2014 Panels

Men are from Mars

They see you in your writing uniform of sweatpants or pajamas. They’ve lovingly navigated the “I’ve written the best chapter ever in the history of the known literary universe” and the “This book is crap – I should burn it and never write again” with wine and chocolate (for you, not them). They have held down the fort, fed the kids, kissed your unwashed hair, challenged you, tolerated you, and enCOURAGEd you while you conquer you fears and lead your dreams.

In this panel you’ll hear from the men who boldly go where they are told 😉 They will share their secrets on how to balance the writing cave with the man cave while supporting the writer in the home. Their time has come.

YA vs NA: Today and Tomorrow

The New Adult category is hotter than a dripping wet Channing Tatum wearing nothing but a very small, damp towel. The background on this category is muddied at best. Some would say it’s a must-have sub group while others will say it’s just a marketing trick. In this “coming of age” panel, we will talk about the evolution of the categories, as well as the marketing and meaning of both.

Have we just reached the tip of the iceberg on the possibilities and lifespan of supernatural YA/NA or are its days numbered? Will the beloved series get longer or shorter? What are YA and NA audiences clamoring for more of? We’ll look at the trends in books, sales and culture to see what’s ahead.

Supermassive Black Hole: The Legal Panel

“Help! I’m an author, not a lawyer.” As self-published and indie authors continue to flood the market, many are being faced with complex legal issues that they never dreamed would be an issue when they wrote their first draft. Self-published authors bear all of their own legal responsibilities. Sometimes authors don’t even realize the legal pitfalls that they could be inadvertently exposing themselves to. These pitfalls include the use of images, quotes, and other materials from copyrighted works, the nature and amount of a published work that can be quoted, portrayals of real people in fictional works, including standards for famous and non-famous individuals, and the importance of copyright registration.

Further, most authors forget that they are also small business owners. This also brings a host of legal issues that self-published authors must contend with, including interpreting contacts, tax, accounting, and marketing issues. The panel will address these important issues as well as a host of others that self-published authors should be aware of.

RadLits – The Craziest Word Game in the Universe™

RADLITSIn conjunction with the hottest rising stars in young and new adult fiction, utopYA presents a spin on the childhood game of MadLibs, where one person prompts players for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story. We have invited Quinn Loftis, Keary Taylor, Chelsea Fine, Amy Bartol, Tiffany King, Heather Self and more authors (TBA) to submit scenes where YOU, the audience, LIVE at #utopYA2014 will replace the:


  • nouns
  • verbs
  • adverbs
  • crazy sounds
  • body parts
  • person in room
  • adjectives
  • proper names

…etc, with your own crazy words and phrases, creating a whole new mashed up scene from your favorite YA and NA books!

Redacted Script – The Editing Panel

Your heart’s in the right place, but your comma isn’t. Are there new rules or is it every woman for herself in the rush to publish? The most common mistakes, what to look for in an editor, how to handle online comments, and when to press GO! All this and more will be covered in this important session.

Putting 2gether a KICK A** Street Team

Your star is rising, and you want to get your books into the hands of more eager readers out there. How do you put together a loyal and amazing team of determined fans turned evangelists for your books? This panel digs into how to find the best, how to strategically get the word out about your books, and how to keep the team inspired and excited…even between books.

All Things Publishing: Rise of the Hybrid Author

Whether you are self/indie-published or traditionally published, there’s a whole new world of options available to you, digital and otherwise. Is there such a thing as D.I.Y anymore? Are you pooling resources and creating your own team, or are you wanting to run with the big cats? There is no right answer here. It’s what works best for you. This panel will have people from both camps sharing the pros and cons of both so that you can make an informed decision. This is a panel for open and encouraging discussion, not bashing one way over another. Bring an open mind and your notebook.

Blog Your Face Off

In this special panel, the group will talk blog tours from the author and blogger side. You’ll learn why every writer who wants to be taken seriously needs to know how they work, what it takes to put one together, and why knowing the people on this panel can change your career.

Quantum Query

What your query letter and synopsis must have to attract and hold the attention of the agent and publisher. What your query letter must avoid if it wants to make it past the slush pile.

Amazon Marketing 101

It’s the world’s largest bookstore. But once you list your book on Amazon…then what do you do? Did you know they give you free marketing if you know how to work their simple system? In this panel, you’ll discover:

• How to pick the right categories for you to make the best-seller lists.

• How to use tags properly.

• How to hit the Top Rated List without much effort and minimal sales.

• The value of Reviews.

• The importance of pricing and whether or not it pays to advertise.

Judging a Book by Its Cover

In the digital world, YA authors often change book covers every few months. Confusing or Creative? When can you tell a book by its cover, and how important is that first impression people have of your book, both in print and online? Book models have also become a HOTT commodity. Meet one and discover how these models are becoming integral to the success of some of your favorite series out there.

POV: Breaking All the Rules

YA lives up to its name when it comes to point of view, editing and storytelling. Do you write in first person, third person, both? Do you switch character points of view?While it drives purists insane, it drives readers wild with delight. What’s your point of view?

How to Make a Hollywood-worthy Book Trailer

Book trailers have gone from “that would be cool to have” to a “MUST HAVE” for authors. Find out the elements, the copyright laws, and the hooks that can move your trailer from ho-hum to awesome.

Supernovellas – The New Wave of Serials

Serials, full-length stories delivered to the readers in short-form chunks (usually between 15-50+pages) more frequently than traditional novels or novellas, have turned housewives into full-time authors living the dream. In this panel we talk about the pros and cons of the serial series.

Beyond the Book: Bold Breakthroughs in Marketing

Has it all been done? How do you get the attention of fans and publishers, build raving fans, give your marketing and your book longevity — all while trying to relate to the fans, write the next book and have a life? This session will talk podcasting, trans-media marketing and other innovative tools and strategies you MUST know to boost your image and your sales.

What a Difference a Year Makes

The dramatic effect that the first two utopYA conferences had on attendees and panelists was profound, and beyond our (and their) wildest dreams. Hear how one author’s monthly income increased tenfold in only a couple of months after taking the advice of two of her favorite authors she met at utopYA. Hear stories of those who got published, those who made new and lasting friendships, and those who made career contacts and connections that have propelled their careers faster and better than they expected. The panelists will share their personal story of how the year has impacted them, and how you can make the most of utopYA, too.

The Pricing Puzzle

Book pricing is at the center of much debate in the new publishing landscape. Traditionally published authors are now competing with a growing number of determined self-published authors in the same online marketplaces. Should books be free? 99 cents? $14.98? This panel will look at the debate over debut pricing, and what strategies are working out there.

Music as Muse

Music is often an additional character in YA books, adding texture, personality and mood to scenes. What’s more, though, is the authors, themselves, are thanking musicians in the acknowledgments for not only inspiring the creative process, but being crucial to it. In this session we’ll talk about who they are and why they really do, on some level, play the part as muse for the writer.

Sharing the Spotlight – 2 Heads are Better than 1

Have a book in you, but not sure how to execute it? Work better with a partner? Need accountability and a sounding board for your creativity? The pros and cons of writing as a team will be shared in this interesting panel.

The Big Bang: The Genesis of a New World

The creative process intertwines with research to create rich, believable characters, settings, and mythology that keep the reader coming back for more. Learn how to do this well from authors at the top of their game.

Fictionalizing World Causes & Teen Issues

Homosexuality, racial, religious, environmental and world-stage causes, women’s issues and more will be discussed in this pivotal panel on how to approach these topics in your book with accuracy and care.

Stellar Swag

Where do the authors get all that awesome promotional stuff? And where do they get it at a reasonable price? This panel will share with you the tips and treats that have made the difference in giveaways, branding and bling in their careers.

Damsel in Distress VS Bad A** Babe

Are we empowering women or promoting a stereotype of the girl in need of protection by a strong man? You decide in this sure-to-be-heated session. One of our most popular panels each year, and the discussion isn’t over yet.

Expand Your Universe: A How-to guide for Newbies & Introverts

Writers are inherently isolated creatures — even the most extroverted still have hints of insecurity that tend to hold them back from effectively networking at conferences. Let’s face it; writers work and play with imaginary friends most days and nights. This panel aims to provide an interactive how-to workshop on how to network for the wallflower or newbie. What to say past “I love your book.” And how to step out of your comfort zone, approach any group, and add them to your “clump” or tribe of collaborators, conspirators and friends.

Buy your tickets now before the price goes up: