Writers Conference


Writers Conference


Saturday, April 18, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Cascade Township Branch
2870 Jacksmith Ave. SE, Grand Rapids


KDL's fourth annual event features Michigan authors and publishing insiders sharing tips with new and aspiring authors on staying motivated, reaching readers, freelance writing and more. All genres and skill levels are welcome. Pre-registration is required and will open on February 15, 2015.




  • 9:00 – 9:40 AM: Writers Block, or Why Am I Still Staring at a Blank Page?
    Tricia L. McDonald, Splattered Ink Press
  • 9:50 – 10:30 AM: How to Rite More Gooder: Don't Forget to Learn the Craft
    Mike Ball, author and humorist
  • 10:40 – 11:20 AM: What Is Indie Publishing? Would It Be Right for Me?
    Tom Saunders, Glendower Media
    Mike Ball, author and humorist
  • 11:30 AM – 12:10 PM: Traditional Publishing / Going Commando:
    What to Expect from Both, How to Pursue
    Zachary Bartels and Ted Kluck, Gut Check Press
  • 12:15 – 1:30 PM: Lunch on Your Own
    Please feel free to join those interested in networking with other writers on the following topics at the restaurants indicated below. Wear your name tags so you can be identified.
    Meetings are unstructured and participant-driven.
    Qdoba, 5595 28th St. SE: Someone, Please Critique My Writing!
    Panera Bread, 6080 28th St. SE: Writers Groups: Finding One, Starting One
    First Wok Chinese, 6740 Old 28th St. SE: Self-Published Marketing Challenges, Solutions
    Pal's Diner, 6503 28th St. SE: Children's Book Writers
    Pizza Hut, 6390 28th St. SE: Romance Writers
    Culver's 6300 28th St. SE: Christian Fiction Writers

    Other Local Restaurants:
    (to suggest additional networking topics, please contact Morgan Jarema at mjarema@kdl.org)
    Sundance Grill, 5755 28th St. SE
    New Beginnings, 6209 28th St. SE
    Wendy's, 6090 28th St. SE
    Bagger Dave's, 2817 Kraft Ave. SE
  • 1:30 – 2:10 PM: Reaching the Media, Reaching Your Readers
    Robin Barnett, director of public relations for trade books, Zondervan
    Jenny Trout, young adult author and blogger
  • 2:20 – 3:00 PM: So You Think You're Good Enough to Get Paid:
    The Trials and Tribulations of Freelance Writing
    Joanne Bailey-Boorsma, editor, On-the-Town
    K.D. Norris, freelance writer
  • 3:10 – 3:50 PM: Landing a Literary Agent
    Karen Neumair, senior literary agent, Credo Communications
  • 4:00 – 4:30 PM: Time for Presenters to Sign and Sell Books; Attendee Networking


Featured Presenters


Joanne Bailey-BoorsmaOn-the-TownJoanne Bailey-Boorsma

Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is the editor for MLive's On-the-Town magazine. She has been a journalist for more than 25 years, having worked as a full-time reporter, editor and freelance writer for local, regional and national publications. She now works with a staff of freelancers who cover local entertainment and arts in the Greater Grand Rapids area. She will be offering insights on what an editor looks for in a freelance writer.



Mike BallMike BallMike Ball

Mike Ball has spent his entire adult life writing for a living, with work ranging from his Erma Bombeck Award-winning column, What I've Learned So Far..., to a eulogy for a dog. Mike has three books of his own in print, plus a new novel, Olympus Indiana, scheduled for publication in March 2015. His third book, Banjos, Boats & Butt Dialing, made it to No. 1 in humor on Amazon in July 2013. Mike has ghostwriting or editorial credentials on at least eight other books, is a member of the National Society for Newspaper Columnists, leads several ongoing discussion groups and workshops for adult and teen writers and has shown himself to be a true master of the writer's craft.



Robin BarnettZondervanRobin Barnett

Robin Barnett is the Director of Public Relations for trade books at Zondervan, a division of HarperChristian. She works with top authors including Lee Strobel, Mark Batterson, Shauna Niequist and Craig Groeschel to create strategic media relations plans. She's worked with top media outlets including TODAY, Fox & Friends, Better Homes & Gardens, The Washington Post and many more. She has a B.A. in Journalism and History from Baylor University and an MBA from Cornerstone University. She loves connecting authors with new readers, and nothing makes her happier than a well-placed media hit that expands an author's platform. Robin lives in Grand Rapids, and she and her husband are expecting their first little peanut in August.



Zachary BartelsZachary BartelsZachary Bartels

An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, Zachary Bartels serves as pastor of Judson Baptist Church in Lansing, where he lives with his wife Erin and their son. He holds degrees from Cornerstone University and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Zachary enjoys film, fine cigars, stimulating conversation, gourmet coffee, reading, writing and cycling. His debut novel, Playing Saint, has been called an "intrigue-filled thriller" (Library Journal) and "a page-turner from the very beginning . . . gripping and realistic" (RT Book Reviews). His next book, The Last Con (HarperCollins Christian Fiction), will be released in the summer.



Ted KluckTed KluckTed Kluck

Ted Kluck is the author of many books, on topics ranging from Mike Tyson to the Emergent Church. Both Why We're Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church (with Kevin DeYoung) won Christianity Today Book of the Year awards, and Paper Tiger: One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football won a Michigan Notable Book award in 2008. His work has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today. Ted has played professional indoor football, coached high school football, managed a heavyweight boxer, trained as a professional wrestler, served as a missionary and taught writing courses at the college level. He lives in Grand Ledge with his wife Kristin and sons Tristan and Maxim.



Tricia McDonaldTricia McDonaldTricia L. McDonald

Tricia L. McDonald is owner and operator of Splattered Ink Press. A writing coach, author and public speaker, Tricia also teaches writing classes at Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging. Her Life with Sally series (Little White Dog Tails, Still Spinnin' Tails, and Waggin' More Tails) chronicles life with her miniature bull terrier. She also writes a monthly column, "Life with Sally," for Cats and Dogs Magazine. Tricia’s book Quit Whining Start Writing is a guide to help writers put away the excuses and get the writing done. An active member of the Michigan-based writers group Peninsula Writers, Tricia lives in West Michigan.



Karen NeumairCredo CommunicationsKaren Neumair

Karen Neumair is a senior literary agent with Credo Communications, where she assists authors with their book proposals and connects them with potential publishers. For the past six years, she has worked alongside Christian authors writing for a 20- to 30-something audience, as well as topics geared toward women.



K.D. NorrisK.D. Norris

K.D. Norris is a professional writer, freelance if need be. He is a 1989 graduate of Humboldt State University in the redwoods of Northern California, and from then on has made his living as a writer. He has worked as a technical writer, a journalist and editor, in marketing and public relations, as a sports information specialist, a grant writer, and, in the new millennium, providing content for websites, blogs and social media platforms. He is, has been since his teens, and will always be, a creative writer.



Tom SaundersGlendower MediaTom Saunders

Tom Saunders of Whitmore Lake, Michigan, is a longtime award-winning publisher and writer. Starting in 1982 with the local book Recollections: The Motown Sound by the People Who Made It, his company, Glendower Media, has published many niche books and music for targeted markets. Tom was a winner of the Robert Benchley Award for Humor in 2005, and later won The National Indie Excellence Award for Humor with his publication of "The Athletic Benchley," a reprint of the articles from the Detroit Athletic Club News. Glendower works with authors to bring the best in literature and information to audiences around the world. Recent publications include a book on watercolors, a novel of escape from a war zone by children of those killed in the fighting and spiritual reflections for those in need of guidance. More information may be found at www.glendowermedia.com.



Jenny TroutJenny TroutJenny Trout

Jenny Trout is an author, blogger and funny person. Writing as Jennifer Armintrout, she made the USA Today bestseller list with Blood Ties Book One: The Turning. Her novel American Vampire was named one of the top ten horror novels of 2011 by Booklist Magazine Online. Jenny writes award-winning erotic romance, including the internationally bestselling The Boss. As a blogger, Jenny’s work has appeared on The Huffington Post, and she has made numerous appearances on television and radio, including HuffPost Live, Good Morning America and The Steve Harvey Show, as well as Here & Now on National Public Radio. She is a proud Michigander, mother of two and wife to the only person alive capable of spending extended periods of time with her without wanting to kill her.




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