9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Session One

Finding Your Direction:  So You Want to Be a Writer … and you’re wondering how to get started. During this back-to-the-basics session, we’ll explore the foundations of establishing a solid writing career. What’s your genre? Do you want to be a novelist or a non-fiction writer? How do you go about getting an agent or publisher? We’ll talk about various markets, types of publishing opportunities, and the differences between writing proposals and manuscripts. Achieving your writing goals is much easier when you have a clear outline to follow! Presented by Lisa Howard. LECTURE

The Theme’s the Thing:  What’s the difference between story and theme? Does your book need a theme? Can a book develop a theme without the author’s knowledge? Will a theme help sell my work? This workshop covers the importance of theme in commercial literature. We’ll discuss different types of themes, how to find or create them in your own work, and use some writing exercises to uncover hidden themes. Presented by Steven Piziks. WORKSHOP

Mirror, Not Movie Screen: Getting Personal Through Persona – Poetry Workshop: Persona poetry is often painted with the broadest of brushes: the villain makes his case for really being a good guy, the voiceless are granted voices, a fairy tale is retold. Again. However, an often overlooked aspect of persona is the opportunity to use familiar characters or archetypes to reveal more about not just human nature, but the human sitting at the keyboard or holding the pen. We’ll discuss some of the untapped potential of persona, examine poems that reflect more than just the character doing the speaking, and use the mask of persona to strip off the masks in our own writing. Presented by Karrie Waarala WORKSHOP

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Session Two

Getting Published – Write It, Finish It, Send It Out:  So the book is done.  Now what?  This presentation will cover the nuts and bolts of submitting a manuscript.  It goes over finding an agent or editor, how to write a query letter, proper manuscript format, and what to say when you get the magic phone call from a publisher. Presented by Steven Piziks. LECTURE

Topics in Women’s Writing: Women bring different elements to the writing process; their perspectives on life are different, as well as society’s expectations.  These conditions shape their work and their writing process.  This panel of four unique writers, each with different platforms and genres, will explore topics in writing that are generally experienced and covered by women writers, and will discuss the marketplace for these topics. Presented by Erin Rawlings, Satori Shakoor, Jessica Watson and Lynn Cobb. PANEL DISCUSSION

2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Session Three

Social Media Branding:  Social media is changing the way that business is done, but how can writers use these tools to grow their business? This session will focus on how to create a brand that can be promoted in an authentic way. There will be an overview of different social media platforms such as Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and LinkedIn. Although social media has the power to open many doors, people can feel overwhelmed with all the different platforms. How to create and manage content for these sites will be some of the main takeaways of this session. Presented by Erin Rawlings. LECTURE

Don’t Write What You Know:  The internet insures we all know a lot. Writers need to figure out how to use what they know without becoming subservient to fact. A war vet might include details of combat in his work, but his experience should empower his imagination not restrict it. Use the inspiration derived from experience and then water it with your imagination. What matters in good writing is character, those constructions of imagination that transcend our biases and agendas, our egos and entitlements and flesh. Bret Anthony Johnston said, “Trust your powers of empathy and invention. Trust the example of the authors you love to read—Flaubert: “Emma, c’est moi”—and trust that your craft, when braided with compassion, will produce stories that matter both to you and to readers you’ve never met.” Learning to use experiences to your advantage, without letting it overpower creative impulses, will be discussed. Presented by Kelly Fordon. WORKSHOP

Magazine Editors’ Panel:  Local Magazine and Newspaper editors host a discussion on how to pitch publications, particularly the ones they represent. What do you need to know to pitch? What departments of the publication is open to freelancers? How much do they pay? What kind of articles are they looking for? Presented by Becky Repp of American Road Magazine, R.J. King of DBusiness. PANEL DISCUSSION

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Session Four

Beyond Freelance Writing – Write out of the Box:  Discussion how to secure a non-fiction writing project via networking and reviewing advertising materials, newsletters and websites of small business owners. Explore opportunities with personal bios, charity events & fundraisers, flyers, newsletters, press releases, proofing & editing small business documents, resumes & cover letters, social media, and more. Presented by Debbie Leveski. LECTURE

Making the Self-Publishing Choice – What you Need to Know:  If you’ve decided on self-publishing your masterpiece, congratulations! However, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Learn more about the production and marketing decisions you need to make, which vendors you can rely on, and some of the costs you could face. Presented by Shannon Janeczek of Publish Savvy. LECTURE

Presentations for the October 4, 2014 Rochester Writers’ Conference will consist of Lectures (classroom style), Workshops (hands-on lecture) and Panel Discussions (Q&A).

Please Note: All events take place in the Oakland Center of Oakland University (2200 N Squirrel Road, Rochester, MI 48309). Use parking lot 2 and walk south (opposite the pond) for the shortest distance into the Oakland Center. In addition, use parking lot 1 (the big lot off Squirrel Road) and walk east toward the building. The Oakland Center is positioned between the lots and the Clock Tower. Look for Bright Yellow Signs. The Oakland Center is #13 on the Campus Map.