2019 Conference Speakers
2019 Keynote Topic
Writing and the Emotional Rollercoaster
Why do we do this crazy thing, staring at our computer screens or notebooks for hours on end? Because few things can move people like a great story. Stories educate and inspire, motivate and soothe. When everything is clicking, writers get to feel that same thrill they feel when they're reading a great book or watching a perfect movie. And when everything's not clicking... we worry that we're wasting our time. To be a writer is to strap yourself into an emotional roller coaster, in search of those fabulous highs but risking the down slopes. Here's how to stay grounded and focus on what writers need to do best: tell a great story.
Praise for Thomas Mullen's Lightning Men
One of the Top 10 Crime Novels of 2017 --The New York Times Book Review
“Outstanding.” — Publishers Weekly, (starred review)
"Exciting." — Wall Street Journal
"Expands the boundaries of crime fiction." — Chicago Tribune
"Gripping." — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Never lets up on suspense.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Deserves a place on every suspense reader's list. Here's hoping for many more installments.” — Library Journal (starred review)
Thomas Mullen is the author of Darktown, an NPR Best Book of the Year, which has been shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Southern Book Prize, the Indies Choice Book Award, and has been nominated for two CWA Dagger Awards; The Last Town on Earth, which was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today and was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction; The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers; and The Revisionists. His next novel, Lightning Men, which follows the characters from Darktown two years later, was named one of the Top 10 Crime Novels of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review.
His works have been named to Year’s Best lists by The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kirkus Reviews, The Onion’s A/V Club, The San Diego Union-Times, Paste Magazine, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and Amazon. His stories and essays have been published in Grantland, Paste, The Huffington Post, and Atlanta Magazine. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and sons.
For more information, visit www.ThomasMullen.net.
"Idea to Proposal"
This workshop will cover all that a writer must present to get the attention of an agent or a publishing editor, including:
*Target Marketing/ knowing your reader
*Building your platform- blogging and article writing
*Building an email list
*Creating a marketing plan
*Outlining the outline for your nonfiction book or writing a synopsis of your novel
Diana Flegal has been an agent with Hartline Literary Agency for twelve years. She represents mainstream and inspirational titles, fiction and nonfiction, but nothing that conflicts with the Christian Worldview. She is currently looking for nonfiction authors with a substantial platform, as well as outstanding contemporary women’s fiction, issue fiction, and formula romance.
When she is not reading submissions or stealing away with a recreational read, she is hiking in the mountains, or kayaking the many lakes of her home state, North Carolina.
Karen Head is Executive Director of the Communication Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as the Associate Chair and Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. She is the author of Disrupt This!: MOOCs and the Promises of Technology, as well as four books of poetry (Sassing, My Paris Year, Shadow Boxes and On Occasion: Four Poets, One Year). In 2010, she won the Oxford International Women’s Festival Poetry Prize. She also creates digital poetry and has exhibited several acclaimed digital poetry projects, including “Monumental” (part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other Project) which was detailed in a TIME online mini-documentary. She is also the Editor of the international poetry journal Atlanta Review.
Ekphrastic Poetry: How Engaging with Other Art Forms Can Make You a Better Poet
In this session, poet and editor Karen Head, will offer an overview of ekphrastic poetry, and explain how it can help poets generate new material and strengthen their craft—no matter what form(s) of poetry they write. Please bring paper and pen or laptop for some hands-on practice and sharing.
Publishing Your Poetry: What Do Editors Want?
In this session, Karen Head, Editor of Atlanta Review, will discuss the important considerations for submitting your work to a poetry journal. She will also take questions from the participants.
The State of Publishing Today
How is the health of the traditional publishing industry? What books are selling, where, and in what formats? How does a writer find the way in? Find out in this workshop.
Writing Creative Nonfiction
This class will address the special challenges that face the writer of creative nonfiction. It will explore the ways the goals and purposes of Creative Nonfiction differ from fiction and discuss the best ways to structure memoir and autobiographical writing.
Dr. Marc Jolley is director of Mercer University Press. He is also senior lecturer in philosophy at Mercer. During his time at Mercer he has overseen the publication of more than 900 books. He was born in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently lives in Macon, Georgia.
Alison Law is a professional writer, publicist and marketing and social media consultant based in Atlanta, Georgia. As president of Alison Law Communications, she has worked with a variety of clients, including authors and book publicity firms, public relations and advertising agencies. An unapologetic book pusher and author enabler, Alison hosts the Literary Atlanta podcast. She interviews authors who are resident in the area or who are visiting metro Atlanta on book tour. Literary Atlanta was featured recently in Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Alison’s career began 25 years ago in a newsroom in her hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. A frequent speaker and interviewer, she teaches marketing and social media workshops for authors and other audiences.
Brand Yourself Like a Bestseller: How to Establish Your Reputation as a Working Writer
(Even Before Your Work Has Been Published)
If you want to make money as a writer, you have to market
yourself as a professional and treat your writing like a business. Learn the habits of highly successful writers and bestselling authors who regularly communicate with editors and agents, book festivals and publishing industry associations, book reviewers, bloggers, and members of the media. Find out the steps to you need to take—and when you need to take them—to build your author platform.
Social Media Tips and Tools for Writers
How can you use social media effectively without sacrificing your sanity? What technology will allow you to check in and engage your target audiences while conserving your creativity for your writing? Get answers to these questions and more in this fast-paced session that will take you beyond the basics of the different social media channels and introduce you to the tips and tools that will allow you to make authentic connections online.
First Page, Lasting Impression
Send a first page by March 1st and find out if your manuscript will make it out of the slush pile. Diane is a former submissions reader for Peachtree Publishers in Atlanta.
Limit 10 first pages per session. Please send all submissions to Caroline Mann via email at BlueRidgeArts@gmail.com or USPS at 420 W. Main Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.
Anything Can Happen, Anything Can Be!
After 9 1/2 years, 385 rejections, and a forest of sloppy copies, children's author Diane Z. Shore published her first book, Bus-A-Saurus Bop. Diane recounts in her trademark humor, her loooong road to publication, filled with potholes, detours, and lots of wrong turns! "It all started with a story about a little girl who geths a shticker sthuck on her tongue, that was rejected by every publishing house that ever existed!" But she never gave up her dream! Get ready for an ultra-energetic, inspirational, story of determination and perseverance that will leave you feeling like you can do anything you set your mind to!
Diane Z. Shore is an award winning children's author. As a child she loved Amelia Bedelia, wanted to live in the Berenstain Bears' tree house, and still turns to the hidden picture page first when reading Highlights for Children, one of the many magazines in which she contributes.
Now a full time author and read-aloud advocate, Diane writes in a variety of genres and her books have been translated into many languages. She travels across the U.S. with her widely popular school presentations inspiring the most reluctant kids to read and the most hesitant students to write. The author lives in metro Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, Jennifer and Sam, who inspired her I Can Read beginning reader, "How to Drive Your Sister Crazy". Scampering about the house is a black and tan marbled cat appropriately named "Marbles".
Speaker Panel Moderator
Jennifer Jabaley is the author of LIPSTICK APOLOGY (Razorbill/Penguin Young Readers, 2009). LIPSTICK APOLOGY was nominated for Pennsylvania's Young Reader Choice Award and Jennifer won the title of Georgia Author of the Year in the YA category for this debut. Her second novel, CRUSH CONTROL (Razorbill, 2011) was released to strong reviews by VOYA and School Library Journal and garnered a spotlight in Justine Magazine.
Jennifer enjoys school author visits and actively participated in The Georgia Peach
Author tour, traveling throughout Georgia to speak to students about writing and
a career as an author.