Call for Proposals FAQ

How can I submit a proposal?

We are using a new submission format for HNS2019. All proposals must be submitted via the Submittable platform.

Anybody wishing to submit a proposal will need to log in at Submittable and create a free user account.

After you have created an account, you may use it for multiple submissions.

When does the Call for Proposals open?

Proposals will be accepted from October 15, 2018, through November 18, 2018. For each proposal submitted, presenters will receive a separate email notification no later than December 15, 2018, to inform them whether or not their proposal was accepted for the Conference.

What should I bear in mind as I develop my proposal?

  • Your audience: Conference attendees represent hundreds of authors at every stage of the journey from novice novelists to multi-published authors; readers; bloggers; educators; librarians; and others with an interest in historical fiction.
  • The HNS conference focuses on all aspects of historical fiction from research to publishing. Conference goers are primarily storytellers and their readers. We are not looking for academic papers!
  • Your proposals, and their titles, should be punchy and pithy! Speakers must be dynamic and engaging and be able to stay on topic for an hour.

The 2019 Conference will have a programming theme: “Revolution!” So, what does this mean?

We’re referring to revolutions from the political to the personal—upheavals in people’s thinking—refracted through the prism of historical fiction. Prospective presenters are asked to plumb their creative depths for what this word means to them.

Some suggestions/examples:

  • Literal revolutions (e.g., the American, French, “Glorious,” and Russian Revolutions, the Jacobite and Boxer Rebellions, China’s Cultural Revolution; here’s a link to spark your imagination)
  • Rebellions and revolutions in art, fashion, society/culture, and music
  • Social and gender rebellion (e.g., the Suffrage Movement; Women Who Work/Rosie the Riveter, Women in Science/STEM [Ada Lovelace/Madame Curie/Hedy Lamarr], Civil Rights Movement, Stonewall)
  • Religious uprisings across time and place (e.g., Masada; the Reformation)

What other topics or themes will the Conference highlight?

The 8th North American HNS Conference aims to showcase diversity both within the historical fiction genre and among its authors and fans. However, not every session must tie into the Conference theme. We are interested in proposals on a variety of craft and historical topics, including:

  • The Underground Railroad and other Journeys: The African Experience in North America (HNS2019 begins the day after “Juneteenth”)
  • Centennial of Women’s Suffrage (June 4, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Congress’s passing of the 19th Amendment)
  • Where were you during WWII? Stories from the Holocaust to the Homefront
  • Unsung Heroes: Novels starring people we’ve never heard of—and should have!
  • Choosing Your Protagonist: Historical figures vs. wholly fictional heroes
  • Lions and Tigers and Bears—Oh My! Take us somewhere HNS hasn’t been before (e.g., HF set in Africa, Southeast Asia, Russia, or the urban jungle)
  • Politics and Prose: Political figures in historical fiction
  • Lights, Camera, Action! Adapting your novel into a screenplay

Also welcome are proposals in subgenres such as:

  • historical mystery
  • historical romance
  • historical crime/thriller
  • young adult historical fiction
  • race and diversity in historical fiction (take us beyond Western Europe)
  • historical nonfiction & biography as source material for HF

With these topics to whet your imagination, please bear in mind:

  • We encourage the participation of fresh faces and new voices alongside familiar ones on our panels and in our workshops.
  • If you are a veteran HNS presenter, please consider inviting an author who may be newer to the genre (or a veteran author who would be new to the HNS Conference) to round out your proposal.
  • Panels that reflect a cross-section of traditional and indie authors are also encouraged.

What types of programming formats will be considered?

  • Panel. One of our most popular formats. Panels are an especially valuable way to discuss a variety of perspectives on a particular topic or theme. Panels should consist of a minimum of 3 and maximum of 5 persons, including a moderator. One of the panelists may also serve as the moderator. Panels must be historically themed and “meaty,” not a discussion of your own writing/writing career. Note: Unless 1 of them is solely the moderator, 5 panelists doesn’t afford enough time for a meaningful discussion by all members of the panel. Consider, before you over-stack your panel. All panel proposals must identify a moderator, and all panelists must be listed on the proposal. Please note: The HNS Program Committee will not source co-panelists or moderators.
  • Presentation. Presentations are typically offered by a single individual with subject matter expertise on a particular topic, e.g., how to market novels or methods for ensuring dialogue fits your time period.
  • Workshop. Workshops are interactive and allow participants to engage with a specific topic or skill.
  • Koffee Klatch. Hour-long Koffee Klatches are small-group discussions (not one-person lectures) hosted by one or two authors renowned for their novels on a particular theme or historical era or by presenters noted for their expertise on a specific subject. These are open, interactive discussions on a specific subject. The Koffee Klatches can also focus on crossover subgenres like historical mystery, crime, romance, etc.

 What information will be needed about presenters?

All presenters, including co-panelists, will need to submit bios, subject matter qualifications, and a headshot photo. For panels, the lead panelist must gather all panelists’ bios, subject matter qualifications, and photos and include them in the proposal in order for it to be complete. Photos should be JPG or PNG, 300dpi, and good quality images that clearly show the speaker’s face and don’t look blurry or grainy (pixelated). For those who are unfamiliar with pixels etc., if you look at the photo at 100% scale on a computer and the face area is smaller than 2 inches then it’s too small. Image should look crisp and clear.

What is the Saturday Afternoon Readers’ Festival?

  • Our 2nd Conference Readers’ Festival (i.e., HNS authors presenting programs geared primarily for readers)
  • A separately ticketed event open to the public that includes panels, solo presentations, and historically-themed Koffee Klatches
  • HNS Conference attendees are also welcome to attend Readers’ Festival programming.
  • You can check the appropriate box on the program proposal submission form if you want your proposal considered for Readers’ Festival programming.

Can I include an AV request in my proposal?

  • Due to production costs and space limitations sessions/slots with AV will be limited.
  • If your program will require AV (projector, laptop, screen, clicker), please indicate this in the appropriate box on the proposal submission form.
  • You will also be asked how you plan to use AV for your session and why it’s imperative.

What if I’m submitting a proposal that involves an agent or editor attending the conference?

Please be aware:

  • Industry professionals have been invited to the conference primarily to hear pitches and participate in HNS’s industry-related sessions (Cold Reads, Industry Guest Roundtable).
  • Adding an industry guest to your proposal may make it difficult to schedule because agents and editors are available for only limited time slots outside their other conference obligations.

What else should I know about my obligations before I submit a proposal?

  • Unless otherwise specified in your proposal acceptance, all presentations are one hour in duration.
  • Presenters are conference attendees who volunteer to take an hour (or more) out of their conference time to share their expertise and knowledge on a particular topic with their fellow attendees.
  • Each general presenter, regardless of the number of programs on which he/she appears, will receive a $50 credit toward Conference registration. Because we have dozens of sessions in our Conference, this honorarium is our way of saying thank you for sharing your time and your knowledge with us.

Do presenters have to make a formal agreement to participate?

Yes, all presenters MUST agree to:

  • register for the conference for the conference by February 15, 2019.
  • arrange and pay for their own accommodations and travel.
  • inform Program Chair Leslie Carroll of any changes in their program prior to or during the conference.
  • present their program at the assigned program time.

Do presenters receive any remuneration?

Yes, presenters whose proposals are accepted receive a $50 registration credit as an honorarium.


We look forward to seeing you in National Harbor, Maryland!

The HNS2019 Conference Board