Conference Extras

There are a number of writing resources available during and coinciding with the conference. Below please find a description of these writers’ services. Take advantage of this opportunity to have your work read and critiqued by writing experts, be inspired at our annual Success Stories Panel, share common interests at our Writers’ Mixer and Live Literary Events and explore your writing interests through other networking opportunities.

Start Fast on Your Path

The Conference Opens on Thursday Afternoon with four sessions to jump-start the conference. They are:

Where to Start and When to End Your Novel

Beating the Blocks: Tips and Tools for Writers

A 10-Step Plan for Self-Editing

Achieving Your Goal in 6 to 12 Months with Confidence and Intention

Please see the schedule for details.

Pitch Your Best Pitch Pitching Workshop with Jeff Kurz

Thursday afternoon 2:00-4:00 only
Sure, you’re nervous about your pitch. That’s why we’re offering a special pitching workshop on Thursday afternoon, before the pitching fun begins. Seasoned media executive Jeff Kurz offers the industry’s best advice for writing loglines, synopses, and other pitch related materials.
Additionally, practice pitches are conducted for everyone to observe. You’ll also receive a list of resources to gather information to make your pitch the best pitch in the room. This workshop is being offered after overwhelming demand from last year’s attendees. Prepare your pitch, arm yourself with information and awareness of your genre – pitch your best pitch at this year’s conference beginning here.
(Registration required, $20.00 fee)

New to the Conference?

New this year, Writers’ Institute director Laurie Scheer will present:

What to Expect at A Writing Conference – Introduction to Writers’ Institute

Thursday afternoon 4:10-4:30
For those who are new to attending a writing conference – and for those who have joined us previously – Writers’ Institute director Laurie Scheer walks you through the overall general logistics of the complete four-day event. Included is a run-down of the conference schedule, the sessions and tracks, the hotel layout, pitching procedures and more… Questions are welcomed and encouraged. Join us to be sure your 2018 Writers’ Institute experience is the best that it can be.

A Madison Public Library System Special Session

Join us on Thursday from 5:30-6:30 with Community Engagement Librarians Kylee Stoor and Laura Damon-Moore as they present:


You know that your public library is a great place to find free books, but did you know that your public library is also a great place to turn for help on your journey to become a better writer? Public libraries can provide amazing resources for writers. Kylee and Laura will give some examples of how the Madison Public Library engages with the local writing community, and provide tips for getting your books in library collections.

Pitching Information

Agents’ Information Sessions

These sessions are included in your Registration fee.
Thursday evening.
Beginning at 6:30PM we’ve put together two amazing sessions – the first with agent Dawn Frederick…and the second session, beginning at 7:15PM we’ll learn the answer to the statement

Why You Don’t (Yet) Have a Book Published

presented by veteran agent Jeff Herman.


Personal Practice Pitch Sessions

Friday through Saturday afternoon
You may also practice your pitch through Practice Pitch Sessions. These sessions allow for 15 minutes of one-on-one meeting time with our industry experts Jeff Kurz, Kristin Oakley, and Peggy Williams. Deliver your pitch, receive feedback, continue to perfect your pitch and then see your agent and/or editor and provide a stellar pitch.
See the pitch sessions page for more details.


Pitch Sessions with Agents

Friday and Saturday, Sunday morning
The Writers’ Institute offers you direct access to accomplished literary agents who are looking for both fiction and non-fiction related materials. You have the opportunity to pitch your ideas to these agents via 8 minute pitch sessions. You may sign up to pitch to as many agents as you choose.
See the pitch sessions page for details.

Learn more>>

Opportunities to Network

Networking Poem & Page Lunch

Friday 12:10-1:30
You’ll have the opportunity to be seated at designated tables featuring your writing genre, i.e. there will be tables for Romance, Mystery, Literary fiction, memoir, nonfiction, etc. There you can network with other writers writing in your genre. Join us and meet the winners of our Poem & Page Contest. First place winners will be published in the 2019 issue of The Midwest Review Journal.

Lunch features a TACO BUFFET with seasoned ground beef, refried beans with Spanish rice, shredded lettuce/mixed cheese, salsa, sour cream, flour tortillas and corn tortilla chips. If you are planning to attend, include your request within your registration. Cost is $18.00 (plus tax .99).


Success Panel

Friday 5:20-5:45
Meet our authors who have realized their publishing dreams this year. Celebrate their successes!


Writers’ Mixer

Friday 5:45-7:00
Brought back due to popular demand from the last couple of year, join agents, speakers, and writers – all are invited to this end-of-the-first-day Writing Mixer event. Get to know your fellow writers, approach your favorite speaker or chat up an agent. We’ve heard your requests to have the opportunities to share your common interests and seek out new writing friends and associates. A casual mixer with refreshing beverages will provide the backdrop to network and get to know your writing peers.


Networking Book Day Lunch

Saturday 12:25-2:00
Grab a To Go sandwich (pre-order during your registration process) and meet other authors at designated genre tables.
Available – choice of Honey Baked Ham, Sliced Turkey or Chef’s Choice Vegetarian, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, Kaiser roll, condiment packs, chips, house baked cookie. Select your choice of sandwich when you register. Cost is $18.00 (plus tax .99).
After lunch, support your conference authors and attend the book fair.


Book Fair Signing and Selling

Saturday 12:25-2:00
We offered our book signing event the last two years and it was a total success – we’ll do this again this year – authors sign their books and fellow writers/readers show their support for them. Be sure to meet all of the authors – and buy their books along the way.

Live Literary Event

Saturday 7:00-9:00
If you’re an author or soon-to-be published author, you’ll share your work – out loud – in public at some point. On Saturday from 7:00-9:00PM Kevin “Writing Doctor” Mullen and Kristin Oakley will host a Live Literary Event for Writers’ Institute attendees who want to present their work. Prizes for the top 3 audience favorites. There will be a cash bar available for writers who may need a little ‘confidence building’ and for other writers who may want to support their fellow readers who will be reading live.

Master Classes at the Conference

This year we are offering Master Classes with two of our Continuing Studies Faculty, Christine DeSmet and Christopher Chambers These workshops are limited. The cost is $65.00.
Don’t miss this opportunity to write with these incredibly talented writers. Here are the titles and dates and times for these sessions:
Master Class with Christine DeSmet, The Important “Whats’ of Story Magic – Thur April 12th
Master Class with Christopher Chambers, Look Again: Revision and Good Writing – Thur April 12th

Poem or Page Contest

Need a nudge to jump-start your writing? Enter the “Poem or Page Contest.” Deadline March 13, 2018. Get complete details on the contest page.
All first-place winners of the Poem or Page Contest will be published in the 2019 issue of The Midwest Review Journal.

Learn more>>

Various Critique Services:

Conference Critique Service-Written

Advanced Manuscript Critiques


These various critique services are available during the conference; please see this page for details.


Q & A Sessions with Agents

Spend an hour with an agent discussing various topics in the publishing industry. These 1 hour casual sessions with each of the agents and with our two editors combined are $15 and space is limited. Sign up when you register.