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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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 Speaker Reveals

The Chapter One Young Writers Conference team is thrilled to announce that we’ll be revealing our 2017 speakers here on the conference blog (www.chapteroneconference.com) beginning tomorrow (Wednesday, March 1)!

The Chapter One Young Writers Conference is a writer’s conference both for and by young writers. Ch1Con 2017 will take place Saturday, August 5th at the SPACE by Doejo event center in downtown Chicago. It will include workshops, panels, trivia (with prizes!), lots of nerding out about writing and books, and more.

We’re SO EXCITED to share our 2017 speakers with you. However, we don’t want anyone to spontaneously combust from an overload of awesomeness (these authors and ~other~ speakers are so talented, it could happen)–so, we’ll be spreading out the speaker reveals throughout the rest of this week. Starting Wednesday, we’ll reveal one speaker a day, leading up to our incredible keynote speaker on Saturday. The speaker reveals will also include some pretty great giveaways!

So, make sure to keep an eye here on www.chapteroneconference.com to be part of the fun! And register to attend the 2017 Chapter One Young Writers Conference today at www.chapteroneconference.com/register

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– The Ch1Con Team

2017 Yule Ball Giveaways!!

Today’s the day! Welcome to the second annual Ch1Con Yule Ball: a live video panel featuring young authors answering YOUR questions about writing and publishing!

The panel is taking place today from 8:00 to 9:30 PM EST. You can watch it at: www.youtube.com/chapteroneconference.

Or, we’re conveniently embedding the video in the post below:

The Yule Ball panelists are Hannah Moskowitz (Not Otherwise Specified) (and like a thousand other fantastic books), Christine L. Herman (represented by Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Lit), Briana Morgan (Blood and Water), and Joan He (represented by John Cusick of Folio Literary Management). You can find information about all of them in the Ch1Con Yule Ball announcement post here.

Want to ask the panelists a question, or comment on what’s going on in the Yule Ball in general? Tweet using #Ch1ConYuleBall!

ALSO we’re giving away some pretty amazing prizes throughout the event, so check those out at the Rafflecopter linked below!

Prizes include:

  • A SIGNED copy of Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • A SIGNED copy of Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • A copy of Pawn by Aimee Carter
  • A copy of The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
  • A copy of The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Enter to win signed books!

Put on your dancing shoes, because it’s time for the Ch1Con Yule Ball!

– The Ch1Con Team

P.S. Curious how the giveaway will work? We’ll draw five winners and you’ll be able to choose which book you’d prefer based on the order we draw the names.

February Ch1Con Events

Looks like it’s Fe-brrr-uary! (Sorry. We’ll see ourselves out.) Here’s the schedule of Ch1Con online events coming your way this month.

Saturday, February 18th from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Eastern: Virtual Write-In

Join us to write (and procrastinate) at any point that you’re available during the evening. Link to the chat room: http://us22.chatzy.com/96615673582883.

Thursday, February 23rd at 8:00 PM Eastern: Twitter Chat

The topic of our Twitter chat this month is writing cliches. Join us using #Ch1Con to answer our questions and talk with other young writers!

– The Ch1Con Team

P.S. Keep an eye out for info on the 2017 Yule Ball and our 2017 conference speaker reveals!

2016 Virtual Write-a-Thon Details

This Saturday is the 2016 Ch1Con Virtual Write-a-Thon!

When? Saturday, December 17th from 11 AM to 11 PM eastern time.

What’s a virtual write-a-thon? A virtual write-a-thon is an event where a bunch of people get together to write a bunch of words, talk about writing, and procrastinate–online. You don’t have to attend for the whole event (only as much as you want to) and you can write whatever you want (no need to limit yourself to novels!).

Where? The write-a-thon will take place through a private chat room on the website Chatzy. You can find the chat room at:

http://us20.chatzy.com/12577207235036

We’re so excited to hang out with you on Saturday! Chat with you then.

– The Ch1Con Team

P.S. We maaay have a special 2017 conference-related perk coming for people who attend the Virtual Write-a-Thon. Stop by to find out what it is!

The Ch1Con Anthology Is Here!

As you may know, the Ch1Con team has spent this fall teaching two fantastic young writers about the publishing process in our inaugural mentorship program. The final step of this program is the release of an anthology featuring these up-and-coming young authors’ short stories (as well as some of our own). The anthology is called Twisted, because these stories all have some pretty killer plot twists (pun possibly intended).

The paperback and e-book editions of Twisted are available now for order on Blurb.com, and the e-book will be available soon on Amazon and iBooks.

We’re also THRILLED to be revealing the cover of this collection of short stories today! So, without further ado, drumroll please…

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LOOK AT THE PRETTY!

We’re in love with our cover, created by a talented friend of the conference, and so excited to share the book with you!

In honor of Twisted’s release, we’re holding a mini blog tour on the mentors’ blogs. The tour will include interviews, excerpts from the anthology stories, and more. The blog tour schedule is below:

 All proceeds from the anthology go towards funding future Ch1Con activities, including our 2017 conference and mentorship program. Purchase Twisted today to help us support the dreams of the authors of tomorrow!

We had so much fun putting Twisted together and hope you enjoy reading it, as well!

– The Ch1Con Team