I direct this conference that occurs the first weekend of August every year on the beautiful campus of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. We bring together agents, acquisitions editors, editors, authors, social media specialists, and other publishing professionals for two days of intense learning and lots of laughter.
My Writing Conference Topics
I have spoken at several writers conferences across the nation, encouraging struggling writers and offering advice in navigating the publishing world.
Self-editing Your Manuscript—with Help from an Editor
Ready to go back over that first draft of your manuscript and polish it? Veteran editor and publishing professional Linda Taylor will walk through checklists and some examples of the first pages of manuscripts to help you get your work-in-progress in its best shape before you send it off. Bring your laptop with your manuscript on it. We’ll get it formatted correctly, and then we’ll spruce up those first pages.
Editing Yourself and Others: Big-picture Editing
This session considers big-picture editing. The first pass on a manuscript looks at the entire logical layout in nonfiction; and plot, characterization, setting, etc., in fiction. You’ll learn what editors are looking for and asking in that first pass on a manuscript and what questions you need to ask to help get your manuscript in great shape at the macro level before an agent or acquisitions editor sees it.
Editing Yourself and Others: Detailed Copyediting
In this session, we’ll talk copyediting—the next phase of editing after the manuscript is finalized from the editor. We’ll study Microsoft Word—templates, style tags, track changes, and other helpful tools. Bring along your laptop to try some basic techniques. And—oh yes—a session on copyediting wouldn’t be complete without some grammar!
Editing Yourself and Others: Proofreading
Proofreading may happen on a manuscript, but most often the proofreaders are looking at pdfs of typeset pages. In this session, you’ll receive a checklist of what proofreaders need to look for when they receive a pdf of a book. You’ll also learn the tools for marking pdfs. Bring your laptop—and download the latest version of Adobe before you come (go to https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/products/pdf-reader.html).
Basic Grammar and Punctuation Review
Sharpen those tools in your grammar toolbox. I see so many of the same types of errors in manuscripts, so let me help you be a writer editors love because you know how to handle a few of these basic details correctly.
Author Platform Focus
The Best (and I Mean Best) Way to Build Your Author Platform
Authors don’t like to think about the importance of building a platform They want to just write their books and watch them climb best-seller lists. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. But building your platform isn’t about tooting your own horn or getting people to buy your book. Instead it’s about finding your “tribe,” appreciating others’ work, connecting, and being interested in what others are doing. This is important (even vital) for all writers–published or not–because we’re all part of the literary community. In this session, we’ll learn about blogging and tweeting and connecting–all to join the literary community and build a platform in a non-scary way. Come if you’re published; come if you’re not. It’s about “literary citizenship.”
Creating a Concept that Connects: How to Get Your Words Heard
Truly understanding your concept is crucial to getting your words heard. This workshop will give the tools listeners need to connect their concept with the right publishers, and then to be able to communicate that concept in a clear and concise way. By having a clear purpose, philosophy, and plan, they can distill their concept into an “elevator pitch,” a 15-minute writer conference pitch, and the longer proposal.
Why Writers Write: A Bird’s Eye View of the Publishing World
(also called “Behind the Scenes in a Publishing House”)
As a 30-year veteran of the publishing world (as an author, speaker, and editorial director), I give a picture of some of the sheer numbers in publishing so everyone is on the same “page” (pun intended). I talk about how books get published, what happens behind the scenes in publishing houses, and what’s going on with those bestseller lists. I also discuss some of the changes and trends in the industry (self-publishing and e-books), along with reassurances about some things that will never change. It’s the world behind the books.
From Manuscript to Book: How It Happens
Ever wonder how many hands actually touch a book once your manuscript arrives at the publishing house? In this interactive and fun session, we walk a book through the entire process and see who makes what decisions and why.
How to Keep Your (Microsoft) Word Under Control
Ever feel like punching your computer screen because Microsoft Word keeps doing things—things you don’t want? Bring your computer to this session, and we will begin to understand a few ways to undo what you don’t want and get what you want as you’re creating your written masterpieces. Tips, shortcuts, helps, hindrances, and how to generally navigate Microsoft Word with the tools already in the program.
Ekphrasis: Writing the Details, Telling the Story
Ekphrasis is Greek for “description.” It is defined as one medium of art trying to relate to another medium — for example, a poem inspired by a piece of classic artwork. In this session, ekphrasis will take the form of writing a personal essay from a photograph. In this session, we look closely at some examples of ekphrastic writing, and then write a short creative essay to go with a meaningful personal photograph.
Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information to last him the rest of his days.” And, by extension, plenty to write about! In this session, we’ll learn some techniques for mining our lives for material to write about and discuss how to tell those bits of our story in the most compelling ways possible.
Devotional Writing 101
Many publishers want devotional or inspirational material. This can be a terrific way to break into publishing and build a portfolio. In this session, I talk about what makes a good devotional and how to write one that will be true to Scripture, read well, be thoughtful, and hopefully provide an oasis for someone in need. Writers should bring samples of devotional writing for feedback.
Writing Short: How to Say a Lot in a Few Words
(also called “You want me to say all that in 200 words?”)
Sometimes the word counts are minimal, depending on the assignment. Believe it or not, it can be more difficult to write 200 words than 2000 words—especially if you are actually trying to make a point and give a complete thought. This session teaches how to write short, but with punch.
Presenter at These Conferences
Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference, Muskegon, MI, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
Taylor University’s Professional Writers’ Conference, Upland, IN, 2016, 2020 via (Zoom)
Midwest Writers Workshop, Muncie, IN, 2014, 2018
Northwest Ohio Christian Writers Conference, Toledo, OH, 2013, 2016
Write-to-Publish Conference, Wheaton, IL, 2009, 2010, 2016
Indiana Faith and Writing Conference, Anderson, IN, 2014, 2015
St. David’s Christian Writers Conference, Grove City, PA, 2010
Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference, Fishers, IN, 2007, 2008, 2009
Glorieta Christian Writers Conference, Albuquerque, NM, 2006
Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Conference, Schaumburg, IL, 2004