Online Conference 2020

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Due to continued concerns about Covid-19, the size of social gatherings allowed, lack of an available conference venue, and lack of available special event insurance, the UPPAA Board will host a series of member-only virtual workshops through the months of September and October. Our online survey also showed that 40% of members were unlikely to attend an in-person event and 63% stated they would attend virtual presentations. Our keynote speaker will kick off the series on Saturday afternoon, September 12. Please note the first two events are at 2PM Eastern Time and all subsequent events are at 7PM Eastern Time

  • Your UPPAA membership must be current to participate either live or to watch later so please renew today.    It’s easy and helps the organization provide essential services for YOU!
  • No registration is needed for the Online Conference. Just show up at the appointed time and you’ll be admitted.
  • Don’t forget to install the Zoom software on your PC, Mac, phone, or tablet prior to the event.   IMPORTANT: the event requires a password which will be emailed to you in advance or upon request
  • If you can’t make it to the live event, each of these will be uploaded later to a private YouTube channel for UPPAA members.

Be sure to consider joining the Online Fall Fiction Workshop (October 9-10th) which requires a separate paid registration

Virtual Conference Schedule

How to use this schedule:  each of the meetings will be held in the same Zoom room.  To join in: visit at the appointed date/time.

Topic Speaker Date/Time
KEYNOTE: New Book or Old: Great Launch Techniques Are Dependable Career Boosters Carolyn Howard-Johnson 9/12 at 2PM
Romance Writing – Tips and Resources to Help You Capture Your Readers’ Heart Donna Winters 9/19 at 2PM
Writing and Researching Historical Fiction and Nonfiction Tyler Tichelaar 9/24 at 7 PM
Crafting the Self Published Picture Book – Unique Product, Unique Issues Aimee Bisonette 10/1 at 7 PM
Diving into Character Development Naomi Rawlings 10/8 at 7 PM
Book Publicity in the Digital Age Mike Onorato 10/15 at 7 PM
Self-Publishing 101 Jansina Grossman 10/22 at 7 PM
Memoir as a Healing Tool T. Marie Bertineau 10/29 at 7 PM

Other sessions and speakers may be announced at a later date, so watch the website and member announcements.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson: New Book or Old: Great Launch Techniques Are Dependable Career Boosters

Inspiration for Procrastinators: My Never-Too-Late Story:  In this confidence-building opening address, Carolyn Howard-Johnson shares her story and tons of tips learned from launching her own sixteen books in several genres, many of them multi award winners and many now reaching second and third edition heights. Her experience as a journalist, retailer, and consultant makes her the one to understand what your media contacts need and how the knowing helps you finagle free publicity from whichever marketing paths you choose—all free—and less work using recycling

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series The Frugal Book Promoter, The Frugal Editor, and How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically and includes booklets focused on pesky wordtrippers and book proposals we all love to hate. They carry awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and the coveted Irwin award

Donna Winters

Donna Winters

Donna Winters: Romance Writing – Tips and Resources to Help You Capture Your Readers’ Heart

  • Plot structure—so many choices!
  • Doing the research (contemporary or historical)
  • Creating your romantic characters
  • Setting the scene

Donna Winters grew up in Upstate New York, moved to Lower Michigan in 1971, to the Upper Peninsula in 2003, and to New Mexico in 2015. She began writing romance novels in 1982, was first published in 1985, and now has over 20 romances and nonfiction titles in print. Her publishers have included Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Guideposts, Chalfont House, and Bigwater Publishing LLC, her self-publishing company. You can learn more about her writing on her Amazon author page.

Tyler Tichelaar

Tyler Tichelaar: Writing and Researching Historical Fiction and Nonfiction

Being historically accurate is of primary importance when writing history and historical fiction. In this presentation, local author Tyler Tichelaar will teach you how to:

  • Avoid the biggest pitfalls of authors writing about history
  • Protect your book from inaccuracies
  • Find primary and secondary sources
  • Separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of real versus fake history
  • Develop processes for organizing your research
  • Document your sources properly
  • Connect with experts in your field who can help you
  • Find valuable UP-related sources if writing about local history
  • Tips for doing research online

You will leave knowing how to make history come alive for your readers, while not letting a good story get in the way of the facts.

Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation Marquette resident. He holds a PhD in Literature from Western Michigan University and Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in English from Northern Michigan University. An avid interest in U.P. history and genealogy led him to writing U.P. historical fiction and non-fiction. Today, he is considered a local expert on Marquette history.  Tyler published his first novel, Iron Pioneers: The Marquette Trilogy, Book One, in 2006.  In 2011, Tyler was awarded the Marquette County Outstanding Writer Award, and the Barb Kelly Award for Historical Preservation for his efforts to promote Marquette history, following the publication of his book My Marquette.  Visit Tyler at

Aimee Bisonette

Aimée Bissonette: Crafting the Self Published Picture Book – Unique Product, Unique Issues

There are so many considerations that go into the decision to self-publish a book. Where picture books are concerned, though, those issues increase ten-fold.  As a genre, picture books have always stood alone. With no other genre is “look and feel” more important.  Come for a discussion of issues unique to picture books (e.g. structure, page count, and word count; working with illustrators, editors, and designers; the picture book “dual audience”; the need for diversity; printing concerns). Aimée will share recommendations from publishing experts, as well as her own experiences writing picture books.

Aimée Bissonette is a lawyer, teacher, and writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has published books for both the children’s and educational markets. In her legal practice, Aimee (recently retired) worked with numerous authors and illustrators, advising them on all aspects of trade and indie publishing. Aimée has presented as a guest lecturer for Highlights Foundation at its Self or Indie Publishing workshop. Look for her article, “Dissecting the Self-Publishing Contract,” in Writer’s Digest’s 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing.  Learn more at

Naomi Rawlings

Naomi Rawlings: Diving into Character Development

Do editors, agents, and readers care about your characters? When they pick up your novel, do they read to the very last page because they can’t wait to find out what will happen to the fictional characters you’ve created? Diving into Character Development takes an in-depth look at how to create compelling true-to-life characters who will linger in your readers’ minds long after they finish your book.
Note: This workshop focuses mainly on the craft of novel writing, though some of the material covered will be applicable to short stories as well.

Naomi Rawlings is the author of eleven historical Christian novels, including the Amazon bestselling Eagle Harbor Series. She first started writing in 2008, and to date, her books include four traditionally published novels and seven self-published novels. She has been nominated for three publishing awards, enjoys coaching other writers, and moonlights as a novel editor. She lives with her husband and three children in the Copper Country.

Mike Onorato: Publicity 101 in the Digital Age

Successful book marketing strategies take many forms, and often goes beyond straight book reviews or media interviews. 2020 has been a year of uncertainties, with every industry being affected in some way—certainly the book industry is no exception. Publishers and authors have always been challenged to think beyond their creative ways to bring attention to their books and messages and that’s more important than ever before. Through this seminar, you will learn how and why authors should be:

  • open to working with genre influencers
  • participating in blog tours
  • hosting giveaways
  • writing bylined articles
  • active and authentically engaged on social media
  • organizing and hosting virtual book events
Mike Onorato is currently Vice President of Publicity at Smith Publicity. In this role, he manages a publicity staff of more than a dozen professional publicists and directs client relations and media strategy for more than 90 clients and works closely with publishing clients including HarperCollins Leadership, Harper Horizon, Wiley, Nelson Books and Kogan Page.  Prior to this role, he spent time at John Wiley & Sons where he was Associate Director of Publicity and worked with bestselling authors including Kirk Douglas, Jim Moore and Wayne Slater, Dr. Ruth, Tedy Bruschi and Jack Cafferty.  During this time, he also directed publicity efforts on behalf of brands including For Dummies and Frommer’s Travel.  

Mike excels at facilitating discussions through producing and hosting podcasts, panels and webinars, as well as relationship management and succeeding in a virtual setting. He is a member of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) and has been a member of PRSA and PPA.  He is a graduate of Marist College and lives in New Jersey with his wife and two rescue dogs.

Jansina Grossman

Jansina  Grossman: Self-Publishing 101 

In this hour-long session, we will walk through the steps of self-publishing. Topics will include:

  • costs (How much should I expect to pay?)
  • DIY options (Which parts can I do without help?)
  • timing (When should I hire an editor?)
  • things to avoid (What makes a book seem unprofessional?)
  • best practices (How do I know when to start marketing?).

Participation will be encouraged, though it is not required.

Jansina is the owner of a nontraditional publishing company, Rivershore Books, and is a self-published author of three novels and two short stories. She is based out of Minneapolis, MN, and is pleased to be a member of UPPAA.

 T. Marie Bertineau:  Memoir as a Healing Tool

T. Marie Bertineau

Memoir writing has the ability to act as a therapeutic aid, a balm on the ache of a bleak past. Join T. Marie Bertineau as she discusses her memoir journey. You’ll learn what brought her to the keyboard—and kept her there—and how keystrokes combined toward a positive outcome. She’ll discuss steps needed to open one’s self up to writing in this genre and what you might expect along the way. Other topics include identifying when you’re ready to take on your project, the importance of uninhibited writer’s flow, ways to hone that writing later to create the story, and how you might at last promote emotional healing through greater understanding of your past.

Bertineau was born in Michigan’s Keweenaw. She is of Ojibwe/French Canadian/Cornish descent and is a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community on the L’Anse Reservation, migizi odoodeman. Her work has appeared online with Minnesota’s Carver County Arts Consortium; in Mino Miikana, a publication of the Native Justice Coalition and Waub Ajijaak Press; in UPPAA’s own U.P. Reader; and is slated to be anthologized with the Chanhassen Writers Group of Minnesota. Her debut memoir, The Mason House, will be released by Lanternfish Press in September 2020. Married and the mother of two, she makes her home in the Upper Peninsula.

NOTE: T. Marie Bertineau’s presentation will not be made available on YouTube at this time.  You must attend the zoom session to view it.

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