The 2016 Writing Workshop of Chicago is now finished. Thank you to all who attended. If you are interested in being notified of other Chicagoland area writing workshops that we organize, simply let us know by emailing us at writingdayworkshops [at ] gmail.com. Thanks!
After a successful 2015 event in Chicago, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2016 Writing Workshop of Chicago — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Chicago, IL on May 14, 2016.
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 (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2016 Writing Workshop of Chicago!
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 14, 2016, 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:
- literary scout Justin Wells (Corvisiero Literary) [NEW ADDITION]
- literary agent Lori Perkins (Riverdale Avenue) [NEW ADDITION]
- literary agent Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary) [NEW ADDITION]
- literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (Dee Mura Literary) [NEW ADDITION]
- literary agent Gordon Warnock (Fuse Literary)
- literary agents Chip MacGregor / Amanda Luedeke (MacGregor Literary)
- literary agent Nicole Resciniti (The Seymour Agency)
- literary agent Regina Brooks (Serendipity Literary)
- literary agent Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary)
- literary agent John Willig (Literary Services)
- literary agent Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency)
- literary agent Marcy Posner (Folio Literary)
- literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
- literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary)
- literary agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary)
- acquiring editor Laura Apperson (St. Martin’s Press)
- literary agent Rachel Burkot (Holloway Literary)
- literary agent Abby Saul (Browne & Miller Literary)
- literary agent Sam Morgan (Jabberwocky Literary)
- literary agent Susan Hawk (The Bent Agency)
- literary agent Jennie Goloboy (Red Sofa Literary)
- literary agent Samantha Fountain (Corvisiero Literary)
- literary scout Jen Karsbaek (Fuse Literary)
By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 14, 2016 — the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, just south of the downtown area. (312)427-3800.
(You can reserve a hotel room from our block on or before April 30 with this link. You may be able to use the link after April 30, but that is not clear yet. Also feel free to call the hotel and mention the Writing Workshop of Chicago block when inquiring for rooms on any days around the May 14 weekend.)
THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS:
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 2-3 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. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (Windsor Room). This workshop examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing / e-publishing.
2. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Buckingham Room). This session will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.
3. How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir (Alcove Room). In this session, you’ll learn what sells (and why), and how you can get your memoir published.
1. Get Rid of Negative Talk and Naysayers (Buckingham Room). Get your over your own self-doubt as well as any outside negative voices, and find the time & passion to just write.
2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Windsor Room). This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.
3. Fourteen Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Alcove Room). This presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night.
(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). 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. Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips (Buckingham Room). If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.
3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book (Alcove Room). In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.
BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45
1. How to Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right (Windsor Room). You’ll learn how to: prepare your manuscript, design your cover, format your paperback interior & ebook, register with desired retailers/distributors, and much more.
2. Talking Craft and Revision (Alcove Room). This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers.
3. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction (Buckingham Room). A panel of attending literary agents will be discussing the genres of science fiction and fantasy — i.e., how to write and sell speculative fiction.
(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. Author Social Media and Blogging (Buckingham Room). This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online.
2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Windsor Room). Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and find success.
3. Romance Author Panel (Alcove Room). Active members from the Windy City Romance Writers of America are on this panel, addressing important topics and tips for writers of romance.
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:
Justin Wells is an agency assistant at Corvisiero Literary, and is acting as agency scout for the workshop — meeting writers on behalf of his co-agents. He will be taking pitches for adult high fantasy, middle grade fantasy &science fiction, romance, women’s fiction, and young adult (contemporary, dystopian, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction). Learn more about Justin here.
Lori Perkins [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is the founder of L. Perkins Agency and the founder of Riverdale Avenue Books. She will be taking pitches on behalf of her publishing imprints as well as on behalf of her co-agents. Lori can take pitches for the following genres, for her various imprints and co-agents: mysteries/thrillers, horror, science fiction, and fantasy, LGBT titles, pop culture books, erotic memoir, erotica and erotic romance, sports books, young adult, middle grade, genre mashups, adult romance, women’s fiction, self-help books, crime novels, cyberpunk, and neo-noir. Learn more about Lori here.
Kimiko Nakamura [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. Kimiko represents fiction in young adult and adult within the genres of historical, contemporary, literary, and women’s fiction. She loves thought-provoking projects that re-imagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and anything with elements of magical realism. For nonfiction she represents cookbooks and memoirs. On her bookshelf and in her inbox, she looks for cookbooks she can read like the Sunday morning paper and daring memoirs of people making their mark on the world. Learn more about Kimiko here.
Kaylee Davis [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. Kaylee is actively acquiring middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction — particularly sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, literary, and LGBTQ. She is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She loves plot twists, genre-bending, unlikely allies, flawed heroes, and stories that are both literally and figuratively out of this world. Learn more about Kaylee here.
Sam Morgan [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at Jabberwocky Literary Agency in New York. He specializes in fantasy and science fiction novels, though he is willing to look at general fiction (mainstream / literary) that doesn’t it take itself too seriously (like Thank You For Smoking or This is Where I Leave You). He is a fan of books that can make him laugh or that feature sarcasm. He also seeks diverse books (race, religion, sexuality). He will be part of both the Charlotte and Columbia events. Learn more about Sam here.
Gordon Warnock [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. In fiction he is seeking: high-concept commercial fiction, literary fiction, new adult, contemporary YA, and graphic novels. In nonfiction he is seeking: memoir (adult, new adult, YA, graphic novels), cookbooks, food studies, political and current events, pop science, pop culture, self-help, how-to, pets, and business & career books. Learn more about Gordon here.
Chip MacGregor and Amanda Luedeke [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] are literary agents with MacGregor Literary. Chip represents both fiction and nonfiction for both the general marketplace and the CBA (Christian) market. Chip had to cancel his appearance at the conference, but his co-agent, Amanda Luedeke, is coming in his stead. She will be taking all his current pitches on behalf of him, and passing on requested material to him. In addition, Amanda still has pitch spots available for herself and her own areas of interest. Amanda represents general market and Christian market projects, and her areas of interest include nonfiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, speculative fiction (fantasy and science fiction), young adult, and twenty-something/post college-aged hip lit (think Joe Meno, Brett McCracken, Brad Land, JD Salinger). Learn more about Chip and Amanda here.
Regina Brooks [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Serendipity Literary. She seeks young adult and middle grade fiction. In nonfiction, she is open to any subject where the author has a great platform, but especially enjoys memoir, health, how-to, business / finance, relationships, biography, cooking, and science. Learn more about Regina here.
Nicole Resciniti [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a senior literary agent with The Seymour Agency. Nicole is seeking happily-ever-after romances, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, YA, and inspirational novels. Currently on her specific wishlist: high concept middle grade, any kind of romance, and really fresh voices in YA. Learn more about Nicole here.
Jessica Sinsheimer [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. She is seeking: picture books, YA, upmarket genre fiction (especially women’s/romance/erotica, thrillers, mysteries) and—on the nonfiction side—psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century. She especially likes highbrow sentences with lowbrow content, smart/nerdy protagonists, vivid descriptions of food, picture books with non-human characters, and justified acts of bravery. Learn more about Jessica here.
Dawn Frederick [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] 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 (chicklit nonfiction), sports, social issues and current affairs, pop culture. Learn more about Dawn here.
Gemma Cooper [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. Gemma represents authors who write for children, from picture books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. “I love younger fiction, and have a soft spot for funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential. For middle-grade, I’d love to see a good mystery or adventure, but really any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller). For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance or something with strong friendships or sibling relationships. For picture books, I prefer short texts that don’t take themselves too seriously, and high concept ideas that can be sold on the title alone. Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention.” Learn more about Gemma here.
Jen Karsbaek [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary scout with Fuse Literary Agency (formerly named Foreword Literary). Jen now acts as an agency scout to find exciting and talented writers for the agency’s current agents. She is happy to take pitches on behalf of her co-agents for the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, mainstream/upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, middle grade, new adult, young adult, and literary fiction. The agency also seeks books by and about people from marginalized perspectives, such as LGBT people and/or racial minorities. Learn more about Jen 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.
Eric Smith [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. He is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), new adult, and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, essay collections, and blog to book ideas. Learn more about Eric here.
Alice Speilburg [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at Speilburg Literary. In nonfiction, she’s looking for authors with established platforms who are writing books in the following categories: biography, food, gender issues, health, history, literary journalism, music, pop culture, relationships, science, travel. In fiction, she’s currently looking for character-driven novels that fall under the following genres: historical fiction, mainstream, literary, mystery, science fiction, suspense, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Alice here.
Laura Apperson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] an editor at St. Martin’s Press. She is searching for: fresh, bold voices, compelling storytelling, and superb writing. She will take pitches for narrative nonfiction (current events, history, biography, as well as memoir), literary fiction, upmarket/mainstream fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, and young adult. Learn more about Laura here.
Abby Saul [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Browne & Miller Literary Associates. She’s looking for great and engrossing writing, no matter what the genre, and is actively exploring new digital possibilities for books. (She also occasionally reps young adult and middle grade, but does not want to see fantasy or science fiction for any age of reader.) A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Abby spends her weekends—when she’s not reading—cooking and hiking with her husband. Learn more about Abby here.
John Willig [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Literary Services, Inc. John is primarily interested in: narrative nonfiction that shines a light on new topics, events or perspectives and research-based prescriptive nonfiction. Categories of interest include: science, psychology, history, politics, current events, business, travel, food/cooking, crafts, lifestyle/personal growth (please no memoirs), and reference. John’s also interested in historical fiction — crime/mystery and literary. Learn more about John here.
Rachel Burkot [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Holloway Literary. Rachel is drawn to voice-driven fiction, particularly in young adult; quirky, three-dimensional, flawed characters, including and especially secondary characters; beautiful writing; books that explore good people in morally complicated situations; and complex, detailed plots. Rachel is interested in representing: women’s fiction, upmarket/book club fiction, i.e., Emily Giffin, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain, young adult (no fantasy or paranormal unless it’s very light), contemporary romance, category romance with unique plots, Southern fiction, “dark” women’s fiction/thrillers, urban fiction, and literary fiction. Learn more about Rachel here.
Susan Hawk is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. She is seeking: “books for children exclusively: picture books, chapter books, middle grade and YA, fiction and nonfiction. In middle-grade and YA, I’m looking for unforgettable characters, rich world-building, and I’m a sucker for bittersweet; bonus points for something that makes me laugh out loud. I’m open to mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, humor, boy books, historical, contemporary (really any genre). In picture books, I’m looking particularly for author-illustrators, succinct but expressive texts, and indelible characters. I’m interested in non-fiction that relates to kid’s daily lives and their concerns with the world. I’m actively looking for diversity in the stories and authors that I represent.” Learn more about Susan here.
Jennie Goloboy [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary Agency in Minnesota. She represents science fiction and fantasy (especially with a literary flair), historical nonfiction (no memoir), romance (primarily with sci-fi/fantasy elements), and young adult fiction. She is excited to meet with all kinds of writers and hopefully build her client list. Learn more about Jennie here.
Samantha Fountain [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary-agent-in-training with Corvisiero Literary. She will be taking pitches for herself as well as Corvisiero Literary as a whole. Samantha is personally seeking young adult contemporary titles, historical fiction for both young adults and adults, as well as mysteries and thrillers with dark, dramatic undertones. She is also taking pitches on behalf of Corvisiero Literary co-agents for the following: science fiction, fantasy, horror, action / adventure, young adult fantasy and sci-fi, and middle grade. Learn more about Samantha here.
Thomas Flannery, Jr. is a literary agent with AGI Vigliano. Unfortunately, he had to cancel on the event.
Adam Chromy is a literary agent with Movable Type Management. Unfortunately, he had to cancel on the event.
Veronica Park is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. Unfortunately, she had to cancel on the event.
More 2016 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 — FINAL base price for registration to the WWOC and access to all workshops, all day. As of January 13, 2016, 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:
“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 $59 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, 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 $69 [SOLD OUT] — 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:
- Mystery / crime / thriller / suspense: Faculty member Lori Rader-Day [SOLD OUT], a published mystery novelist, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. [LORI IS SOLD OUT FOR 2016]
- Young adult / middle grade / chapter books: Faculty member Madeline Smoot [SOLD OUT], a children’s book editor, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, 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 picture books, please. [MADELINE IS SOLD OUT FOR 2016]
- Women’s fiction / chick lit / literary fiction / memoir / personal essay: Faculty member Amy Sue Nathan [SOLD OUT], a published women’s fiction novelist and essayist, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book (or 10 pages of essay writing), meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. [AMY SUE IS SOLD OUT FOR 2016]
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 200 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: email@example.com. 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 letter.)