My Session Picks for the Writer's Digest Conference

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If you're attending the WD conference next week in New York, there will be an embarrassment of programming riches to choose from.

Here are my session picks based on what you're hoping to get out of the conference. (There's still time to register, and you can register on-site. Use my speaker code, WDspeaker, to get $70 off.)


FOR EVERYONE


Friday's Opening Address by Richard Curtis
Not to be missed. Curtis is a sage voice amidst the noise, and a longtime agent. The title of his talk is "The Future of Publishing: Don't Give Up on Books."

Friday Evening Pitch Practice with Chuck Sambuchino
Mandatory for anyone pitching on Saturday.

Branding Yourself by Dan Blank
I can't think of a better person in the industry to talk on this topic than Dan. This is a rare and valuable opportunity for writers to get some of the best wisdom out there on marketing and community building.

3 Hurdles to Publishing Success No One Tells You About by Phil Sexton
The publisher of Writer's Digest—and a man with experience across sales, marketing, editorial, AND authorship—draws back the curtain on the inner workings of the publishing industry.

Keynote Address by Richard Nash
Nash is one of the most inspiring speakers in the publishing industry. If you haven't already fallen in love with him, you will after this address, titled "How to Be an Author in a World Where Everyone Is a Writer."

FOR WRITERS WORKING ON A MANUSCRIPT

Putting Fire in Your Fiction by Don Maass
Don's a master at teaching novelists. Your hand will get tired from taking so many notes.

Building the Perfect Plot by James Scott Bell
Bell's book on plot is among the bestsellers in the writing advice category. That's because his instruction on the topic is second to none.

The Art of the Page Turner by Hallie Ephron
One thing you might not know about Hallie is that, aside from being an award-winning novelist, she also has a teaching background. You will walk out of her session having learned something critical about keeping readers glued to the page.

Showing vs. Telling by Laurie Alberts
The old adage, "Show, don't tell" is wrong. Find out why from an experienced novelist.

Revision: Learn How to Love It by James Scott Bell
Only James Scott Bell could turn a thing that most writers hate into something that you can attack with confidence—and yes, even a bit of love.

Creating a Backstory by Hallie Ephron
Use backstory to make a reader care about a character (rather than slow down the story).

FOR WRITERS TRYING TO GET TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED

Ask the Agents panel

Get the inside scoop before you pitch

10 Things You Must Know to Craft a Query by Janet Reid
The infamous Query Shark teaches you how to write a kick-ass query.


Panel: The Big Picture on Social Media Strategy


Holy Moses! This is the hardest hitting set of panelists you will EVER find on the topic of social media. Almost a requirement for everyone attending the conference.

Book or Bestseller: What Will You Choose? by Patricia V. Davis

Get advice on how to view the whole of your career, from a woman who has hard-won experience in the trenches.

Success Strategies and Systems for Writing & Selling More by Sage Cohen

The lovely and inspiring (and productive!) Sage Cohen offers 10 ways to exponentially increase the results and rewards of your writing life.

FOR THE ENTREPRENEURIAL & BUSINESS-MINDED

Marketing Yourself in a Digital Age by Guy Gonzalez
The man who's a master will teach you how to do it authentically AND strategically.

Panel: DIY Publishing (Self-Publishing)
If you're considering the DIY/self-pub path, this panel will identify pros and cons and major pitfalls to avoid.


Kindle Publishing Workshop by April Hamilton

This is a detailed and technical walk-through of how to get your work on the Kindle (without a publisher).

Panel: E-Publishing and Multimedia Options
There's more to your career than just print. This panel discusses how to e-publish in a smart and profitable way, and also how to use other multimedia formats such as podcasts, videocasts, and apps.

Panel: Successfully Promoting Your Book
I promise you this panel will be full of personality, wit, and damn good advice.

Hope to see you there!

Eat Your Words: Your 8-Point Checklist for Writing Original Recipes

Eat Your Words: Your 8-Point Checklist for Writing Original Recipes

Food writer, cook, and committed vegan Peggy Brusseau explains how you can craft a cookbook that engages your reader and stands out from the crowd.

Flash Fiction Challenge

28 Writing Prompts for the 2021 Flash Fiction Challenge Challenge

Find all 28 poetry prompts for the 2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge Challenge in this post.

How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

Novelist Rebecca Hardiman gives us an insight into the obstacles that cropped up for writers at the start of the 2020 global pandemic.

7 Tips for Writing Police Procedurals That Readers Love

7 Tips for Writing Police Procedurals That Readers Love

Mystery and crime novelist Russ Thomas explains how best to create a police procedural that will hook your reader and keep them coming back for more.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 560

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an alien poem.

3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author

3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author

Shakil Ahmad provides the top 3 things he learned while co-authoring the book Wild Sun with his brother Ehsan.

Viet Thanh Nguyen | The Committed | Writer's Digest Quote

WD Interview: Viet Thanh Nguyen on The Committed

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses the challenges of writing his second novel, The Committed, and why trusting readers can make for a more compelling narrative in this WD interview.

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

In this post, Dinty W. Moore shares what inspired his most recent book To Hell With It, what lesson it taught him, why writers should have fun with their writing, and more!