​Join us for a full day of classes on craft and the business side of writing, advice from literary agents, and a chance to speak with a literary agent one on one about your book. ​This will be a one day event held on September 30th in downtown Niwot, CO at the Left Hand Grange Hall.

Seats are limited, register now:

Cost: $170

Member Discount Price: $160

(Join the Member Discount Program for $30 for 6 months of discounted classes by clicking here:                                    )

**Any conference participant who has a book out in the world is welcome to have it for sale at the book table. 


All conference participants will be eligible to compete for a thirty minute discussion of their book with one of the three agents who will be participating in the conference. Literary agents Shana Kelly, Becky LeJeune, and Alexis Hurley will each be reading ten pages of work from two authors and will sit down with those authors to discuss for thirty minutes. Shana and Becky will meet with authors in person the day of  the conference and Alexis will meet with authors via Skype from NYC. Conference participants will be asked to submit work to no more than one agent who represents work in their genre. If you have multiple projects in multiple genres, you can submit to more than one agent. An outside judge will pick the top two submissions and these will be passed on to the agents. ***Note: This is a small conference (last year we had 60 participants) and with six available meetings with agents; I'm no mathlete, but that's pretty good odds. 

Shana Kelly started her publishing career in the Literary Department of the William Morris Agency, where she worked for 10 years.  She was the signing agent for many successful authors, including New York Times bestseller Curtis Sittenfeld, author of PREP and ELIGIBLE.  In 2016, Shana joined Einstein Literary Management as an agent. She is looking for adult novels with great writing and surprising plots—her favorite books fall between commercial and literary. She has a soft spot for well-written thrillers and psychological suspense. Shana doesn’t represent books for young readers, science fiction or most nonfiction. 

Becky LeJeune is an Associate Agent at Bond Literary Agency. She is interested in adult and teen submissions in the following genres: horror, mystery/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, sci fi, fantasy, and general fiction.

Alexis Hurley started her career in 1998 and has been at InkWell Management Literary Agency since its inception in 2004. Alexis works in the dual capacity of Co-Director of Foreign Rights and agent of domestic works in the areas of literary and commercial fiction, memoir, narrative non-fiction and more. She is a native of the Berkshires and a graduate of Dickinson College where she received her BA in English and Art History and a minor in Italian. ***For the purposes of our conference, Alexis will be reading submissions of memoir only. 

Craft Classes 

​Start with the Diamond: The Premise of a Great Novel
Your brain is busting with ideas for a wonderful story. Then those great ideas stagnate and your manuscript turns into a soggy mess. In this workshop we’ll discuss why theme and character motivation drive the story and how to drill through your plot to find the true premise--the diamond--that you can build your story around. Participants are invited to bring an outline for a novel or memoir that we’ll discuss to find the diamond.

Mario Acevedo is the author of the bestselling Felix Gomez detective-vampire series, which includes Rescue From Planet Pleasure from WordFire Press. His debut novel, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, was chosen by Barnes & Noble as one of the best Paranormal Fantasy Novels of the Decade and was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award. 

The Art of Conflict: Developing Characters Through Plot
Writers are often told to increase the conflict, but what exactly does that mean and how can it be done effectively? In this interactive session, we’ll approach plot as a way to engage readers while developing characters. Topics covered will include: the differences between a story and a situation, the three most important things to know about your characters, and ways to manifest the internal through the external. The goal of this session is to give participants fundamental tips and approaches for writing gripping stories.

Todd Mitchell is the author of the middle grade novels The Last Panther (Random House, August 2017), and The Traitor King(Scholastic Press), and the young adult novels The Secret to Lying (Candlewick, Colorado Book Award Winner), andBackwards (Candlewick, CAL Award Winner). He created the graphic series Broken Saviors, and co-wrote the graphic novel A Flight of Angels (Vertigo, YALSA Top 10 Pick for Teens). In addition to his books, he’s published short stories, essays, and poems in national and international journals. Currently, he serves as Director of the Beginning Creative Writing Teaching Program at Colorado State University. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, dog, and two wise daughters. You can visit him at www.ToddMitchellBooks.com

Building Your Author Platform with Magazine Articles
Whether you’re writing novels or memoir, writing and submitting magazine articles is a great way to reach a larger audience and build your author platform. This presentation will cover the basics of magazine writing, including coming up with ideas, finding your target market and writing an effective query letter. In addition, it will cover the reasons why tapping into this market is an important and effective marketing tool that many authors do not take advantage of. Through a combination of instruction and guided activities, participants will leave with the basic knowledge of writing for magazines and ideas for future articles.

With over 18 years experience in the publishing industry as an author, writing consultant, publisher and accomplished freelance writer, Kerrie Flanagan has a wealth of experience to share with other writers. Her work has appeared in publications such as, Writer’s Digest, Alaska Magazine, The Writer, The Writer's Market, six Chicken Soup for the Soul books and a variety of anthologies. She is the author of seven books under her publishing label, Hot Chocolate Press (http://hotchocolatepress.com) and was the founder and former director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her background in teaching and enjoyment of helping writers, has led her to present at writing conferences across the country including Writer's Digest Annual Conference, Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference, Northern Colorado Writer's Conference, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Castle Rock Writers, Colorado Christian Writer's Conference and Willamette Writer's Conference. 

Dynamic Scenes: Tips, Tricks and Danger Zones 
Scenes are the essential building blocks of fiction and memoir. What's the difference between a dynamic scene and a dull one? In this class, we’ll discuss how to create a scene that comes alive, and how to avoid the (sometimes subtle) scene-killers that halt all narrative momentum. You’ll leave this class with a full toolbox of tips, tricks and reminders to turn each scene into one you can be proud of. 

Erika Krouse’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, One Story, Ploughshares, and other magazines and anthologies. Erika's collection of short stories, Come Up and See Me Sometime, won the Paterson Fiction Award, was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and has been translated into six languages. Erika's new novel, Contenders, was called “unique and fearless” by Bob Shacochis, and “a knockout at every level” by David Wroblewski. Erika currently teaches at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, where she won the 2014 Lighthouse Beacon Award for teaching excellence. Erika also works part time as a private investigator for Title IX and sexual assault cases, and recently completed a 2014-15 Amtrak Residency. For more info visit www.erikakrousewriter.com

What folks had to say about last year’s CWS conference:

Awesome conference! Best one I've been to for years.
                        -Linda Bolander

Awesome day! Educational, inspiring and fun!
                        -Mary Bridges

Great conference - thank you all!
                        - Carol Callicotte-Belmon

Wonderful opportunity to sink my roots into the craft and share the wealth of knowledge with other local and out of town writers.
                        -Sheala Henke

Good teachers and a great variety of topics.
                        -Jenny Wehinger

Fabulous! I couldn’t stop taking notes!
                        -Susan Flakes

I agree with everyone else that the conference was really terrific. It was fun connecting with other writers, "old friends" as well as new ones. Looking forward to reading this pile of books by stellar authors / attendees and possibly submitting a piece of flash fiction, courtesy of the "Banana Spider" writing exercise. :-) Cheers!
                        -Laura Mahal

Submission Guidelines to Have Work Considered For an Agent Meeting:

-All submissions need to be received by midnight on September 16th. Any submissions received after this point in time will not be considered.

-Pages from the same book cannot be submitted to more than one agent. If you have multiple books, you are welcome to submit pages from each. 

-Email up to ten double spaced pages to coloradowritingschool@gmail.com as a word or pdf attachment

-put: Sub for Agent _____ (Shana Kelly, Alexis Hurley or Becky LeJuene) in the subject line

-Include at the top of every page of your submission your name, your genre, and the agent you are submitting to.

-Selected authors will be notified by Sunday September 24th. 

Cancellation Policy:
If you need to cancel once you've registered for the conference for any reason, the following refund schedule applies: 
More than one month before start date: A cancellation fee of 10% of the total conference cost applies.
Less than one month before start date: 15% cancellation fee applies
Less than one week before start date: 25% cancellation fee applies
48 hours or less before the conference: No refund is available.​​​


2017 Fall Conference, Sept 30th, 8am-5:30pm

Colorado Writing School