Writers' Workshop

Including celebrity author Sandra Brown as luncheon keynote

Friday, February 14, 2020

8:00 am - 1:30 pm

Florida State College, Betty P. Cook Nassau Center, The Bean Center

76346 William Burgess Blvd., Yulee, Florida 32097


Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 1.22.37 PM.png

Amelia Island Book Festival and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association were pleased to present once again a stellar lineup of professionals to inform both aspiring and accomplished writers about the craft and business of writing. 


The 2020 Workshop featured six programs divided into two tracks—The Writing Craft and Publishing/Marketing, with sessions running concurrently in each time slot. Each session (one hour and 15 minutes) will offer a dynamic speaker or panel of professionals, with tips, discussion, insider advice, and opportunities for questions and answers. 

2020 Writers' Workshop Schedule


7:30 - 8 am — Check-in/Registration

8 am — Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:15 am - 12:15 pm — Workshop Sessions

12:30 - 1:30 pm — Luncheon Keynote

Session Lineup


8:15 am 8:15 am 


What to do with the voices in your head: creating a riveting story — Steve McCondichie


This hands-on session will teach you how to take ideas that have been stirring in your thoughts and put them into story. You’ll learn a simple four-step formula for building a plot structure that draws readers in from the beginning and keeps them engrossed until the very last page. Writing exercises will help you build strong lead characters, create compelling objectives and confrontations, and have a knockout ending that leaves readers demanding a sequel.

9:40 am 


Need a clue to launch a mystery series? 
Nancy J. Cohen


Do you want to write a mystery series but don’t have a clue where to start? Or perhaps you need tips on sustaining a long-running series. This workshop will help you determine your setting, create your characters, plot the story, add suspense, plant clues and solve the crime. In addition, we’ll discuss continuity and special considerations for cozy mystery authors. 

11 am 


Vivid landscapes, unpredictable characters, unforgettable stories — George Hovis 


Dive into a discussion of the strategies for finding the exotic, the surreal, and the sublime available in everyday landscapes. During this session, you’ll explore how setting gives birth to character and plot—and how, in turn, the actions of characters define a place. You’ll map the settings of your own fictional worlds in order to discover the surprises lurking therein. 




Why publish…and how? — Angelina Assanti, Patti Brassard Jefferson, and Jenn Smith


You’ve decided to publish a book…now what? This session will explore the options open to you, from traditional publishing to self-publishing, and the pros and cons of both. We’ll also examine developing both a business plan and a marketing plan and identifying the kinds of professional support you might need for success. 


How to promote your book — Rich Ballo, Angelina Assanti, and Patti Brassard Jefferson


Even before you publish your book, you need to consider how to connect with readers, buyers, and booksellers. In this session you'll learn which marketing tools you should create, including print materials and an online presence with a book website and social media exposure. You’ll also get ideas and information about other marketing strategies such as making personal connections, networking, and identifying events where you can promote and sell your books.

How to manage your book business — Rich Ballo, Jenn Smith and Patti Brassard Jefferson


Publishing a book is more than a creative endeavor. Understanding the business aspects is critical to an author’s financial success. This panel will discuss setting up your business, printing costs, bank and merchant accounts, taxes, and record-keeping. You’ll also learn about outsourcing costs, distribution, and fulfillment—including wholesalers, online retailers, independent bookstores and specialty sales.

12:30 pm — Sandra Brown

Enjoy a delicious lunch on site and then hear this prolific New York Times best-selling author as she shares her own writing story and potentially some strategies you can adopt for your own projects.

View Speaker Bios

Amelia Island Book Festival is a 501 (c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy. Donations are tax deductible. The difference in your purchase price and value of the meal received is $15 and the remainder may be tax deductible.