ACW Publishing Conference

Elevate your writing, meet and learn from the best in the publishing business.

Moving from the craft to the publishing world can be a hard, isolating process. We created an annual publishing conference to educate in the ways of publishing, provide you with options for your work, and to connect you with local writers treading the same waters. First time to experienced authors benefit from a rotation of talented presenters.


Please use our online registration form to register for the conference and additional manuscript critiques. Payable by credit card or check sent to Adirondack Center for Writing, P.O. Box 956, Saranac Lake, New York 12983.

  • ACW Member: $79
  • Non-Member: $99

Manuscript Critiques

Get feedback from a professional! We offer 15 minute one-on-one manuscript critiques with presenters at each publishing conference. Extra charge: $30. Sorry, no poetry manuscript critiques this year. Here’s how:
1. Register for the Publishing Conference. You must be registered for the conference before adding a manuscript critique.
2. Send one PDF document with cover letter and 10 pages of your manuscript to Nathalie at ACW (

2016 Publishing Conference

June 11, 2016 at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid, NY


9:00-9:30am Registration and Welcome

9:30-10:45am Who Cares What You Write? with Jeffrey Lependorf You’ve written a book, or are writing one, and you hope to publish it yourself or get it published—but who will want to seek out your book, buy it, and read it? Do you know what else your readers read, who they are, how to reach them? Jeffrey Lependorf, the shared Executive Director of America’s two national nonprofit organizations serving independent literary publishing—Small Press Distribution and Community of Literary Magazines and Presses—will help you answer these questions, and more, offering his bird’s eye view of the industry to help you reach your potential audience and publish effectively.

11:00am-12:15pm How a Manuscript Becomes a Book with Melissa Flashman Melissa Flashman will teach you how to navigate through the process of helping a manuscript become a book. Her talk will cover everything from the workshopping/writing group stage, how to target the right agents, writing a strong query letter, how to interview potential agents, finding the right match, and the stages following signing with an agent, all the way through publicity and marketing.

12:15-1:15pm Lunch (provided)

1:15-2:30pm How to Pitch Your Work with Philip Turner You will be asked thousands of times, “what is your book about?” and “who is the reader for it?” You need to be able to answer these questions in a compelling way in sentence or two, though it is often hard to do this. Philip will lead a session on ways to answer these questions, and others publishing professionals may ask you. Participants will also be able to pitch their work this session and get feedback on it. This pitch will follow your project from the beginning stages all the way through marketing, so make sure it is a good one.

2:45-4:00pm Big Press, Small Press? Self-Express! with Renate Wildermuth The basics of Independent Publishing explained—how to publish e-books and create print copies of manuscripts for fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, family histories, and even textbooks and illustrated children’s books:

  • How and where to upload digital files
  • Costs and royalties
  • Creating covers
  • Using front-and back matter to promote your book
  • Marketing tips and how to grow readership
  • Distribution issues and getting space on real and virtual bookshelves

About the presenters

Jeffrey Lependorf, recognized as a leader in the field of literary publishing, serves as the shared Executive Director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses ( and Small Press Distribution (, America’s national service organizations for independent literary publishing. He is also a professional musician, active as a composer, a “certified master” of the shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute), and serves also as Director of Music Omi, an international music residency program in upstate New York. His Masterpieces of Western Music audiocourse is available through Barnes and Noble’s “Portable Professor” series and on

Melissa Flashman, literary agent, represents bestselling and award-winning writers across a broad range of categories. Writers she represents have won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rona Jaffe Award, the Ridenhour Prize, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice, and the Bread and Roses Award. These authors and their books have been featured widely in publications from n +1 and the Paris Review to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker.

Philip Turner is a publisher, publishing consultant, writer, editor, curator, blogger, and independent editor & author representative. Since 2009, he has operated Philip Turner Book Productions, an editorial services business which represents select projects to publishers, and consults with authors on developing their work. As an editor and publisher, Philip is known for publishing books by and about singular witnesses–-whistleblowers, truthtellers, muckrakers, revisionist historians–-people who’ve passed through some crucible of experience that’s conferred on to them elevated author-ity, leaving them by definition the only person who could write the book in question, or about whom it could be written.

Renate Wildermuth splits her time between the Adirondacks and Pennsylvania where she teaches German at a University. Her articles have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, and The Charlotte Observer. She contributes to Adirondack Life Magazine, The Albany Times Union, North Country Public Radio, The Chronicle of Glens Falls, and New Hampshire Public Radio. Her nonfiction has appeared in Syracuse University’s Stone Canoe.Renate writes fiction under the names Adria Townsend and J. S. Laurenz. A Remote Chance is her third novel. Renate spent five years working in Manhattan on the administrative side of publishing first for Holtzbrinck Publishing (and subsidiaries Henry Holt & Co., and Scientific American Magazine), and then U.S. Media Holdings.