Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Too Many Choices, Part III

The last two posts described six of the nine breakout sessions at the 2017 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference, and this post will cover the remaining three. Each of the workshops listed below is designed to help writers sell their books. Read on for more information.

They DO Judge a Book by Its Cover: Cover Design 101 for Authors

When readers aren’t familiar with your work, what draws them to your books? The beginning paragraphs are important, but potential buyers must open the book to read them. The cover is usually the first thing that catches readers’ eyes and makes them look inside. Self-published authors are responsible for designing or selecting their own covers, so how can you make your cover stand out in a good way? This workshop uses discussion, exercises and examples to share sure-fire methods for creating great book covers.

Rod Martinez is the recipient of the 2017 Jerry Spinelli Scholarship from the Highlights Foundation. He writes middle grade fiction and has published a half dozen books. To view his book covers and find other information about Rod, go to 

Online Marketing: Using Your Website to Maximize Sales

It’s common knowledge that every author needs a website, but what do you do with it when you have it? J. Steven Young’s session answers that question and provides advice on simple and economical ways to enhance your website and build your marketing platform.

As a writer, Steven has authored over a dozen books ranging from early childhood activity books to YA fantasy. As a marketer, he utilizes cost-effective and free tools to boost exposure and sales and to streamline the self-marketing process. Steven combines his technology training with his love of writing by holding webinars, providing individual training, and engaging in consulting work to show authors how to brand themselves and sell their books in a digital world. You can learn more about him at  

Picking Up the Mic: Using Performance Storytelling to Enhance Promotional Opportunities

Do you give library presentations or school talks, or are you looking for a way to increase attendance at book signings? Performance storytelling can generate interest and add value to those promotional opportunities. In this workshop, Mary Dean Cason and Gregg Fraley will help writers find their spoken voice and will provide essential tools and techniques to be better story performers.

Mary Dean Cason teaches the art and craft of live storytelling and has performed at venues throughout Chicago, Northwest Indiana, and Mexico. She is the founder of Wine, Women & Stories, co-founder of Indigan Storyteller, and co-creator of Michiana Stories. Mary Dean is the author of What Solomon Saw and Other Stories, the recipient of the Pinch Literary Award, and the winner of the University of Chicago’s 2008 Writer’s Prize for Fiction. For more information, check out her website at

Gregg Fraley is an author, speaker, creativity consultant, and radio host. His program, “Michiana Story Hour,” airs on WRHC in Three Oaks, Michigan. You can find out more about him at

As noted in the first post in this series, the Conference Committee hasn’t set the actual schedule yet, so it is too early to know which of the nine breakout sessions will conflict. But with this lineup, you can’t lose.

Registration for the 2017 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference is now open. Sign up at and join us at Fair Oaks Farms on October 28.

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