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Conference-Goers, Get the Most from this Year’s Annual Conference. Here’s How.

October 12, 2014

Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from the Conference Chairperson’s Message in the program for “Stars of Florida Writers,” 13th faculty and the explanation of the today’s publishing options. Thank you, Jennie!


—By Jennie Jarvis/2014-15 Faculty Chairperson


Working Together For Gold StarStepping into a new leadership position in any organization can be challenging, but even more so when you are taking over from Veronica Hart. She’s done such a great job programming our annual conference in the past that I knew I had big shoes to fill. But I’ve always been up for a challenge!

More than anything else, I wanted to program a conference that catered to all kinds of writers— whether they are at the shaky beginning of their career or are stable veterans with multiple published titles. To do that, I created our “Education Tracks.” These tracks allowed me to create content that could meet the needs of every writer.

Also, since this year’s conference theme is “Stars of the Florida,” I reached out to some of the brightest stars of our industry working today! We have New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors. We have powerhouse agents and editors. We even have filmmakers ready to turn your stories into tomorrow’s feature films.

While those are our brightest stars, don’t overlook the rest of the stellar faculty. They might not have credits as impressive, but they have a lot of wisdom and experience that they are graciously sharing with the rest of us. I’m very proud of every member of my faculty, and I can’t wait for each of you to realize how amazing they all are!

Once you discover the genius of each faculty member, don’t forget to sign up to meet for a private interview with your favorites. You can get advice from our Bestsellers like Mary Burton or Lyla Payne.

If you are ready to pitch your work, you can sign up to meet with an agent, acquisition editor, or filmmaker. You even have the chance to book a critique session with three incredible faculty members dedicated to helping you make your writing even better. Read the Faculty Landscape below to help you decide the best faculty member for you to meet based on your publishing goals!

I know I’m the “new kid on the block” at the FWA Annual Conference, but I hope I’ve taken a good step towards fulfilling those large shoes Veronica left behind. My hope is that I’ve lined up such an amazing faculty, you’ll be upset that you can’t go to everything!

Faculty Landscape

Let me guess: You want to be a published author, right? You’ve written your manuscript (or most of it), and you are already dreaming of seeing your book’s title on an Amazon bestseller list (or better yet, a New York Times bestseller list). You know you still have a little bit of work to do (maybe the book is still out to beta readers or you know you need an editor to help you with the polish). Otherwise, however, Annual Florida Writers Conference, October 23-26, 2014. Love the key to you are ready to start making the difficult decision: HOW do I want to publish?

As Faculty Chairperson for the 2014 FWA Annual Conference, I wanted to make sure our conference offerings explored all the options. Below is a brief rundown of the pros and cons of various kinds of publishing options and which FWA conference faculty can give you more information about each path.


• Pros: This is the Dream! Opportunity for great exposure and large readership.

• Cons: You have to have an agent, lower royalty rates, limited exposure since your publisher will have other clients as well.

• FWA Faculty: Agents Dawn Frederick, Jennie Goloboy, Saritza Hernandez, Kathleen Ortiz, Carly Watters, Laura Zats. bestselling authors Lyla Payne, Mary Burton, Marie Bostwick, Karen Hawkins, and more!


• Pros: You get the benefits of a larger house but more specialized attention. You don’t always need an agent to submit (check each press’s submission guidelines).

• Cons: A smaller press might have fewer resources, including less money for your advance and marketing.

• FWA Faculty: Editor Matt Peters. Agents Dawn Frederick, Jennie Goloboy, Saritza Hernandez, Carly Watters, Laura Zats. Authors Jennie Jarvis, Dr. Tof Eklund, Melanie Neale, and more!


• Pros: It’s just like a traditional small press, but you can see your book published in less time! You don’t need an agent to submit (but having one may bump you to the head of the line), and some digital presses are smaller imprints of traditional houses (if your book does well, here comes the

traditional book deal!)

• Cons: Your book will most likely only ever exist in digital format. Most of these publishers are looking for very specific genres such as romance, Young Adult, or New Adult.

• FWA Faculty: E-pub agent Saritza Hernandez. Editors Meredith Rich and Kara Leigh Miller. Authors Lyla Payne, Jennifer Kacey, and more!


• Pros: You are in charge! Higher royalty rates, more control over your product, your book goes from your laptop to your readers in just a few short clicks.

• Cons: You are in charge! If you aren’t good at book design, layout, or marketing/publicity, you may need to hire professionals to help you. With more and more people self-pubbing each year, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.

• FWA Faculty: Authors Ben Hale, Vic DiGenti, and more!


(This industry term means that an author publishes books in two ways at the same time. In other words, you don’t have to be JUST self-published or JUST traditionally published.)

• Pros: You self-publish one book while you wait for another one that is traditionally published to be released. The marketing of one book helps the other and vice versa, and you can garner short-term income as you wait for the long-term income to arrive.

• Cons: You need to have two really solid manuscripts ready at roughly the same time. Can be overwhelming if you aren’t comfortable with marketing and publicity or are a slow writer.

• FWA Faculty: Agent Saritza Hernandez. Authors Jennie Jarvis, Sarah Nicolas, and more!


• Pros: The benefits of self-publishing but with a paid staff that helps you through the process.

• Cons: You are paying someone to do what you could basically do yourself. Some subsidiary publishers are known as “vanity” publishers. Sadly, there are con artists out there, so be sure to check the Writer Beware website to verify you are working with someone who will help (and not hurt) your book.

• FWA Faculty: Publishers Julie Anne Howell (Peppertree Press), William Sudah (Expert Subjects), and Cheyenne Knopf ( Book consultant/publisher Rik Feeney and more!

Flyer Color2 for Group leaders


Dawn Frederick | Jennie Goloboy | Saritza Hernandez | Carly Watters | Laura Zats


Kara Leigh Miller | Matt Peters | Meredith Rich


Khris Baxter | Jillian Stein | AJ Wedding


Kathryn Bain | Mary Burton | Vic DiGenti | Dr. Tof Eklund | Rik Feeney | Allen Gorney | Stacey Graham | Ben Hale | Karen Hawkins | Jennie Jarvis | Julie Ann Howell | Jennifer Kacey | Cheyenne Knopf | Roland Mann | Sarah Nicholas | Melanie Neale | Lyla Payne | C.L. Roman | Arliss Ryan | Kristen Stieffel | Penny Sansevieri | Julie Anne Wight


Peter M. Gordon | Douglas Houck | Dianne Ochiltree


Update: Faculty changes over the past month: Lyla Payne is replacing Jennifer Armentrout, FWA Platinum Publisher and subsidy publisher The Peppertree Press will not be able to make the conference due to unforeseen circumstances, Nina Gooden of Ellora’s Cave had to cancel at the last minute, and Kara Leigh Miller joined the faculty, replacing colleague Eden Plantz.

“Stars of Florida Writers”

Annual Conference

October 23-26

$375 for the entire weekend, which is from Friday to Sunday with all meals included. ($35 additional for Thursday evening workshops)

Register now. Single-day registration is available. Sorry, after October 21, we cannot accept online registrations, but you may register onsite, first come, first served.

For 101 pages of ultra-useful details, check the conference program. Questions? Contact look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Jarvis, Jennie

Jennie Jarvis is a former screenwriter turned literary writer. She is co-owner of and regularly conducts writing workshops. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest magazine and The Florida Writer, and she teaches screenwriting at Full Sail University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte.

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