[big_header]Welcome to UTOPYA CON! Our mission is twofold:[/big_header] [bullets icon=”0031.png”]
  • To bring together a community of collaborative authors and experts to help established and aspiring authors not only sustain, but create thriving, long-lasting careers.
  • To offer readers, both young and young-at-heart, a safe place to swoon over fictional vampires, werewolves, angels and demons, while providing opportunities to meet their literary idols.
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With that in mind, we worked to bring sessions for both writers and fans that we hope will educate, entertain, promote and inspire all attendees.

* All panels are subject to change.

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[big_header]Daily Panel & Event Schedule[/big_header] [agenda] [day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]Day 1 – Friday[/day] [event time=”7:00AM” room=”Laskey Great Hall“]

REGISTRATION BEGINS

Pick up your badge and Welcome Bag. Buy your limited edition poster or T-shirt at the merch booth. [/event] [event time=”8:00AM” room=”WELCOME“]

WELCOME

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  • Opening announcements
  • Daily raffles
[/bullets][/event] [event time=”9:00AM” room=”Laskey Great Hall“]

KEYNOTE: Jennifer L. Armentrout

JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT, the incredibly talented author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (Fall 2013), will be kicking off utopYA 2013 on Friday, June 28th as our featured keynote speaker.
Jennifer’s approach to her prolific work and to the genre is a lesson in perseverance, authenticity and heart. As she shares her unconventional approach to publication, you will agree that she is truly an inspiration to a generation of rising authors out there.
Her keynote will begin at 9 AM on Friday, June 28th, and afterward she will be signing books and visiting with fans.
[/event] [day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]10:00AM Sessions[/day] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall B “]

HIT THE TARGET: WRITING FOR MULTIPLE AUDIENCES

MODERATOR: K. P. Simmon

PANELISTS: SM Reine, author | Quinn Loftis, author | M. Leighton, author | Samantha Young, author

These days it seems more and more authors are writing more than one book at the same time. Not only that, but each book is being written for a different audience and sometimes even a different genre. How do you keep all the balls in the air without losing sight of a solid story? How do you keep your audience happy, your publishing schedule on track and your sanity? This panel will share the secret sauce.[/event] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

JUDGING THE BOOK BY ITS COVER

MODERATOR: April Robbins

PANELISTS: Victoria Faye Alday, designer | Georgia Cates, author | Regina Wamba, designer | Frankie Rose, author

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?.[/event] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

GODDESS COMPLEX: THE GENESIS OF A NEW WORLD

MODERATOR: Jessie Peacock

PANELISTS: Rashelle Workman, author | A.G. Henley, author | R.K. Ryals, author | L. M. Davis, author

The creative process intertwines with research to create rich, believable characters, settings and mythology that keep the reader coming back for more.[/event] [day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]11:00AM Sessions[/day] [event time=”11:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Ella James, author | Heather Self, author | Teal Haviland, author | Amy Evans, author | KP Simmon, publicist/author

The dramatic effect that the first utopYAcon 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 months after taking the advice of two of her favorite authors she met at utopYA.Hear other the 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.[/event] [event time=”11:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

HOW TO KEEP THE SIZZLE IN PARANORMAL ROMANCE

MODERATOR: Quinn Loftis

PANELISTS: Shelly Crane, author | Heather Hildenbrand, author | Brina Courtney, author | M. Leighton, author

How many different ways are there (really) to write about a kiss?How do you keep the fans and the writer as excited as the “first time” they read about the frisson and the fire?This panel will share how they tap into new creative depths to keep the readers coming back for more, more, more. We may even read a few aloud. SWOON.[/event] [event time=”11:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

TEENS WRITING FOR TEENS

MODERATOR: Kallie Mathews

PANELISTS: Kacie Bawiec, author | Three “A Novel Idea” students | Kristen House, “A Novel Idea” founder

This panel will be lead by teens who are writing YA right now.Their point of view on what is happening in publishing, writing, storylines, and balancing it all will blow your mind.Do not miss this amazing panel![/event] [/agenda] [lunch time=”12:00″]It’s a lunch time. Rest & refuel![/lunch] [agenda] [day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]1:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”1:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

BATTLING LIFE: YA VS NA LITERATURE

MODERATOR: K. P. Simmon

PANELISTS: Addison Moore, author | Elizabeth Kirke, author | Jessica Sorensen, author| Chelsea Fine, author | M. Leighton, author

The Young Adult category is hotter than a dripping wet Channing Tatum wearing nothing but a very small, damp towel. Another category gaining equal amounts of the hotness factor is New Adult. 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 genre, the marketing and meaning of it all.[/event] [event time=”1:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

DAMSEL IN DISTRESS VS BADASS BABE: A Look At Gender Roles In YA

MODERATOR: Samantha Young

PANELISTS: SM Reine, author | Chanda Hahn, author | H.D. Gordon, author | Frankie Rose, author

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. A very popular panel last year, and the discussion isn’t over yet.[/event] [event time=”1:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: How to Navigate Cliques & Promote Your Book

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Teal Haviland, author | C. J. Redwine, author | Misty Provencher, author | Kacie Bawiec, teen author

Not so long ago, the digital self-publishing space was like the great Goldrush out West. All were welcome, and there was plenty of room for everyone.Now, in a time where everyone is trying to make their dreams come true and take advantage of the digital space, how do you break into the cliques who started it all with grace, courage and success? How do you stand out in the crowd, stand up for your “shelf space” your book occupies, and prove to the ones who came before you – both the readers and the authors – that you belong there.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda]

 

[day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]2:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”2:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

QUERY LETTER ZONE

MODERATOR: D.B. Graves

PANELISTS: Jessie Peacock, author | C J Redwine, author | Theresa Oliver, publisher | A. G. Henley, author

What your query letter 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.[/event] [event time=”2:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

FICTIONALIZING WORLD CAUSES & TEEN ISSUES

MODERATOR: Tiffany King

PANELISTS: Kacie Bawiec, author | Elizabeth Kirke, author | Chanda Hahn, author | Amy Evans, author

Homosexuality, 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.[/event] [event time=”2:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

EDITING IN THE DIGITAL WORLD

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Jennifer Chesak, editor, publisher | Hollie Westring, editor |

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.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]3:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”3:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

LOVE TRIANGLES: OVERDONE OR NOT ENOUGH

MODERATOR: Kallie Mathews

PANELISTS: Chelsea Fine, author | Addison Moore, author | Delphina Miyaress, blogger | R. K. Ryals, author

Whether you’re Team Gale, Team Jace, Team Logan, Team Damon or you have refused to pick teams at all, this is the panel for you.Is it played out or part of the secret sauce to success? We’ll discuss the trite, the true and how to avoid falfalls while you build tension.[/event] [event time=”3:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

MUSIC AS MUSE

MODERATOR: Amanda Havard

PANELISTS: Amy Bartol, author | Misty Provencher, author | Cydney Lawson, author

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.[/event] [event time=”3:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

SHARING THE SPOTLIGHT: CO-WRITING

MODERATOR: April Robbins

PANELISTS: Carol Kunz, author | Adam Kunz, author | Dave Robison, podcaster | Riana Lucas, author

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.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Friday, 28 June 2013″]4:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”4:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

POWER OF THE FANS

MODERATOR: K. P. Simmons

PANELISTS: Delphina Miyares, blogger | H. D. Gordon, author | M.R. Polish, author | Heather Self, author

From blogs to fan art to fan fiction, Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest to Spotify, Amazon to Goodreads — how are fans not only following, but creating the YA movement online? Where do they hang out, how do they start or kill buzz and what can you do to harness their powers for good?[/event] [event time=”4:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Regina Wamba, photographer/designer | Chelsea Starling, author/designer

To stand out from the ever-growing pack of authors in the marketplace, you have to think beyond the pages of your book. Today authors are building personal brands, across multiple platforms, to set themselves apart. Professional photos, web sites, slick book covers all become the voice that speak for you when you’re not there. Is your brand – your voice – consistent, attention-grabbing and as pro as you need to be? This panel of experts will help you find the whole package on a budget.[/event] [event time=”4:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

STORY FRENZY

MODERATORS: April Robbins & Amy Evans

PANELISTS: LM Davis | Amanda Havard | Myra McEntire | K. C. Neal | Cydney Lawson | RaShelle Workman | Angeline Kace

Much in vein of improv or ad-lib comedy, Story frenzy is an interactive game between the audience and the authors on the stage. The audience calls out prompts for characters and plot line.
First author on stage begins telling a story about the main character then passes it off to next author. Next author will be given a new prompt or new character to add to story, and so on down the line.

Two rules:
1. Main character must change from beginning of story to end.
2. You can NOT kill off main character.

If it’s anything like last year’s #Ligerbane bonanza…It will get crazy. We will have fun.

** ATTN ALL PANELISTS: This panel is open to everyone. If you want to participate, just let us know, and we’ll update the panelist list.[/event][/agenda] [agenda][day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]Day 2 – Saturday[/day] [event time=”8:30AM” room=”Laskey Great Hall“]

GOOD MORNING!

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  • Announcements
  • Daily raffles
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KEYNOTE: Jen Sincero

Harness Your Inner Badass and Create the Writing Career You Deserve
How’s the writing going? Are you as productive as you’d like to be? As successful? As tear-jerkingly brilliant? Bestselling Author and success coach, Jen Sincero, helps you blast past your blocks, kick fear in the face and take your creativity and career to a whole new level (and really take it there, not just dream about it, talk about it or settle for what you can get). Via personal stories, tried and true tricks of the trade and some verbal super-hero pills, Jen will give you the tools and the inspiration you need to be your mightiest writerly self.
Her keynote will begin at 9 AM on Satruday, June 29th, and afterward she will be selling and signing books, as well as visiting with fans.
[/event] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]10:00AM Sessions[/day] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

HOW TO FIND A GREAT WRITERS GROUP

MODERATOR: Jessie Peacock

PANELISTS: Mike Turner, Founder of Nashville Writers Meetup Group  | Morgan Wylie, author | Teal Haviland, author

A great writing group can mean the difference between whether you finish the book, get published and get out there.In this panel you will learn how to tell the difference between a good and great writing group, where to find one, what the key elements in outstanding feedback are, and how to be an integral part of a writing group that flourishes around you and your writing career.[/event] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

COMPETITIVE VS COLLABORATIVE MARKETING

MODERATOR: Kallie Mathews

PANELISTS: Carol Kunz, author | Adam Kunz, author | Tiffany King, author

You need both to grow, but how do you do this without sharpening the claws and flapping your jaws? In this panel, we will breakdown the good and the bad of competition vs. collaboration — how to share space, audience and healthy competition so that everyone goes farther faster.[/event] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

HOW TO SNAG A TRADITIONAL PUBLISHER

MODERATOR: D.B. Graves

PANELISTS: C.J. Redwine, author |Samantha Young, author | Jessica Sorensen, author

So you wanna run with the big cats? There are still many great reasons to seek out the attention of the big publishers – an advance so you have time to write, credibility, licensing so that your books have international legs, just to name a few.How do you do it? This panel will share their experience to help you on your path.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]11:00AM Sessions[/day] [event time=”11:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

D.I.Y. PUBLISHING

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Theresa Oliver, publisher | Jennifer Chesak, editor, publisher

Whether you are self- or indie-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 trusting an Indie to do that for you? 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.[/event] [event time=”11:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

FROM FAN TO FAMOUS: READER TODAY, AUTHOR TOMORROW

MODERATOR: D.B. Graves

PANELISTS: Raine Thomas, author | Heather Hildenbrand, author | Angeline Kace, author | Ella James, author

It is possible to go from unknown to having 10,000, 50,000, 80,000 and even more copies of your books downloaded from a single web store.Meet some of the authors who have done it in a matter of months. MONTHS. Hello? That is the amazing world of awesome we live in now. If you have a story inside you, you will not want to miss this panel.[/event] [event time=”11:00AM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

THE SOCIAL SIDE OF YOUR WRITING CAREER

MODERATOR: KP Simmon, InkSlinger PR

PANELISTS: Kallie Mathews, blogger, author | Erica Erwin, social media expert | Susan Kaye Quinn, author | Janet Wallace, social media expert

During every phase of writing your book, you have the ability to use the Internet, social networks and your God (or goddess)-given talents to create, attract, build and sustain an online platform that grows with you, serves your community and catapults your vision.This session will tell you how, when, where and why it is so important to get this part of your writing career and life mastered.[/event] [/agenda] [lunch time=”12:00″]It’s a lunch time. Rest & refuel![/lunch] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]1:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”1:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A YA WRITER

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Susan Kaye Quinn, author | Cydney Lawson, author | K.C. Neal, author | Tammy Blackwell, author

Join authors who make a full-time living from their writing, as well as authors trying to balance their “day job” with their life’s passion.They will share how they manage it all, how their family deals with it, as well as talk about the joys of writing in your jammies.[/event] [event time=”1:00PM” room=”Clyde & Mary“]

HOW TO MAKE A HOLLYWOOD-WORTHY BOOK TRAILER: A special panel Sponsored by HellionWorks

MODERATOR: Frankie Rose, HellionWorks

PANELISTS: Raine Thomas, author & utopYA 2012 Award winner for Best Book Trailer | M. R. Polish, author

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.[/event] [event time=”1:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

BLOG YOUR FACE OFF

MODERATOR: Tess Watson and Michelle G. Miller

PANELISTS: Addison Moore, author | Nancy Straight, author | Amy Bartol, author

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.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]2:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”2:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

PUBLIC IMAGE UNLIMITED

MODERATOR: K. P. Simmon

PANELISTS: M.R. Polish, author | Teal Haviland, author | Morgan Wylie, author

Do indie- and self-published authors need a publicist? Do you need public relations? Who are they? What is it? Why you might just be missing one of the most key components in your marketing strategy.[/event] [event time=”2:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

CASTING YOUR CHARACTERS

MODERATOR: D.B. Graves

PANELISTS: Shelly Crane, author | Amy Bartol, author | Frankie Rose, author | Chelsea Fine, author

From book covers to the big screen, it’s fun “casting” the main characters of books. It’s a great way to give your book marketing longer legs, engage the audience and a great excuse to imagine hotties playing the heroes and heroines of the books we love.However — Is it a good thing or does it obstruct the imagination? Can it hinder the ability for the audience to be kind if and when your characters actually do make it to the big screen and aren’t portrayed by the person everyone wanted to play him or her?[/event] [event time=”2:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

AMAZON MARKETING 101

MODERATOR:Kallie Mathews

PANELISTS: Angeline Kace, author | Quinn Loftis, author | Ella James, author

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
[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]3:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”3:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall A“]

THE SWAGGER OF SWAG

MODERATOR: Tiffany King

PANELISTS: Amy Bartol, author | Adam Kunz, author | Carol Kunz, author

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.[/event] [event time=”3:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

REVIEW REHAB: How To Handle Good And Bad

MODERATOR: Susan Burdorf

PANELISTS: Brina Courtney, author | Willow Cross, author | Tess Watson, blogger | Misty Provencher, author

You need them. BUT, how do you hold your head up when some can cut like a knife? This panel will discuss how to weather the highs and lows of Reviews, and how to be at your best when you feel beat down[/event] [event time=”3:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

DIGITAL MARKETING OUTSIDE THE BOX

MODERATOR: Kallie Mathews

PANELISTS: Amanda Havard – transmedia | Dave Robison – podcasting | Chelsea Fine – audio books | Erica Erwin – Social 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.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]4:00PM Sessions[/day] [event time=”4:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall B“]

THE FUTURE OF YA: Trends

MODERATOR: Kallie Mathews

PANELISTS: Shelli Johannes, author and YA rep for Alliance of Independent Authors | Myra McEntire, author | Cydney Lawson, author |

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.[/event] [event time=”4:00PM” room=”Clyde & Mary“]

PARANORMAL SCREENWRITING: TIMID MONSTER FILMS

MODERATOR & PANELISTS: Macedonia Films: Dan Baker | Katie Baker | Rachel Taylor

The process of getting your paranormal world out of your head and on to the screen.Casting, special effects, script, filming, unforeseen forces and guiding hands will all be discussed in a special screening and panel hosted by Timid Monster films.[/event] [event time=”4:00PM” room=”Laskey Hall C“]

ANYTHING GOES! OPEN Q&A

MODERATOR:D.B Graves

PANELISTS: TBD

Have legal or tax questions? Want more from our guest authors? Here’s your chance to create your own panel –You tell us who you want on the panel from our list of panelists. Then you submit the questions you want to ask. This is where YOU decide what you want to know without us dictating what the panel will be about! Email questions and who you want on the panel to info [at] utopYAcon.com.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Saturday, 29 June 2013″]utopYA Awards Ceremony[/day] [event time=”8:00PM” room=”Laskey Great Hall”]

UTOPYA AWARDS CEREMONY

Arrive 30 minutes early. Everyone must be seated by 8 PM

We will take a chainsaw to the velvet rope, and include the fans for this special night of celebrating the authors, producers, bloggers, editors and experts who rock our imaginations.[/event] [/agenda] [agenda] [day date=”Sunday, 30 June 2013″]Day 3 – Sunday[/day] [event time=”10:00AM” room=”Laskey Great Hall“]

CLOSING CEREMONIES AND OPEN FLOOR KEYNOTE

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