by Jill Williamson
I was so glad to meet Jennifer Jenkins, co-founder of Teen Author Boot Camp, this past September at Salt Lake Comic Con. I decided to have her on Go Teen Writers so you all could learn about her amazing teen writers conference! But first, here's a little but about Jennifer:
Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction. NAMELESS, her first published work, releases Fall of 2015.
She has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid). You can learn more about Jennifer at www.jajenkins.com.
Thanks for stopping by Go Teen Writers, Jennifer. What is Teen Author Boot Camp?
Founded by the five women of Writers Cubed, Inc. (a federal non-profit), Teen Author Boot Camp is one of the largest writing conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. It is a daylong event where teens have the unique opportunity to learn from their favorite authors in a motivating environment. At registration, teens receive a T-shirt, drawstring backpack, and a pass for bottomless soda throughout the day. We also feed you lunch and a snack. It's seriously like Christmas for the teen writer.
We host a highly competitive first chapter contest judged by professional authors. Teens submit their work prior to the conference, and the top ten finalist in both the Jr. High and High School divisions receive a full chapter critique. The top three in each division also receive cash prizes and a plaque made by the artist/creator of the Iron Man suit. Pretty amazing! Winners and prizes are announced at the conference. One of last year's winners was picked up by literary agent, Jo Schaffer, who acted as a judge in the contest.
Since 2011, TABC’s live and virtual classes have reached thousands. In 2014, five hundred teens attended the conference at UVU with around seventy teens on a waiting list. Past keynotes at the TABC include Kiersten White (PARANORMALCY), Brandon Mull (FABLEHAVEN), Shannon Hale (PRINCESS ACADEMY), James Dashner (THE MAZE RUNNER), and Ally Condie (MATCHED). Additional NYT bestselling authors who have presented at the conference include: Janette Rallison, Bree Despain, and Aprilynne Pyke.
This year we're excited to announce international bestseller, Brandon Sanderson, as our afternoon keynote.
How exciting! *Jill tries not to hyperventilate* Everyone here at GTW knows how much I love Brandon Sanderson's books. How often do you have boot camp events?
TABC is held annually at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah every Spring. Next year's conference will be April 11, 2015.
We've recently been asked to host a Teen Author Boot Camp in conjunction with a major writing conference in St. Louis on July 23, 2015. Details with that are still being ironed out, but it looks like it will be a blast.
Do agents and editors attend TABC?
At our 2015 conference we have three publishers and three agents attending.
How much does it cost?
The conference is $49 for the entire day if you register before February 1st. This includes lunch, a snack, bottomless soda, T-shirt, drawstring backpack, and other materials. As a non-profit, we fight to keep costs low for our teens and offer a scholarship programs to deserving teens on our website. All authors (including keynotes) and organizers donate their time to put on this event.
Are there housing options and meal plans available for teens who live far away?
As of right now, we do not offer housing for attending teens. It's something we're hoping to do in the future through the University. There is a very nice Hampton Inn right across from UVU though. :)
What can a teen writer expect from attending a Teen Author Boot Camp event?
Hmmm. I answered some of this earlier, but I will say this: Expect to meet a lot of teens who share your interests and goals. This year's schedule includes twenty-five authors from around the United States whose books will be sold all day long at the conference. There will be an epic opening ceremony to kick off the day at 9:00 am, six breakout sessions with seven different class options available in each session, a keynote by Brandon Sanderson, and another epic closing ceremony. Because this will be our five year anniversary, you can expect a few extra "surprises" to spice up your day, as well. :P At the end of the day there will be a massive signing with all participating authors.
That sounds amazing, Jennifer. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about this conference.
And guess what, guys... I applied to present a class at the 2015 Teen Writers Boot Camp, and they selected me as a Drill Sergeant! I get to teach my Map-Making 101 class at the same conference Brandon Sanderson is keynoting! *fangirls* (I'll be good, I promise.)
I do hope that some of you can come. Visit http://teenauthorbootcamp.com for more information. And check out this sweet official badge Jennifer gave me:
Any questions? Want to go to TABC? Do you have a favorite writers conference?