The 2021 BTO Conference is now over, however feel free to browse last year's conference for inspiration!
MARCH 20, 2021
5 Workshops in One Exciting Day!
The 24th annual BTO conference will be held Saturday, March 20, 2021, online via Zoom. This event—long known for its relaxed setting and professional instructors—will take place entirely online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the virtual format, we aim to provide the same level of excellence in all of our sessions.
We have added an extra track this year, providing attendees with six dynamic options to choose from each hour. Stick to a track in your favorite genre, or, to diversify, create your own writing conference experience—one tailored to meet your own unique needs! Attendees will be able to attend five sessions plus the keynote, for a total of six sessions during this celebrated one-day conference sure to set you on the writing path. All sessions except the keynote will be held in Zoom breakout rooms. The keynote will be in the main room with no competing sessions.
Noted poet, song-writer, and editor Truth Thomas will deliver our BTO keynote this year.
Below is a list of all sessions by category. Click any category title to see session summaries and speaker bios for that track.
Speaker handouts are available on this schedule-grid page, which also displays the full schedule in a grid format.
BTO Writers Sessions 2021
Truth Thomas - Keynote speaker Truth Thomas is a well-known poet, song-writer, editor, and the founder of Cherry Castle Publishing. You loved his session on Skinny Poetry last year! This year, you'll love his speech, "Vaccinate Against Fear," at 1:30 pm.
The Intersection of Story & Setting – Ariele Sieling
How to Write Your First Page - Wilnona & Jade
How to Connect Your Readers to Your Characters – Ted Weber
Quarantined at the Keyboard – Fran Severn
How Would You Describe That? - Pat ValdataSee beginning fiction session info & speaker bios here
Time Capsule – Laura Oliver
It's All About Us: Diversity in Speculative – Tara Campbell
How to Write a Key Scene – John DeDakis
More than Details: Working Your Setting – Kris Faatz
Environmental Storytelling: Place as Narrative – Meg Eden
Crafting the Setting in Nontraditional Narratives – Katherine Bell
Artifact as Muse: Using the Things We Share to Bring Nonfiction and Poetry to Life! – Ann Quinn
The Spark: Neuroscience, the Senses, and Memory – Tara A. Elliott
Getting Readers to your Place without Google Maps – Jane Edna Mohler
Make a Place in your Life for your Writing: Build a Writing Routine that Works! – Melanie FiggSee craft session info & speaker bios here
Getting Down Off our Cloud and into the Field: Deepening Our Perspectives in Writing Nature Poetry – Nancy Mitchell
The Poem You Weren't Expecting – James Arthur
Writing at the Intersections [Panel] -- Marlena Chertock & Taylor Lewis
Hearing Poetry: The Sounds You Don't See – John A. Nieves
Cherrylog Road: Placing Your Poem to Expand, Evoke & Provoke – David P. Kozinsky
How Reading, Hosting, or Starting Your Own Literary Reading Series Can Boost Your Career – [PANEL] Laura Shovan (facilitator), Ann Bracken, Linda Joy Burke, Faye McCray
Facebook Ads Without Fear – Kenton Kilgore
What Do you Mean I Have to Give Interviews? – Robbie Tarpley Raffish
How to Promote Your Own Book – Cherrie Woods
Delmarva Small Press Publishers [Panel] - S. Scott Whitaker (Facilitator), Nancy (Day) Sakaduski, Ron Sauder, Stephanie L. Fowler, Jamie Brown
Playwriting: It Has A Message but It's Not Meh – Lynne Streeter Childress
Writing Historical Content for Modern Relevancy – Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs
Mapping Memories: A Nostalgic Stroll Through Your Childhood Neighborhood – Lizzy Solovey
Segmented Essays: When the Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts – Randon Billings Noble
Let's Start an Illusion with Hand and Pen: Writing Music Reviews with Purpose – Michael Mitchell