Schedule: 2019 Workshop (April 27, 2019)


8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location. Check in and get comfortable.

There will be 3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day. Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. The Paths of Publishing (Regent Room), taught by Gordon Warnock. Literary agents are only part of the picture. Take a tour across the different landscapes of publishing, and see where you best fit. Do you need an agent, or are you better off without one? Which publishing path(s) should you pursue?

2. Crafting the Middle Grade/Young Adult Page Turner (Ambassador Room), taught by Amanda Hosch. In this session, the presenter will discuss how to write compelling openings, fast-paced middles, and unforgettable endings that will keep your readers turning the pages. She’ll also highlight the differences between MG and YA, common pitfalls when writing for children, and give practical tips for revision.

2. From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Any Kind of Fiction (Diplomat Room), taught by Laurel Symonds. Detailed world-building is essential to strong fiction—but it’s not just for fantasy and sci fi! Learn the key points to creating believable worlds and how the world influences plot and character.

BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. The Art of the Query Letter (Regent Room), taught by Adria Goetz. Writing a great query letter is an art and a science, and this workshop examines the core elements every strong query letter has, and how to add that extra pizzazz that will capture the attention of an agent or editor. Real examples from the instructor’s inbox, both good and bad, will be shared, as well as a specific formula workshop attendees can plug their information into in order to generate a great query letter.

2. Build a Better Platform in 12 Months (Ambassador Room), taught by Jason Brick. By now, most writers know the importance of building a platform to help their careers and market their work, but most writers don’t even know how to start. In this talk, career freelancer Jason Brick will walk writers through a 12-month plan to develop a fan base, achieve name recognition, and set up a mailing list for their supporters.

3. How to Write Romance for Today’s Readers (& Publishers) (Diplomat Room), taught by Sabrina York. The romance genre has greatly evolved since its start and is ever-changing. Authors in this genre have learned how to appeal to savvy readers while delivering a modern take on relationships. For that very reason, it remains one of the highest grossing literary genres, earning upwards of $1B on an annual basis. This workshop offers an introduction to romance, will explore the evolution of the genre (including love-making positivity), the ins-and-outs of the industry today, and how to be carve a career in a wildly competitive marketplace.

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes. There are lots of options, including onsite restaurants, and nearby places to eat.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (Regent Room), with participating literary agents and editors. 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. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2. The Nonfiction Book Proposal (Diplomat Room), taught by Lori A. May. This session focuses on effective strategies for writing a nonfiction book proposal on any subject. Topics include industry standards, building your expertise, and how to prepare a winning proposal that demonstrates your understanding of the marketplace.

3. The ABCs of Picture Book Writing (Ambassador Room), taught by Clelia Gore. Get an inside view from a literary agent of the best way to kickstart your picture book career. Writers will learn what the modern picture book market looks like, how to make writing decisions with that market in mind, and how to avoid common first-timer mistakes. Insight will be provided on the process of taking a book from manuscript to publication and provide tips on how to find a literary agent.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Tips on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Ambassador Room), taught by Jason Hough. Science fiction and fantasy novels need a setting, and your setting needs to live and breathe and feel real. How do we do that? Published speculative fiction author Jason Hough will walk you through his advice on crafting a SFF novel that gets agents and editors and readers excited.

2. Improve Your Writing: The Basics of Self-Editing and Revision (Regent Room), taught by Kimiko Nakamura. Writing your manuscript’s first draft is a huge step, but only a primary one. Now it’s time to look at your creation and slowly make it amazing through overhauls, self-editing, and revision. Remember that good writing is rewriting. In this class, you’ll learn to identify your writing’s flaws (and fix them) — such as tense and POV issues, when to cut and shorten your length, and what makes some writing crackle.

3. Nine Habits of Profitable Writing (Diplomat Room), taught by Jason Brick. This general speech will quickly lay out advice on how to make money through writing. Learn how to expand your horizons, make money online, how to use fiction writing skill to generate profitable nonfiction, stay motivated, and much more.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Crafting Your Book-Length Memoir (Diplomat Room), taught by Lori A. May. Whether you have had an extraordinary experience, an event that shaped your life, or perhaps you just want to share your take on things, you’re thinking about getting your life story published. Memoir is an exciting genre, yet it differs from biography. Learn how to shape your true-life stories as we discuss the literary elements of writing memoir for publication.

2. Pacing in Thrillers: Keeping the Pages Turning (Ambassador Room), taught by Boyd Morrison. For a thriller novel, it’s all about the pacing, so that readers keep turning the pages long past their bedtimes. But a fast pace doesn’t necessarily mean constant action; a great roller coaster ride is as much about the suspenseful build-up of tension as it is about the thrills. Boyd Morrison, a #1 NY Times bestselling author whose adventure novels have been featured on the Indie Next list and have earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and RT Book Reviews, will explore how to balance a breakneck storytelling speed with the character conflict and setting details that make a compelling novel.

3. From Slush to Self — Understand Best Submission Practices (Regent Room), taught by Rachel Letofsky. This workshop is a practical seminar for best submission practices, including a concrete outline for a query letter, and some step-by-step insight into a literary agents’ process during the course of taking a book from their submission pile to publication. Q&A welcomed throughout, and, time permitting, Rachel will do a live critique of your sample query letter for the bold and brave in the audience. (Sample query letters to be chosen at random from those submitted at the beginning of the session. Please bring a one-page query letter to this session if you’re interested in submitting for that portion.)


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