UPPAA Spring 2023 Conference Schedule

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Peter White Public Library

Peter White Public Library

UPPAA Annual Conference, Peter White Public Library, 117 N. Front Street, Marquette, MI
Saturday, June 10th, 2023

Always FREE for members, please click here to register now!
Hurry, registration ends June 1st, 2023

Please note this year’s schedule starts 30 minutes earlier than usual

  • 9:00-9:30 – Registration:  coffee and cookies, vendor area live.
  • 9:30-9:45 – Opening remarks, Victor R. Volkman, UPPAA President.
  • 9:45-10:45 – Keynote, Marty Achatz – “Chasing Bigfoot:  The Mythology and Truth of Being a Poet/Writer”
  • 10:45 – 11:00 – morning Break time
  • 11:00 – 12:00 – Morning post-keynote speakers (pick only 1)
    Terri Martin – “Tickle Your Reader’s Funny Bone: Using Humor in Your Writing”
    Tyler Tichelaar – “Self-Publishing 101: Why You Should Self-Publish and How to Do It”
  • 12:00 – 1:15 – Lunch /networking hour
  • 1:15 – 1:45 – UPPAAA Town Hall moderated by Victor
  • 1:45 – 2:45  Afternoon Session #1 (pick only 1)
    Brandy Thomas – “Getting Started with Audiobooks”
    Carrie A. Pearson – “Illustrative Collaboration in Traditional Children’s Book Publishing: Working Together but Actually Apart”
  • 2:45 – 3:00  Afternoon Break #1
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Afternoon Session #2 (pick only 1)
    Laura Smyth – “Actually, We Do Judge a Book by Its Cover”
    Amy McKay, Jessica Bays, Ann Newcombe – “Working with Bookstores:  Panel Discussion”
  • 4:00 – 4:15 Door prize giveaways / concluding remarks
  • 5:00 –   Afterglow at the Crow’s Nest (top floor of the Landmark Inn, directly across the street)

Session Descriptions

Keynote Speaker – Marty Achatz

MARTY ACHATZ lives in Ishpeming, Michigan, with his wife and children.  He has taught writing, literature, mythology, film, and composition at Northern Michigan University since 1998.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry.  His work has appeared in Kennesaw Review, The Paterson Literary Review, and The MacGuffin, among others, as well as several poetry anthologies.  His collection of poems, The Mysteries of the Rosary, was published by Mayapple Press.  He has released two full-length spoken word albums with the band Streaking in Tongues—Slow Dancing with Bigfoot and Christmas with Bigfoot.  In 2022, Marty was the subject of the feature-length documentary Bigfoot and Marty.  He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  Marty served two consecutive terms as U. P. Poet Laureate and is currently Vice President of the U. P. Poet Laureate Foundation.  Marty is also the Adult Programming Coordinator for Peter White Public Library.  His most recent work can be read on his blog Saint Marty (saintmarty-marty.blogspot.com), which receives over 10,000 pageviews per month.

In this presentation involving music, film, and performance, Marty will discuss his journey from plumber’s son to U. P. Poet Laureate, following his footprints in the elusive pursuit of converting his dreams and passions into a successful writing career. 

Morning / Post-Keynote Speakers

Terri Martin – Tickle Your Reader’s Funny Bone: Using Humor in Your Writing

TERRI MARTIN has been a Yooper for over 22 years and finds inspiration from the unique culture and wonderful folks of Upper Michigan. Her books include a full-length novel: Moose Willow Mystery, and two humorous short story anthologies: Church Lady Chronicles: Devilish Encounters and High on the Vine. Her middle-grade children’s book, The Home Wind received the U.P. Notable Book award in 2022 and her other middle-grade novel, Voodoo Shack came out this spring. Terri has a master’s degree in English and has taught college success courses, tutored English at the college level, and served as an aide for college composition classes.  Visit Terri’s website at www.terrilynnmartin.com

We all like a good laugh, right? Did you know that laughing releases a happy hormone that gives the laugh-ee health benefits? Therefore, we should never go through a day without laughing or at least being amused by something. And neither should your characters if you want them to be real and believable. Plus, your reader needs some comic relief from all the tension and suspense you’ve been building! Hey, the car broke down out here in Death Valley, but at least the check engine light finally went off! There are so many types of humor in writing—dozens. We’ll discuss some, and ways to use them.

Tyler Tichelaar – Self-Publishing 101: Why You Should Self-Publish and How to Do It

TYLER TICHELAAR is an author and editor. He has a PhD in Literature from Western Michigan University and Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in English from Northern Michigan University. He is the author of twenty-three books, including historical fiction, fantasy, history, and literary criticism. He began Superior Book Productions in 2008 to help other authors get their books edited and published. He is a former president and vice-president of UPPAA.  You can learn more about his work at http://www.superiorbookproductions.com/

“Self-Publishing 101” will walk authors through the process of self-publishing a book from writing and self-editing to publication. Attendees will learn the basics of:

  • The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing vs. Tradition Publishing
  • Best writing practices to prepare your book for publication
  • How to find and work with an editor
  • The layout and cover design process
  • How to get your book printed
  • Different types of publication, including ebooks and audiobooks
  • Book marketing tips
  • Basic tips for running your own publishing business

Afternoon Session #1 Speakers

Brandy Thomas – “Getting Started with Audiobooks”

BRANDY THOMAS is a professional editor who lives and works in Marquette, Michigan. In addition to editing the written word, she is also an audiobook narrator and editor. She is the voice of the U.P. Reader as well as a writer of poetry and short fiction. For more information about Brandy, visit www.ThomasEditing.com.

Audiobooks continue to be a popular and ever growing way to consume books. Authors often want to make their book available to their readers in an audiobook format but have no idea where to start. I will walk attendees through the process of audiobook creation, answering questions such as:

  • Why should I make an audiobook?
  • How do I find a narrator?
  • What if I want to narrate my own book?
  • How long does it take to produce an audiobook?
  • Where and how can I make my audiobook available for sale?
  • What is the cost?


Carrie A. Pearson – “Illustrative Collaboration in Traditional Children’s Book Publishing: Working Together but Actually Apart”

CARRIE A. PEARSON is a children’s book author of five traditionally published picture books to date including the award-winning A Warm Winter Tail and Stretch to the Sun: From a Tiny Sprout to the Tallest Tree On Earth. Her latest book, Real Princesses Change the World (Roaring Brook/Macmillan) aims to unravel the ‘princess’ trope and introduce readers to powerful women with change-making intent. Carrie is originally a troll but now lives happily with her Yooper husband and occasionally their three grown-up daughters in Marquette on the shore of Lake Superior.

There are many myths around creating a picture book as the author in the traditional publishing model, especially related to the illustrations. In fact, the first and second questions Carrie receives upon hearing she is a children’s book author are: 1. “Do you do the pictures?” and 2. “Oh, you don’t? Well, who do you get to do the pictures?” Illustrators bring words to life on the page and can make or break the book. How do effective writers create story with space for illustrations in mind? What are the author’s and illustrator’s roles in the development of a finished book? This session will dispel myths and help writers and illustrators understand:

  • what does ‘leave room for the illustrator really mean’ (examples provided) and why does it matter
  • the editorial role and art program: who does what and why
  • the traditional timeline: when the players do what they do (typically, not during a pandemic)
  • terms: to help you look like you know what you’re doing when you might not yet

Carrie will provide case studies and lessons learned the hard way, including what publishers want you to know and do. For our illustrators partners, Carrie will offer tips on how to get found, how to be ready when you are, and how to be invited to illustrate many more books.

Afternoon Session #2 Speakers

Laura Smyth – “Actually, We Do Judge a Book by Its Cover”

LAURA SMYTH is a writer, teacher, and book designer. She holds an MFA degree from Columbia University and spent many years living and working in the New York metropolitan area, primarily in the publishing industry, before moving to a small, refurbished miner’s house on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan. Her poetry has been published in print and online journals as well as anthologies, including the William Stafford tribute collection A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford. Her chapbook collection, Wandering In My Mind, is available through Finishing Line Press. As a book designer she works with small independent presses as well as larger houses and has designed book covers for genres ranging from novels and poetry, to illustrated encyclopedias, to science fiction, to children’s books. Her design business is Smythtype Design in Hancock, Michigan.

If you thought writing your book was the hard part, get ready for the development of the cover. Always exciting, and rarely straightforward, the cover design is one of the first and most important ways you advertise your book to a potential reader. In this session I’ll talk about:

  • What makes an effective cover design?
  • How to avoid having an amateur look on a self-published book, even if you can’t afford to hire a graphic artist. Tips and tricks for keeping it simple and attractive on the DYI route.
  • How to work with a designer if you are self-publishing.
  • How to navigate the design process if you are not self-publishing.
  • Important things to consider at the beginning of the design process (print vs. ebook vs. both platforms for instance).
  • We’ll try our hand as a group at analyzing some cover designs together to better understand how they work or don’t work to entice a reader and stand out on the bookshelf.

Amy McKay, Jessica Bays, Ann Newcombe – “Working with Bookstores:  Panel Discussion”

  • Amy McKay — Michigan Fair (114 W Washington St, Marquette)
  • Jessica Bays — Marquette Regional History Center  (145 W. Spring St., Marquette,)
  • Ann Newcombe — The Well Read Raccoon Books & Curiosities  ( 501 W Memorial Dr, Houghton)

If you could sit down with your local bookstore owner over a nice cup of coffee, what would you most want to ask them? Here’s a list of questions that the audience might wish to pose:

  • How can I get my book on your shelves?
  • What are the keys to a successful in-person author event?
  • Should I represent my book through a wholesaler or directly to you?
  • What discounts do you expect?
  • What are the pros and cons of consignment sales?
  • What do you need to know about my book to successfully sell it on?
  • What is “hand selling” and how can I help?


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