15th - 17th Jun 2024

Teachers of Fiction Writing

Start, build, or expand a thriving teaching enterprise doing work that you love: helping writers. Find out what is working for other teachers, learn some new techniques, and connect with great colleagues. 


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Teachers of Fiction Writing

How this will work

This is a three-day event about the practice of teaching writing independently. How do the experts create successful businesses as teachers, editors, and coaches? Find out how they earn a good living and create loyal fans.

This event is primarily aimed at teachers of fiction, but most of the sessions will be applicable to nonfiction teachers as well.

The assumption is that you are teaching online, but that is not required. We are focused on independent teachers, people who are running their own business or collaborating on a group effort -- rather than people teaching in a university or professional body. 

Note: there are two kinds of tickets. A free ticket gives you full access to the whole event IF you can watch everything live. A paid ticket ($50) gives you full access + indefinite access to replays. In addition, after the event ends transcripts + an audio feed or podcast version of the event for easy listening. 

3 DAYS
19 SPEAKERS
4 CATEGORIES

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My Story

Several years ago, I ran a small blog about books and writing.

The blog was popular enough that I had regular commenters (thank you!), and, occasionally, my posts were noticed by an important figure in the industry.

However, my overall views were not that high, and, like most bloggers, I found no way to earn any money from my blog-writing.

In fact, I felt like I was constantly having to make time for another hurried post, afraid that my readers would vanish if I didn't publish often.

Three stages of running a teaching business


Around the time my first child was born, my wife started talking to me about "professional blogging." I had no idea what this meant, and didn't actually believe it was possible, but she was eager to start a food blog then, and so was doing a deep research dive, in her usual thorough and meticulous way, into the ways that food bloggers succeeded and prospered.

She sent me links to podcast interviews, and eventually one clicked -- an interview about email marketing with automaton expert, Chris Davis. (I'll share that podcast episode, for the curious, at the end of this email.)

The actual moment in the interview that stuck with me was very simple -- it was the idea of an automated welcome sequence (like when you subscribe to someone's email list and they send you four or five initial "get to know me" emails over a week or two). This technique, as explained by Chris Davis, struck me with enormous force because I understood that it would work better than the blogging I had been doing -- and also I knew that I could do it.

Writing a good email sequence seemed like something I would be able to do well.

Six months after that insight, I was ready to re-launch my old blog in a new "professional" form, focused around building an email mailing list -- and six months after that, I created my first online course.

But that was the easy part...

Maybe you've had similar experiences. If so, you'll know that creating an online course, while wonderful, is not usually enough to create a thriving enterprise or business. There is the whole problem of sales and marketing and being organised -- plus the issue of running the technology to keep the whole operation going.

Indeed, after my launch in mid-2017, I had a few tricky years while the business struggled to grow. I had to learn a lot of new skills and concepts, mostly from experts unconnected with writing or novels. Indeed, I am still working hard to study the craft of online teaching today.

To sum up: in this story, you can see three different stages of my journey:

  1. Getting started Daniel, who did not know what was possible.
  2. Early stage Daniel, who had customers but didn't know how to grow his audience.
  3. Current Daniel, who manages a small team, hosts multiple events a year, and writes to a mailing list of 12,000 -- and is very much still learning.

An event to help you where you are now

This get-together event, Teachers of Fiction, contains lessons for all three of those stages -- the people wanting to begin, the people swamped with everything they have to do, and the people trying to gently guide themselves to the next level. You'll hear about interesting new strategies and you'll find your next fellow teacher to collaborate with.

Is this a "summit"? A conference?

You may possibly know me from my online summits / conferences for writers. My biggest event is Escape the Plot Forest, every October.

This event is a bit like a summit in that we have a range of speakers and there are free tickets if you want to attend each talk live. However, unlike a summit, it's likely that this will be a fairly small event. Most of the people who follow me -- and the speakers -- are writers, not teachers, and so I'm picturing this will be a more familiar, more relaxed, and quieter experience. 

There is no gatekeeping here

Everyone is welcome

This is the inaugural year of Teachers of Fiction and there is so much to cover. In order to deliver a valuable event, I've decided to focus most of the sessions on "how" -- how to thrive as an independent teacher of storytelling. But that means that we are largely passing over questions of "why" -- Aka "should we be teaching this at all?" or "what" questions -- aka "What is the right way to teach fiction?"

To put it simply: this event is not interested in gate keeping. We believe that someone should absolutely be able (and, indeed, encouraged) to teach writing if you are moved to. You deserve success in the goals you set for yourself. We believe that you are important, interesting, and skilled, and thus -- if you wish to teach writing online, we hope for your success. Indeed, we will provide a prospective teacher with all the advice and tools we can, with no interest at all if the teacher has an MFA or an editor's certificate or a collection of published works.

Similarly, although in this event we will discuss teaching methods and pedagogy, we are absolutely not trying to present a correct way to teach nor adjudicate between different methods. If a presenter says they believe that "__" approach is bad, and you teach "__," we encourage you to treat such a comment indifferently, as if you were hearing about an unusual grammatical feature of an unfamiliar foreign language.

Part of my logic for this approach: in my experience, people who want to teach writing have no shortage of unique ideas. It is rare to meet a person who says, "I want to get into teaching writing purely for the money -- what should I talk about?" Such people generally move into other fields. While, on the other hand, it is sadly NOT rare to encounter brilliant, heart-felt teachers with intriguing ways of thinking about a story who are not making a sustainable living. That is the primary problem at which this conference takes aim.

Your Host

I'm Daniel David Wallace, an award-winning writer and teacher. I spent four years of a PhD researching new ways to help writers like you tell a great story.

My stories, reviews, and essays have been published in great magazines like Tampa Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Air Schooner, and my writing won me awards like the Toni Brown scholarship and the Hodges prizes.

But when I sent my first novel to the big publishing houses, it was rejected. This was a tough experience! And so I designed a way of teaching storytelling that the younger me would have wanted to find, the "character-first" approach.

I'm grateful that this approach has resonated with so many people: 9,000 writers read my newsletter each week. Each year, I host three big online summits to help other writers improve their craft. It's become a treasured part of my year: I love the connections that these events form between attendees and speakers.

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