Shelley Adina Bates is an experienced speaker for writers’ groups, book clubs, and schools about the craft and business of writing and about the worlds she creates in fiction. With a doctorate in Creative Writing and as former adjunct faculty in the Seton Hill University MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program, she is also an experienced classroom speaker. If you would like her to present to your group, send her an email. Currently, she’s presenting the following workshops.
Marketing with Metadata (1 hour)
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play all run on algorithms, but each of them is different. Each provides their own tools to authors to help them become more visible to the right readers. But how is an author or small press to know what works best where? And how do you even decide whether to publish on one platform, or “go wide” by publishing on many?
Whatever you decide, your metadata – the little details you enter in your book’s upload form – feeds the algorithm. In turn, this can help or hinder the success of your book. USA Today bestselling author and instructor Shelley Adina will take you through each retailer, pointing out which algorithms work where, and which tools are aimed at visibility for your books versus visibility for you, the author or publisher. She will also talk briefly about selling direct on your website, a strategy more and more authors are using for greater control of their business.
Expect Success: Self Publishing and the Business of Writing (2 hours)
Whether you’re an industry veteran with a backlist or a first-time novelist, you need to know your options in the fiction market. In this workshop, you’ll learn about one of them: self publishing with online retailers like Amazon, Apple Books, Nook Press, and Kobo. From market research and targeting your readers, to opening your own accounts, formatting, and deciding on cover art, this is a practical 101-level class with tips you can put to use right away. For conferences, the more in-depth version of this class is 8 hours.
Write Killer Back-Cover Copy (90 minutes)
If you’re seeking trad publication, the back-cover blurb goes in your query letter. Once you’re under contract, your publisher may ask you to write your own–or rewrite theirs. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to write a grabby book description to hook the readers attracted by your cover art. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll learn the anatomy of a blurb, from shoutline to hook, and then in four easy steps, write one for our works in progress.
The Rules of Revision (90 minutes)
You’ve finished your book! Time to send it out, right? Wrong. Even if you’ve been editing as you go, there are several layers to work through yet to make your novel stand out from the pack. Award-winning, bestselling author and professional copyeditor Shelley Bates will take you through “the rules,” what they’re really meant to accomplish, and how you can revise your work with or against them. Learn what to look for in your own work, fix it, and whether you’re pursuing self-publishing or a traditional agent or editor, your book will shine. (Mini guide available for sale on the Nonfiction page.)
The Emotional Plot (1 hour)
There are as many ways to plot a novel as there are novelists, but in this workshop, we’ll explore three: internal and external conflict, featuring ways to keep your hero and heroine apart and bring them together; the romance arc (from first glance to HEA); and the emotional journey of your couple from isolation to community. Even if you’re a pantser, you’ll discover new ways of thinking about your story and about your characters that will help you avoid the sagging middle—and prepare you to write the dreaded synopsis with ease.
World Building Through Your Characters’ Eyes (90 minutes)
Building a world is more than paragraphs of description of a rainy forest or the mean streets of the city. It’s how your character sees your story world and how it in turn reflects him. It’s how the environment influences and changes your character—and how your character changes her environment—during the events of the plot. Discover how to build a setting from the top down and from the inside out so that your world becomes as much a character as your people. You’ll also learn how to research a believable setting, even if you’re making it all up. (Mini guide available for sale on the Nonfiction page.)
Planning and Plotting a Series (1 hour)
It’s no secret that readers love series, but writing a satisfying multi-book series is more than making up a small-town setting to put them in. Learn how to create communities populated by compelling primary, secondary, and tertiary characters. Best friends, buddies, exes, families, and coworkers create foils and contrasts for your main characters, push the plot’s emotional complexity, build the story worlds your reader wants to come back to … and become the main characters for the next book. Learn strategies and tips for over-arching plotlines, reappearing characters, and interlocking subplots, and we’ll also discuss the re-emergence of the serial for readers who enjoy short reads.