We are trying something new this year with the schedule. Instead of scheduling three things in the same time slot each hour, on Friday of the con this year, we have made an effort to stagger the start times of every single event. There is still a lot going on, and, at times, you may have to choose; however, we have reduced the number of events happening simultaneously to better serve you.

One of the glorious benefits of our new hotel, is that everything is located on the same floor and right next to each other. It will cut down on traffic and travel time between panels, speakers, and other awesome stuff happening throughout the convention area.

Lunch on Friday is also a little different this year. Titanium pass holders have lunch scheduled at 1 PM. However, there is no break in the event schedule during lunch. We felt that by letting everyone go to lunch at their own pace, we wouldn’t overwhelm the restaurant. You can grab lunch when you want and get back to the action when the mood strikes.

******* Schedule will be updated regularly and is subject to change.*******

2-4 PM Early Registration/Badge Pick-up
4-6 PM MASTER CLASS: Revising, A Step-by-Step Method with CJ Redwine **

So You Wanna Run Off and Join the CircusMODERATED by Mindy Ruiz PANELISTS: Misty Provencher, Tia Bach, Casey Bond

You’ve decided to join this amazing circus that is writing, publishing, conventions and signings filled with beautiful freaks and wild ideas. If this is your first convention or signing, this could be the most important 60 minutes of your weekend! After registration, scouting out the bag of goodies you got and the initial shock and awe, you’re going to have questions about how to meet people, how to make the most of the con, and how to make it all worth the time, money and energy you are putting into it.

Join us for an hour that answers where to go, how best to fangirl without the threat of a restraining order, and why we celebrate embracing your inner peculiar. Extrovert or introvert, socially awkward or socialite, here is where you get your questions answered, meet other first timers and become part of a special group like no other during your time at UTOPiAcon.

8PM Welcome Mixer with special performance by The Novelistas

FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017
7:30AM Info/Registration Booth Opens – Pick up your badge
8:30 #UTOPiA2017 Official Begins!! Ringmaster Introduction
10 Signing + Exhibitor Hall Opens (Cumberland Ballroom)
10 B&N Bookstore Opens (Salon F)
10 MASTER CLASS: Save the Cat with Jose Silero (Salon G & H)**

PANEL: The Hybrid Author: Which Publishing Arm is Right for You? Whether you are considering self-publishing your book, going the traditional publishing route, or hoping for a hybrid life that incorporates both options, there are a whole new world of options available to you these days, digital and otherwise.

This panel will have people from all branches of the publishing tree sharing the questions you need to ask yourself and others, and how to be as prepared as possible for the path you choose. This is a panel for open and supportive discussion, not touting one path over another. Bring an open mind and your notebook.

10:30 THE DEDICATION: A Conversation with Vilma Gonzales
10:30 READING ROOM: Michele G. Miller/Mindy Hayes read from CHASING CARS AND THE LESSONS WE LEARNED
10:45 READING ROOM: Liz Long reads from DONOVAN CIRCUS
11 AM READING ROOM: Abbi Glines reads

PANEL: LASSO AN AGENT Moderated by NY Times bestselling author, C.J Redwine

PANELISTS: Author Jadah McCoy; Lauren MacLeod, Agent with The Strothman Agency

You’ve researched or experienced the pros and cons of each publishing path, and have decided that having an agent on your side is right for you and your future.

  • What should be in the Query letter?
  • What truly grabs an agent’s eye or heart above and beyond genre demands?
  • How do agents work with authors to help them define and achieve their goals?
  • What are the Realistic expectations authors should have of agents, and what should agents expect from authors in return?
  • What are all the ways agents work to expand your empire?

Find out in this session aimed at helping you find your perfect agent match.



Led by Dan Wood, Director of Operations and Author Relations at D2D

As a writer, you want to write. So when it comes to publishing, you could use a little support. Draft2Digital makes it easy. It’s time to uncomplicate formatting and the entire self-publishing process. D2D will share how you can save time getting your book from finished manuscript to published and distributed and in the hands of your fans.

Learn smarter self publishing, and discover the tools on how to do it.

Keep writing. Keep your rights. D2D will help with the rest.

11:15 READING ROOM: Tish Thawer reads from The Witches of BlackBrook
11:30 READING ROOM: Katie M. John reads
11:45 THE DEDICATION: A Conversation with Abbi Glines
12:30 READING ROOM: CJ Redwine reads

PANEL: THE ELECTRIC AUTHOR: Wattpad Reveals the Shocking Secrets to SuccessPresented by Caitlin O’Hanlon, Senior Talent Manager

PANELISTS: Alys Arden, Monica Sanz, Ali Novak

Wattpad is an entertainment platform that connects the world to millions of original stories. In a crowded and growing marketplace, Wattpad gives storytellers access to a monthly audience of 45 million people, approximately 90% of which are readers.

The ability for both self-published and traditionally published authors to share serialized stories for free, as well as interact directly with a highly engaged audience has made Wattpad a major force in the publishing industry and created a demand for Wattpad Stars and bestselling authors, such as Alys Arden, Anna Todd, and Beth Reekles (to name just a few).

Whether you are an unknown, unpublished author, or a regular bestseller like RL Stine or Christopher Pike, Wattpad can help your stories reach new eyes, give you unparalleled access to a highly-interactive audience, and introduce you to new and powerful ways to leverage and market your work.

Don’t miss this incredible panel hosted by Wattpad and Wattpad Stars to discover the power of community-based storytelling.

1 READING ROOM: Lichelle Slater reads from STEP RIGHT UP
1 PM Titanium (VIP) LUNCH
1:30 READING ROOM: Kelly St. Clare reads
2 READING ROOM: Ella James reads
2 PM MASTER CLASS: Improv for Authors**
2 PM

PANEL: WALKING THE TIGHTROPE FROM TWEEN TO TEEN: The Role of MG & YA Book in Building CharacterModerated by NY Times bestselling author, Chanda Hahn

How big a role do middle grade and young adult books play in helping kids navigate the awkward-to-awesome years?

From “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret” to “Harry Potter,” books can help youth feel less alone by reflecting who they are or who they want to be.

What makes a book Middle Grade or Young Adult? What topics are too taboo for these categories, if any? How is literature evolving in these categories? What trends are we seeing? How can MG and YA books do more to support parents, educators, and young readers themselves during this vital time of self-discovery?

2:15 READING ROOM: Cambria Hebert reads
2:30 READING ROOM: Chris Cannon reads
2:30 PANEL: Marketing Circus  with Kiki Chatfield of Next Step PR, Shawn McGuire, Alicia Rades
2:45 READING ROOM: Rysa Walker reads
3 PM Talk + Screening with Daniel Errico

PANEL: THE FORTUNE TELLER Presented by Christina Mercer, author of Bean Counting for Authors

Can you write off on your taxes your travel to conferences and signings? What about swag? Your home internet service, home office or mobile phone bill? What about the book printing itself, or banners?

How do you manage all the costs associated with birthing your book into the world – the editing, the formatting, the printing, the marketing/advertising?

For those who truly want to make a living as an author, it’s imperative to be money wise.

This session will demystify the money side of your biz. It will show you how to keep track and manage your money, create and live on a budget, and reveal how to report it to Uncle Sam without losing an arm and a leg.

3:30 READING ROOM: Nely Cab reads from MARKER OF HOPE
4:15 READING ROOM: Isaac Marion reads from THE BURNING WORLD

PANEL: The Amazing YOUdini Moderator: Amy Donnelly, Alchemy and Words

Every single person has something about him or herself that sets them apart. Maybe that thing made your teen years hell. Maybe that thing is what set you on your chosen path. Maybe that thing is something you still hide for fear of what others might think.

Maybe that thing is just the thing the world needs. Maybe…just maybe…that thing is YOUR thing, and it makes the world less boring. Maybe it can make you stronger. It already makes you unique.

This panel is being led by rock stars who aren’t afraid to let their weird show. They will share how the thing that made them feel different is THE thing that they needed to accept and love.

Find out how to embrace your awkward…your awesome. It’s time to raise your freak flag.

5 PM

PANEL: THE BRAND FREAK Presented by Regina Wamba, award-winning book cover designer and photgrapher of Mae I Design


  • There are approximately 400,000 books released each year…and that’s just in the U.S.
  • You have less than 6 seconds to attract and keep the attention of a passing eye.
  • The right book cover can triple the sales of your book
  • Giving your old book series a makeover can increase your passive monthly sales of that series
  • The cover is your book’s first chance to make a lasting impression

In addition to images, typography and design elements not only of your book covers (does the spine really matter?), but also teasers, your web site, your timeline cover images and thumbnails needs to be consistently ON BRAND and INSPIRING.

In this session, you will get in the hotseat with Regina Wamba, who has designed book covers for oodles of New York Times and USA Today best sellers. You will learn why genres tend to have the same types of cover design trends, the crucial elements you must have, the stuff you need to not ever do, and a lucky few will get hands-on help during the session!!!

5:00 READING ROOM: Jack Wilder reads
5:30 PANEL: Book Blogging, Booktubing, Bookstagramming – the social, inspirational, and trendsetting world of book influencers
5:30 READING ROOM: Chanda Hahn reads
5:45 READING ROOM: Shannon Mayer reads FURY OF A PHOENIX
6 PM Signing + Exhibitor Hall Closes for the day
7 PM THE DEDICATION: A Conversation with Isaac Marion
8 PM FILM SCREENING: WARM BODIES with Isaac Marion live commentary
10 PM Game Night

8:00AM Info/Merch Booth Opens
8:30 Morning Announcements
9 AM KEYNOTE COUCH: Janet Wallace, founder of UTOPiAcon, is joined on stage by bestselling authors where they discuss the state of the industry, the triumphs, the struggles, having a good support system, things to know, hopes for the future, etc.
11 AM Signing + Exhibitor Hall Opens (Cumberland Ballroom)
1 PM  LUNCH (Hall closed during lunch)
2 PM Signing + Exhibitor Hall Re-opens (Cumberland Ballroom)
4 PM Signing + Exhibitor Hall Closes
6 PM Pre-Awards Happy Hour + Paisley Reception
7:30 Titanium (VIP), Nominees seating begins for Sixth Annual UTOPiA Awards
8 PM General Seating begins for Sixth Annual UTOPiA Awards
8:30 The Sixth Annual UTOPiA Awards Begins with special performance by Beth Crowley

SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2017
9 AM Info/Merch Booth Opens
9:30 AM UTOPiAcon Closing Ceremonies – Giveaways, Prizes, Farewell
12 PM  Good-bye