*Subject to change


*Free only for signing Authors and paid Assistants. Attendees may join in with a paid educational day ticket. Buy here.

We will be running two sessions during each time slot. Please feel free to attend the one that best suits your needs.


Session 1

Advertising with Facebook (Workshop)

Presenter: Bestselling fantasy author Eric R. Asher

Eric will offer tips on optimizing Facebook ads to rapidly grow your reader base.

“A solid marketing strategy is important whether you’re traditionally published or self-published. Authors need scalable, long-term campaigns to help keep their readers engaged.”

Topics of discussion:

  1. Why Facebook ads are more powerful than ever, and how anyone can benefit from them.
  2. How to leverage your existing audiences into lookalike audiences.
  3. How to build highly-engaged audiences by utilizing pixels and 3rd party tools.

Session 2


Whether this is your first convention or number forty, networking is what it’s all about. Yes, selling the books is great but the relationships that you build at Penned Con can be invaluable. Join us for a laid back networking session where you lead the way.

10:50am- 11:35am

Session 1

10 Trends Driving the Future of Authorship (Workshop that spans introductory to advanced)

Presenter: Mark Coker – Founder and CEO of Smashwords

Mark Coker shares ten publishing industry trends that are transforming the future of authorship. Learn how the power center in the publishing industry is shifting from publishers to writers, and how self-published (aka “indie”) authors now have the tools to out-sell and out-compete the large publishers. Learn how the playing field isn’t just level – it’s tilted to the indie author’s advantage.  Learn why the former stigma of self-publishing has been replaced with growing pride and professionalism as indie authors scale the bestseller lists and pioneer the best practices of tomorrow. Authors will learn how to protect their independence and build a foundation for long-term business success.

Session 2

It’s All about the Swag (Round Table Discussion)

Join our group as we discuss the ins and outs of buying swag that will give you more bang for your marketing buck. Share your fave companies to purchase from, your successes and your failures. Gather new ideas that you can use for your next event!

LUNCH – 11:35am – 12:40pm (On your own)


Session 1

Introduction to Ebook Publishing: A Primer for Beginners (Workshop for Introductory to Intermediate)

Presenter: Mark Coker – Founder and CEO of Smashwords

Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing is not an either/or question.  The most successful authors do both.  Mark Coker covers the basics of ebook publishing for authors preparing to make the leap to indie ebook publishing.  Mark will provide a step-by-step ebook publishing checklist covering everything new indie authors need to know to get started. Mark’s session will provide detailed guidance on ebook creation, pricing, ISBNs, copyright, distribution, and marketing.  For authors who also publish traditionally, you’ll learn how your indie publishing can complement your traditional publishing efforts, and vice versa.

Session 2

Novellas, Boxed Sets, Shared Worlds, oh my! (Panel)

Hear from author’s perspectives on the pros and cons of each of these topics. Find out what’s hot and what’s not. Discover tips of the trade and ask those questions you’re dying to know before you dip your toes into these unfamiliar waters.


Session 1

Sixteen Indie Publishing Secrets for Romance Authors (Workshop for Intermediate to advanced)

Presenter: Mark Coker – Founder and CEO of Smashwords

Best practices are what separate indie author professionals from indie author amateurs.  In this session, Mark reveals 16 proven best practices–from top-selling indie ebook authors–to help make your books more discoverable and more desirable to readers.

Session 2

Dealing with Doubts (Round Table Discussion)

We all have them. Sometimes those doubts can keep us from reaching the dreams we want most in life. Join our group as we discuss the very real fears that authors experience while writing a new book, hitting publish and dealing with sales dropouts later on.


Session 1

How Smashwords Works with Retailers to Promote Your Books (Workshop for Intermediate to advanced)

Presenter: Mark Coker – Founder and CEO of Smashwords

As the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks, Smashwords is capable of seeing which titles, and authors, are breaking out across its global network of ebook retailers and library aggregator. This real-world curation from the hearts, and wallets, of readers is extremely useful to retail merchandising managers–those whose mission it is to select titles to promote to the millions of book lovers shopping at their stores. In this session, Mark Coker will explain the role of the retail merchandising manager, how Smashwords has worked with merchandising managers to place hundreds of promotional features, and what you can do to help your books capture the attention–and the confidence–of these highly influential people.

Session 2

Panster vs Plotter (Panel)

We all have our own unique way of writing a book, but is it always right? Is plotting necessary? Can a pantster learn to plot? Hear from bestselling authors as they share what their process is like and how it has evolved since they began writing.


Session 1

What Type of Editor Do You Need? (Workshop)

Presenters: Jessica Nelson & Natasha Hanova – Rare Bird Editing

The kind of editing you need can differ with your goals, skill, genre, and budget. In this workshop, learn the difference between content editing, copyediting, proofreading, and where these services fit in your journey to publication. We’ll also cover how these terms and the process vary between indie and traditional publishing.

To demonstrate the different kinds of editing, we will select three first page samples from attendees in advance, edit the samples three ways, and reveal the results during the workshop to show how the same text can benefit in different ways from each service.

Drawing on a combined fifteen years of writing, editing, and critique experience, we’ll put the evolving editing landscape into context so you are more savvy as you choose an editor or work with an editor you already know.

Session 2

The many faces of Author Frustrations (Round Table Discussion)

The list of things that can be frustrating as an author are endless. Low sales. Poor release. Marketing mishaps. Facebook ad fails. Cruel reviews.  Writer’s block.

How do we deal with all of this behind closed doors and in the public eye? Join our group to chat about the best ways to deal with the frustrations of the industry, writing and more.


11-11:45am- Wanted: Opinionated and proud! ~~ Learn why your thoughts really do matter.

12-12:45pm- Author 101 ~~ The do’s, the don’ts and everything in between that authors wished they’d known from the start.

3-3:45pm- Fandom Trivia ~~ Test your fandom knowledge against other attendees in this fast-paced trivia game.

4-4:45 pm- Havenwood Falls ~~ Discover the town that we all wish we could live in and the meet the authors who make all of the magic happen.


11-11:45am- Another One Bites the Dust ~~ How authors choose who lives and who will meet their untimely demise.

12-12:45pm- Urban Fantasy…I’m back, baby! ~~ With fantasy on the rise, which creature feature will be at the top of your must-read list?

1-1:45pm- Reverse Harems, Shared Worlds and More. ~~ What works. What’s old news? What is yet to come?

2-2:45pm- The Character Name Game ~~ Join our authors as they spin fantastical stories for the characters that you toss at them.

3-4pm- Q and A with Meredith Wild and Amy Bartol


5 thoughts on “Panels/Workshops

  1. Brandi Lanning says:

    I’d like to see a price for panels as well please. And are they reader panels or writer/aspiring writer?

    • Amy Miles says:

      There is no additional cost to attend the panels. Your one or two day tickets allow you entrance to the all day book signing, guest speakers, panels and workshops. The panels are geared more for readers and the wirkshops are intended more for writers but you are welcome to attend any that strike your fancy.

  2. Brandi Lanning says:

    Thank you so much for answering my question. I only have one more. When will the panels be available? I guess that didn’t come out right. When will we be able to see what is available? There. That’s better! Thank you

    • Amy Miles says:

      I am working on finalizing the authors soeaking on the panels this week and will update the website asap

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