The 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop: April 25, 2020

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

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 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 25, 2020, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue. 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 Ben Grange (L. Perkins Agency)
  • editor Alicia Clancy (Lake Union / Amazon)
  • literary agent Lauren Scovel (Laura Gross Literary)
  • literary agent Chip MacGregor (MacGregor Literary)
  • literary agent Neal Swain (Wales Literary)
  • editor Jason Kirk (47 North / Amazon)
  • literary agent Amy Levenson (Blue Heron Literary)
  • literary agent Britt Seiss (Martin Literary Management)
  • literary agent Tara Gilbert (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Cortney Radocaj (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Garrett Alwert (Emerald City Literary 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 Chuck Sambuchino of Writing Day Workshops.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 25, 2020, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue, 3225 158th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98008. (425)644-2500.

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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. The Four-Act Structure: Constructing the Edifice of a Story. In this class, we’ll discuss the four-act structure of storytelling by looking at how it functions in well-known works, as well as sharing each other’s recommendations for stories and books with other interesting structural frameworks.

2. How to Write Awesome Young Adult and Middle Grade. Young adult and middle grade are hot markets today, but what does it really mean to write them? And how do you write YA and MG stories that connect with readers and keep them glued to the page?

3. Understanding the Publishing Process. This workshop will examine what happens between the time you submit your query to an agent to the time your book is finally published.

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

1. How to Apply the Five Most Powerful Methods of Story Creation to Your Novels. In this class, an award-winning author will show you the five most powerful methods best-selling authors use to create their stories.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. Introduction to Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing. In this class, you will learn the basics of science fiction and fantasy writing. We will cover how to use and bring originality to genre-related codes and conventions (helping to decode what agents and editors mean by “the same, yet different”) and consider the difference between expected tropes and lazy writing.

(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 (Regent 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. Elevating Your Work: How to Create Children’s Picture Books That Are Not Just Entertaining, but Transformative. Discover how to create books that will impact children in a lasting way while embracing the transformative power of your work.

3. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book. 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.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. How to Write and Sell Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction. This presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night. It will address pacing, plotting, and characterization to keep your mystery/thriller/suspense moving.

2. Creating Perfectly Imperfect Characters. In this session, we’ll cover creating a dynamic character who lives on the page, who breaks just enough rules to not only garner the love of a reader but also to secure the interest of an agent and publisher.

3. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today. This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing / e-publishing. We will examine the upsides of both routes, the challenges with both, and the next steps no matter what you decide.

(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. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, aspiring or currently published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books.

2. Writing the 8-Point Synopsis. Writing a synopsis may be one of the most stressful parts of the whole drafting-to-publishing process. But it proves to an agent or editor that you’re very clear on what your story is about (and can explain it succinctly).

3. Make Your First Five Pages Agent Ready. We will take a look at what makes a great opening, what you need to successfully grab a reader’s attention, and leave them wanting more after five pages.


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.



Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 7.02.44 PMBen Grange is a literary agent at L. Perkins Associates. His tastes gravitate towards middle grade fiction, and he is particularly on the lookout for exceptional author-illustrators who write middle grade or young adult. He sometimes gets the inkling to read a great YA sci-fi or fantasy, particularly weird or slightly dark stories (à la The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Thanks to his time at JABberwocky, he also loves epic fantasy and science fiction, and although his focus is on middle grade and young adult, he won’t say no to a great adult fantasy or sci-fi. He is also interested in pop culture nonfiction for authors with established platforms. Learn more about Ben here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 7.08.36 PMLauren Scovel is a literary agent at Laura Gross Literary Agency. Her fiction specialties are: GLBT, literary fiction, and multicultural. She will also consider humor/satire, family saga, and short story collections. Her nonfiction specialties are cultural/social issues, current affairs, GLBT, investigative journalism, multicultural, narrative, politics, true crime, and women’s concerns. She will also consider: adventure/true story, history, humor, memoir, pets, and pop culture. Learn more about Lauren here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 4.01.33 PMAlicia Clancy is an editor with Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon. Lake Union Publishing seeks absorbing works of contemporary and historical fiction for voracious readers. This includes literary fiction, mainstream fiction, upmarket / book club fiction, historical fiction, contemporary/domestic suspense, and women’s fiction. Learn more about Alicia here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 2.58.15 PMCortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. She is seeking young adult, new adult, and adult fiction in the following genres & categories: LGBTQIA+ (particularly F/F), neurodiversity, contemporary, horror, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology/fairytale retellings, Gothic fiction (particularly Southern gothic), paranormal and magical realism. Learn more about Cortney here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 4.13.24 PM.pngChip MacGregor is a literary agent and the founder of MacGregor Literary, His company has focused on specific niche markets — memoir, spirituality, self-help books, Christian and literary fiction, true crime, romance, as well as some specialty projects. He has worked with dozens of bestsellers and sold numerous movie and TV projects. Learn more about Chip here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 9.15.21 PMJason Kirk is an acquiring editor for 47North, part of Amazon Publishing. He is seeking: science fiction for adults, fantasy novels for adults, and young adult of all types (both science fiction & fantasy, and otherwise/contemporary). Jason will also be teaching at the 2020 event. Learn more about Jason and his book tastes here.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 10.11.03 PMNeal Swain is a literary agent with Wales Literary. Subjects of interest for the agency are: mainstream and literary fiction, graphic novels, narrative-driven nonfiction and memoirs— with particular emphasis on science, nature, social justice, politics, health, food writing, and culture. Agency titles have appeared on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and other national bestseller lists and earned strong reviews. Learn more about Neal here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.02.18 PM.pngAmy Levenson is the founding literary agent of Blue Heron Literary. She represents: mainstream literary and commercial fiction, and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, narrative nonfiction, and popular culture. She is actively seeking middle grade and young adult fiction (all genres), from adventure driven and fantastical to contemporary settings exploring social issues. For new adult and adult fiction, she seeks plot-driven literary works and upmarket commercial stories with only a touch of genre. She is especially drawn to a strong voice and dynamic characters, a well-paced plot, witty or quirky humor, and am always susceptible to a good solid tug on the heart strings. Learn more about Amy here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 3.44.16 PM.pngBritt Siess is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management. Britt looks for stories that are character driven and full of strong, resonating themes. She’s interested in literature that completely immerses readers into new worlds and that is imaginative and diverse. She also likes a little (dark) humor, and there must be stakes! She is particularly drawn to literature that makes us reflect on our own society and confront our choices. She is currently accepting adult fiction submissions for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller. Britt is specifically looking for cyberpunk, steampunk, and speculative fiction. She seeks epic fantasy, high fantasy, historical fantasy, and retellings of myths and fairytales. Pitch her with gothic horror, and thrillers, magical realist literature (such as Wildwood and Elmet), and middle grade manuscripts with fantastical or supernatural elements. Learn more about Britt here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 2.52.20 PMTara Gilbert is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Agency. At the 2020 Seattle conference, she is taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as co-agents. Personally, she is seeking all kinds of young adult and middle grade, adult sci-fi, adult fantasy, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, and romance. On behalf of co-agents, she will take pitches for historical novels, women’s fiction, mainstream/general fiction, and children’s picture books. Learn more about Tara here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 8.54.34 PMGarrett Alwert is an associate literary agent with Emerald City Literary Agency. He is actively seeking new clients. He and the agency represent young adult and middle grade — specifically in the areas of romance, thriller/mystery, magical realism and sci-fi (no kidlit fantasy for him). Learn more about Garrett here.

More agents forthcoming.

         More 2020 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.)




$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2020 SWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2019, 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 can 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 Chuck Sambuchino, one of the day’s previous instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Seattle Writing Workshop 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 get an in-person meeting at the workshop. You can opt for as many critiques as you like. Options:

  • Young adult, middle grade, and children’s picture books: Faculty member Gabrielle Prendergast, author of YA / MG / PB books for kids, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. For picture book critiques, 1,000 words maximum please (can include illustrations or not).
  • Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance (no erotica), contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, young adult (including genre YA and SF/F): Faculty member Amber Royer, author and writing instructor repped by Jennie Goloboy of Donald Maass Literary Agency, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. When dealing with a manuscript, Amber focuses on sound psychological character creation, and will help you ensure that your characters are displaying agency right off the bat, which will ensure that your story has the kind of momentum agents and editors are looking for.
  • Science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and horror: Faculty member Cody T Luff, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Suspense, mystery, thriller, crime: Faculty member Jim Rubart, a published suspense author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Memoir, women’s fiction, romance, children’s picture books, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, young adult (all kinds), middle grade (all kinds): Faculty member Eve Porinchak, a freelance editor and former literary agent, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, and pass along written critique notes. Unlike the other critquers at the Seattle event, Eve will not be there in person. Instead Eve is happy to have her 10-minute meetings with writers over the phone or Skype, either before or after the event. For picture book critiques, 1,000 words maximum please (can include illustrations or not).

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email:, and he 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 Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Seattle 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 Chuck Sambuchino via email: He 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 SWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Seattle 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 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop.

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