Sessions


Start planning your conference experience!


The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference program is designed to give you a balanced education in both the craft and the business of being a writer, in an encouraging and inspiring environment.

With focused tracks and targeted sessions, you can create your ideal Conference experience. Spend time in sessions delving deeper into your craft and honing your skills or demystifying the complexities of contemporary publishing—or a bit of both! No matter what you choose, you’ll return home a savvier, revitalized and more confident writer.

We’re still putting the finishing touches on this year’s program. Check back often, and be sure to sign up for the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference e-newsletter for updates!


Friday, August 1st, 2014
3:40 pm - 4:30 pmPitch Perfect (Session for Pitch Slam/Basic Conference PACKAGE registrants only) [More Info]
Chuck Sambuchino, Editor/Writer, Writer's Digest Books
5:00 pm - 5:50 pmKickstarter Presents: Strategies for Successfully Crowdfunding Your Book [More Info]
Maris Kreizman, a publishing community manager, Kickstarter
Margot Atwell, Publishing community manager, Kickstarter
Michael Malice, Author, Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il
The Google+ Advantage: How and Why Authors Should Incorporate Google+ into Their Platforms [More Info]
Kiffer Brown, Founder, Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media
How to Write a Page Turner [More Info]
Paula Munier, Senior Literary Agent and Content Strategist, Talcott Notch Literary Services
Ask the Editors: Fiction [More Info]
Millicent Bennett, Senior Editor, Simon & Schuster's Free Press
Patience Bloom, Senior Editor, Harlequin Books
Chris Russell, Associate Editor , Viking Penguin, Penguin Group USA
6:00 pm - 6:50 pmPanel: Expanding Your Brand with Co-Writers [More Info]
Jeremy Robinson, Author, Secondworld, Pulse, Instinct, Threshold
Sean Ellis, Author, Fortune Favors, Into the Black, Dodge Dalton on the High Road to Oblivion
Kane Gilmour, Author
Robert Swartwood, Author, The Serial Killer's Wife
Networking for Writers: The Most Important Skill You Never Knew You Needed [More Info]
Mare Swallow, Founder and Executive Director , Chicago Writers Conference
The Secrets of Selling First-Person Pieces [More Info]
Susan Shapiro, Journalist/Author/Professor, The New School, New York University
Daniel Jones, Editor, Modern Love
Ask the Agents [More Info]
Chuck Sambuchino, Editor/Writer, Writer's Digest Books
Kate McKean, Literary Agent, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
Roseanne Wells, Literary Agent, Jennifer De Chiara Literary
Dawn Frederick, Literary Agent, Red Sofa Literary
John Rudolph, Literary Agent, Dystel & Goderich
7:00 pm - 7:50 pmOpening Keynote: Have I Read Anything You've Written?: Granting Ourselves the Permission to Face the Blank Page [More Info]
Dani Shapiro, Author, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life and Devotion

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014
8:00 am - 8:50 amSponsor Session - How George Clooney will Help You Become a Famous Author for Free [More Info]
Clint Arthur, World’s Leading Expert on Creating Celebrity for Authors, ClintArthur.com
9:00 am - 9:50 amWriting from Personal Experience [More Info]
Nancy Davidoff Kelton, Author
How to Sell Your First 1,000 Copies [More Info]
Tim Grahl, Founder, Out:think
You Have Three Pages to Win Me Over: Essential Advice for Your Opening Pages [More Info]
Jacquelyn Mitchard, Author/Editor in Chief, Merit Press
A Smooth, Sweet Finish: Revising for Publication [More Info]
Aine Greaney, Writer and Essayist
10:00 am - 11:00 amFifty Shades of Publishing: All the Ways You Can Publish a Winning Book [More Info]
April Eberhardt, Literary Agent, April Eberhardt Literary
Working the Muddle Out of Your Middle [More Info]
Cheryl St. John, Author/Instructor, WRITING WITH EMOTION, TENSION & CONFLICT
Your Book’s Business Plan: How to Prepare Yourself and Your Book Idea for Publishing Success [More Info]
Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach/ Author/Coach/Editor/Speaker, CopyWright Communications
10:00 am - 11:00 am - Pitch Slam Session 1 [More Info]
11:10 am - 12:10 pmPanel: Marketing Strategies for Independent Authors [More Info]
Jon Fine, Director of Author & Publisher Relationships, Amazon.com
Kristen McLean, Book Futurist, CEO, Bookigee
Michael J. Sullivan, Author
Dan Blank, Founder, WeGrowMedia
Write a Winning Proposal in 48 Hours and Sell Your Book [More Info]
Ryan G. Van Cleave, Author
Creating Suspense: 13 Techniques for Making Your Readers Sweat [More Info]
Jane K. Cleland, Author
11:10 am - 12:10 pm - Pitch Slam Session 2 [More Info]
12:10 pm - 1:30 pmLunch on your own and Exhibits
1:30 pm - 2:30 pmPanel: Methods to the Madness! The Latest, Coolest Developments in Indie Publishing [More Info]
Amanda Barbara, Vice President, Pubslush
Dan Dillon, Director of Product Marketing, Lulu
Keith Ogorek, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Author Solutions - a Penguin Random House company
Dara Beevas, Co-founder/Creative Director, Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Seth Dellon, Director of Product Development , PubMatch
All Kidding Aside: How I Became a Published Author and What You Can Learn from My Experience [More Info]
Joe Nelms, Writer
Sean Ellis, Author, Fortune Favors, Into the Black, Dodge Dalton on the High Road to Oblivion
Jeffrey Somers, Author
Kristopher Jansma, Writer, Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
Julia Fierro, Author, Cutting Teeth
Kelly Braffet, Author, Save Yourself
What Your Reader's Brain Really Craves [More Info]
Lisa Cron, Author/Instructor, UCLA Extension Writers' Program
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - Pitch Slam Session 3 [More Info]
2:40 pm - 3:30 pmAdvanced Metadata: How It Can Improve Your Sales [More Info]
Kristen McLean, Book Futurist, CEO, Bookigee
Goodreads: The Platform That Can Make Your Career [More Info]
Michael J. Sullivan, Author
Panel: From Essay to Book Deal [More Info]
Susan Shapiro, Journalist/Author/Professor, The New School, New York University
Maria Andreu, Writer/Speaker
Daniel Jones, Editor, Modern Love
Kenan Trebincevic, Author, The Bosnia List
Kathleen Nishimoto, Literary Agent, William Morris Endeavor
Kimberly Perel, Literary Agent, Wendy Sherman Associates
Take Off Your Pants and Write! The Benefits and Pitfalls of Pantsing vs. Plotting a Novel [More Info]
Jeffrey Somers, Author
3:40 pm - 4:30 pmPanel: Getting Real about Self-Publishing [More Info]
Jeremy Robinson, Author, Secondworld, Pulse, Instinct, Threshold
Kane Gilmour, Author
Robert Swartwood, Author, The Serial Killer's Wife
Judith Gille, Founder and Owner, Mercantile and City People’s Garden
Ember Reichgott Junge, Attorney
Panel: Independent Bookstores - Your Secret Weapon [More Info]
Emily Pullen, Store Manager/Bookseller, WORD Bookstore
Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Co-Owner/Events Coordinator, Greenlight Bookstore
Lena Valencia, Frontlist Buyer, The POWERHOUSE Arena
Michele Filgate, Writer/Indie Bookseller/Events Coordinator, Community Bookstore
Douglas Singleton, Buyer and Literary Journal Curator, McNally Jackson Books
Margot Sage-EL, Owner, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
Ask the Editors: Nonfiction [More Info]
Cara Bedick, Senior Editor, Harlequin Nonfiction
Meg Leder, Executive Editor, Perigee Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Michelle Howry, Senior Editor, Touchstone books
Leah Miller, Editor, Crown Archetype
Setting and Description: Where Are We and How Much is Too Much? [More Info]
Reed Farrel Coleman, Author
4:40 pm - 5:30 pmCentral Keynote: The Rules of Writing and When To Break Them with Harlan Coben [More Info]
Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling Author, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT
5:30 pm - 7:00 pmCocktail Reception and Exhibits - Sponsored by Lulu

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
9:00 am - 9:50 amWriting as a Business (and the Business of Writing) [More Info]
Dan Hampton, New York Times Bestselling Author, Viper Pilot, Lords of the Sky, and The Mercenary
Blog Your Way to a Book Deal: Build Visibility, Boost Authority and Become an Author Post by Post [More Info]
Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach/ Author/Coach/Editor/Speaker, CopyWright Communications
YOU SHOULD REALLY WRITE A BOOK: How To Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir Regina Brooks [More Info]
Regina Brooks, Lead Agent/President, Serendipity Literary Agency
7 Steps to Stronger Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels [More Info]
Gabriela Pereira, Creative Director and Instigator, DIY MFA
10:00 am - 10:50 amThe New Model of Publishing: Combining Traditional & Partnership Publishing for Success [More Info]
Kristen Harnisch, Author, The Vintner's Daughter
Getting into the Act: Turn Your Readers into Your Marketers [More Info]
Gina Panettieri, Literary Agent, Talcott Notch Literary
Thrillers, Killers, and Fanboys: How to Succeed as a Writer by Knowing What Not to Do [More Info]
Barry Lyga, New York Times Bestselling Author, I Hunt Killers, Boy Toy, Hero-Type, Blood of my Blood
Once More with Feeling: How to Ensure that Your Books Become Reader Favorites [More Info]
Cheryl St. John, Author/Instructor, WRITING WITH EMOTION, TENSION & CONFLICT
10:50 am - 11:10 amExhibit Break
11:10 am - 12:00 pmThe Art of Distraction: Using Red Herrings to Create Suspense [More Info]
Jane K. Cleland, Author
Panel: Hello, Is This Thing On? How to Raise Your Voice, Get Heard, and Get Noticed [More Info]
Clint Arthur, World’s Leading Expert on Creating Celebrity for Authors, ClintArthur.com
Barry Lyga, New York Times Bestselling Author, I Hunt Killers, Boy Toy, Hero-Type, Blood of my Blood
Shari Stauch, Founder, www.WhereWritersWin.com
Nina Amir, Inspiration-to-Creation Coach/ Author/Coach/Editor/Speaker, CopyWright Communications
Carl Pritzkat, Vice President of Business Development, PWxyz (PublishersWeekly and BookLIfe)
Robin Cutler, Senior Independent Publisher Manager - IngramSpark , Ingram Content Group Inc.
Dirty Little Secrets: Learn How the Publishing Industry Really Works in Order to Become a More Successful Author [More Info]
Phil Sexton, Publisher, Writer's Digest
Darling, You’re Making a Scene: How to Build Your Fiction the Right Way from Page One Onward [More Info]
Aine Greaney, Writer and Essayist
12:10 pm - 1:00 pmClosing Keynote: The Writers Journey: A Personal Story of Persistence, Publishing, and a Love of the Craft [More Info]
Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York Times bestselling Author, The Prodigal Son, A House Divided, The Perfect Marriage