2017 Conference Recap

We can’t believe it’s already been four days since the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference! We had a wonderful time learning and hanging out with our fellow young writers in Chicago and hope you did too.

Friday night was our annual pizza party to kick off the conference weekend, hosted this year in the lobby of our hotel. (The weather was a bit too chilly/rainy to host the party outdoors.)

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Saturday morning, the conference itself began! We held Ch1Con this year at the SPACE by Doejo event center in downtown Chicago. LOOK AT OUR BEAUTIFUL CONFERENCE ROOM.

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(Also, a HUGE thanks to all of the wonderful authors who donated book swag to Ch1Con this year for our attendees!)

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We began the morning with “Young, Scrappy, & Hungry: A Panel of Young Publishing Professionals,” featuring Patrice Caldwell (Associate Editor, Disney-Hyperion) and Brent Taylor (Literary Agent, Triada US), with New York Times bestselling author Kody Keplinger (The DUFF) moderating.

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“Not achieving goals is not a failure unless you don’t learn from it and grow.” – Brent Taylor

Next up was Kody’s keynote address, called “Why Try?” In her inspiring talk and Q & A, she spoke about the importance of taking chances and opening yourself to opportunities.

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“Every second you spend writing is a second you spend improving.” – Kody Keplinger

After the keynote, we took a break for lunch and our annual group picture (minus Brent, who unfortunately had to catch a flight right after his panel). Keep an eye out for these smiling faces, because we have a feeling you’re going to see them announcing book deals soon.

 

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Throughout the day, attendees also had the opportunity to to answer a couple questions on white boards throughout the room. We started doing this in 2016 and it’s now one of the team’s favorite parts of the conference. We absolutely love seeing all the answers (especially when attendees do things like star and draw arrows in order to show that another person’s answer resonates with them).

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After lunch, we moved into the workshop portion of the day. This began with a stellar, hands-on opening lines workshop by author Annie Sullivan (represented by Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis), titled “How to Hook an Agent.” Before the conference, attendees had the chance to anonymously submit their opening lines for the workshop, and with Annie’s guidance everyone gave critique in order to help their fellow young writers make their opening lines stand out.

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Annie had attendees open each round of critique by raising their hands for whether or not they’d read on, based on that opening line.

Our second workshop was the fun and inspiring “Getting Frazzled: A Study in the Creative Process of Figuring Things Out” by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Booki Vivat (the Frazzled series). Booki taught attendees how to combine words with images in order to tell a complete story–and gave them a chance to try their own hand at it.

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“I see it as a spotlight, but like a spotlight of doom” – Booki Vivat on the “black bubble” her character Abbie stands on

Between sessions throughout the conference, our team of volunteers asked attendees literary-themed trivia questions in order to win prizes. Attendees got to choose between a variety of Advance Reader’s Copies, signed books, posters, tote bags, and (our personal and not-at-all-biased favorite) Ch1Con crew-neck sweatshirts. At the end of the day, all attendees went home with at least one prize (and we actually had collected so many prizes this year, everyone had the opportunity to choose a second!).

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The last session of the day was our annual Ask Anything lecture, which we live-streamed online! You can watch it here, or we’re conveniently embedding it below:

Following the panel, Kody and Booki signed copies of their books for attendees. (There was also an awesome ukulele-fueled jam session going on at the other end of the conference room, which we had nothing to do with, but ADORED.)

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Overall, Ch1Con 2017 was fantastic and we can’t wait for next year.

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Thanks for joining us for the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference. See you in 2018!

— The Ch1Con Team

P.S. It was really difficult choosing photos for this blog post, because there were so many excellent ones this year. To see all the photos from Ch1Con 2017, check out this Google Drive folder!

P.P.S. A humongous thanks to conference attendee (and amazing photographer) Christel for helping us take pictures this year!

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2017 Panelist: Brent Taylor!

The Ch1Con team is thrilled to announce our next speaker of the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference: Brent Taylor!

brent-taylorBrent Taylor is an associate literary agent at Triada US, Inc. in Sewickley, PA. He represents upmarket fiction (novels that are well-written, robust with emotion, and appeal to a wide, commercial audience) across a broad range of categories: picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, women’s fiction, crime fiction, and literary fiction. Some of his recent and forthcoming client books include YOU’RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE by Whitney Gardner (Knopf), PERFECT TEN by L. Philips (Viking), ALAN COLE IS NOT A COWARD by Eric Bell (Katherine Tegen Books), and KIRANMALA AND THE KINGDOM OF SERPENTS (Scholastic). You can find him on Twitter @btaylorbooks.

Brent will be participating in a panel of young publishing professionals, talking all about the publishing process! Plus: in honor of speaking at the conference, Brent is pleased today to give away a query critique!

Just click the link below to enter the raffle. We’ll leave it open for one week!

Enter the giveaway here!

And, if you guess our keynote speaker (enter the giveaway here) you can win a prize pack of signed books by Susan Dennard, Adam Silvera, and Corey Ann Haydu! Third and final hint of who our 2017 keynote speaker is: she wrote her first book at seventeen!

Find Brent online: Twitter

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the reveal of our keynote speaker!

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– The Ch1Con Team