Talks & Presentations

Martin is a past books editor for The Writer, where he developed many titles on craft and career development, and he has spoken for writer conferences around the country. He has also produced many books for indie-presses, winning a number of national and regional awards.

The following is a partial list of talks and workshops available to conferences, writer groups, libraries, and other venues. If you have a need for a particular topic to be covered, inquire via the Contact page.

1. Developing Book Projects
A session or workshop on developing book projects. Includes techniques for creating a book-worthy, market-savvy idea, organizing the project, writing it, pitching it, and general factors in creating a successful book in this climate. Look at pros and cons of publishing options: large press, small press, and self-publishing.

2. Powerful Storytelling for Writers
If you are trying to get published, stronger stories means better results. Too often, writers overlook the basics of storytelling – even though these methods have been used by generations of successful authors to win major literary awards and legions of fans. This presentation look at three basic components of what makes a story appealing, effective, and memorable. What makes a work of fiction come alive and become appealing? How do you create empathy and engagement in readers (including agents & editors), especially using classical tricks of the storytelling trade? We’ll focus on specific techniques, often overlooked or misunderstood, that will make your fiction more sellable and likable.

3. Developing a Sense of Place
What do great stories do? They take you to another place! Indeed, the role of place is often as important as that of plot and character development. As one great writer, Wendell Berry, said: if you don’t know where you are . . . you don’t know who you are. We’ll look at a half-dozen basic techniques for creating a stronger Sense of Place in your stories.

4. From Hobbits to Harry Potter – Writing Great Fantasy Fiction
In recent years, books by J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Stephenie Meyer, George R.R. Martin, and other fantasy authors have sold hundreds of millions of copies, reflecting the immense popularity of fantasy stories in literature and film. What do the diverse types of fantasy lit have in common, and what differentiates them? And why have we turned so wholeheartedly to fantasy stories in the 21st century? As Newbery Award-winning author Lloyd Alexander said, “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” This presentation, by the author of A Guide to Fantasy Literature and The Purpose of Fantasy, will unravel the secrets of successful fantasy fiction for writers and readers alike. How do fantasy stories draw us in to their remarkable worlds? How can we use their structure and special insights to improve our stories?

5. Effective Websites for Writers: 10 Core Strategies
A website with a blog component can be a great tool . . . or a bottomless sink-hole for time and writing energy. A good strategy can increase your online visibility, develop content and marketing tools, and build an audience. This program will offer 10 strategies for effective blogs for published or unpublished authors that you can use right away.

Presenter Bio
Philip Martin is author of How To Write Your Best Story, editor of The New Writer’s Handbook, an anthology of advice for writers on craft and career (“surprising and satisfying” – Library Journal, Starred Review; Gold medal, Career Category, 2007 indie Book of the Year Award), and past acquisitions editor for The Writer Books, affiliated with The Writer magazine. He now offers editorial services as director of Great Lakes Literary ( As an indie-press publisher, he has edited and published award-winning fiction and nonfiction books for adults and young readers. He has also worked as a folklorist, documenting Midwestern folkways, and is the author of several books on regional culture based on oral interviews and field research, along with two books on fantasy literature, A Guide to Fantasy Literature and The Purpose of Fantasy. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Short Bio
Philip Martin offers editorial, marketing, and publishing services for writers as director of Great Lakes Literary. A past acquisitions editor for The Writer Books, he has also edited and produced award-winning nonfiction and fiction titles for adults and young readers, winning a number of indie-press book awards for editorial and design excellence. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.