Thursday Workshop Details

WHEN: 05/03/2018

COST: $35 per session

LENGTH: (Participants may sign up for one, or both sessions.)

Session 1: 12:00 PM – 2:45 PM
Session 2: 3:15 PM – 6:00 PM

WHAT: Each workshop will be held twice, once per session. Workshops are set up to have multiple author mentors and a “hands on” experience. Please check your class(es) for what materials you’ll need to bring.

First Pages Clinic

With a 3:1 student-teacher ratio, this fabulous workshop is one of our most popular. You will receive specific feedback on the first ten pages of your manuscript from an author mentor in a small group setting. Manuscript pages will also be shared, in advance, with the other members of your group. You will be expected to review the pages for each group member prior to attending the workshop as the entire group will discuss each person’s work.

MENTORS: Lindzee Armstrong, Janette Rallison, Traci Abramson, Jennifer Moore, Stephanie Black, Michelle Wilson, Camille Andros, Peggy Eddleman, Brittany Larsen, Jenny Proctor, Tasha Seegmiller, Krista Jensen, Michelle Jefferies, Kimberly VanderHorst

If you have registered and paid for this workshop, please click here for your welcome letter and instructions.

Plot and Character Arcs


Is your plot flat, lifeless or stuck? Are your characters stagnant? With a 5:1 student-teacher ratio, this workshop will teach attendees how plot and character arc interweave to create the most compelling stories. Mentors will help participants identify where weaknesses in plot can be shored up by character arc and how plot can create a framework to support and enhance character growth. Prior to the conference, each attendee will receive a questionnaire and be asked to turn in a two-page synopsis so that discussion time can be used to its fullest.

MENTORS: Caitlyn McFarland–lead mentor, Charlie Holmberg, Lisa Mangum, Steven Bohls, Jennifer Nielsen, Mercedes Yardley, Melanie Jacobson, Emily King, Caitlin Sangster, Nicole Castroman

If you have registered and paid for this workshop, please click here for your welcome letter and instructions.

Publishing Polish and Pitch

At a ratio of 5:1 students/mentor, this workshop is similar to last year’s awesome Publication Polish, but redesigned and expanded for 2018! If you have a manuscript you want to submit to agents, but aren’t sure if your submission skills are up to par, our highly skilled mentors will help you polish your materials to agent-wowing levels. And, new this year–you’ll have the opportunity to practice elevator pitches with your fellow attendees! (Please note that practicing elevator pitches is completely optional.)

MENTORS: Annette Lyon, Tricia Levenseller, Kimberly VanderHorst, Sheena Boekweg, Shallee McArthur, Heather Moore, Jennifer Jenkins, Yamile Mendez

If you have registered and paid for this workshop, please click here for your welcome letter and instructions.

Be a Digital Superstar: How to Develop a Successful Author Platform


Are you eager to build a powerful online presence – your author platform – but don’t know where to start? Do you wonder which social media channels are best to build your author brand and grow your readership? The Digital Superstar workshop is the ultimate introduction for you as a writer to build, grow, and optimize your author platform effectively, using social media blended with digital marketing tactics. This workshop will be led by Lori Laurent Smith, a Global Digital Marketing Strategist who has deep experience delivering actionable digital solutions that result in measurable growth.

Workshop attendees will receive a comprehensive digital marketing and social media activities management tool (20-tab, auto-populated worksheet with pre-defined tasks). It will be used as a guide for the workshop to walk you through choosing which social media and marketing tactics will work best for you; give you ways to find, develop and manage your content distribution; and help you figure out platform-building activities to increase interest for book launches, local events and other promotions. Additionally participants will be given an easy-to-use social media editorial calendar to make it easier and faster to manage your author platform.

Attendees will use their laptops in the workshop to work alongside Lori in real time. A complete list and detailed prep instructions will be available before the workshop begins. You need to have read your instruction letter by March 15th. You must send requested materials to your mentor by April 12th.

If you have registered and paid for this workshop, please click here for your welcome letter and instructions.

What day are the workshops?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018.

Can I sign up for more than one workshop?

Yes. You can sign up for two amazing learning experiences.

I’ve registered for a workshop but haven’t received an email. Help?

All initial instruction letters are posted on the website under our Thursday Workshop page. It is each attendee’s responsibility to go to the site and follow the instructions pertaining to their workshop. Once that is done, if further instructions are needed, they will be emailed to you. All due dates are listed under each workshop on the website.

We will reply with an acknowledgment of receipt within three business days after you send your materials. If you don’t receive acknowledgment, please contact Rebecca Blevins or Aften Szymanski at If for some reason you still don’t hear from us, please email From time to time, there are issues with email servers, and we don’t want you to miss out if that happens.

What if I don’t get my materials to my mentor by the date?

If you miss your deadline, your mentor is no longer required to read your materials before the conference. Our mentors are offering their valuable time to help us, and our dates are chosen to give them enough time to complete their preparations before the conference. Please be considerate of your mentor(s) and send your materials in on time.

Is there a wait list once a workshop is full?

Yes. Email with your requested session.

Can I request my mentor?

Yes. We do our best to match people up with requests, but there are a lot of factors that go into dividing our groups. Please rest assured that we will try to accommodate you, but there are no guarantees.

How long is each workshop?

2.5 hours.

Where will the workshops be held?

The 3rd floor of the Utah Valley Convention Center.

Will attendees be informed of their mentors beforehand?

Yes. You will receive an email with all information pertinent to your workshop(s).

Will attendees be able to transfer their workshop spot to another person?

No. We have to go to the next person if there’s a waiting list, and with the amount of preparation in most workshops, the deadline may already be past.

Do I have to do work before the workshop?

Yes. We hope you come prepared by following instructions pertinent to your workshop(s). Your initial instruction letter will be on the website, and will not be emailed as in the past.

Will there be homework?

Yes. And pre-work and work-work and post-work. We’re writers. We’re workaholics. (But really, it depends on the workshop. See each workshop description for details.)

Can I bring my cat?

No. But bring pictures or video, if they’re funny.

May I wear pajamas?

Sure. Come prepared to interact and work in apparel that best meets your needs (we won’t be running the 5k break this year–yay).

Will there be snacks provided? Can I bring my own?

We will have a thirty-minute break between workshop sessions and will provide a snack. Snacks may contain gluten or nuts, and none of them will be certified allergy free. The convention center does not allow us to bring in outside food. There is a small concession stand inside the center for your convenience, as well as places to purchase food near the venue.

Can I bring my kids to the workshop(s)?

We love children, but having them with you during a focused workshop will be a distraction. If you have a nursing infant, you may bring him/her, however, we strongly suggest bringing someone to care for your infant while you are in session.

Will there be a ramp for wheelchair access?

We have elevators that reach the third floor, which is where our Thursday Workshops are located. You will need to use the elevators that are located near the escalators, as the other elevators only reach the second floor.