First Time’s the Charm: Debut Novelists on How to Debut

Room 2101, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
10:35 am to 11:50 am


Debuting is a fraught process and the experience and advice varies seemingly year to year in a rapidly changing literary landscape. This panel of novelists from various genres shares tips, tricks, and hard-won lessons from the months before and after their debuts—on everything from publicity and marketing to questions we wish we’d asked. Whether attendees are debuting their own novels next year or still dreaming the book into being, they’ll find fresh, urgent discussion about the processes here.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: First_Times_the_Charm_-_Event_Outline.pdf



Jeremy Broyles is a writer, professor, and voracious consumer of stories. As a first-gen college student, he was a three-time All-American in track and often incorporates sports/games in his fiction. His debut novel Flat Water releases in fall of 2023. He teaches creative writing in Mesa, Arizona.

Holly M. Wendt is associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Lebanon Valley College.Their debut novel, Heading North, is forthcoming from Braddock Avenue Books and their prose has appeared in Shenandoah, Passages North, Four Way Review, and elsewhere.

Kate Reed Petty's first novel, True Story, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award. She lives in Baltimore.

Sarah Cypher is a queer Lebanese American writer, and her debut novel The Skin and Its Girl (Ballantine) uses direct-address first person. Sarah holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College, where she was a Rona Jaffe Creative Writing Fellow in Fiction. She lives in Washington, DC with her wife.

Sarah Seltzer is the executive editor at Lilith Magazine, a forty-five year old journal of Jewish feminist journalism, fiction, poetry and art. She is a journalist, critic, and novelist: her debut novel, The Singer Sisters (Flatiron), the story of two generations of female folk singers, is forthcoming.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center