Today, I’m pleased to be participating in the Ch1Con 2015 Blog Tour, which spans a number of writing-related blogs and includes original content from the Chapter One Young Writers Conference team. My client, Ava Jae, whose debut novel BEYOND THE RED comes out Spring 2016 from Sky Pony Press, will be a speaker at the conference. I myself am participating through a special offer which I’ll detail later in this post.
Founded in 2012, the first Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con) took place in Chicago with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream. It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: Could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference? The answer soon became apparent: Yes. And so the conference was born!
As anyone who’s attended one knows, there are few events as enjoyable and productive for people in our field as writing conferences. With so many options out there, writers can almost always find a conference geared towards their needs. Together in a professional setting, those writers get to learn about the industry, workshop their own pieces, and experience the inspirational effect of being around other people like them.
Because the teen writing community is a particularly vibrant one, Ch1Con is proud to say they are the only writing conference by young writers, for young writers. Their team comprises a number of high school and college age writers at different experience levels in the industry, eager to create a unique experience for others like them. The conference, which has a subset focus on the young adult novel, brings teens together to hear from accomplished speakers of their own age, participate in professional workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world. With an atmosphere combining professional conference aspects with the fun social feel of a teen hangout, Ch1Con is a true no-miss experience.
This year, the conference will take place on Saturday, August 8th in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, in Arlington Heights. 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99. Three speakers have been confirmed so far, including Ava and their headliner Kat Zhang, author of the acclaimed Hybrid Chronicles.
I am pleased to be able to announce that I will be opening to queries from conference attendees only for thirty days after the event! These queries can be any genre as long as they are for completed manuscripts. Conference attendees will receive more information on-site.
The conference team sat down to ask Ava Jae some interview questions especially for this post:
Ch1Con: What can you tell us about your debut novel?
Ava: Beyond the Red is a YA Sci-Fi about a violent uprising on a distant, crimson planet that forces a teenage alien queen to turn to her half-blood, rebel bodyguard for help before her power-hungry twin brother annihilates the planet’s humans. There’s kissing, explosions, nanite technology, and for those interested, it has a Pinterest mood board and a Goodreads page. :)
Ch1Con: Your blog is fantastic and we know you get a lot of deserved views for your great content! What are some of your favorite posts you’ve written?
Ava: Thank you! Some of my favorite posts, hmm...
Of my serious, personal, and/or helpful/instructive posts, I’d say my favorites are “Pirating Books: It’s Not a Harmless Download,” “Why Representation is Important (to Me),” and “On Reading ‘Bad’ Books.” Of my fun posts, I was absolutely delighted to share my How I Got My Agent story and announce when Beyond the Red sold. Both were posts I’d been dreaming about writing for years and getting to put them up was absolutely incredible. :)
Ch1Con: Finally, pick five people (fictional characters or authors) to join you on a desert island.
Ava: Can I just pick one? Nikolai Lantsov from The Grisha trilogy. Just Nikolai and me on a desert island, eating coconuts and cooking our dinners over a fire...We wouldn’t even need to be rescued. What’s that, Coast Guard? No, it’s cool. We’re good here.

The 2015 conference will be held in the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/South Marriot, with sessions from 8:30am to 4:30pm on Saturday the 8th of August. Tickets for transport and room reservations can be bought online with links on the conference’s Travel page. Early bird registration is currently open at this link with adult registration for those 18+ and youth registration (with parental/guardian consent) for those under 18. However, this early bird discount ends May 31st and there are only thirty slots open, so young writers interested in the opportunity need to register ASAP!
For more information and to join in on the Ch1Con community, you can check out the website and social media platforms for the conference:
The Chapter One Young Writers Conference. "Every story needs a beginning. This is ours."