Ch-Ch-Changes

Hey, guys!

Julia here. We announced some pretty big changes to the future of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference at the end of Ch1Con 2017, a couple weekends back. And it’s finally come time to share those changes with the rest of the world too. The Ch1Con team and I are incredibly excited about all of these and hope you will be too.

(Bear with me, anyone who was at Ch1Con 2017. I’m basically copying and pasting my speech from our closing notes for all of this.)

We’re becoming a nonprofit!

Thanks to the phenomenal efforts of team member Katelyn Pettit, who I’m pretty sure is secretly a literal superhero, we’re transitioning Chapter One Events—which is the company that we put on the conference through—from being a Michigan-based LLC to becoming an Illinois-based nonprofit organization. The nonprofit version of Chapter One Events actually launched a few weeks ago, so we just need to finalize a few things, then Ch1Con will officially be not-for-profit.

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2017

This is especially fantastic, because we already don’t make a profit on the conference. Everyone on the Ch1Con team is a volunteer and we all put in countless hours of free work to make the conference what it is each year. So the fact that we’re now officially going to be a nonprofit makes, you know, a lot more sense than being an LLC, and we can’t wait to see the different ways we can stretch and grow the conference now that we’ll be a nonprofit. So, thank you again, so much, Katelyn, for dealing with all of the paperwork and researching how all the nonprofit stuff works and just everything. You’re amazing.

And now this is about to get super long-winded (sorry).

When I first had the idea for the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, I was seventeen and it was the beginning of my senior year of high school. I had begun attending writing conferences the year before, but I felt kind of lost at them, because I was this scrawny, shy teenager and everyone else was a confident adult with way more experience than I had—or, at least, the confidence to make it appear they had way more experience. And I wanted a conference that was for me instead, that taught me how to fit in writing around stuff like homework and theatre rehearsals, and that maybe was smaller and more informal and put a focus on kids teaching kids, instead of adults talking down to us—because teens get enough of that in the classroom, you know?

the very first message
This was the Facebook poll that would go on to launch Ch1Con. We didn’t choose the name “the Chapter One Young Writers Conference” until we realized Scholastic might sue us if we tried to start a conference named after their online forums for teen writers, Write It. Other names we considered (I kid you not) included “Teen Typing Terrors,” “Minor Word Miners,” and “Young Yammers.”
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2012

And I brought the idea to my mom and somehow, instead of telling me I was an idiot, she told me the idea was great and worked with me to make it a reality. Then, even better, some of my best friends in the world were young writers I knew solely from online—and somehow a bunch of them convinced their parents to let them attend that first Ch1Con, which we held out of a hotel suite in Arlington Heights with absolutely no idea what we were doing. (We’ve had a running joke since then about a Forty-Year-Old Man because we were all apparently convinced before we met at that first conference that one of us must secretly be a creeper—aka “the Forty-Year-Old Man”—and then it was a huge shock when we were actually all, like, actual and real teenagers.)

Anyway: in the summer of 2012, when I was eighteen, we hosted the first Ch1Con, here in the Chicagoland area, and with the exception of when I took a break in 2013 because freshman year of college is apparently actually really hard, we’ve put on this conference every year since. 2017 is our fifth year doing Ch1Con. And it’s been amazing to watch it grow and become so much bigger than Seventeen-Year-Old Julia ever could have imagined.

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And it has been a pain and it has been a joy for the past six years to organize this thing. I never realized quite how much Ch1Con was going to take over my life when we started. Then flash forward to last autumn, when I was completing the Columbia Publishing Course UK at Oxford University in, you know, England, where my time zone was seven hours ahead of some of our team members. And I was hosting meetings out of my Oxford dorm room at midnight or 1:00 AM so we could still get some work done on this year’s conference while I was abroad (and then I’d get up the next morning to go to class, looking like a zombie, which was fun).

And really, the past few years as a whole have been like that, as I’ve moved back and forth between my hometown and university, and studied abroad in England twice, and interned in New York City for a summer, then moved to New York City this year—and everywhere I’ve gone, the one constant has been Ch1Con and the incredible group of teenagers and young adults who have helped me organize it. The members of the Ch1Con team have become some of my closest friends. And I love you guys so much.

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—Which, of course, is why it hurt so bad when I realized that I was no longer that scrawny, shy teenager, lost in a sea of adults. Somewhere along the way, I had grown up.

Me Giving a Session
2012

I graduated high school, then last year I graduated college, then I graduated from a graduate course, and now I’m out in the big scary real world. And it’s amazing, because I’m pursuing dreams now that Seventeen-Year-Old Julia was scared to even consider a possibility. But it also means that I’m twenty-three now—which is the upper end of the age range we allow attendees to be at this conference—and I’m not in school anymore, and the truth is I am starting to feel a bit of a disconnect from being a “young writer,” as I transition to just being a “writer.” The whole point of this conference from the beginning was that it was kids teaching kids. And although I still have chronic acne and read nothing but YA, I’m not really a kid anymore.

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2017

And, with all of that in mind, it’s time to pass on the torch. So, this was my last year as the director of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference.

But don’t worry: the story doesn’t end here.

First: say hello to the AMAZING new director of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference!

I’m so, so grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend as the director of Ch1Con, but I’m also incredibly excited to see where the new director takes it. She’s been part of the organization since the very beginning and has so much passion and love for Ch1Con—and writing and literature and fangirling in general—that I can promise without a doubt that you are in very safe hands.

I do have to admit that I was a little nervous at first about handing off the conference—because this thing has been my very needy baby for the past six years—but whenever I sent this lovely human an anxious, essay-length text message over this past year, she was right there replying with an equally long, essay-length text message that always managed to be the exact right thing to say to calm my fears.

She is strong and funny and kind, and a better person than I could ever hope to be. And she has such cool, unique ideas for the future of Ch1Con. If you’ll allow the literary pun, I can’t wait to watch the next chapter of the conference unfold. So, please join me in a very warm welcome for the new director of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, my dear friend, Emma Rose Ryan!

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And second: we’re thrilled to announce the Chapter Twenty-One Conference!

(Aka: you can’t get rid of me that easily.)

For anyone who is also aging out of Ch1Con but loves this community and what we’re doing here as much as I do, we’re starting a new conference next year, for twenty-something writers that’ll function separately but in conjunction with Ch1Con. Because I apparently hate sleep. And because we are really unoriginal with our naming, it’s going to be called Ch21Con and it’s basically going to be Ch1Con plus more existential crises and alcohol. Also, because we think we’re much funnier than we actually are, the logo is a Bloody Mary:

Ch21Con Full Logo 2017

So, those of you who are twenty-one and over, look out for more info about that in the coming months. And in the meantime, you can follow the new Ch21Con social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates!

And finally: we’re looking for new team members!

With the start of the new, older conference, we’ll be dividing the current team of volunteers in half. The younger team members will stick with Ch1Con while the older members move on to Ch21Con—which means we needs lots of fresh blood to fill out both the Ch1Con and Ch21Con teams! And we’d love to have you as part of either of them.

So, if you love writing and geeking out about books and *cough* punderful humor, please apply to become a team member! The application is open now through Friday, September 1st (so you have two weeks). You can learn more about what being a team member would look like here, or you can go straight to the application:

Click here for the application to join the Ch1Con or Ch21Con team!

And with that, it looks like my reign as the voice behind the Ch1Con blog has come to an end.

Thank you for being part of this community, whether this blog post is the first you’ve heard of Ch1Con or you’ve been with us since 2012. Thank you to my incredible team for following me down this rabbit hole, and my parents for believing in my own personal Wonderland. And thank you, especially, to Ariel and Emma, who have been here since the very, very beginning and stuck with Ch1Con and me through it all.

I love you all. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thank you.

— Julia

 

 

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Competition Anthology + Session Descriptions!

Hey there, awesome young writers!

We’re coming at you today to let you know two very exciting things:

  1. The anthology of winning poems and short stories from the First Annual Chapter One Young Writers Conference Writing Competition is now available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book! And for the next couple weeks, it’s only $0.99! We’re in love with the winning poems and short stories, and we think you will be too. Check the e-book out on Amazon by clicking here. And make sure to purchase it while it’s at this special sale price, only available until the end of July! (If you’d prefer to purchase the anthology in a different e-book form, it will also be available on Nook and iBooks come August.)
  2. 2017 conference session descriptions are available! We’re so excited about what all of our speakers are talking about at Ch1Con this year. You can check out the descriptions by visiting our Schedule page.

— The Ch1Con Team

2017 Workshop Leader: Booki Vivat!

The Ch1Con team is extraordinarily excited to announce our fifth and final speaker for the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference: Booki Vivat!

Booki Vivat - photo credit Kamolpat Trangratapit (2)
Photo by Kamolpat Trangratapit

Booki Vivat is the New York Times bestselling author of the Frazzled series. She has been doodling somewhat seriously since 2011 and not-so-seriously since childhood. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow her on Instagram at @bookibookibooki and on Twitter at @thebookiv.

Booki will be leading a workshop (topic TBA!) and participating in our special “ask anything” panel at Ch1Con 2017.

Find Booki online:

Check out Booki’s books:

We’re thrilled to have our 2017 speaker lineup finalized, and can’t wait to share these fabulous young authors and publishing professionals with you. See you in Chicago in August!!

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– The Ch1Con Team

Ch1Con Blog Tour 2017!

Hey, everybody! We’re thrilled to announce the Ch1Con Blog Tour 2017!

We put together this annual blog tour to share info and fun, behind-the-scenes facts about the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (and to give away some awesome prizes, of course). The 2017 blog tour will kick off on Saturday, April 15 and conclude at the end of May. Follow the tour for guest posts, interviews by the Ch1Con team–and, of course, giveaways of books and critiques!

2017 ch1con blog tour banner

Check out the schedule below:

As always, we welcome you to join the tour! If you have a blog/Tumblr/website/anything else with which you’d like to participate, contact us at chapteroneconference@gmail.com and we’ll add you to the schedule. Pingbacks, reblogs, and sharing are of course 100% welcome as well!

We can’t wait to share the tour with you, and hope to see you in Chicago at Ch1Con 2017!

– The Ch1Con Team

2017 Ch1Con Yule Ball

The Ch1Con team is excited to announce the 2017 Ch1Con Yule Ball!

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The Ch1Con Yule Ball is in no way associated with the Yule Ball from the Harry Potter series, our queen J.K. Rowling, or Warner Brothers. We just really like this GIF.

The Yule Ball will be an hour-and-a-half long live video panel taking place Saturday, February 11th from 8:00 to 9:30 PM EST. It’ll feature young authors, answering YOUR questions about writing and the publishing process. (Oh, and did we mention that there will be all kinds of awesome giveaways too?)

Our amazing panelists are:

Christine Lynn Herman

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Christine Lynn Herman was born in Manhattan, but grew up in Japan and Hong Kong. She came back to the United States to study at the University of Rochester, where she traded out a subtropical climate for harsh, snowy winters and an Honors English degree of questionable real-world value.

She returned to NYC post-grad to attend the Columbia Publishing Course. Currently, she works as a literary assistant at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates by day and writes YA novels by night, and is represented by Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Hannah Moskowitz

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Hannah Moskowitz wrote her first story, about a kitten named Lilly on the run from cat hunters, for a contest when she was seven years old. It was disqualified for violence. Her first book, BREAK, was on the ALA’s 2010 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, while her novel GONE, GONE, GONE (2012) was a Stonewall Honor Recipient and TEETH (2013) earned starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and The Bulletin. NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED was named the Bisexual YA Book of the Year in 2016 by the Bisexual Book Awards. She lives in Maryland.

Joan He

Joan He started out in art – the pencil-sketching, oil-painting kind of art – only to quickly discover the art of the written word. So, here she is now, love undivided. When she’s not trying to balance writing and sophomoring at the University of Pennsylvania (where she’s a Psychology Major), she over-indulges in her love for wombats, Mao Feng tea, and scary anime.

Briana Morgan

Briana Morgan

Briana Morgan is a YA and NA writer, editor, and blogger who loves dark, suspenseful reads, angst-ridden relationships, and complicated characters. Her interest in Jay Gatsby scares her friends and family. You can find her in way too many places online, eating too much popcorn, reading in the corner, or crying about long-dead literary heroes.

Interested in asking a question? Tweet using #Ch1ConYuleBall and we’ll have the panelists answer as many questions as we have time for!

Interested in entering a giveaway? We’ll announce the giveaway prizes and post Rafflecopter raffles for you to enter throughout the Yule Ball! (And we think you’re going to be pretty excited about these prizes. So many books!)

And most importantly: interested in watching the Ch1Con Yule Ball? You’ll be able to watch the panel live on our Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/chapteroneconference!

I’m also conveniently embedding the video in the post below:

So: join us Saturday, February 11 from 8:00 to 9:30 PM EST for the second annual Ch1Con Yule Ball!

(Maybe there’ll even be some awkward dancing involved.)

– The Ch1Con Team

2017 Conference Registration Is Open!

We’re thrilled to announce that registration for the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference is officially open!

The conference will take place Saturday, August 5th, 2017 at the SPACE by Doejo event center in downtown Chicago, IL. It will include workshops, two panels, trivia (with prizes!), and all kinds of other good stuff.

(There will also be a pizza party the night before the conference at the official conference hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites in Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago! Check our travel page for more info.)

Register early (now through the end of May) to get our special Early Bird Admission rate of $49.99! Registration is available at:

www.chapteroneconference.com/register

Interested in who this year’s speakers are?

Keep an eye on the blog, because we’ll be announcing the first few speakers very soon!

Spots are limited to attend the conference, so make sure to register before they’re gone!

We’re so excited for the 2017 conference (and hope you are too)!

See you in August!

— The Ch1Con Team

Ch1Con 2017: August 5!

It’s official! The 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference will take place Saturday, August 5th at the SPACE by Doejo event center in downtown Chicago!! (And as an added bonus, our conference room is accessible through the After-Words bookshop, so this year will be extra bookish.)

Mark your calendars, because we are SO EXCITED to bring the 2017 conference to you! We’re thrilled about the move to downtown and hope you are too (we’re right by Navy Pier!). We can’t wait to share our speakers and other announcements with you, so stay tuned for lots more info, coming soon!

~Julia

P.S. For those who’ll need a place to stay for the conference, hang tight! We’ll have info about a hotel with a special Ch1Con group discount coming to you soon.