After successful 2015, 2016, and 2017 events in Chicago, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Chicago, IL on June 23, 2018.
This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (250 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago!
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, just south of the downtown area. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.
This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s agent faculty so far includes:
- [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Abby Saul (The Lark Group)
- [NEW ADDITION] editor M.J. Johnston (Sourcebooks / Sourcebooks Landmark)
- [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Amelia Appel (TriadaUS)
- [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Gabrielle Piraino (DeFiore and Company)
- [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Cyle Young (Hartline Literary)
- [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Mary Cummings (Betsy Amster Literary)
- literary agent Cynthia Ruchti (Books and Such)
- literary agent Michelle Grajkowski (3 Seas Literary)
- editor Anna Michels (Sourcebooks)
- literary agent Moe Ferrara (BookEnds Literary)
- literary agent Kelly Van Sant (D4EO Literary)
- literary agent Tracy Brennan (Trace Literary Agency)
- literary agent Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency)
- literary agent Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary)
- editor Grace Menary-Winefield (Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark)
- literary agent Alexandra Weiss (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
- literary agent Marcy Posner (Folio Literary)
- editor Emily Clark Victorson (Allium Press)
- literary agent Tina P. Schwartz (The Purcell Agency)
- agent assistant Lesley Sabga (The Seymour Agency)
- literary agent Kortney Price (Corvisiero Agency)
- and more to come
By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from regional Chicago writing groups.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, June 23, 2018 — the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, just south of the downtown area. (312)427-3800.
THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (JUNE 23, 2018):
What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.
Please Note: There will be 3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:
8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.
BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30
1. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2018 (Windsor Room). This workshop, updated for 2018, is quick & easy updated overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing.
2. How to Write and Pitch Awesome Science Fiction & Fantasy (Buckingham Room). This session, taught by a literary agent who represents (and adores) speculative fiction, will share helpful tips on how write great SF/F, how to set your work apart from other submissions, how to make your unique world come to life, and how to effectively pitch your sci-fi and fantasy to literary agents and editors.
3. Tell Me True: Tips on Writing Memoir and Essay (Alcove Room). Learn how to take real life and transform it into gripping narrative, compelling characters, and tight prose. Learn what to keep, what to cut, and how to make your nonfiction read like a great novel.
1. Query Letter Comprehensive (Windsor Room). Stand out from the slush and workshop your way to crafting a successful query letter.
2. Social Media and Book Marketing (Alcove Room). This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work and yourself online freely and easily — even before you get published.
3. Your #KidLit Novel: How to Get Your Young Adult and Middle Grade Novels Published (Buckingham Room). In this class, learn the differences between a MG and YA novel, as well as the best practices for creating an engaging story that will be appreciated by both children and adults.
(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)
LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15
Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.
BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30
1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest. (Windsor Room) In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission.
2. How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal (Buckingham Room). This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.
3. Picture Book Boot Camp (Alcove Room). In this session, you will examine how to write a picture book that catches the eyes of agents, editors, and readers.
BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45
1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Windsor Room). Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, how to find the best self-publishing service for your need, what social media channels you should be on already,
2. The Joy of Self-Editing: How to Hit Delete Before Your Editor Does (Buckingham Room). Are you willing to learn what it takes to nip-and-tuck your writing to afford it the best possible chance of garnering a contract? You’ll leave this fun (seriously) workshop with practical tips and a new appreciation for the task of self-editing.
3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Alcove Room). The romance market is constantly changing, so how then, are you to know what and when to submit to editors and agents?
(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. Pursuing a Small Press Publisher for Your Book (Alcove Room). How do you know if a small press is a great fit for your career and your work? If you’ve thought about bypassing the agent route and submitting directly to small presses, check out this session.
2. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Buckingham Room). After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to keep your career going with multiple books, how to build a readership, and much more.
3. Finding, Working with, and Keeping an Agent (Windsor Room). This class, taught by a literary agent, will discuss finding an agent, the winding way of the publishing path, and what to expect of your agent partnership.
SESSIONS END: 5:00
At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s Barnes & Noble station for a short while to sign any books for attendees.
Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.
PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:
Moe Ferrara [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with BookEnds Literary Agency. Moe is interested in books for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers in most genres–especially science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and light horror. The right contemporary or paranormal romance (sans-vampires of course) will spark her interest. She’s LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket. Learn more about Moe here.
Abby Saul [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent and founder of great and Lark Words Literary. She is actively seeking engrossing adult commercial and literary fiction. This includes general fiction, mystery, suspense/thriller, literary fiction, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. Learn more about Abby here.
MJ Johnston is an assistant editor with Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark. Fiction interests: women’s fiction with an emotionally charged hook (think Jojo Moyes or The Light We Lost); book club fiction; psychological suspense and literary thriller; and mystery (particularly cozy and crossover literary). Nonfiction interests: smart, practical nonfiction; history, science, and social science that presents a new lens on a contemporary issue. Learn more about MJ here.
Amelia Appel [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with TriadaUS. For adult fiction, she is most interested in literary fiction, mystery, thriller, upmarket women’s fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and horror. Projects with a smart, distinct voice, a fantastic setting to jump into, and/or a witty protagonist are all up her alley. She is not looking for romance novels. For adult nonfiction, she is primarily looking for creative nonfiction, humor, sports, how-to, pop culture, and true crime. She is not looking to represent memoir. Learn more about Amelia here.
Gabrielle Piraino [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is literary agent with DeFiore and Company. She is actively seeking: She seeks projects that you can lose an entire afternoon reading: imaginative sci-fi/fantasy with strong world building, blood-curdling horror, whip-smart thrillers, and up-market chick lit that pairs well with sand and a margarita. She’d love to see any of the above for young adult readers (virgin daiquiri, though!), and wholeheartedly enjoys spunky, stubborn characters that never do exactly what you’d expect. For children’s picture books and middle grade, Gabbie is looking for books that introduce curious young readers to new concepts—be it historically leaning or learning your manners—with compelling characters and an engaging voice. She’s also interested in author-illustrators working within the comic/graphic novel space and can’t wait to develop the next generation’s favorite villains. An avid personal baker/cook, Gabbie would also love to receive queries for cookbook and crafty lifestyle projects. Learn more about Gabbie here.
Cyle Young [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Hartline Literary. Cyle is seeking: young adult, middle grade, chapter books, easy readers, picture books, board books, genre fiction (especially romance), love stories, speculative (science fiction and fantasy), nonfiction (parenting, leadership, ministry, and self-help), movie and screenplays. Learn more about Cyle here.
Mary Cummings [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. She represents fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry for children and teens, from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, including contemporary and historical, humor, mystery, fantasy, and multicultural. She is particularly seeking middle grade novels as well as picture books with strong story arcs, a spunky central character, and warmth, humor, or quirky charm. In literary nonfiction, her areas of interest include lyrically written science, arts, nature, mindfulness, and social awareness issues. Learn more about Mary here.
Michelle Grajkowski [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with 3 Seas Literary. Michelle’s client list includes New York Times best-selling Authors Katie MacAlister, Cathy McDavid, Kerrelyn Sparks and C.L. Wilson. She primarily represents romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction along with select nonfiction projects with a terrific message. She is currently looking for fantastic writers with a voice of their own. Learn more about Michelle here.
Cynthia Ruchti is a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Agency. She is also an author and assistant director of writers conferences. At the Minnesota Writing Workshop, Cynthia is specifically looking for writers of Christian nonfiction and fiction. She only seeks books that are somewhere in the spectrum of inspirational/Christian titles. Learn more about Cynthia here.
Anna Michels [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an editor with Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark. Fiction interests: commercial literary fiction with interesting settings and a strong narrative voice (such as The Light Between Oceans); mystery (particularly cozy, historical, and crossover literary), psychological suspense, and literary thriller. Nonfiction interests: memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling; smart practical nonfiction with a unique hook and prescriptive elements; gift books with a strong hook and graphic elements (including humor and inspiration); history (narrative and quirky reference). She is not seeking: romance, young adult, children’s books, or poetry. Learn more about Anna here.
Tracy Brennan [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Trace Literary Agency. In fiction, she seeks women’s fiction, chick lit, psychological thriller, crime, commercial mainstream fiction, literary fiction, mystery, historical, suspense, and romance. In nonfiction, she seeks business, communications, health and wellness, history, politics, and true crime. Learn more about Tracy here.
Tina P. Schwartz is a literary agent and the founder of The Purcell Agency. She seeks young adult fiction and women’s fiction. Within these two genres, she looks for contemporary/realistic stories, coming-of-age tales, sports tales, stories of family and friendship, and LGBTQ stories. She is also open to YA nonfiction. Learn more about Tina here.
Kelly Van Sant [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with D4EO Literary. “I am seeking middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices and inclusive narratives.” Learn more about Kelly here.
Dawn Frederick is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary Agency. She represents writers of young adult, middle grade, and graphic novels. She also personally seeks nonfiction in the following categories: biography, creative (narrative) nonfiction, history, humor, pop culture, women’s narratives (chick lit nonfiction), sports, social issues and current affairs, pop culture. Learn more about Dawn here.
Alexandra Weiss [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. Within young adult, the genres she is most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but also stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are her favorite, as are stories that include space and science. She loves stories that include diverse and risk-taking subjects, including culture, race, sexuality, and identity. She also seeks all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Books with or without pictures intrigue her, and she is most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore. Concerning adult fiction, she is looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels. She seeks interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. Alexandra is open to most adult genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for her. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality she looks for. Learn more about Alexandra here.
Grace Menary-Winefield is an associate editor with Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark. In nonfiction, she is seeking quirky self-help books with a great hook and wide appeal, and smart nonfiction with unique explorations of history. She enjoys gift books — entertainment pop culture books, novelizations and nonfiction tie-ins and gift books (text and illustration) that inspire and entertain. For fiction, she seeks mainstream and commercial fiction that explores unique, sometimes even fantastical concepts (such as Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell). She seeks diverse stories in both historical and contemporary settings. Learn more about Grace here.
Marcy Posner [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Folio Literary. She is seeking: “I straddle the line between adult and children’s books (middle grade and young adult only). In the adult world, I’m looking for: commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, biography, history, health, and lifestyle – and, especially, thoughtfully written commercial novels, thrillers with international settings, and narrative nonfiction. In the children’s world, I’m looking for smart, contemporary YA and middle grade novels. A great new juvenile mystery series for boys would be fun.” She does not represent genre books of any kind (no romance, mystery, sci-fi or fantasy), nor does she seek memoirs. Learn more about Marcy here.
Kortney Price [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary Agency. In middle grade:, she loves adventure or survival stories, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and light horror. For young adult, she seeks psychological thrillers, “geeky” or “artsy” romance, magical realism, fantasy of any kind, science fiction, and steampunk. For new adult and adult fiction, she is selectively looking for science fiction with a unique premise and high stakes and fantasy or paranormal featuring history are a favorite. She always enjoys old buildings, antiques with ghosts, time travel, ancient curses, and time travel. Learn more about Kortney here.
Emily Clark Victorson is the co-founder and publisher of Allium Press of Chicago. Allium Press was founded in 2009 as a small, independent press and publishes literary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, middle grade, and young adult fiction — all with a Chicago connection. Learn more about Emily here.
Lesley Sabga [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency. She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents. She wants to hear pitches for happily-ever-after romance, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, young adult with a fresh voice (both contemporary and sci-fi/fantasy), science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, Christian/inspirational fiction and nonfiction, women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), new adult, Southern fiction, picture books (especially author-illustrators), cookbooks, middle grade (all kinds), narrative nonfiction, memoir, and literary fiction. Learn more about Lesley here.
Loretta Caravette is the founder of LR Children’s Literary. Unfortunately, she had to cancel on the 2018 event.
Gemma Cooper is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. Unfortunately, she had to cancel on the 2018 event.
More 2018 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open.
These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.
(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)
$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2018 WWOC and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 24, 2017, registration is now OPEN.
Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are some testimonials from writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.)
“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh
“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos
“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park
“After taking pitches at the Alabama Writing
Workshop, I met Erin Hollis at a pitch session, and
she is now my newest client.” – agent Julie Gwinn
Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Brian Klems, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Writing Workshop of Chicago attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?
Add $79 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:
- Children’s picture books: Faculty member Shannon Anderson, a published kidlit and picture book author, will get your work in advance, edit your picture book (maximum of 1,000 words in length), meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- Mystery, thriller, crime, and suspense: Faculty member Lori Rader-Day, a published mystery/thriller author, will get your work in advance, edit your 10 double-spaced manuscript pages, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- Adult science fiction and adult fantasy: Faculty member Sue Burke, a published speculative fiction author, will get your work in advance, edit your 10 double-spaced manuscript pages, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. No young adult or middle grade for Sue; only adult fiction please.
- Young adult and middle grade: Faculty member Michelle Falkoff, a published young adult fiction author, will get your work in advance, edit your 10 double-spaced manuscript pages, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- Literary fiction, mainstream/commercial fiction, women’s fiction, short stories, and historical fiction. Faculty member Renée Rosen, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit your 10 double-spaced manuscript pages, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: email@example.com, and she will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Chicago workshop specifically.
Because of limited space at the venue, the workshop can only allow 250 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.
Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.
How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The WWOC will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Chicago workshop specifically.
Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your work.)