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2017 Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium

  • 08/05/2017
  • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • The V. Earl Dickenson Building, Piedmont Virginia Community College, 501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22902


  • EARLY BIRD price valid for until May 31 only! Beginning June 1, the price will increase to $90.
  • for assistants or spouses of speakers


REGISTRATION NOW CLOSED! If you would like to be placed on our waiting list in case we have a cancellation, please contact Leslie Truex.

2017 Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium

Taking the Next Step in Your Writing Journey

Move your writing career forward by attending the 7th annual Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium, Saturday August 5, 2017.

This year’s theme is Taking the Next Step in Your Writing Journey, and will feature workshops and panels on a variety of topics to help you move forward with your writing goals.

Location:   The V. Earl Dickenson Building, Piedmont Virginia Community College, 501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22902


We are very excited to have Jane Friedman as our keynote speaker this year!

Her keynote will be the Competitive Creative, where she’ll share her insights on the principles and philosophies in building a sustainable writing career.

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She's the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and is the former publisher of Writer's Digest. She has been interviewed and featured by NPR, PBS, The Washington Post, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

In addition to being a columnist with Publishers Weekly and a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com (200,000 visits per month). She's delivered keynotes on the digital era of authorship at the San Francisco Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, and Willamette Writers Conference, among many others. She speaks regularly at industry events such as BookExpo America and Digital Book World, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund.

Her essays have been published in anthologies by the University of Chicago Press, Seal Press, Milkweed Editions, and McPherson & Co. She has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).


The Virginia Writers Club is excited about the lineup for this year’s annual Navigating Your Writing Life Symposium. We’ve put together a well-rounded event that covers everything including craft, publication, and marketing, across multiple types of writing including poetry, speculative fiction and romance.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 5, 2017, and then check the schedule below to plan which panels and workshops you want to attend.

8:00 - 8:30 Registration/Coffee and Light Breakfast

8:30 - 9:00 Welcome/Opening

9:00 - 9:45 (45 minute) Panels

  • Poetic Expression Off the Page – Moderator: Carolyn Brae, Panelists: Angela Carter, Patsy Asuncion, Elizabeth Spencer Spragins
  • Writing and Marketing Short Fiction – Moderator: Phyllis Duncan, Panelists: BK Stevens, Cliff Garstang, Zach Powers
  • Bringing New Worlds to Life: Essential Elements in Speculative Fiction – Moderator: J. Elizabeth Vincent, Panelists: Natalina Reis, James and John Gaines, Greg Smith

10:00 - 11:15 Workshops

  • Producing & Promoting Poetry - Judy Light Ayyildiz and Caroline Brae
  • Beating the Self-Publishing Stigma - Liz Long
  • Love, Passion, and Happily Ever After: How to Write a Romance Novel - Jenna Harte

11:30 - 12:00 Keynote: Jane Friedman “The Competitive Creative”

12:15 - 1:00 Lunch

1:15- 2:00 Panels

  • NaNoWriMo: It only feels like a death march! – Moderator: Betsy Ashton, Panelists: Phyllis Duncan, J. Elizabeth Vincent, Jenna Harte
  • Preparing Your Book for Publishing: Editing, Formatting and Cover Design for the Indie Author – Moderator: Rosanne Vrugtman, Panelists: JM Snyder, Chris Kennedy, Kris Spisak.
  • Bringing Your Book to the World: Book Launches, Signings, and Publicity  - Moderator : TBA, Panelists: Gwen Keane, Connie B. Dowell, Marco LeRoc

2:15 - 2:45 Book signing/Afternoon snack

3:00 - 4:15 Workshops:

  • The Art & Business of Author Platform - Jane Friedman
  • Writing the Dreaded Query Letter - Alan Orloff
  • Instagram for Authors - Audrey Knapp


Early Bird Registration opens May 1, 2017

General Registration opens June 1, 2017!



The Virginia Writers Club (VWC), founded in 1918, is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the United States. Comprised of chapters from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, this non-profit is dedicated to fostering the art, craft, business and advocacy of the literary arts.

One of the Virginia Writers Club major events of the year is the annual symposium, which provides workshops, panels, and the chance to connect with writers of all levels to help them expand their knowledge and reach their writing goals. To pull off this popular event, we rely on the support of sponsors.

Sponsoring the symposium is a fun and impactful way to promote literacy in the Commonwealth as well as offer the attendees information about goods, services, and opportunities for writers and those interested in writing.

To learn more about how you can support writers in Virginia, please review our sponsorship information packet.

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