This year, our faculty of amazing presenters is offering classes in a wide range of subjects. There’s something here for everyone.

Self-Publishing Seminar

Cover Design 201 by Kristy Stewart

You know design needs CRAP (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity). Come learn how to polish things off: sources for stock material, styles and finishing touches that suit certain genres, and how to set up a spine that fits your book.

Secrets to Successful Self Editing by Julie Coulter Bellon

This class is designed to teach you simple and effective self-editing techniques that will give your writing the extra polish to make it shine. We’ll talk about the Editor’s Checklist, what kind of editing is needed for each stage of the process, and the three most common problem areas for your inner editor. Self-editing will be a rewarding part of your creative process when you know the techniques to make it work for you.

Self-Publishing Platforms Compared and Formatted by Adrienne Quintana

Ready to self-publish, but not sure which platform is right for you? This class will walk you through the title set-up process with KDP and Ingram Spark. I’ll show you the ins and outs of each platform and will compare and contrast the two options from customer service, to distribution, to the quality of the final products.

Two-Hour Intensives

40 Cards – A Harmony of Structure and Pacing (2-hr Intensive) by Don Carey

Three acts. Four Parts. Seven Points. Fifteen Beats. The list of available structure and pacing strategies can overwhelm even experienced plotters, and give dedicated pantsers an anxiety rash.

The 40 Card strategy is based on Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat, and provides a valuable template that incorporates multiple techniques into a single, unifying whole. This approach can be turned into a powerful outline for plotters, or used by pantsers to whip an unruly revision into submission-ready shape.

How to Write an Ending That Doesn’t Suck (2-hr. Intensive) by Lisa Mangum

First pages are important, sure, and many authors have probably workshopped those first five pages to death. But what about the ending of the story? Isn’t that just as important as the beginning? YOU BET IT IS! Come learn about foreshadowing, symbolism, pacing, and plot twists and how to use these tools and techniques to lead your reader to a satisfying conclusion.

General Conference Sessions

13 Lies They Tell Writers by Rod Miller

Many approaches to writing and techniques for crafting a story are presented at writer’s conferences and in workshops and creative writing programs as if they are commandments set in stone. But, for many writers, those mandates are less than helpful and do not work. A discussion of 13 of these decrees encourages writers to not be intimidated by decrees from “experts” that, for them, are “lies.” Instead, authors are inspired to find their own way and develop their own methods to achieve success.

A Celebration of Sound and Sense by Shanan Ballam

Poets of all levels of experience will benefit from this energetic workshop where participants will learn and practice basic poetic sound techniques, such as alliteration, assonance, and other types of sonic repetition. We will also gather sensory details and images from nature and write poems that will surprise and delight writers and audiences alike.

A Light Through the Fog: Living Creatively While Coping with Depression and Anxiety by Rebecca Blevins

As anyone with clinical depression and/or anxiety disorders can tell you, those conditions can make it difficult to achieve our goals and dreams. It can often feel like you’re on a roller coaster with no idea how to make it stop, or full of guilt and stretched in every direction.

In this class we will share both tips and research about how we can help our creative selves thrive while coexisting with anxiety and/or depression.

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Editing 101 by Merry Gordon

Save yourself (and your editors) a headache and learn the skills for basic self-editing to take your writing from passable to polished. Good editing goes way beyond spellcheck and red pens—join us for specific, hands-on strategies at the macro and micro level that will shake up your scenes!

Colonel Mustard in the Library: Writing Mysteries by Liz Adair

Liz describes the different types of mysteries and discusses elements all good mystery novels must have.  She shares her method of plotting as well as those used by other mystery writers and talks about the importance of branding.

Crafting Fairy Tales for the Modern Reader by Kristy Stewart

Folktales are poetic threads that pervade every society, and they’ve found new life in every genre and medium since the spoken word. Novels, short stories, poems, and personal essays are no exception. Whether you’re adapting an existing tale or creating a from-scratch spin on cultural motifs, come learn ways to retell, revamp, and repurpose the stories, characters, settings, and tones that give your favorite fairy tales staying power.

Dialog: How to Get Your Characters Talking–the Right Way by Janette Rallison

Dialog isn’t real speech but  must sound that way to your reader. In this workshop, you’ll learn ten techniques that will help you create the artful deception. You’ll learn which deadly tagline mistakes to avoid, how to do away with unnecessary taglines, and the right way to convey needed information to your readers through dialog (and when you shouldn’t.)

DIY Audiobook Narration by Johan Twiss

Audio books are the fastest growing medium for books. If you’ve ever thought about narrating your own book, but you’re not sure where to start, this is your intro to narrating on a budget (without skimping on quality). In this class we will talk about the equipment you’ll need, narration tips and warmups, how to edit your narration, using ACX, and marketing your audiobook. I’ll bring some of my equipment to give a live demonstration, along with a list of sites and videos to learn more about audio book narration.

DIY Cover Design Basics by Johan Twiss

So you want to make your own book cover. Maybe your budget is too tight to hire a cover artist or the idea of making your own cover excites you.

In this class, we’ll discuss the basics of cover design, what to avoid, what sells, where to find stock images that don’t break the bank, and websites you can use to design your own covers.

Finding Writing Success in a World Intent on Distracting You by Annette Lyon

Between Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, e-mail, YouTube, Wikipedia, and, well, life, everyone finds themselves distracted at some point, sucked into the internet black hole internet or a hundred other things instead of working. In this class, taught by someone diagnosed with ADD/ADHD-I as an adult, you’ll learn to identify the biggest challenges standing in the way of YOUR personal productivity, and you’ll then gain the tools and techniques needed to come off conqueror over them. We’ll also look at some of the more surprising symptoms of ADHD/ADD, which happen to be characteristics that a lot of creatives have. Best of all, if you have full-fledged ADHD/ADD, you may discover a superpower you can exploit to be even more productive.

Five Secrets to Great Back Cover Copy by Julie Coulter Bellon

Besides a professional looking cover, the back cover copy is an author’s biggest marketing tool. You want to—NEED to!—capture your audience with a professional and compelling blurb. So many authors dread this part of the process, but this class will show you a step-by-step process to make your back cover copy shine and turn your potential readers from browsers to buyers! Come listen to professional editor, back cover copy writer, and romantic suspense novelist, Julie Coulter Bellon, lay out how to write great back cover copy.

Grand Openings: How to Get Your Book Off to a Good Start by Rod Miller

A strong opening is important to hook readers. Grab their interest with the first sentence and there’s a chance they’ll move on to the first paragraph, then the first page, the first chapter, and so on. This workshop explores effective opening lines from both fiction and nonfiction, and reveals techniques you can adopt to entice readers into your story. After all, if you don’t get them at the beginning, you’ll never get them to the end.

Hello Universe? Where are my story ideas? by Betsy Love

This class will help attendees to find places to get their brains flowing to create stories. Bring paper and pen/pencil or your laptop. There will be time for exploring some of your own ideas.

How to Sell What You Write by Lee Nelson

Lee’s Storm Testament volumes were best sellers in the Utah/LDS market in the 1980s, with all ten volumes still in print. His Beyond the Veil volumes were  best sellers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, still in print too, along with about a dozen other titles.  In addition to showing how he uses his writing skills to sell books,  Lee will  reveal ten other ways he uses his writing talent to earn money, sometimes in amounts far exceeding his book royalties–“There are lots of ways to make money if you are a good writer,” he says.

How to Write a Compelling Personal History by Lee Nelson

Lee has been teaching personal history writing classes in ward and stake venues for about twenty years. One stake asked him to take an entire three-hour block in a family history conference because of the huge amount of interesting material he can share with students. Lee  claims he has never had a student in his classes who could not  remember and write at least one amazing, unforgettable, wonderful, or even profound personal history story. He tells students to write like they talk and tell lots of stories. “Everyone has an interesting story to tell,” he says.

Imposter Syndrome: How to Keep Writing When You Feel Like a Fake by JoLyn Brown

If you’ve ever wondered if you can claim the title author, considered deleting the entire scene or book because you can’t believe how bad it is, or received cutting feedback from a reader, you may have wondered why you are writing at all. Whether you’re a published author or beginning your writing journey, some days we all feel like a big fat fake. How do we keep going when we aren’t sure we are good enough? This class will focus on how to overcome your writer’s imposter syndrome and what to do when you are ready to give up.

Increasing Book Sales Through Major Channels by Joseph Stevenson

How do I get more sales? This is the common question most authors have after the release of their book. The problem is, it isn’t a question they should be asking after they launch their book, but instead before. This class is a transparent approach to getting more sales specifically through Amazon and Kindle. If you don’t handle criticism of your book well, this is not the class for you. In this class we will pick a few of the participants books and analyze their sales and what can be improved in their book descriptions, content etc. to help their sales soar.

Point of View: Your Story’s Lens and Battery by Annette Lyon

What exactly IS point of view, and why does it matter so much? Learn how to pick the right POV for your story and then how to use the power behind it to control how your readers interpret the story AND how you can harness the power of POV to power your story from page one to the very end.

Scene Structure–What it Takes to Make Your Writing Work all Novel Long by Janette Rallison

A successful book needs more than just a good plot. Your story needs to work on a micro-level too. Come learn how to avoid common pitfalls such as sagging middles, unclear reactions, and low conflict. Janette will be drawing on Jack Bickham’s acclaimed book Scene and Sequel to teach these vital writing principles.

School Visits Sell Books: How to Contact, Schedule, Present and Sell Your Books Through School Visits by Cindy Williams

Schools promote writing and love visits by authors. If you write children’s books, MG or YA and love to share and sell your books, this class is for you. Learn the do’s and don’ts to becoming a sought after school presenter.

Cindy has experience with over 45 school visits/presentations from resulting in thousands of books purchased at the visits. She will give you key points on how to contact and schedule visits and how to create incentives for students, teachers and parents to purchase your books.

One key mistake is just showing up to read your book. Schools want authors to teach the students something about writing.

Come learn the ropes of doing school visits and selling your books.

Show Not Tell by Holli Anderson

Showing your readers the action will make them feel like they’re part of the story instead of just reading someone else’s account. In other words, it will pull them in.

This class will give you some guidance on how to “show” instead of “tell” in your stories and some simple tips on how to spot “telling” in your own writing. We’ll work together, using examples, to transform “telling” into “showing” and passive into active narrative.

The Hook, the Book, and the Cook: Query Letters That Catch an Editor’s Eye by Lisa Mangum

Ah, the dreaded query letter. You’ve finished your manuscript, but somehow, writing this one-page letter seems more daunting than all the rest. What goes into such a letter? How can you make it the best it can be? This class will teach you an easy, three-step formula for how to make your query letter shine.

The Importance of Writing Badly by Brock Dethier

The fear of writing badly paralyzes many writers or keeps them glued to safe, familiar ground. My title—borrowed from my friend Bruce Ballenger—is somewhat facetious. We won’t be writing bad love poetry or stories that start “It was a dark and stormy night.” We will be exploring ways to quiet the inner critic (just for now), produce more writing, and reduce writing anxiety. Come prepared to write!

 The Novelty of Non-fiction by Shirley Bahlmann

There’s a reason that non-fiction books have a longer shelf life than fiction. If you delve into the novel world of non-fiction writing, you can set up the possibility of receiving royalty payments in your retirement years without typing another word.

 “Twelve Days of Christmas” Book Selling: Maximizing Holiday Marketing by Valerie Ipson

You don’t have to have a Christmas Romance in your backlist to rake in book sales over the holidays. Learn twelve tips for successful holiday marketing in person and online. Discover all the ways to help shoppers find your book to wrap up this season. After all, tis the season of giving…and selling.

Writing an Engaging Story for Young Readers by Janet Johnson

From picture books to young adult novels, the juvenile fiction market is growing every year. However, writing for children can be more complicated than it first seems. This class will discuss the basics of writing for youth – from appropriate word counts and character ages, to common themes and publication considerations specific to juvenile fiction. We’ll conclude by discussing what really makes a book engaging, and how to implement that in your own work.

Writing as a Spiritual Practice by Raven Chiong

“In order to have self-expression, we must first have a Self to express.” (Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way”)

2019 marks Raven’s fifteenth anniversary of stream of consciousness writing every morning. What started out as a writing assignment has transmuted into a non-negotiable spiritual practice that has become a way of life. In this class, Raven hopes to inspire participants to deepen their journey by beginning their own Morning Pages. Prompts will be given, with opportunities to both read and witness. Please come prepared to sit in Circle and bring old fashioned pen and paper!

Writing For Newbies- How to Turn Your Writing Ember Into Fire And Become An Author by Brooke Bishop

So you want to write a book, huh? In this course, we drill down to all the things you need to know in the beginning of writing a book to avoid hours of rewriting and manuscript fatigue. These tips are vital, actionable and presented in a playful, memorable way. We’ll identify your best book idea, provide a roadmap to take your ember of a plan around the major no-nos, through the best writing practices until we light it up to produce your best work in record time. Don’t miss this chance to ignite your passion so you can do the work to make your dream of becoming an author a reality.