The 2017 Writing Workshop of Chicago: June 24, 2017

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.37.26 AMAfter a successful 2016 event in Chicago, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2017 Writing Workshop of Chicago — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Chicago, IL on June 24, 2017.

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 2017 Writing Workshop of Chicago!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, June 24, 2017, 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 agent Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency)
  • literary agent Michael Caligaris (Holloway Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Alexandra Weiss (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Marcy Posner (Folio Literary)
  • literary agent Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary)
  • literary agent Loretta Caravette (LR Children’s Literary)
  • literary scout Jen Karsbaek (Fuse Literary)
  • agent assistant Lesley Sabga (The Seymour Agency)
  • and many more to come

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, June 24, 2017 — the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, just south of the downtown area. (312)427-3800.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (JUNE 24, 2017):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The schedule is mostly set, but is subject to change.

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

Three classes coming soon

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

Three classes coming soon

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

Three classes coming soon

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

Three classes coming soon

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

Three classes coming soon

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.

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PITCH AN AGENT:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.06.32 PMGemma Cooper 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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.35.49 AM.pngAlexandra Weiss 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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 7.08.43 PM.pngLoretta Caravette is the founder of LR Children’s Literary. She specializes in children’s books of all genres: picture books, early chapter books, middle grade, and young adult literature. Our agency represents both authors and illustrators. She appreciates nonfiction and historical fiction in all genres — especially picture books. She is very interested in the easy readers and early chapter books. Loretta will take on an author/illustrator combination. Learn more about Loretta here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 1.11.39 PM.pngLaura Crockett is a literary agent representing TriadaUS Literary. She will be taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as other agents at the agency — in the following genres: young adult, adult historical fiction, middle grade, mystery/crime, women’s fiction, and nonfiction projects. She is actively building her list of clients and is looking forward to talking with and meeting debut writers. Learn more about Laura here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 4.09.19 PM.pngMichael Caligaris is a literary agent with Holloway Literary Agency. His interests are as follows: literary Fiction, autobiographical fiction (i.e., So Long, See You Tomorrow; A River Runs Through It; Sylvia), short story collections or connected stories as a novel (i.e., Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Strout, Junot Diaz), LGBTQ lit, novels that are set in the Midwest or could be considered Americana, crime fiction, mystery/noir (i.e., Walter Mosley, Kate Atkinson, Lou Berney), dystopian fiction, civil unrest/political uprising/ war novels, memoir, New Journalism and/or long-form journalism, essay collections (on art, race, mental health, music, etc.), satirical/humor writing, and environmental writing. Learn more about Michael here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.04.34 PMMarcy Posner 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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.45.52 AM.pngJen Karsbaek 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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.04.16 AM.pngLesley Sabga is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency. She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents (except for Jennifer Wills, who is attending the event also). 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.

        More 2017 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.)

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PRICING:

$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2017 WWOC and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 10, 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:

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.01.32 PMI signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.05.52 PM“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 1.31.47 PM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.59.25 AM.png“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 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 $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:

  • Critique information: Forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.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.

REGISTRATION:

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: writingdayworkshops@gmail.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.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2017 Writing Workshop of Chicago.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.35.49 AM.pngAlexandra Weiss 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.

Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com and PR Manager for a Chicago circus. She previously worked as an Acquisitions Editor for an award-winning anthology and holds a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing from Columbia College Chicago.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Crockett of Triada US Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.27.43 AM.pngLaura Crockett is a literary agent with Triada US.

She joined Triada US after several years working as a librarian, a bookseller, a writing tutor, and completing her M.A. in Publishing from Rosemont College. In her spare time, she keeps up with the blogging community and shares book reviews with readers and writers.

She is seeking: “I’m interested in a variety of YA and Adult fiction. In YA, I enjoy contemporary realistic fiction, high and low fantasy, and gothic horror. In adult fiction, I’m looking for compelling historical fiction, gothic horror, neo-Victorian mystery, contemporary women’s fiction, and fantasy. Some of my current favorites are The Night Circus, Outlander, Daughter of the Forest, Letters from Skye, Can You Keep a Secret?, At the Water’s Edge, Fangirl, Prisoner of Night and Fog, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Long Lankin, A Madness So Discreet, and The Start of Me and You.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michael Caligaris of Holloway Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 4.09.19 PM.pngMichael Caligaris is a literary agent with Holloway Literary Agency.

Michael has been working in publishing since 2013. After earning an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College, he then co-founded a Bay Area literary magazine, The East Bay Review, and worked for the world’s largest academic science journal, PLOS ONE. He considers the time he taught creative writing to first-generation college students as a turning point in his career, for they inspired him to further seek out those often-overlooked authors writing about family, struggle, class, and race. As an agent for Holloway Literary, Michael strives to find emerging authors with strong voice and vision, and he promises to tirelessly campaign for their exposure.

His interests are as follows:

  •  Literary Fiction
  • Autobiographical fiction, i.e., So Long, See You Tomorrow; A River Runs Through It; Sylvia
  • Short story collections or connected stories as a novel, i.e., Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Strout, Junot Diaz
  • LGBTQ lit
  • Novels that are set in the Midwest or could be considered Americana
  • Crime Fiction
  • Mystery/Noir, i.e., Walter Mosley, Kate Atkinson, Lou Berney
  • Dystopian fiction
  • Civil unrest/political uprising/ war novels
  • Memoir
  • New Journalism and/or long-form journalism
  • Essay collections on art, race, mental health, music, etc.
  • Satirical/humor writing
  • Environmental writing

Get to Know an Agency Assistant in Attendance: Lesley Sabga of The Seymour Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.04.16 AM.pngLesley Sabga is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency.

She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents (except for Jennifer Wills, who is attending the event also). 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, picture books (especially author-illustrators), cookbooks, middle grade (all kinds), narrative nonfiction, and memoir.

Lesley is a graduate from the University of Kentucky with a degree in English. She is an avid reader who has a passion for editing who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. A current  assistant for The Seymour Agency, she is also an editorial intern for Entangled Publishing and attending the University of Chicago’s Graham School where she is working to obtain her certificate in editing.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Loretta Caravette of LR Children’s Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 7.08.43 PM.pngLoretta Caravette is the founder of LR Children’s Literary.

She specializes in children’s books of all genres: picture books, early chapter books, middle grade, and young adult literature. Our agency represents both authors and illustrators. She appreciates nonfiction and historical fiction in all genres — especially picture books. She is very interested in the easy readers and early chapter books. Loretta will take on an author/illustrator combination.

“I am a writer of children’s stories. I have been published in a number of children’s magazines such as Appleseed, Boy’s Quest, and High Adventure. I received my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University. My final lecture was published in Children & Libraries ‘Portrait of the Reader as a Young Child.’ I am currently working on a paper about the book to fiction translation, ‘Visual Emotion: The Power Behind Book to Film Adaptation.’ I live on 12 acres with my husband, two dogs, a cat, 2 beehives, nine chickens and two ducks. I am hoping to add goats to that list as soon as I fix my fence.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jen Karsbeak of Fuse Literary

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 1.36.50 PMJen Karsbaek joined first Larsen Pomada Literary Agency, then Fuse Literary Agency (formerly named Foreword Literary) in 2013.

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 the agency 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.