After successful 2016, 2017, and 2018 events in Philadelphia, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Philadelphia Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Philadelphia, PA on November 23, 2019.
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 2019 Philadelphia Writing Workshop!
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square. 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 Abby Saul (The Lark Group)
- literary agent Ronald Gerber (Lowenstein Associates)
- literary agent Jessica Errera (Jane Rotrosen Agency)
- literary agent Susan Velazquez (JABberwocky Literary)
- literary agent Jade Wong-Baxter (Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents)
- literary agent Marie Lamba (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
- literary agent Tia Mele (Talcott Notch Literary)
- literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
- literary agent Stephanie Kehr (C.Y.L.E. Literary Elite)
- literary agent Kelly Peterson (Rees Literary)
- literary agent Caitlin McDonald (Donald Maass Literary)
- literary agent Cari Lamba (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
- literary agent John Willig (Literary Services, Inc.)
- literary agent Michelle Lazurek (Wordwise Media Services)
- and possibly 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 Kerrie Flanagan of Writing Day Workshops, with administrative assistance from regional PA writing groups.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, November 23, 2019, at the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square, 1800 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (215)561-7500.
THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (NOV. 23, 2019):
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. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2018 (Wyeth C). This workshop is quick and easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing.
2. Create New Worlds: A Guide to Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (Wyeth A). Let this session help you understand worldbuilding, the differences between sci-fi and fantasy, the tropes of both genres, when you should follow the rules, when you should break the rules, and more.
3. Revise Your Novel: Self-Editing Tips and Tricks (Wyeth B). Author and literary agent Marie Lamba will break down the revision process, revealing how you can systematically self-edit your manuscript.
1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros (Wyeth A). This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice.
2. How to Write A Successful Query Letter (Wyeth C). You’ll be guided through tips and tricks for creating your best query, then given time to create/edit your own and even share with a beta reader or two.
3. The Secrets to Crafting an Unforgettable Mystery (Wyeth B). In this session, learn how to create a compelling sleuth and a worthy villain; construct a plot rich in twists, red herrings, and misdirection; ring the story to a satisfying conclusion; sharpen characters and optimize pace during revision; and seek publication through both traditional and indie paths.
(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 (Wyeth C). 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. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Wyeth B). This session is completely devoted to nonfiction book proposals.
3. Writing for the Little Ones: How to Craft an Amazing Picture Book For Kids (Wyeth A). 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. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Wyeth C). Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know. Learn in this session.
2. Developing Compelling Characters (Wyeth A). Learn what the most interesting characters have in common across all genres, as well as practical strategies to take your characters from paper dolls to fully-fledged people.
3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Wyeth B). Writing for children isn’t all that different from writing for adults.
(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. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book (Wyeth C). After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know. Learn in this session.
2. Yesteryear This Year — The Art of Writing Great Historical Fiction (Wyeth A). Transporting your reader back in time, whether that’s centuries, decades, or just a few years, presents unique storytelling challenges. In this class, you’ll learn how to ensure that whatever era you’re writing in, your characters, settings, and dialogue will authentically reflect it, and that your readers will be fully immersed in your story.
3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Wyeth B). This session will address 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 bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.
Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.
PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:
Eric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Eric 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.
Ronald Gerber is a literary agent and manages foreign rights, permissions, and contracts at Lowenstein Associates. Ronald is actively building his list in the following fiction and nonfiction genres: thriller, mystery, detective, short stories, historical fiction, memoir/biography, romance, middle grade, grounded sci-fi, narrative nonfiction, literary fiction, and historical nonfiction. Learn more about Ronald here.
Jessica Errera is a literary agent with Jane Rotrosen Agency. She is looking for: commercial women’s fiction with a fresh and fun hook, all genres of YA (especially diverse stories), contemporary romance, mysteries and suspense, the occasional historical fiction, and anything that might be read in a day on the beach. Learn more about Jessica here.
Susan Velazquez is a literary agent with JABberwocky Literary Agency. “I am primarily interested in literary/upmarket fiction, historical fiction, and women’s fiction, especially family sagas. In science fiction and fantasy, I’m looking for stories that reflect or challenge how our society functions today. In young adult, I am open to all genres but am particular towards stories that are centered on the bittersweet pains of growing up. In nonfiction, I am only interested in narrative nonfiction that examines history, technology, or pop culture. Above all, I’m looking for strong emotional arcs and characters who feel as real as possible.” Learn more about Susan here.
Jade Wong-Baxter is a literary agent with Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents. Jade got her start in publishing at Writers House, W. W. Norton, and Folio Literary Management. A graduate of Vassar College, she joined MMQ in 2017. She’s looking for literary fiction, upmarket/mainstream fiction, and narrative nonfiction, with an emphasis on narratives by and about people of color, as well as the perspectives of marginalized identities. Learn more about Jade here.
Marie Lamba is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. Fiction interests: “I’m currently seeking middle grade and young adult fiction, especially with diverse points of view, or a STEM tie-in. I also want general adult fiction and women’s fiction. I’d love to find an original women’s novel that would inspire the next smart and funny chick flick. I also represent a select number of established illustrators and picture book authors. I’d love a fresh non-gory ghost story for any age. I’m fascinated with hidden treasures, artifacts and with discovering ancient civilizations right beneath our feet. I’m a huge fan of folklore and fairy tales, and, while I wouldn’t want a retelling, I always enjoy those elements woven into a story in a unique way.” Nonfiction interests: “I represent nonfiction for children and for adults. For children’s, I’m open to most non-fiction subjects, especially ones that fit into my interests (see above). In the adult realm, I want memoirs with strong voices and unique, inspiring stories (especially foodie memoirs, or ones with a celebrity or pop culture connection). In nonfiction, I’m seeking narrative nonfiction, pop culture, history (little known or unique view of well-known), science and technology for the rest of us, art, biography (especially unknown/little known sides of well-known people), parenting, cooking and food, health and wellness, lifestyle, advice and relationships, and personal finance.” Learn more about Marie here.
Tia Mele is a literary agent with Talcott Notch Literary. She is seeking: middle grade and young adult projects in any genre. “I’m especially interested in dark middle grade and contemporary YA. Please send me your LGBT+ stories, as well as stories featuring visible and invisible illnesses, especially relating to mental health. I like everything from deep, terrifying thrillers to sweet, heartwarming romances. Sports plots are always interesting to me, especially if they involve baseball or softball. Dogs are a huge part of my life, so I’m all for dog-related stories as well!” Tia is also seeking limited adult projects in women’s fiction and romance. In nonfiction, she is looking for anything sports related, especially baseball, football, or basketball. “I’m also open to cookbooks from chefs who have a following from a blog or channel.” Learn more about Tia here.
With over 10 years of publishing experience, literary agent Abby Saul of The Lark Group is an editorial expert with a passion for fantastic reads. She is seeking: great and engrossing adult commercial and literary fiction. This includes general fiction, mystery, suspense/thriller, literary fiction, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. Learn more about Abby here.
Stephanie Kehr is a jr. agent and for C.Y.L.E. Literary. She’s seeking young adult, middle grade, historical, children’s picture books, chapter books, romance, science fiction novels, fantasy novels, inspirational, and authors with strong platform, unique ideas, and diverse characters. In nonfiction, she’s interested in self-help, devotionals, leadership, biographies, and religious genres. Learn more about Stephanie here.
Kelly Peterson is a literary agent with Rees Literary Agency. Kelly seeks manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies. Learn more about Kelly here.
John Willig is a literary agent and founder of Literary Services, Inc. John is very interested in prescriptive nonfiction in many categories. However, his bar for platform for selling prescriptive books is high, so please keep that in mind if you want to pitch him. Separately, he’s very interested in a broad range of narrative nonfiction categories in history and current events, science and psychology, true crime, politics and sports “shining a light” on untold stories or fresh, counter-intuitive, and well-researched approaches to contemporary topics. He seeks great stories on narrative nonfiction with potential for film/documentary. His fiction interests are very small and slim. The only fiction he seeks is historical thrillers and historical literary fiction. Please do not pitch him anything contemporary. Learn more about John here.
Caitlin McDonald is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency. She is looking for: all types of science fiction and fantasy for adult, young adult, and middle grade, especially secondary world fantasy and alternate history; genre-bending or cross-genre fiction, and stories that examine tropes from a new angle; diversity of all kinds, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and worldbuilding. She does not want to see women’s fiction, crime fiction, Christian fiction, picture books, or young reader chapter books. Learn more about Caitlin here.
Cari Lamba is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. For children’s books and novels: “I’m interested in middle grade fiction with wacky plots (Roald Dahl is a favorite of mine) and characters that drive the story. I would also like contemporary stories that are both humorous and heartfelt. While I am not interested in stories with high fantasy, I would welcome elements of the fantastic and otherworldly. I want novels that will resonate with children without being didactic. Both fiction and nonfiction picture books are welcome. I’m looking for unique ideas with fun and quirky elements as well as sweet, endearing picture books. In nonfiction I’m especially looking for strong female role-models.” Concerning adult novels, “I’m looking for commercial fiction with original plots and clever characters. While I’m not interested in romance novels, elements of romance are welcome. I also have particular interest in mystery/detective fiction, and novels with culinary ties. I’m NOT interested in science fiction, horror, high fantasy, Christian fiction, political novels, or books with extremely violent elements.” Learn more about Cari here.
More 2019 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 2019 PWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of late 2018, 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.)
“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the 2017 Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary
“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the 2017 Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary
“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the 2018 Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary
“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary
“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the 2016 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 workshop’s former instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Philadelphia 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. Options:
- Young adult and middle grade: Faculty member L.E. DeLano, a published kidlit 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 her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- Mystery, thriller, crime, suspense, cozy mystery, and short fiction in these categories: Faculty member Wendy Tyson, a published mystery 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 her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- More options forthcoming
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@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 Kerrie plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Philadelphia workshop specifically.
Because of limited space at the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square, 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 Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@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 PWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Philadelphia 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.)