utopYA Sessions Announced

NOTE: We will be adding surprises to this list. This is NOT a final list, and sessions are subject to change.

Two of the aims of utopYA are:

  1. To bring together a community of collaborative authors and experts to help established and aspiring authors not only sustain, but create thriving, long-lasting careers.
  2. To offer readers, both young and young-at-heart, a safe place to swoon over fictional vampires, werewolves, angels and demons, while providing opportunities to meet their literary idols.

With that in mind we worked to bring you two session tracks, one for authors and one for fans, that we hope will educate, entertain, promote and inspire all attendees.

Even though we aimed to create sessions specific to certain attendee goals, please know that ALL attendees are welcome to attend ALL SESSIONS.


Collaborative Marketing
How authors are helping each other.

Which publishing route is right for you?
Indie, Self and Traditional publishing will be explained and explored from all sides and from all experiences.

World Building
The creative process intertwines with research to create rich, believable characters, settings and mythology that keep the reader coming back for more.

Breaking All the Rules
YA lives up to its name when it comes to point of view, editing and storytelling. Do you write in first person, third person, both? Do you switch character points of view?

While it drives purists insane, it drives readers wild with delight. What’s your point of view?

Query Letter Zone
What your query letter must have to attract and hold the attention of the agent and publisher.

What your query letter must avoid if it wants to make it past the slush pile.

So you wanna be in pictures? Taking your book from page to screen
Do movies kill books or birth franchises? How do you get your book from page to screen without it (or you) losing a soul.

Editing in the digital world
Your heart’s in the right place, but your comma isn’t. Are their new rules or is it every woman for herself in the rush to publish?

The most common mistakes, what to look for in an editor, how to handle online comments, and when to press GO! All this and more will be covered in this important session.

Fictionalizing World Causes & Teen Issues
Homosexuality, environmental and world-stage causes, women’s issues and more will be discussed in this pivotal panel on how to approach these topics in your book.

How to make a Hollywood-worthy Book Trailer
Book trailers have gone from “that would be cool to have” to “MUST HAVE.” Find out the elements, the copyright laws, and the hooks that can move your trailer from ho-hum to awesome.

Original Ideas in Marketing
Are book signings dead? Has it all been done? How do you get their attention, build raving fans, give your marketing and your book longevity — all while trying to relate to the fans, write the next book and have a life?

This session will tap into some crazy cool trans-media marketing you MUST know about, as well as cool new ways to boost your image and your sales.

How to Build and Sustain a Stellar Online Author Platform
In each phase of your book’s life: Concept & Research, Writing, Publishing and Editing, you have the ability to use the Internet, social networks and your God (or goddess)-given talents to create, attract, build and sustain an online platform that grows with you, serves your community and catapults your vision. This session will tell you how, when, where and why.

FAN TRACK sessions

Love Triangles: Overdone or not enough?
Whether you’re Team Peeta, Team Gale, Team Jacob, Team Edward or you have refused to pick teams at all, this is the panel for you. Is it played out or part of the YA secret sauce to success? We’ll discuss the trite, the true and how to avoid pitfalls while you build tension.

Power of the Fans
From blogs to fan fiction, Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest to Spotify, how are fans not only following, but creating the YA movement online? Where do they hang out, how do they start or kill buzz and what can you do to harness their powers for good?

Judging the Book by Its Cover
In the digital world, YA authors often change book covers every few months. Confusing or Creative? When can you tell a book by its cover, and how important is that first impression people have of your book, both in print and online?

Music as Muse
Music is often an additional character in YA books, adding texture, personality and mood to scenes. What’s more, though, is the authors, themselves, are thanking musicians in the acknowledgments for not only inspiring the creative process, but being crucial to it.

In this session we’ll talk about who they are and why they really do, on some level, play the part as muse for the writer.

The Future of YA?
Have we just reached the tip of the iceberg on the possibilities and lifespan of paranormal YA or are its days numbered? Will the beloved series get longer or shorter?

We’ll look at the trends in books, sales and culture to see what’s ahead.

A Day in the Life of a YA Writer
Join authors who make a full-time living from their writing, as well as authors trying to balance their “day job” with their life’s passion.

Strong Woman or Damsel in Distress: A Look at Gender Roles in YA
Are we empowering women or promoting a stereotype of the girl in need of protection by a strong man? You decide in this sure-to-be-heated session.

Guilty Pleasures: YA for the Older Crowd
Do you dare tell your friends that you not only like, but LOVE the books your daughter reads? Is your book club a cover for a YA support group?

NO MORE HIDING. This isn’t the walk of shame, this is the stride of pride. Hold your heads and books high as you share stories of coping with YA addiction.

YA Television
The convention celebrates authors, but we all love or hate the shows that are borne from the pages of paranormal. We’ll discuss, the good, the bad and what’s next.


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