Keynote Speaker

Workshop Presenters


Catherine Bybee: Keynote Speaker

Catherine Bybee is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-five books that have collectively sold more than eight million copies and have been translated into twelve languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the Weekday Brides series, and the Most Likely To series.


John Van Stry: Keynote Speaker

Bestselling Author John Van Stry was the first author to ever successfully sue an owner of an illegal book downloading site and WIN. John's lawsuit in federal court set legal precedent and we are very happy to have him as one of our keynote speakers. 


John will present a workshop titled: Show, don't Tell, but don't Filibuster either!


We've all been taught to 'show' things to our readers by characters and their actions, rather than just have a narration that explains everything to the reader - i.e. 'Tell'. But what if our story involves one character telling another about something that happened? How do we avoid a filibuster (one character just talking on and on while telling their 'story')? A filibuster, one character just giving a long dialogue is often no better than the narrator telling us, so how do we avoid it and what are some techniques to make it more interesting while still showing our reader what the need to see?


TJ Mackay 


Writing PG in an R-Rated World - And Making It Profitable!

In today’s world it seems the ever darkening landscape of offerings is making it nearly impossible for the light of clean, quality writing to shine.  But, it’s not!  There is a greater demand now more than ever for clean, PG-rated books. You just have to know how to set them on that hill!  In this presentation, you will better understand the industry biases, then learn to work around them, using savvy marketing tips to place that story where it needs to be and take your book from great to greatly profitable.


My Masterpiece Is Finished - Now What?
You did it! Your book has been written, re-written, edited, formatted and is about to publish. So... what now? This class gives a step by step approach to the best ways of guaranteeing that masterpiece sells!  In a fun and informative way, we’ll discuss the areas that work best in promoting, why reviews are so important and how to use them for maximum benefit, as well as many other avenues that will put your story in the hands of readers specific for you. Come and join us as we plot your success together!



Suzan Tisdale


USA Today Bestselling Author, storyteller, and cheeky wench SUZAN TISDALE has a passion for helping her fellow authors and is proud to have earned a reputation for being an outspoken defender of authors' rights, especially where book piracy is concerned. Twenty-plus titles and nearly ten years into her own career as an author and publisher, Suzan felt blessed beyond her own comprehension and decided to give back to the indie-author community.

She held her first author conference, in East Peoria, Illinois, in June of 2019. Attended by more than 80 authors of varying levels of experience and success, it was a small yet powerful event for all involved. Suzan's primary goal is to make each year's event bigger and better than the last.

Suzan lives in the Midwest with her verra handsome carpenter husband, and they are just one little bird away from becoming empty nesters. Their pets are the deer and groundhogs roaming the backyard, as free and unrestrained as the voices in her head.

Jennifer Probst:  Write True: A Romance Writer’s Guide to Craft, Career, and Staying True To Oneself

You can handle the truth. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst teaches a surprising key to success in the romance industry: truth. Join Jennifer as she discuses handling fear, developing your craft, the importance of pivot in an ever-changing industry, and discovering your truth as a storyteller.

Allie Pleiter: Dynamic Dialogue

Sure, dialogue records conversation.  But it can do so much more--if you know how to wield it.  Dialogue can provide subtle backstory, vivid characterization, or shoot a plot forward at high speed.  Great dialogue is memorable and effective.  Bad dialogue is cumbersome and can turn your reader (or potential editor) off quickly.  Multipublished author Allie Pleiter leads you through all the ways you can use dialogue within your story to pack a far bigger punch than “she said.” 

Chasity Bowlin:  Career Planning for Newbie (and Oldie) Authors


You can fly by the seat of your pants writing your books, but not mapping out your career and what it takes to be a professional author without the safety net of a day job. This workshop will touch on how to plan financially for taxes, health insurance, unexpected business expenses and the importance of utilizing technology to stay abreast of book keeping when you're not the most diligent at it. We'll also talk about what it takes to make it as a mid-list author in today's market by discussing how many books to publish per year, how length of books can impact your number of releases and your bottom line. In short, this is the down, dirty, and sometimes ugly truth about how unglamorous the #writinglife really is.

Kathryn Lynn Davis: My Agent's Pajamas OR Writing Makes Strange Bedfellows

NY Times Bestselling Author, Kathryn Lynn Davis will discuss the ins and outs of writing, traditional publishing.






Terry Maggert: Building a Science Fiction or Fantasy Brand

Left-handed. I like dragons, coffee, waffles, running, and giraffes; 
order unimportant. I write the Halfway Witchy, Messenger, and Shattered 
Skies series, with thirty-nine titles and counting. Trained as a 
Military Historian, I was a history professor for six years, and have 
taught in an MFA for Science Fiction and Fantasy writing since 2018.

I don't sleep, but you probably guessed that already.





E. Ardell: Tips to Getting Your Book on Your Local Library’s Shelf (or How to Make Your Local Librarian Like You.)

It is simple as cake to bring a free copy of your freshly published book to your local librarian and request that it be added to the library’s collection. After all, it’s a free book written by a member of the community, and libraries love free books. They give them out all the time. You go in with a smile and leave confounded. The librarian did not seem happy to see you and they may have told you something vague and inconclusive about adding your book to the library’s collection. You check the library catalog a week later and your book is not there. What went wrong?

Well, for anyone who bakes, you know that cake is not simple, and neither is adding a book to a library’s collection. There are nitty gritty things that must take place.


Libraries have collection development policies, limited shelf space, and other circumstances they must consider before adding new titles to their collections. Learn from a librarian what all we are looking at and for when it comes to adding new books. Eliminate “red flags” and “blackball” status during and after your interactions with your friendly neighborhood librarian.


Andy Peloquin: An Author's Complete Guide to Understanding Great Villains and Antagonists 


“Evil” comes in more shapes and sizes than you might realize! Andy Peloquin dissects a list of all the classic villain and antagonists types to help inspire writers to craft thrilling new characters for their stories. Join this panel to learn how to make the enemies your heroes face truly memorable.



Lynn Crandall: Keep on Rising by Investing in Your Career

Many writers create successful careers. Many create successful careers but don’t know they have. Many writers feel they miss the mark that gives them the successful career they want. And many, many writers invest in their writing career in ways that are detrimental to it. They neglect fundamental health needs, and misunderstand where and how they can sustain good health. They don’t see how they can even enjoy a writing career when they don’t achieve best seller status. They define themselves as failures when they don’t need to.


Lynn Crandall will teach you how to build and sustain a meaningful, healthy writing life.





RL Jackson: FADE IN: A Screenwriting workshop with author R.L. Jackson

This workshop is designed to guide authors through the beginning stages of the script writing process, adapting your novel into accepted industry standard form.


We will discuss Planning, Screenwriting Software, Loglines (what are they and how to write a compelling one), Proper Formatting, Resources, and so much more. We will see it in action, examples from novel to script to screen.




Shannon Nemechek: Writing Believable Military Characters


It’s not news to you that one of the biggest challenges in writing is creating authentic scenes, settings, and dialogue that make the story feel real. Sometimes, especially with the military, the obstacles are huge and when you’re dealing with very realistic scenes, settings, characters, and readers who are quite familiar with all of those, it becomes an even more daunting task. One of the toughest things to write is writing something you don’t know. 

Many service members are huge readers, and they know when you are making it up. So if you don’t want to get called out or get a scathing email then I think this presentation is for you.






Madeline Martin: Digging Deeper into Reader Connection

Make your readers connect with your characters on a deep level. Go beyond genre and even GMC to create characters who will lodge themselves in your reader's hearts and minds and make your story unforgettable. 






Linda Rae Sande: Authorpreneurship for Authors

In today's publishing world, an author is also an entrepreneur. Here are the how-tos! We’ll cover how to set up your business and use forms to track expenses and royalties, set up your online files for optimum organization, back up data, create media kits for your books, set up your author database of information, and publish. Then we will cover the promotional tasks—website, blog, newsletter, and low-cost promotional sites to aid helping you get you discovered—and finally, protecting your work! All will be revealed in this fast-paced course presented with PowerPoint slides.














Sue Toth: Why Do I Need an Editor Anyway?

Why Do I Need an Editor Anyway?

You’ve written a great book. You love your story, and you’re sure your audience will, too. It’s ready to go just the way you’ve written it…right?

Not so fast! Before you release any book, it needs to have an experienced editor read it. But why, you ask? You’re probably thinking an editor will just tear your book apart, make all kinds of changes, and it won’t even sound like your book anymore, right?

Not exactly. You do need an editor. In this session, fiction editor Sue Toth will give you the inside scoop on editors, including:

  • Why you need one

  • What the author/editor relationship should look like

  • Where and how to find the best editor for you






Matt Orso: Panelist 

Matt Orso a person who wears too many hats. He is a writer, photographer, journalist, videographer, social media marketer, and overall storyteller who views all of the previously mentioned skills as tools to deliver stories. He is a mixed-race, largely black heterosexual cis man who grew up in a South Los Angeles. He also happens to be albino and legally blind. Therefore, he is a bit of an intersection of multiple isms who has a very unique and under-discussed perspective on society and the various isms that he falls into.










Carol P. Roman: Navigating the Indie World of Children's Books

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, and spies, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children.


In her workshop, you will learn how to navigate the indie world of Children's Books. How to publish, where to publish, and using social media to your advantage. 









Ceci Giltenan: Where Would Sherlock Holmes Be Without Watson? How to create first-rate secondary characters

Well-developed characters give a novel depth. They allow the reader to be fully immersed in a story. Often authors focus most of their attention on the main characters, giving much less thought to their secondary characters. I will be discussing the importance of secondary characters and easy ways to breathe life into them.







Sue Burdorf: How to Be Present in Your Own Life

Learn the steps to a better YOU! Susan will teach you how to forgive yourself, prioritize what is important, and getting rid of negativity. 


Smashwords' Jim Azevedo

Top 10 Trends Impacting the Future of Publishing
This presentation identifies the top trends influencing your future as publisher of indie ebooks.  You'll learn how to navigate these trends to build a more successful, more robust long-term career as an indie author or publisher. The workshop provides a solid foundation for any author considering indie ebook publishing.

An Introduction to Ebook Self-Publishing: How to Publish, Distribute and Sell Your Ebook
It's easier to self-publish an ebook than you might imagine. No technical expertise is necessary. In this introductory, jargon-free primer to ebook self-publishing, we'll cover the basics. You'll discover the advantages of ebook self-publishing and receive an ebook publishing checklist covering everything you need to know to get started, such as ebook formatting, metadata, pricing, distribution tips and more.

The Book Launch: Using E-book Preorders and Presales to Grow Readership
Imagine if you could press a magic button that would make your next ebook release land higher in the sales charts at Apple Books. Imagine no more. The magic button is real, and it’s called the ebook preorder. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to use ebook preorders to make your next ebook launch more successful. In addition, you’ll also learn how to add ebook presales to your marketing toolbox. Presales allow early and immediate access to new ebooks before release to the general public, whereas preorders act as a product reservation system where the reader must wait until the book’s general release date. Presales help authors turbocharge newsletter subscription signups, build readership, and turn fans into superfans.










































Also Presenting

Denise Grover Swank

Rebecca Forster

Eliza Knight

Sharon Hamilton

Aaron Micheal Ritchey

Jamiet Lee Scott

Representatives from:




The Author Show Podcasts

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