From Manuscript to Market

Ten Cutting Edge Strategies for Today’s Authors


Illumify Writers Conference 2023

Saturday, October 7, 2023 | 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.








Registration is now closed. Join us next year!

The Reel Factory
Events Center

10488 W Centennial Rd
Littleton, CO 80127

Have questions?

Click below to contact Jennifer Clark.

Price includes:

  • Conference registration
  • Author consultation with Larry Yoder to the first ten sign-ups at the event
  • Morning and afternoon snacks and drinks
  • Lunch and beverages  

Perfect for:

  • First-time authors who want to learn more about the writing life
  • Veteran authors looking for innovative writers’ strategies not presented at other conferences


8:30 | Registration

9:00 | Welcome / Strategy #1: Interpret and Apply Reader Analytics

with Mike Klassen

Learn what the most recent reader studies tell us about reading habits and readers’ brains. This likely will change your whole approach to writing.

9:30 | Strategy #2: Write for the Reader Experience

with Karen Bouchard

Your readers are looking for more than a good story. They want to experience it. Karen will share seven secrets to help you enhance your readers’ experience—and show you which rules to follow and which to break, plus some little-known techniques of the very best writers.

10:00 | Strategic Journaling

Here’s your opportunity to apply what you’ve learned to your writing journey.

10:10 | Strategy #3: Utilize Beta Readers and Feedback for Better Manuscripts

with Lisa Hawker

Obtaining and absorbing feedback on your writing can mean the difference between a publishable manuscript and one that sits in a bottom drawer for all eternity. Learn to use beta readers and critique partners to make your writing the best it can be.

10:45 | Strategy #4: Employ Editing and Revision Secrets for Polishing Your Manuscript

 with Lisa Hawker

Your manuscript’s finished! Now what? Now comes the hard part—revising and polishing. How do you proceed? This workshop will give you a checklist, strategies, and tools to transform your word swamp into a Bellagio fountain.

11:15 | Strategic Journaling

Again, this is your opportunity to slow down so the day doesn’t get away from you and you walk away with little to remember.

11:30 | Strategy #5: Engage your Reader, Build Your Email List, Sell More Books

 with Amy Young

Outside of your ability to write, your mailing list is your most important asset as a writer because email addresses are gold. Amy will show you how to master these skills. 


Noon | Lunch

12:45 | Strategy #6: Identify Trends in Publishing to Reach Your Readers

 with Larry Yoder and Kathy Baum

What genres are hot and what genres are not? The last thing you want to do is waste hundreds (thousands?) of hours on a manuscript that the market doesn’t want to read.

1:15 | Strategy #7: Leverage ChatGPT to Improve Your Craft

 with Mike Klassen

In this interactive presentation, Mike will show you how you can use ChatGPT to cut your writing time in half. Ethical and copyright implications will be included. By the end of this strategy session, you’ll know more about ChatGPT than 95% of all writers.

1:45 | Strategic Journaling

Let’s apply what you’ve learned thus far!

2:00 | Strategy #8: Think Like an Authorpreneur

 with Jayme Mansfield

You are a business, not a nonprofit. During this session, Jayme will share fresh ideas to generate additional author income while having fun building reader relationships.

2:30 | Strategy #9: Generate Media Attention for your Book

 with Neal Browne

One of the biggest untapped vehicles to raise you up from obscurity to recognizability is the strategic use of media that’s more available now than ever before. Even if you’ve don’t want to be live on camera and have no media experience, we’ll look at where to start and how to build your image through radio, podcasts, TV, YouTube, and the like with, yes, a little work but without crushing your budget.

3:00 | Strategic Journaling

One last opportunity to slow down and apply all this great information!

3:15 | Strategy #10: Utilize Time Management and Productivity Habits

 with Karen Bouchard, Lisa Hawker, Amy Young, and Mike Klassen

This team of writers has cumulatively written or worked on hundreds of books. Learn from their experience what has helped them cross the finish line. 

3:45 | Bonus Strategy: Put Amazon to Work for You

with Karen Bouchard, Lisa Hawker, Amy Young, Jayme Mansfield, and Mike Klassen

Put Amazon to work for you and you’ll reach more readers. Way more readers. Your presenters will show you how to optimize Author Central, maximize your Amazon product page, employ Kindle Select to sell more books, generate reviews that won’t get pulled, and position your book for pre-sales.

4:30 | Dismissal and networking at Blue Spruce Brewing

Mingle with presenters and other students, trade ideas, and discuss what you’ve learned.


Our 2023 Faculty

Amy Young

Amy Young, MA, LPC loves a good story. She served in China for nearly 20 years (plenty of stories there!). Her current story involves helping Great Commission workers at Global Trellis. Amy has written six books for Great Commission workers. She lives in Colorado and is delighted not to have to get up in the middle of the night to cheer for the Denver Broncos.

Larry Yoder

Larry spent twenty years working for Macmillan International as a publishers rep. During that time, he discovered Brandon Sanderson, one of the world’s top-selling authors. After retirement, he managed the Bookies bookstore in Denver and restored it to profitability.  (Un)officially in retirement, he still works with authors on their manuscripts.

Neal Browne

A two-time Emmy-award-winning broadcaster, Neal spent 30-years in radio and television both anchoring and reporting. He has done extensive media training for companies, government groups, and individuals to distill their message, develop their pitch, hone their focus, and grab media attention.

Jayme Mansfield

Jayme’s award-winning books, Chasing the Butterfly, RUSH, and Seasoned, are book club favorites. Portrait of Deceit, a literary suspense, was released this year. Jayme’s writing is filled with vivid imagery that stirs the human heart and gifts the reader an abundance of hope and joy.

Kathy Baum

Kathy Baum is currently the adult frontlist buyer for Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colorado, where she started as a bookseller. As a book buyer (her dream job, by the way), she focuses on uniting bookseller and customer interests with inventory. She reviews each season’s catalogs from dozens of publishers to match the Tattered Cover’s seven stores with a selection of carefully curated titles. Kathy also served on the American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce panel to select outstanding adult debuts for Winter 2024.

Jen Clark

Experienced as a ghostwriter, book coach, editor, and journalist, Jen Clark understands the magnitude of the publication process. Completing a book project takes a team! She enjoys collaborating with the author and offers excellent project management, steadfast support and attention to detail.

Mike Klassen

A bestselling, award-winning ghostwriter, author, freelance writer, book coach, and publisher, Mike has worked on projects with authors as varied as former president Jimmy Carter (Lessons From Life Bible), Michael John Cusick (Surfing For God) and Rafael Cruz (A Time For Action). He has also served as the theological reviewer for over 30 study Bibles and worked on over 70 traditionally published works. His published works have sold millions of copies and can be found in nearly every Christian bookstore in America.

Karen Bouchard

A bestselling author and national speaker, Karen provides book coaching, ghostwriting, and editing for a variety of traditionally and independently published authors. She has more than 30 years’ experience in publishing and has worked with many traditional publishers including Thomas Nelson, Revell, and Waterbrook Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House). Karen has also authored more than a dozen books of her own under the name “Karen Linamen,” including Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt and The Chocolate Diaries.

Lisa Hawker

Lisa’s 2015 novel, The Drowning Game (HarperCollins Witness Impulse), was a USA TODAY bestseller and a Best First Novel finalist in the International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards. Since then, she’s written three more highly acclaimed novels, including Body and Bone (2016), End of the Road (2017), and The Throwaways (2019). The reason for her success? She knows how to promote books.