The 2023 Writing Workshop of Chicago: June 24, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022 events in Chicago, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Writing Workshop of Chicago — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Chicago, IL on June 24, 2023.

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 2023 Writing Workshop of Chicago! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WWOC is an in-person event happening in Chicago on June 24, 2023. See you there.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at the Congress Plaza Hotel. 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 and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Tina Schwartz (The Purcell Agency)
  • literary agent Kaylee Zou (Williamson Literary)
  • literary agent Lori Colvin (Birch Literary)
  • literary agent Elisa Moles (Painted Fire Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Vicky Weber (The Purcell 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. This independent event is organized by coordinator Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops. E-mail him to register for the event at WDWconference@gmail.com.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, June 24, 2023 — at the Congress Plaza Hotel.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WWOC is an in-person event happening in Chicago on June 24, 2023. See you there.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (JUNE 24, 2023):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. You can see a more detailed layout of the day’s classes on the 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. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

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

1. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

(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 (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. TBD (room)

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

(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. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Vicky Weber is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency. She is seeking: Picture Books (anything heartfelt, educational, or lighthearted); Young Adult (fantasy, mystery, horror, thriller, suspense); Middle Grade (fantasy, mystery, magic); and Adult Fiction (fantasy and thrillers). Vicky specializes in picture books. She wants to be dropped into the moment and experience the story alongside the characters. She is always seeking underrepresented authors, BIPOC, LGBTQ+. Learn more about Vicky here.

Kaylee Zou is a literary agent with Williamson Literary. What the agency represents: Nonfiction: history, sports, science, environmental, biographies, travel, culture, adventure, educational, motivational (i.e. work that informs or inspires social change or advocates for women and BIPOC). Give thought to your author platform and develop a strong marketing section for your book proposal. Adult Fiction:  upmarket, contemporary, literary, and commercial; character-driven women’s fiction, book club fiction, domestic suspense, adventure, international, upbeat, feel-good, dark and dangerous, fiction with fantastical elements or magical realism, poignant social commentaries, humor, satire, new takes on old tropes. Pitch us writing that sings rather than tells, take us on an emotional journey, build vivid scenes for us, craft strong voices and unusual and unforgettable settings (we love stories where place is a character too). Any subject is welcome. Learn more about Kaylee here.

Lori Colvin is a Literary Agent with Birch Literary. She is seeking: If a book doesn’t grab Lori on the first page, she generally won’t read any further, so bring out your best right away. Lori’s looking for fresh viewpoints in multiple genres, including women’s fiction, Thriller, Book Club Fiction, Mystery (but no Cozy), and more. Things she’s not seeking at the moment: Romance, MG, or PB. If you can make Lori laugh, cry, gasp, or stay up all night reading, you may be a good match. Learn more about Lori here.

Elisa Moles is a literary agent with Painted Fire Literary Agency.  She is seeking: Especially interested in upmarket fiction. “In one word, what defines fantastic fiction narrative? Consequences. Consequences give structure. And stories with cohesive and creative structures, true to each writer’s background and voice, stand the test of time beyond the trendy topics and gimmicks of the day. I especially love psychologically complex characters. I’m looking for distinctive and compassionate voices who are telling organically unexpected stories in a wide variety of styles and genres. Surprise me.” Please do not pitch: nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, middle grade, YA, graphic novels, screenplays, westerns, horror, nihilist, or erotic work. No previously self-published works please. Learn more about Elisa here.

Tina P. Schwartz is a literary agent and founder of Purcell Agency. She is seeking: middle grade fiction, young adult novel, some Women’s Fiction (mostly book club), contemporary realistic fiction, romance, coming of age stories, #ownvoices, and LGBTQ stories. Schwartz is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Learn more about Tina here.

 

        More 2023 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:

$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 WWOC and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2022, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors 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 four quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing  list of success stories an be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

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 $89 — 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 will either 1) get an in-person meeting at the workshop, if the faculty member is attending the live event, or 2) get a 10-minute phone call with the faculty member, and have notes passed along via email, if the critiquer is not attending the live event. Options:

  • Middle grade and children’s picture books (virtual): faculty member Denise McConduit, an author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime around the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you are submitting a picture book, make the submission 1,000 words or fewer, and it can or cannot include illustrations.
  • Women’s, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, thriller, mystery (in-person meetings June 24): Faculty member Michelle McGill-Vargas, an author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you in person at the event for 10 minutes sometime to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at or after the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, general fiction, women’s fiction, science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, memoir, young adult, middle grade, and children’s picture books (virtual): Faculty member Laura Biagi, a writing coach and former agent, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 10 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. For children’s picture books, projects should be 1,000 words maximum, and can or cannot include illustrations.
  • More options possibly forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by credit card, PayPal, or check. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Chicago workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Congress Plaza Hotel), the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WWOC is an in-person event happening in Chicago on June 24, 2023. See you there.)

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 Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. Brian will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by credit card, 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 Brian 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 at any time, 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.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writing Workshop of Chicago.