John has spoken at the following conferences:

  • The Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference - 2003 thru 2012
  • The Castro Valley Christian Writer's Conference - 1999 thru 2012
  • The Florida Christian Writer's Conference - 2004 thru 2012
  • The Bay Area Independent Publishers Association - 2003 & 2005 
  • California Writers Club - Marin Branch - 2005
  • Valley Bible Church Writers Conference - 2001
  • The San Diego Christian Writer's Conference - 2000
  • The Learning Annex in San Francisco - 2000


John has spoTeaching at Book Passage, an independent book store in Northern Californiaken at writer's conferences since 1999. As a result of his self-publishing efforts and the success of his resources, he has become a popular speaker at writer's conferences. John speaks with an intuitive sense for what writers need, and want, to hear. His workshops topics are new and creative, bringing a unique perspective that helps writers better understand the marketplace.

Individual Workshops

  • BECOMING AN EXPERT - An important key to getting your manuscript accepted and your book a success is you, the author, being recognized as an expert. This workshop will present strategies to write with authority, use the power of networking and the Internet, and gain visibility and credibility to position you as an expert.
  • OWN YOUR WRITING NICHE - Niches are great to develop a name and platform. This workshop will look at the importance of writing to a niche and how writers can develop a platform that enables them to own their niche. We will look at examples of writers who own their niches and what they have done to become successful - and what this means for us.
  • MASTERING THE SUBMISSION PROCESS - Learn what goes into writing different parts of your conference submission package and how to do it right. We'll look at information on cover letters, queries, book proposals, article and manuscript formats, genre tips, meeting with faculty, making the most of your conference, individual conference guidelines, links and resources, and more. Includes samples of queries, proposals, and manuscript formats.
  • GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A WRITERS' CONFERENCE - This workshop focuses on making your conference the best possible. We'll talk about 1) Making the Most of Your Conference: Networking, Getting the Most Out of the Conference Materials, After the Conference; 2) Meeting with Faculty: Be Prepared and Professional; 3) Getting Your Pitch Right: Components of a Great Pitch, Pitching Your Project; and 4) Rejection: Dealing with Rejection, Moving On, Growing Through Rejection.
  • EXPLORING RESOURCES FOR WRITERS - This workshop will explore the huge world of resources for writers. We will look at books and booklets, writing software, web sites, web site software, blogs, and newsletters. Each will be rated on a 1-10 scale. Writers of all skill levels will learn useful information.
  • 101 IDEAS TO MARKET YOUR BOOKS - This workshop will present 101 ideas that writers of any genre can use to market their books. We will look at ways to get the most exposure for your energy and money. Ideas will be categorized for different personality types and will range from time-tested methods to those on the cutting edge of marketing.
  • WHAT MAKES A GREAT IDEA? - In an interactive session, we will discuss the importance of the idea, the difference between mediocre ideas and great ideas, tips to validate and expand your ideas, how to find ideas for books or magazine articles, killer titles, convincing your publisher or agent your idea is great, and tracking your ideas. The session ends with the 15-Second Great Idea Contest.
  • MARKETING TIPS TO SELL YOUR BOOKS - A fast paced workshop that features tips to sell books: creating buzz, sound bites, endorsements, reviews, articles, websites, e-zines and newsletters, blogs, getting in the newspaper, book tours and events, press releases, press kits, writing columns, email, listservs, spin-offs, special market sales, and more.
  • 250 TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL BOOK - This workshop will cover 250 of the best tips to help authors reach success with their books. The tips are culled from writer's books, magazines, e-zines, and web sites, and cover the typical life cycle of a book. Forty of the best tips will be discussed and the handout will cover the other 210. The material will cover writing style, content, queries and book proposals, packaging, promotion, marketing, and web sites.
  • INSIDE THE MIND OF A PUBLISHER - This workshop explores how a publisher looks at a manuscript.  By learning how a publisher thinks, writes, and markets, the writer can work on their manuscript to make it the best match for a publisher's house. Participants will be guided through the process of evaluating their manuscripts or book ideas as we work through the session.
  • SECRETS TO BECOMING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR AND SPEAKER - This fast-paced workshop will give you the secrets you need to prepare, pitch, write and sell your book to a publisher, and to prepare, write, market, sell and deliver presentations in your area of expertise.
  • THE SHY WRITER - For many writers, shyness is an issue when it comes to getting out there to pitch, push and promote their work. We'll look at ways to overcome shyness and become more proactive when talking to editors, whether by mail or face-to-face.
  • WRITING FOR NICHE MARKETS - Many writers have discovered the joy of writing for niche markets. This informal session will cover finding ideas, determining the value of the idea and market size, ways to survey the market, how to write for niche markets, fine tune your manuscripts and articles; and how to market yourself as an expert. Lots of examples will be shared.
  • UNDERSTANDING YOUR CHOICES IN ALTERNATIVE PUBLISHING - Today's publishing marketplace has changed and many authors are bypassing regular publishing and choosing alternatives of publishing. We will explore alternatives in publishing including books and booklets, newsletters and e-zines, columns, CDs, presentations, web sites, and audio and video. An informal session with lots of discussion about ideas.

Major 6-8 Hour Workshops

  • TAKING YOUR BOOK TO THE TOP: 12 STOPS ON THE ROAD TO WRITING SUCCESS - The format is 20 minutes of presentation, lecture, and discussion on each topic, followed by a group exercise, 20+20+20 = 1 hour. Sessions will use PowerPoint.

Session outline:

  • Session 1 - The Pressure Squeeze - The squeeze is constant. How can we sell our current books and yet continue to develop new ideas? Is one more important than the other? The Idea Factory - We need to keep up a constant flow on new ideas for selling our existing books and for new writing projects. How can we have more purple cow ideas and where can we get them?
  • Session 2 - Factors of Success - We each need to define what success means for us. How will I know when I reach success, what can help me get there, what can stop me cold, and should I care? The Value of Image - We are told image is important. To whom and why? What simple steps can we take to create a positive image?
  • Session 3 - Satisfying Readers - To keep readers coming back they need to be satisfied. How can we gauge this elusive and hard to track outcome of our writing? What tips will get the information and what can we do to increase this measurement? The Impact of Reviews - Reviews can make or break an author. How can we get reviews and what do we do with them? How do we handle bad reviews?
  • Session 4 - Promotional Punch - Promotion can take many directions. What will give us the biggest bang for our bucks? What can we do and what requires outside help? The Marketing Puzzle - Selling books can take many forms. What are some of the best ways? What can do on our own and what requires the help of others?
  • Session 5 - Working with Your House - Working with publishers can be a challenge. How can we increase our successes without overstepping boundaries? Working with Other Authors - We need each other. How can I help you and you help me-and why should we? What are some of the best ways of working together?
  • Session 6 - Balancing Life - The writing life as a book author is a juggling act. How can we balance spouse and family, publishers and editors, writing and reading, marketing, and helping other writers? Career Building - Careers can take many directions. How can we grow our career, why should we, and at what speed? How important are goals and vision. Will we know when we arrive?
  • MARKETING: IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WRITING - This class focuses on marketing that helps make you successful. You will leave with a personalized marketing plan for you and your writing, whether articles or books, and whether published or not. Session 1 will cover marketing 'you' through image, platform, credentials, expertise, and clips. Session 2 covers marketing your writing through professionalism, skills, fit and match, style, and submissions. Sessions 3-6 will cover specific areas of marketing: blogs, websites, articles, books, e-zines, signings and tours, speaking, radio and TV, endorsements, reviews, mailings, press releases, assorted marketing materials, and more. Each area will be personalized through application to the participants.



Workshop Endorsements

“I feel like the information in your class was worth the $500.00 for the entire conference. I can't wait to begin putting your ideas into practice.” » Cheri Cowell

"I want to thank you again for your excellent workshop at Redwood this weekend. You hour alone was worth the price of admission. You have given me some great tools to work with." » Kathi Lipp

"Thanks for sending those files. That marketing plan is just what I needed. Thanks for all your help and for sharing your expertise at the conference." » Jill Lord