Free Writers Conference — Register Now!

2012authormittenNOTE: As of April 8, registration for this event is at capacity, though you may still register to be put on a waiting list. We will be unable to accommodate walk-ins.

Last year, nearly 100 people attended our inaugural Celebrate the Mitten Author Showcase, and we heard it over and over: please do this next year!

Consider it done. Registration is open for this year’s event, a free half-day writers conference featuring local publishing insiders and published authors who will lead sessions on how to market your book, out-of-the-box ways to make money as a writer and traditional vs. self-publishing, among other topics.

All 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 publishing pros in attendance. You do not need to have completed (or even started!) a book to attend.

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

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


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, Sue Merrell)
  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


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, memoirist and mystery/thriller author
Lisa Orchard, young adult fiction author
Kris Nelson, creative director/principal, StoryLook Design
John Warnock, short story author, humorist and novelist


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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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2 Responses to “Free Writers Conference — Register Now!”

  1. Wendy Says:

    Wow! Thanks for offering this great line-up.

  2. Tonya "Touchdown" Dallas Says:

    I am so excited! There is something truly for everyone at this conference.