29th Flathead River Writers Conference

    September 14-15 2019

    Kalispell, MT





  • First Impressions Guidelines

    Conference guideline for First Impressions: Submit 7 copies of the first manuscript page of your novel, double-spaced, without your name. They will be read in order of receipt. As many as possible will be presented in one hour.


    The Flathead River Writers Conference is an exclusive conference in its 29th year. For well over two-decades, the conference has played host to high-profile authors, editors, agents, publishers, and other literary figures... and 2019 will not be an exception!


    Taking place September 14th and 15th at the beautiful Flathead Valley Community College campus in Kalispell, Montana, the conference is jam-packed with sessions no writer, aspiring or published, will want to miss.


    The Flathead River Writers Conference is sponsored by Authors of the Flathead. As a non-profit organization, Authors of the Flathead is able to offer unprecedented value. The conference offers two days of lectures and workshops for a low price. Best of all, the conference offers a very intimate, almost one-on-one feel, as it is limited to 100 attendees.

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  • 2019 Conference Speakers

    To read full speaker bios click here.

  • 2019 Conference Schedule

    Saturday, September 14th


    7:30 - 8:15 AM


    Sign in, enjoy a cup of coffee, and drop off of your "first impressions" submission.


    Conference guideline for First Impressions: Submit 7 copies of the first manuscript page of your novel, double-spaced, without your name. They will be read in order of receipt. As many as possible will be presented in one hour.

    Welcome - Kathy Dunnehoff

    8:15 - 8:30 AM

    The Writing Profession: Dueling Author Perspectives

    Jeff Giles and Haven Kimmel

    8:30 - 9:30 AM


    An interactive presentation covering the highs, and lows of seeing your work in publication, and how they reached their goal.

    Strategic Publishing: Present and Future

    Bob Mayer

    9:45 - 10:45 AM


    This presentation teaches writers how to navigate the changing (and often choppy) waters of publication. Attendees will learn about royalties, formats, and the pros and cons of all the different publication options available including traditional, e-Publishing, print-on-demand, self-pub, and vanity options.

    How Editors Think – and What They’re Searching For

    Ben Loehnen

    11:00 - 12:00 PM


    Executive editor Ben Loehnen pulls the curtain back on the acquisition and editorial process in a major publishing house. Attendees of this presentation will glean invaluable details on how a manuscript finds its way to publication.


    12:00 - 1:00 PM


    A buffet lunch will be provided.

    Tell it to sell it: How a good pitch can get you read

    Barbara Schiffman

    1:00 - 2:00 PM


    Writers need to verbally entice potential readers, agents &/or film/TV producers to read and hopefully buy their books or scripts. Learn basic elements of a good book or script pitch -- what works and what doesn't -- and practice pitching your work (if you dare) to the group.


    Author Alliance: Agent & Publisher Pact for Success

    Susan Purvis

    2:15 - 3:15 PM


    Congrats, you have an agent... but you're not done yet. Author Susan Purivs' presentation dives into all the work that begins after you acquire an agent including edits, rewrites, decisions, communication, and your role in finalizing and promoting your book.

  • Write Engaging Scenes: Tools, Timing & Take-Off!

    Kathy Dunnehoff

    3:30 - 4:30 PM


    A long journey begins with a step, and a larger piece of writing begins with a scene then another and another... Use your tools, timing and take-off to make all of them as compelling as possible.

    Digital Diva: Selling in the Age of Facebook, Twitter & Patreon

    Jess Owens

    3:30 - 4:30 PM


    Learn the skills of efficiently marketing yourself and your books online with a specific focus on Facebook including boosting posts and buying ads.

  • Q & A Panel

    Moderated by Jeff Giles

    4:45 - 5:15 PM


    Get answers to all of your writing, editing, and publishing questions during this all-star panel.

    Saturday Night Social

    At Hampton Inn

    5:45 - 8:00 PM


    Cut back and relax with fellow conference guests and presenters at the Hampton Inn in Kalispell. Beverages and light snacks will be provided.

  • Sunday, September 15th


    8:00 - 8:30 AM


    Sign in, enjoy a cup of coffee, and drop off of your "first impressions" submission.

    What Makes Bestsellers Sell: A Deep Dive into Recent Blockbusters

    Panel Moderated by Jeff Giles

    8:30 - 9:30 AM


    The conference's presenters deconstruct and analyze some of the super-best-selling books, ever (Gone Girl, Wild, Into Thin Air, Harry Potter; Eat, Pray, Love) to see what they have in common and understand how aspiring writers can attain the same level of renown.

  • Young Adult Fiction: What are the Rules & Why is it Booming?

    Jeff Giles

    9:45 - 10:45 AM


    Interested in writing YA? Don't miss this presentation! Jeff Giles maps out the route to success.

    Memoir Writing: How to Make Art Out of Your Life

    Haven Kimmel

    9:45 - 10:45 AM


    This presentation gives attendees the keys to bringing a memoir to life.

  • Promotion: The Secret Weapon is You

    Susan Purvis

    11:00 - 12:00 PM


    Authors must evaluate their pitch, professional image, business plan, author website, and online appearance. In this presentation attendees will learn ways to enhance their platform, seek interviews and presentation, ask big names for blurbs.


    12:00 - 12:45 PM


    A buffet lunch will be provided.

    Building Blocks of Great Books

    Bob Mayer

    12:45 - 1:45 PM


    Learn how to hook a reader from the first sentence, through suspense, escalating conflict to the climactic scene, and a satisfying ending. Narrative structure will be demonstrated through film clips. Popcorn not provided.

    Writing for Screens: Movies, TV, Tablets & More

    Barbara Schiffman

    2:00 - 3:00 PM


    A script is a blueprint for a movie or TV show while a book is meant to be read by individuals. Learn basic elements of screenwriting and ways to write visually so your story can work on all sizes of screens, as well as on the page.

    Great Expectations: You & Your Editor

    Ben Loehnen

    3:15 - 4:15 PM


    How much interface occurs between the editor and the author? What should an author expect from an editor? Find out in this presentation! Topics covered will also include galley editing, obtaining blurbs, book cover script, production timing, publicity assistance, and author platform.

    First Impressions with Panel Critiques

    4:30 - 5:30 PM


    Conference presenters read submissions aloud and give their first impressions.

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