that abound for writers in 2017
  a. Traditional model
  b. Self-Publishing model
  c. Hybrid and Agent-Assisted Publishing
III. Option1: Traditional Publishing
  a. Traditional publishers act as your bank.
  b. They have industry expertise.
  c. They have influential relationships with media, marketers, & printers.
  d. When you traditionally publish, you get a team.
IV. Option 2: Self-Publishing
  a. An author’s decision to self-publish should be made on a book-by-book basis
  b. Six factors to consider before you self-publish
  c. Success for this type of author might vary depending on multiple factors.
  d. Does the self-pub marketing plan look different?
  e. Characteristics of a self-published author
V. Option 3: The Hybrid Career
  a. What does a publishing schedule for a hybrid look like?
  b. Two contract clauses to watch out for
  c. Hybrid brand management issues
  d. The #1 must have for a hybrid author
VI. Option 4: The Agent-assisted hybrid
  a. Writer & agent edit manuscript together; this book reflects the reputation of both of you.
  b. What if the author & agent don’t agree during the process?
  c. Is it fair for the author to press on anyway?
  d. Communication & trust with your agent is imperative for this model.
  e. The agent & author both become the editor, publisher, marketer & more.
  f. The seven areas of author investment
VII. Conclusion plus eight tips for the journey


Information Video:



WS 20: Marketing for Indies

Presented by: Misty Beller
Level: Senior
Prerequisites:
Description

Learn the marketing approaches successful Indie and Hybrid authors use to sell books, both during a new release and over the long term.


Workshop Outline

We’ll discuss the following:
• Prerequisites to effective marketing
o Quality cover attractive to target audience
o Intriguing product description
o Positive reviews (which reflect great story, good editing, and quality book overall)
o Launch Team
• Utilizing pre-orders
• Considerations when pricing
• Email Lists: Approaches to grow a list of eager readers (including how I grew my list to 7,000 while maintaining high click rates)
• The Data: What matters, how to track & analyze, and when to make changes
• Advertising:
o Analyzing ROI
o The big ones - Bookbub, Cost per click ads (Facebook, Amazon, Bookbub, etc.), and ENT
o Effective strategies around using each (looking at pricing, reviews, units moved, etc.)
o Kindle Countdown Deals - when to leverage with other advertising
o Price pulsing
o Free Days
o And many more!
• Regular book releases
• Box sets - Strategies around single author and multi-author sets • Other low-hanging fruit: audiobooks, paperbacks, etc.

We’ll also discuss the “write the next book” philosophy to marketing, and how combining this approach with early marketing efforts builds raving fans, eager for your next title!


Information Video:





You must be at least 18 years old to attend conference without a parent/guardian present with you at all times.

Participation of an individual presenter, agent, editor, or publisher in the ACFW conference does not constitute endorsement by ACFW. Conference attendees are advised to use due diligence and take personal responsibility when choosing industry professionals with whom to schedule appointments or enter into agreement.