Utah-based Author Guild LDStorymakers Celebrates 15 years Kick-starting Careers and Connecting Writers

When LDS fiction author Rachel Ann Nunes reached out to fellow authors to strengthen community literacy and support fledgling writers, she had no idea her email group would branch into a guild that fifteen years later hosts Utah’s largest writing conference, drawing best-selling authors and prestigious publishers to the Beehive State.

“I had no idea I was part of history in the making,” says original member Annette Lyon. “Since joining, from the annual Storymakers Conference to the Whitney Awards to the guild’s influence in getting fairer contracts [for authors], LDStorymakers has become a powerhouse—one I’m proud to have been a part of from its foundations.”

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, LDStorymakers has made a name for itself in the publishing industry with its extensive author network and annual writing conference. While fewer than 50 people attended the first conference in 2004, last year’s event in Provo drew nearly 900 attendees and faculty, among them Random House editor Michelle Frey, editor of the Penderwick series, and literary agent Sara Crowe, who brokered international deals for Storymakers faculty member Dan Well’s I Am Not a Serial Killer. Over the years, the conference has also attracted best-selling faculty like New York Times best-seller Ally Condie (Matched), International Reading Association winner Chris Crowe, and Anne Perry, a crowd-favorite and author of more than 90 mystery novels.

With topics as diverse as crafting magical systems that span whole series to tips on how to create your first fictitious character, the conference has something for story lovers of all levels and genres.

First-time attendee Camille Smith says, “I left Storymakers Conference with the inspiration and courage I needed to pursue my passion for storytelling. Through workshops, intensives, and amazing classes, my ‘writing toolbox’ was filled to the brim with new techniques and ideas.”

Since its inception, over a dozen conference goers like Erin Summerill (Ever the Hunted—Harcourt Press) and Rosalyn Eves (Blood Rose Rebellion—Knopf Books) report having signed with prestigious literary agents, some of whom were met during the conference. Quite a number of LDStorymakers members, too, have published New York Times or USA Today Bestsellers, among them Sarah M. Eden,…

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