These live, pre-conference workshops give attendees a chance to learn from successful authors in small groups, where they receive one-on-one guidance and hands-on experience in specific areas. Check this page for more information about group submission instructions, instructors, deadlines, and other pre-conference instructions.
Setting the Stage on the Page: Making the WHERE Matter
A good story can transport us to another place. A great story can use setting to develop character, advance a plot, and highlight themes. We’ll discuss some basic principles of world-building and then explore ways to help describe a setting without getting bogged down in the details, how to keep track of characters as they move through the geography, and the power that can come when the exterior landscape reflects the internal dynamics of a character.
About the instructor:
Lisa Mangum has worked in publishing since 1997. She has been the Managing Editor for Shadow Mountain since 2014 and has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors. While fiction is her first love, she also has experience working with nonfiction projects.
Lisa is also the author of four national best-selling YA novels (The Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello), several short stories and novellas, and a nonfiction book about the craft of writing based on the TV show Supernatural. She has edited several anthologies about various magical creatures, pirates, and food for WordFire Press. She regularly teaches at writing conferences, including hosting a writing weekend in Capitol Reef National Park through UVU. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.
Marketing for Dummies
You need to up your marketing game, but you’re flailing in a sea of options. Ads! Instagram! TikTok! Newsletters! Group promos! Paid promos! You have to launch a new book! You need to pump your backlist! You have now spun out into the void of Overwhelm. These two experienced authors will help you develop a marketing strategy that fits your skills and bandwidth and set goals for what to tackle when you’re ready for your next level up.
About the Instructors:
Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She lives in Southern California with her husband and children, a series of doomed houseplants, and a naughty miniature schnauzer. She holds a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a USA Today bestseller and a four-time Whitney Award winner for contemporary romance.
Jenny Proctor is an award-winning author of more than fourteen romantic comedies and an Amazon bestseller. She began her career in publishing in 2013; her writing has been a constant since then, but she’s also spent time as the owner and managing editor of Midnight Owl Editors and as the chair of the Storymakers Conference.
Awesome Author Websites
Does the idea of a website make you break out in a cold sweat? Have no fear. This workshop will go over all the basics of web design (choosing between hosting platforms, buying a domain, and how to pick a template), what every author website should have (downloadable press kits, best practices for contact pages, and embedding newsletters, oh my!) in order to make the maximum impact on librarians, schools, agents, and other industry professionals. It’s ideal if you already have a site at least set up (even if it’s temporary and empty!), for this class. Let’s walk away from this workshop with an author website you can be proud of.
About the instructor:
Tiana Smith is a web designer turned novelist who grew up in the Rocky Mountains. She graduated from Westminster University with double degrees in Honors and English with a focus in creative writing. In her spare time she’s learning sign language with her hard of hearing husband and she volunteers with special needs individuals attending the bi-weekly activities for Utah County’s SNAP program. She is the author of MATCH ME IF YOU CAN and HOW TO SPEAK BOY, both from Macmillan. Her latest book, THE SPY AND I, is coming from Berkley / Penguin Random House in February 2024.
You’re Going to be Published: Now what?
Sometimes we are so focused on getting to publication, we forget to make a plan for what will happen next. This class will discuss things you can do both before and after the contract is in place to give your next book its best chance for success.
About the instructor:
Jennifer Nielsen is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of a lot of books.
First pages workshop
With a small student-teacher ratio, this fabulous workshop is one of our most popular. And this year we are expanding our staple categories to include picture books, non-fiction, and short stories. You will get to share the first ten pages of your current manuscript with an author/editor instructor who is an expert in your genre, as well as the other members of your group. Sign up and get to know others who write in your genre and get constructive, personalized feedback!
As part of the workshop, you will be expected to review and make notes on the pages of each group member prior to attending. Then, during the workshop, you will meet with your assigned group and receive specific feedback on those pages from your instructor and group.
Using Three-Act Structure in Four Parts (We’re Editors, Not Mathematicians)
In this workshop, Waypoint Editors Jo and Megan will show you how to build a plot starting at the end and moving backward in a forward kind of way. Whether you’re a plotter, a pantser, or even a plantser (like us!), we’ll discuss the major plot elements that belong in a story and use them to help you create a workable first draft or give you the keys to fix an existing manuscript. You’ll leave the workshop with all the tools you need to get that novel on paper. Most importantly, we’ll show you how to use a plotting structure and still keep your creative flair.
About the Instructors:
Megan Clements is a born and bred Idaho girl with a love for writing across genres. She is an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach and developmental editor co-owner at Waypoint Authors. She and Jo co-authored the book From Spark to Story–Using Editorial Eyes to Draft, Revise, and Turn Your Idea into a Full-Blown Novel. Not only is she a book coach helping authors discover their own voice, but you can find her on the volleyball court, coaching high school athletes to reach their potential. You can find Megan on TikTok or Instagram at @megeditsbooks.
Jo (Jolene Perry, founder and co-owner) is a middle and high school teacher turned author. She began her publishing career in 2010, when she signed her first publication contract. Since that time, Jolene has written YA contemporary novels for Simon Pulse, Entangled/Macmillan, and Albert Whitman Teen. She’s also independently published a handful of novels and novellas for both young adults and adults. You can find Jolene on her website at www.jowritesbooks.com
Step by Step Self Publishing Guide
From creating an author account to basic marketing, Clarissa will break down the self publishing process. She’ll explain the difference between wide and exclusive while busting common misperception of the indie world—you don’t need to break the bank to make a buck.
About the instructor:
Clarissa Kae founded Carpe Vitam Press and orchestrated bestselling multi author collaborative anthologies Horses, Hounds and Happily Ever After and Once Upon a Fairytale . She is the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director and Conference Coordinator. She’s a former contributor for Equus and editor for Writer’s Digest. She’s the author of Award Winning Once And Future Wife and her Victorian Fairy Retellings, A Dark Beauty and Cinders Like Glass.
The Craft of Building a Series
This class will explore how to construct a series that captures and retains reader interest across multiple books. It will delve into strategies for maintaining reader engagement, building tension, ensuring narrative consistency, and delivering on promises while providing satisfying endings for each installment along the way.
About the instructor:
J. Scott Savage is the author of both the Mysteries of Cove and the Farworld middle grade fantasy series and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has published 20 books, visited more than 3,000 schools, and taught dozens of writing classes.
A color-coded approach to self-edit your manuscript. Focus on the problems in your syntax—which words to delete when, what to rewrite or restructure, how to keep POV and tense consistent, which action beats and dialogue tags to use or avoid, and when your sentences are too sticky.
About the instructor:
Talysa Sainz is a freelance editor and award-winning author who believes life’s deepest truths can be found in fiction. She runs her own editing business and spends her time at the library or volunteering with the League of Utah Writers. Always fascinated with the structure of words, she studied English Linguistics and Editing at BYU. She then went on to receive a Master of Science in Management and Leadership, focusing on nonprofit work, from WGU. Talysa is the President of the Utah Freelance Editors.
Create your own book cover for $13 or less
Whether you’re bordering on broke or simply have a vision no one else will be able to fulfill, sometimes the right option is making a cover yourself. In this class, we will explore the importance of fonts and subject placement, learn how to work with Amazon’s guidelines, and the basics of inexpensive programs like Krita and Canva. Come to learn tricks of the trade from a professional book cover artist, and leave with the tools to make a spectacular cover of your own, regardless of artistic skill.
About the instructor:
Quiana Chase-Gines is an artist and author who lives a vibrant life filled with acting gigs, heresy, and teaching teenagers how to write essays. Her debut novel, My Brother Is Human, is currently the featured sci-fi publication of Drabatic Press, and her novella The Only Knight Who Wept won an honorable mention for the Writers of the Future contest. When she isn’t writing, she works as a substitute teacher and book cover artist. Quiana currently lives in Utah with her spouse and two cats.
The first session will be held from 12:00-2:45 and the second session will be from 3:15-6:00. All classes will be offered during both sessions except for “Advanced Self Editing” which will only be in the first session, and “Create Your Own Book Cover for $13 or Less,” which will only be in the second session.
If the Thursday Workshop you wanted to attend is already full, please return to your registration and you will be given the option of joining a waitlist.
- January 26: Storymakers Conference Registration
- March 7: Survey Responses Due (First Pages only)
- March 15: Last Day for Cancellation or Refund
- March 28: Group Assignments/Submission Instructions Sent Out
- April 11: First Pages Due
- April 18: First Pages Given to Instructors & Members
- May 9: Thursday Workshop Day
All Thursday workshops will be live only this year. There will not be a virtual option. Workshops will be just $50 per session. You can’t beat these deals!
Attendees will receive their group assignments after March 28, 2024. They should be prepared to submit required materials no later than April 11, 2024. The last day to cancel Thursday Workshops and receive a refund is March 15, 2024. No refund can be given after this day.
Emails with information about your Thursday Workshops will be sent out closer to the conference. Please watch for this email in your inbox (or spam) folder. If you have any questions, you can reach out to our Thursday Workshops team.
What day are the workshops?
Thursday, May 9th, 2024.
Can I sign up for more than one workshop?
Yes! You can do just the first session, just the second session, or both.
I’ve registered for a workshop but haven’t received an email. Help?
All initial instruction letters are posted on the website under our Thursday Workshop page. It is each attendee’s responsibility to go to the site and follow the instructions pertaining to their workshop. Once that is done, if further instructions are needed, they will be emailed to you. All due dates are listed under each workshop on the website.
We will reply with an acknowledgment of receipt within three business days after you send us your materials. If you don’t receive acknowledgment, please contact us at the Thursday Workshops email.
How long is each workshop?
2 hours and 45 minutes.
Where will the workshops be held?
Workshops will be held on the 3rd floor of the Utah Valley Convention Center in downtown Provo, Utah.
May I wear pajamas?
Sure. Come prepared to interact and work in whatever makes you most comfortable. It is a good idea to bring a jacket or sweater, or to dress in layers, since each person responds to temperatures differently.
Can I bring my kids to the workshop(s)?
We love children, but having them with you during a focused workshop will be a distraction to you and others in your group. If you have a nursing infant, you may bring him/her, however, we strongly suggest bringing someone to care for your infant while you are in session.
What if I don’t get my materials to my mentor by the date?
If you miss your deadline, your instructor is no longer required to read your materials before the conference. Our instructors are offering their valuable time to help us, and our dates are chosen to give them enough time to complete their preparations before the conference. Please be considerate of your instructor(s) and send your materials in on time.
Is there a wait list once a workshop is full?
Yes. A link to the list will be published on this page once it’s available.
Will attendees be able to transfer their workshop spot to another person?
No. If cancellation occurs before the refund deadline, a refund will be issued to you and we will offer your spot to the next person on the waiting list. If your cancellation comes after the refund deadline, you will forfeit your registration fee and your spot in the workshop.
Can I request my instructor?
With all of the factors that go into creating our groups, accommodations cannot be made. However, please rest assured that we match you as closely as possible to your instructors.
Do I have to do work before the workshop?
Maybe. Some workshops require you to fill out forms, quizzes, or submit pages to group members before the conference. If you are in one of these workshops, you will be given instructions beforehand. Please check for emails the Thursday Workshops committee in your spam/junk folder if you are not receiving emails about your workshops.
Will there be snacks provided? Can I bring my own?
We will have a thirty-minute break between workshop sessions and will provide a snack to those attending in-person. Snacks may contain gluten, dairy, or nuts, and none of them will be certified allergy free. The convention center does not allow us to bring in outside food. There is a small concession stand inside the center for your convenience, as well as places to purchase food near the venue.
Will there be a ramp for wheelchair access?
We have elevators that reach the third floor, which is where our Thursday Workshops are located. You will need to use the elevators that are located near the escalators, as the other elevators only reach the second floor.