From Broke to Badass in Northern Michigan

MLinkPhotoNote: As of April 8, this conference is at capacity for registration and we will be unable to accommodate walk-ins.

It’s the summer of 2005, and Mardi Jo Link’s dream of living the simple life has unraveled into debt, heartbreak and perpetually ragged cuticles. Still, when she and her husband call it quits, leaving her more broke than ever, Mardi makes a seemingly impossible resolution: to hang on to her northern Michigan farm and keep writing for a living. Her forthcoming memoir,Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm,” (due to be published in the summer) details her often humorous story of motherhood and survival.

Mardi will share what she learned on out-of-the-box ways to make money as a writer during a presentation at this year’s Celebrate the Mitten writers conference. The free half-day event features local publishing insiders and published authors who will lead sessions on how to market your book, how to put together a book trailer and traditional vs. self-publishing. A full agenda is below.

BootstrapperAll genres and skill levels are welcome. Pre-registration is required and participant spots are limited — last year’s event drew nearly 100 attendees, so… seriously, register now! Everyone who does will be entered for the chance to win one-on-one mentoring with Michigan publishing professionals. You do not have to have a completed (or even started) book to attend.

To register, click here, ask at your local branch or call 616-784-2007.

Saturday, April 20, 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM – Cascade Township branch

Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Cascade Library, Arbutus Press, and StoryLook Design.

Susan Bays, publisher, Arbutus Press; Jon Bradley, children’s book author; John Forsberg, military science fiction author; Ryan Hipp, children’s books author and illustrator; D.E. Johnson, fiction author; Mardi Link, true crime author & memoirist; Sue Merrell, mystery/thriller author and memoirist; Lisa Orchard, young adult fiction author; Kris Nelson, creative director/principal, StoryLook Design; John Warnock, short story author, humorist and novelist


8:30 AM — Sign in and choose breakout sessions

9:00 AM — Intro and panel and Q&A with all participants present: So You’ve written the book… Now what? Is there a master list of tasks that need to be completed? A certain order to do things? What must every published or soon-to-be published author do?

9:50–10:00 AM — Break

10:00–10:50 AM — Breakout  Sessions I:

  1. Go Commando or No? Which is for You: Try to Find a Traditional Publisher, or Go the Self-Publishing Route? pros and cons of both (Lisa Orchard, Jon Warnock, Susan Bays of Arbutus Press, Ryan Hipp)
  2. Funding the Writer’s Life (Mardi Link)

10:50–11:00 AM — Break

11:00–11:50 AM — Breakout Sessions II:

  1. It’s Perfect Just As It Is, Thank You Very Much: Cover art, copyediting and more… why they can make or break your book’s success  (Kris Nelson, StoryLook Design; Susan Bays, Arbutus Press)
  2. “A Brilliant Debut!” Ways to promote/market  your book, and  tales of marketing fails and successes (John Forsberg — book trailers, Lisa Orchard, D.E. Johnson, Ryan Hipp)

11:50–12:50 PM — Lunch — not provided

12:50–1:40 PM — Breakout Sessions III

  1. The ABC’s of Children’s Books How are they different from/ the same as any other published book? Do’s and Don’ts, The Three Most Important Things (Kris Nelson, StoryLook Design;  Jon Bradley)
  2. Live and In-Person: Elements of a successful book reading/appearance — is there more to it than reading out loud? (Ryan Hipp, Sue Merrell)

1:45–2:30 PM — Drawing for Prizes and Networking Time: presenters/attendees mix, mingle, share and sell  books


Drawing “prizes”:

Susan Bays, Arbutus Press: personal consult TBD

Kris Nelson, StoryLook Design: personal consult TBD

Ryan Hipp, personal consult/topic of winner’s choice


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Written by Morgan J.

Morgan J.

Morgan J. is a KDL communications assistant. She spends summers as a “hood ornament” of sorts while her husband captains their old, cedar-sided pontoon down the Flat River. In the wintertime she counts the days until she’ll have her toes in the water again.

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