If you are a Christian who writes speculative fiction, you will find your people at
the Annual Realm Makers Conference: July 18–20, 2024

Our 2024 Conference is a hybrid event—register to attend in-person in St. Louis or online. You will have access to classes and keynote addresses during and after the event no matter which way you attend. Every attendee has access to replays of every class.

*** ATTENTION SUBSCRIBERS! ***

To take advantage of your discount as a subscribing member of a premium group in the RealmSphere. Please visit your member group in the RealmSphere and reference the Member Benefits article to find your coupon code!


For information about hotel reservations and airport shuttles, click "Lodging and Hotel" in the topline menu.


Descriptions for class sessions are listed below where you will indicate which classes you plan to attend.

Keynote Speakers

Allen Arnold Opening Keynote, Continuing Session

Allen Arnold is an author, speaker, and executive producer of content for the Wild at Heart ministry. As fiction publisher at Thomas Nelson, he oversaw the launch of more than 500 novels. He is the author of five books and helps creatives live better stories and pursue their dreams with God.


Carla Hoch Friday Keynote, Faculty

Carla Hoch is the author of Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes. She is a world champion jiujitsu player experienced in almost a dozen fighting styles who regularly teaches on the craft of writing fight scenes as well as the mechanics of fighting for writers.


Chris Skaggs Closing Keynote, Post-Conference Workshop

Chris Skaggs is the founder and chief operations officer of Soma Games, which produces games for people who may be unchurched but like to have fun while pondering eternal things. He also leads Soma SoulWorks, the company’s ministry side. Chris is a frequent speaker at mobile and game-developer conferences.


Faculty

Nadine Brandes Continuing Session

Nadine Brandes has done wild things (like ride a sleeper train across Russia) for book research. She’s the four-time Carol Award-winning author of seven Young Adult books and has been a professional editor for over twelve years, editing for bestselling authors, indie authors, and publishing houses like Enclave Publishing.


Shannon Dittemore Continuing Session

Shannon Dittemore is an award-winning author and speaker. Her young adult books include fantasy adventure in the Winter, White and Wicked duology, as well as the supernatural series Angel Eyes. Following a decade-long stint as a contributor to Go Teen Writers, Shannon enjoys teaching and encouraging writers of all ages.


Julie Hall Continuing Session

Julie Hall is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author. Formerly a film publicist and marketer for Sony, Summit Entertainment, Paramount, and the National Geographic Channel, she now crafts fantasy novels that leave readers with epic book hangovers. Her books have won or finaled in over 20 national and international awards.


Kara Swanson Teen Track

Kara Swanson is an award-winning author who writes about fairytales and fiery souls. Raised overseas as the daughter of relief workers, she fell in love with stories of characters in unique worlds. Her upcoming phoenix fantasy is titled Ignite. As co-founder of the Author Conservatory, Kara teaches young writers to craft sustainable careers.


Donald Maass Pre-Conference Workshop

Donald Maass’s New York literary agency sells more than 250 novels every year to major publishers. He is the author of many books, including Writing the Breakout Novel, Writing 21st Century Fiction, and The Emotional Craft of Fiction. He is a past president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.


Michelle Carpenter

Michelle Carpenter is the publisher with Monster Ivy Publishing, which was founded by two sisters with a dream and includes a number of bestselling, award-winning titles. The company focuses on edgy but clean fiction with a PG-13 or less rating, primarily YA fiction, horror, thrillers, and romance with a darker bite.


James R. Hannibal

Former stealth pilot James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. He is the Silver Falchion and Selah Award winning author of spy thrillers, fantasy, and adventure for adults, teens, and children. He is also the developer of Lightraiders, an interconnected realm of games and stories.


Rowena Kuo

Rowena Kuo is the CEO, executive editor and executive producer for Brimstone Fiction, Brimstone Books and Media, and Brimstone Fire. Rowena help writers build God-centered support systems; her specialties include author legacy and financial literacy. She is the host of web talk show Don’t Be Cinderella and is also a writer.


Steve Laube

Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, has worked in the book industry over four decades, the last twenty as an agent, twice named Agent of the Year by ACFW. He is the publisher at Enclave Publishing and president and owner of The Christian Writers Institute.


Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum is the Managing Editor at Shadow Mountain Publishing and has worked with several New York Times best-selling authors. Lisa is also the author of four national best-selling YA novels, several short stories and novellas, and a nonfiction book about the craft of writing based on the TV show Supernatural.


Steve Nedvidek

Steve Nedvidek is co-creator of The Jekyll Island Chronicles.


Descriptions for class sessions are listed below where you will indicate which classes you plan to attend.


NOTE: This email address will be used for all correspondence, access to online content, and your appointments. Please double-check for typos so you don't miss any messages!

ALSO, if you are registering someone else please make certain to include their own email address on their registration as that is how they will access the online community, virtual content, and other important notifications such as appointments, etc.

The following three fields will appear on your conference badge. If you don't have a company, you can use these fields for your genre, book title, motto, or other any other information you choose…within reason. 



Registration Options

  • Adults 18 and up
    *Members: check the RealmSphere for your member discount code.*
    Join us at the Sheraton Westport Chalet in St. Louis, Mo., for a weekend of learning, fellowship, and celebration. Includes general sessions, continuing sessions, electives, one agent or editor pitch appointment (first come/first served), one mentor appointment (first come/first served), beverage and break hospitality, awards banquet, livestream access, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31.

  • Adults 18 and up
    *Members: check the RealmSphere for your member discount code.*
    Join us in our exclusive online community, the RealmSphere, for learning, connecting, and excitement. Includes general sessions, continuing sessions, electives, one agent or editor pitch appointment (first come/first served), one mentor appointment (first come/first served), awards livestream, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31.

  • Ages 13-17 years old
    Teen registration includes general sessions, Teen Track with Tricia Goyer, electives, one agent or editor pitch appointment (first come/first served), one mentor appointment (first come/first served), beverage and break hospitality, awards banquet, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31.
    A parent or other adult must accompany the student to the site. In the "Teen's Chaperone" space provided below, please provide a full name and phone number for the accompanying adult. Remember to buy your chaperone an Additional Banquet Ticket below!

  • Ages 13-17 years old
    Teen online registration includes general sessions, Teen Track with Tricia Goyer, electives, one agent or editor pitch appointment (first come/first served), one mentor appointment (first come/first served), awards livestream, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31.

  • For those attending only the awards dinner Friday night.

Additional Banquet Ticket

  • Friday Night Awards Dinner

    Friday Night Awards Dinner

    **Registered attendees do not need to purchase a banquet ticket for yourselves. It is included in your registration.**

    This is for your companions who are not attending the conference but want to enjoy the Awards Banquet. Click the "Add" button for as many guests as you need, then enter their names below.

    $160.00 ea.

Exhibit Hall

For those who wish to exhibit in the Exhibit Hall, that has been separated into a different application process. If you are a publisher and not planning to attend the conference as an author I recommend that you fill out the exhibitor application before you complete this conference registration. If you are an author who wishes to have books available for sale I encourage you to complete your conference registration first so that you get your best chance at scheduling appointments with your preferred agents and editors.

To obtain an exhibitor application or ask any other questions relating to exhibiting please email Scott Minor at [email protected]


Class Sessions

In-Person Attendees: Choose one option for each session. These choices are not binding; we use this information to assign classrooms. You are free to change your selection at any time, including on site. Schedule subject to change.


Continuing Sessions: Friday, 10:15 am and 2:45 pm; Saturday, 10:45 am*

  • Slaying the Seven-Headed Story Beast

    Slaying the Seven-Headed Story Beast

    Instructor: Allen Arnold
    The mythic Seven-Headed Story Beast has taken out countless writers. Each head represents a different lie perfectly crafted to defeat the heart of a novelist. Allen reveals powerful ways to overcome these lies and defeat the beast. Sttendees receive seven temporary tattoos (one for each defeated head of the beast)!

    Class 1: The Quest Begins
    Class 2: The Plot Thickens
    Class 3: The Final Battle


  • Indie Publishing: An Author’s Guide to Self-publishing Success

    Indie Publishing: An Author’s Guide to Self-publishing Success

    Instructor: Julie Hall
    A crash course in the art and business of successful independent publishing. You’ll learn how to create a marketable manuscript, self-publish it, and build a passionate fan base that drives passive revenue. You’ll learn the essential skills needed to make it as an Indie Author, and how it compares to traditional and hybrid publishing.

    Class 1: The Business of Writing, Indie vs Trad., Editing, Building a Team, and Making Money
    Class 2: Tools for Formatting, Covers, and Distribution (ebook, print, audio, crowdfunding, direct sales)
    Class 3: Indie Publishing: Launch Strategies, Marketing, Ads, and Social Media


  • Unlock the Forgotten Craft of Self-Editing

    Unlock the Forgotten Craft of Self-Editing

    Instructor: Nadine Brandes
    We’re going to dive headfirst into all things self-editing, but without overwhelm, confusion, rewriting, or perfectionism! This is not a class on grammar. We’re getting into the nitty gritty of your story: your plot, characters, storyworld, pacing, magic system…the big hitters…and how to fix them. And we’re doing it in class. In this pen-to-paper session, you’ll apply a hands-on edit to your first 50 pages and create a personalized and manageable plan to edit your novel without burnout. Come prepared to revise your current manuscript (whether it’s complete or not).


  • Creating Plot-Forward and World-Specific Characters

    Creating Plot-Forward and World-Specific Characters [Sold Out]

    Instructor: Shannon Dittemore
    Memorable characters pull the reader into a story world with the promise of adventure, meaning, connection, and escape. The best characters do this while showing off a story world and moving the plot forward simultaneously. By looking at some of our favorite stories and practicing together, we’ll learn to craft heroes and villains that do just that.

    Class 1: Heroes and Villains
    Class 2: Archetypes and Tropes
    Class 3: Crews and Creatures


Elective Session 1: Friday, 1:30 pm*

  • Universal Worlds

    Universal Worlds

    Instructor: Donald Maass
    What makes a speculative world feel like ours? Worldbuilding brings us what is different, but what remains is the need for relatability. Learn what makes a story world one that anyone can relate to in this hands-on workshop.


  • So You Want to Write a Graphic Novel? (Part 1)

    So You Want to Write a Graphic Novel? (Part 1)

    Instructor: Steve Nedvidek
    This session helps you consider the basics of putting together a graphic novel, and will inspire creators of any kind that there is always a way to make a dream happen. If you've EVER thought of creating a graphic novel, this talk is for you!


  • Top 5 Things I've Learned from 25 Years of Editing

    Top 5 Things I've Learned from 25 Years of Editing

    Instructor: Lisa Mangum
    Drawing on more than twenty-five years in publishing, Lisa will teach about both the practical side of storytelling (writing, revising, and editing) and the personal side (stress-management, honoring your heart, and finding your voice).


  • Landmines in Your Book Contract

    Landmines in Your Book Contract

    Instructor: Steve Laube
    If you plan to sign a legal agreement to publish your book, know what the contract says, before you sign. This ever-evolving class provides examples found in recent contracts that can be problematic for the author.


  • Not Just Books: Careers in the Publishing Industry

    Not Just Books: Careers in the Publishing Industry

    Instructor: Rowena Kuo
    Whether you are a book author waiting to get published or want a career in the publishing industry but not sure where to start, find out what other jobs may be available to you. If you need a little extra income or would like to survive on your writing skills, there are options open to you to develop and prosper your professional publishing career.


Elective Session 2: Saturday, 9:30 am*

  • Mastering Immersive POV

    Mastering Immersive POV

    Instructor: Donald Maass
    Many novels are written as if they are a record of visual events. While that is in part true, gripping novels capture story experience on many levels. That begins with mastering viewpoint, which ranges beyond what characters only see and encompasses everything that they observe, think and sense. Learn the methods in this practical workshop.


  • Horror Happy-Ever-After Endings

    Horror Happy-Ever-After Endings

    Instructor: Michelle Carpenter
    When it comes to Horror everyone thinks of terror, screams, and gut-wrenching endings. Sad endings may seem the norm, but endings can be happy. Of course, someone will have to die…but with hope, you come out with something unexpectedly addictive. This is an exploration of happy moments in horror, how to intertwine brightness into a darker story, and how to successfully help a character conquer their fears in horror or other dark genres for a happy ending.


  • From Story to Game

    From Story to Game

    Instructor: James Hannibal
    How can you take your story to the next level? How can you bring your readers deeper into your sci-fi or fantastical realm? James will show you what it takes to develop your story into a card game, board game, or role-playing game.


  • So You Want to Write a Graphic Novel? (Part 2)

    So You Want to Write a Graphic Novel? (Part 2)

    Instructor: Steve Nedvidek
    A co-creator of The Jekyll Island Chronicles, Steve will pull apart the production process, diving into the details of the project. Includes audience Q&A.


  • Fight Scenes 101

    Fight Scenes 101

    Instructor: Carla Hoch
    Students will learn to write a fight scene from start to finish with FightWrite's quick and dirty guide. Bring your fight scenes!


Elective Session 3: Saturday, 1:45 pm*

  • Crowdfunding Craziness

    Crowdfunding Craziness

    Instructor: James Hannibal
    After three successful crowdfunding campaigns, including one that launched during Realm Makers 2021, James is ready to share his experience with you. Learn about the various crowdfunding platforms, the keys to success, and what to expect during the campaign.


  • Theology of Science Fiction

    Theology of Science Fiction

    Instructor: Steve Laube
    An exploration of the history of science fiction and its attempt to answer the BIG questions. Who is God? What Does it Mean to be Human? Who is Jesus? Why Does it Matter?


  • Nice Story—Thanks! It's Got P.O.C.K.E.T.S.

    Nice Story—Thanks! It's Got P.O.C.K.E.T.S.

    Instructor: Lisa Mangum
    Whether you are starting out on a first draft or laboring through your sixtieth revision, Lisa Mangum has 7 storytelling elements you should have in your story that can help elevate and strengthen your writing. And, luckily, they’ll all fit in your POCKETS (Promises, Obstacles, Choices, (K)onsequences, Empathy, Tension, and Surprises).


  • Mastering Realistic Dialogue

    Mastering Realistic Dialogue

    Instructor: Rowena Kuo
    Learn the vital components of writing engaging dialogue. Effective dialogue factors into the success of each scene, delivers the message you want portrayed, and guides the overall tone as your story unfolds. Discuss the methods, vernacular, and culture behind the motives of your characters and how these impact the relationship between your characters and your reader.


  • Fight Scenes: From Practical to Tactical

    Fight Scenes: From Practical to Tactical

    Instructor: Carla Hoch
    Need to see the fight in real life? Learn the basics of fighting through live demonstration and hands-on instruction, including hand-to-hand fighting and weapons basics and open Q&A. This class is audience driven and never the same class twice.


Elective Session 4: Saturday, 3 pm

The sessions at 3 pm Saturday will be panels to be announced later.

Add-on Sessions

  • Pre-Conference Workshop — Thursday, 9 am–3 pm

    Pre-Conference Workshop — Thursday, 9 am–3 pm

    How to Build Iconic Characters
    Instructor: Donald Maass, New York-based literary agent
    Some characters are merely protagonists, others are heroes or heroines. What makes the difference? Beyond that, what lifts heroes and heroines above even greatness to make them iconic? Can that be that accomplished when characters are “ordinary”, dark, different or non-human? Iconic, enduring characters are made not born, and this master class by advanced fiction craft teacher Donald Maass shows how.

    Price $75.00

  • Post-Conference Workshop — Sunday, 9:30–11:30 am

    Post-Conference Workshop — Sunday, 9:30–11:30 am

    Narrative Storytelling For Video Games
    Instructor: Chris Skaggs of Soma Games
    Come to the Dark Side!
    No matter what the medium, story still is, and always will be, the real gold in all we do. Right now, video games are blowing up, and we can barely keep up with writing at all, much less good, quality writing by believing, spiritual mature authors. We Need You! (and we have Hotpockets).

    Price $60.00

Appointments

Appointment scheduling will take place—right now! You will find links to schedule your appointments in your confirmation email. Schedule your appointments immediately upon receiving the link—Realm Makers cannot guarantee that attendees who schedule late will be able to get pitch appointments, as these are our most popular and fill up quickly. Please note that each attendee may schedule one pitch appointment and one mentoring appointment.

Online Attendees: So our attendees, mentors, and faculty can be fully present at our in-person conference happenings and shenanigans, this year we have scheduled online appointments to occur the week after the conference, Wednesday July 24–Friday July 26. Only attendees signed up to attend online are able to choose appointments at these times.

Please be aware that not all of our faculty and mentors who are planning to do virtual appointments have gotten back to us with their availability. If you don't see a calendar for someone, please continue to check back as we continue to get those schedules added. Also note that because not all in-person faculty are taking online appointments, if you switch your registration from in-person to online, we can't guarantee faculty will keep your appointment.

Opportunities to Help

Except for Online Appointments helpers, all volunteer positions require in-person attendance.

NOTE: Most volunteer time slots correspond to class sessions and run 1–2 hours. This is the same general schedule as last year, designed to reduce volunteers having to leave and enter classrooms mid-session.

Choose which volunteer position(s) you’re interested in, and our Volunteer Coordinator will send you a link to schedule your volunteer time slots.

Volunteer Roles*

  • Online Appointments

    Help facilitate Zoom-based online appointments the week after conference, July 24-26. Requires some training from our Appointments Coordinators. It's not hard, we promise.


  • In-Person Appointments

    Help keep appointments running on time—15 minutes goes by fast! These slots align with session content. No special requirements other than being calm and an encourager.


  • Tech Volunteers

    Two people will be assigned to one room all day during sessions. Your role is to make sure the A/V equipment is working properly and the livestream is running (no need to be on camera). It's not hard, and we'll train you. Great for introverts who have a bit of tech savvy. No need to know soundboards or other complicated equipment. Also good for techy spouses who might have nothing to do for the day.


  • Greeters

    After you’re assigned a station, guide people you suspect might be conference attendees to the Realm (registration desk, bookstore, etc.) These slots are for early arrivers (Wednesday evening and Thursday). Great for alumni who attended Realm Makers in previous years, but that’s not a requirement.


  • Bookstore Manual Labor

    There are a couple different kind of slots here (which will be addressed more in depth at a later date by the volunteer coordinator). We need help Wednesday evening to unload the trailer and on Saturday night to load it back up. There are also a limited number of spots to set up and tear down the bookstore. This may require some heavy lifting, and we do prefer people with experience. So, if you feel like either of these might be a good choice for you, sign up!


  • Bookstore Assistants

    Help our fearless bookstore leaders by stopping in during your assigned time slot to see if they need anything or if you can stock books or other products. These people work off and on throughout the conference. Good for conference attendees who have been around the bookstore before, but we’ll take any help! This may require you to move heavy boxes and get down on the floor with relative ease.


  • Registration

    Help conference attendees check in and receive their conference packets. Registration gets busy on Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon before the keynote. Time slots vary, some align with content. No special requirements.


  • Hospitality Suite

    Assist our team in keeping Realmies fed, watered, and caffeinated while they complete their quests. For early risers, we may need volunteers to start the coffee before we begin serving. You will be rewarded with caffeine. These slots align with session content (except coffee duty). If you're the one in the kitchen at parties filling up the snack trays, this is the place for you.


  • Prayer

    Not only do people have pitches with agents and editors, life goes on outside of the walls of the hotel. Be there to pray with people as needed. These slots align with session content. Ideally, we'd like to have one male and one female in each time slot, but that's not required.


  • Door Minders

    Folks who do this job won't have to miss anything—they will just watch the door for events they choose to attend to ensure that anyone who enters has a badge. They'll just need to sit by the door when the class is in session for anyone who straggles in. (Especially need Door Minders on the night of the awards banquet!)


  • I Prefer Not to Volunteer


Meals

**UPDATE as of June 18th** - Meals with faculty are nearly full. Registrations for these meals after June 18th will be open seating and not guaranteed to sit with a faculty member. Faculty choices has been turned off.

Dine on your own or with our faculty!

The options offered here allow you the chance to enjoy a catered meal in a hotel ballroom with our conference faculty and special guests. This gives you an exclusive opportunity to network with faculty, including agents and editors. Although you can indicate whom you would prefer to be seated with, we can make no guarantees about seating. Once seating with our most in-demand faculty members is full, you will be seated randomly with an available faculty member.

Those who wish to economize can enjoy many dining options in the village adjacent to the hotel. There are seven fast food options, including Fuzzy's Tacos, Starbucks, St. Louis Bread Co. (aka Panera), as well as a diverse mix other chain and independent restaurants.

  • Complete Meal Package

    All three meals with faculty: Thursday Dinner (Westport Buffet (sirloin, salmon, chicken, salad, seafood pasta salad, potatoes, wild rice, green beans, dessert), Friday Lunch (Penne Pasta w/asparagus, mushrooms, & bell pepper. Served with salad and dessert), and Saturday Lunch (Chicken Imperial-Chicken breast with lobster basil cognac sauce, asparagus, & risotto.).

    $150.00 ea. [20 remaining]

  • Thursday Dinner

    Westport Buffet (sirloin, salmon, chicken, salad, seafood pasta salad, potatoes, wild rice, green beans, dessert)

    $65.00 ea. [10 remaining]

  • Friday Lunch

    Penne Pasta w/asparagus, mushrooms, & bell pepper. Served with salad and dessert

    $50.00 ea. [10 remaining]

  • Saturday Lunch

    Chicken Imperial (Chicken breast with lobster basil cognac sauce, asparagus, & risotto.)

    $50.00 ea. [10 remaining]

For the awards banquet, please provide your dietary restrictions even if you are not purchasing the meal plan.


Location Information

  • Sheraton Westport Chalet
  • 191 W Port Plaza Dr, St. Louis, MO, 63146 US
RELEASE OF LIABILITY
In consideration for being allowed to participate in the Realm Makers Conference, I release from liability and waive my right to sue Realm Makers, their employees, officers, volunteers and agents (collectively “Realm Makers”) from any and all claims, including claims of Realm Makers’ negligence, resulting in any physical injury, illness (including death) or economic loss I may suffer or which may result from my participation in this Conference, travel to and from the Conference (including air travel), or any events incidental to this Conference.

ACCOMMODATIONS
* Reservations must be made directly with Sheraton Westport Chalet before June 25 at 5pm to take advantage of our contracted rates.
Our room block is limited so make your reservations as soon as you can.
See our website for complete details.

CANCELLATION POLICY
In the event you discover you cannot attend the Realm Makers conference after you’ve registered, the following refund policy will apply:

More than 60 days prior to conference: full refund, less a 10% processing fee
30-59 days prior to conference: 50% refund
Less than 30 days prior to conference: non refundable, but you may transfer your registration to another attendee. You are responsible for finding the individual to whom you wish to transfer your registration and informing the conference registrar of the change.

HARASSMENT POLICY
By registering for the Realm Makers Conference, whether as an attendee, guest, or vendor, I agree to abide by the conference's sexual harassment policy, which can be found here - www.realmmakers.com/harassment-policy/

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