The 2016 Philadelphia Writing Workshop: April 9, 2016

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.17.43 PMThe staff behind the organization and instruction of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop are excited to announce The Philadelphia Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference in Philadelphia on April 9, 2016.

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 (100 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2016 Philadelphia Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, in downtown Philadelphia. 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 faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Elise Erickson (Harold Ober Associates)
  • literary agent Caitlin McDonald (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Julie Stevenson (Waxman Leavell)
  • literary agent Kurestin Armada (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Peterson (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Allison Cohen (Gersh Agency)
  • literary agent John Willig (Literary Services)
  • literary agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin (Trident Media Group)
  • literary agent Maria Lamba (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Mackenzie Brady (New Leaf Literary)
  • literary agent Adriana Dominguez (Full Circle Literary)
  • literary agent Jordy Albert (Booker Albert Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey.

THIS YEAR’S PRESENTER/INSTRUCTOR

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 1.09.19 PMChuck Sambuchino (chucksambuchino.com, @chucksambuchino) of Writer’s Digest Books is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His authored books include Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript; Create Your Writer Platform, which was praised by Forbes.com; and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, which was optioned for film by Sony. He oversees one of the biggest blogs in publishing (the Guide to Literary Agents Blog) as well as one of the biggest Twitter accounts in publishing (@WritersDigest). He is a freelance editor who has seen dozens of his clients get agents and/or book deals, and he has presented at 120 writing conferences and events over the past ten years.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 9, 2016 — Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia, 220 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, (215) 735-6000.

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WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (APRIL 9, 2016)

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

9:30 – 10:30: “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 downsides, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist.

10:30 – 11:45: “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Queries & Pitching.” This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

11:45 – 1:15: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance. A map of places to eat will be passed out prior to the event.

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 10.30.04 PM1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest.” 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.)

2:30 – 3:45: “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Author Platform & Social Media Explained.” A writer’s platform is as important as ever now. Visibility and ability to self-market are mandatory these days for writers of nonfiction and self-published works. Furthermore, fiction writers want a platform to sell more books, meet readers, and increase their value. This speech teaches writers the basics of what a platform is and why it is necessary. Then we delve into the building blocks of what can constitute a platform, from media appearances and speaking engagements to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more.

3:45 – 5:00: “How to Get Published: 10 Professional Writing Practices That You Need to Know NOW to Find Success as a Writer.” This final speech is a general presentation examining good writing practices that all editors appreciate—whether writing for books, magazines, newspapers or online. It discusses how to not put all your eggs in one writing basket, how to steal ideas from yourself to generate more stories and books, how to avoid the two most common reasons agents reject you, and much more.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AN AGENT!

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.48.19 PM.pngElise Erickson is a junior agent with Harold Ober Associates, Inc. She is seeking: Romance (all subgenres), women’s fiction, paranormal, mystery including clever cozy mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial literary fiction, and some YA. She is particularly drawn to stories that contain a strong sense of place, and female protagonists with unique, compelling voices. Learn more about Elise here.

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Caitlin McDonald [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] 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, She loves genre-bending or cross-genre fiction, and stories that examine tropes from a new angle. She seeks diversity of all kinds, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and worldbuilding. Learn more about Caitlin here.

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Julie Stevenson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Waxman Leavell Literary. While she represents different categories in fiction, Julie’s call-out right now is for the following: upmarket fiction (mainstream and book club novels), literary fiction, adult thriller/suspense, memoir, young adult novels, and middle grade novels. Learn more about Julie Stephenson here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.58.43 AMKelly Peterson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She will be taking pitches on behalf of herself and Corvisiero Literary as a whole. She personally seeks: middle grade, young adult (many subgenres), stories with strong female protagonists, new adult fiction, romance and fantasy. Kelly can also take pitches on behalf of Corvisiero Literary co-agents for the adult fiction genres of science fiction, horror, thriller, mystery, crime, paranormal, action/adventure, and women’s fiction. Learn more about Kelly here.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.13.15 PMJessica Sinsheimer [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. She is seeking: picture books, YA, upmarket genre fiction (especially women’s/romance/erotica, thrillers, mysteries) and—on the nonfiction side—psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century. She especially likes highbrow sentences with lowbrow content, smart/nerdy protagonists, vivid descriptions of food, picture books with non-human characters, and justified acts of bravery. Learn more about Jessica here.

ArmadaKurestin Armada [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with P.S. Literary and is actively building her list. Her fiction areas of interest include upmarket and commercial fiction, magic realism, science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, historical fiction, LGBTQ (any genre), select young adult and middle grade, graphic novels, mystery (including mystery with elements of science fiction & fantasy), romance. She can also take picture book pitches on behalf of her kidlit co-agents. Kurestin’s nonfiction areas of interest: design, cooking, pop psychology, humor, photography, and pop science. Learn more about Kurestin here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.18.06 PM.pngAllison Cohen [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with The Gersh Agency. She represents mystery, crime, thriller, literary fiction, mainstream / commercial fiction, and women’s fiction. She also seeks nonfiction in the areas of pop culture, humor, narrative, and some memoir. She is   always on the lookout for new talent. Learn more about Allison here. She also seeks all children’s books: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Allison here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.53.30 AMJohn Willig [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Literary Services, Inc. John is primarily interested in: narrative nonfiction that shines a light on new topics, events or perspectives and research-based prescriptive nonfiction. Categories of interest include: science, psychology, history, politics, current events, business, travel, food/cooking, crafts, lifestyle/personal growth (please no memoirs), and reference. John’s also interested in historical fiction — crime/mystery and literary. Learn more about John here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 1.08.32 PMAlyssa Eisner Henkin [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Trident Media Group. She represents the whole spectrum of picture books. On the middle grade fiction front, mysteries and high-concepts may lure, but it’s the authenticity of the setting, be it golden plains of yesteryear or lunchroom etiquette circa now, that seals the deal. A nonfiction series for k-5 that makes facts fun would satisfy Alyssa’s lifelong yen for trivia and history. Picture books that feel unfamiliar yet obvious are always worth fighting for. And she enjoys page-turning YA contemporary especially when it’s not centered around first love. Learn more about Alyssa here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.08.10 PMMarie Lamba [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. She is seeking young adult and middle grade fiction, along with general and women’s fiction and some memoir. She also represents a select number of established illustrators and picture book authors. Overall, books that are original, moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome. She is not interested in genre science fiction or high fantasy (though she is open to paranormal elements and enjoys some speculative elements, especially in middle grade fiction), category romance (though romantic elements are welcomed), nonfiction, or books that feature graphic violence. Learn more about Marie here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.51.14 PMMackenzie Brady [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with New Leaf Literary and Media.On the fiction side, Mackenzie represents select upmarket commercial/literary adult and YA projects. Her favorite novels range from philosophical and charming to downright dark and gritty. She also represents illustrators with or without book projects of their own. Her taste in nonfiction (all ages) includes memoirs, lost histories, epic sports narratives, and gift/lifestyle books. She is particularly interested in projects with a strong narrative and a female bend. Learn more about Mackenzie here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 2.05.41 PMAdriana Dominguez [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Full Circle Literary. She is seeking children’s picture books, middle grade novels, and literary young adult novels. On the adult side, she is looking for literary and women’s works of fiction that feature characters with unique voices telling unforgettable stories. In the area of nonfiction, she seeks pop culture, and how-to titles geared toward women of all ages, written by authors with rock-solid platforms. Adriana has a long trajectory of publishing underrepresented authors and illustrators, and welcomes submissions that offer diverse points of view. Learn more about Adriana here.

Screen shot 2014-12-17 at 10.30.48 PMJordy Albert is one of the co-founding literary agents of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. Jordy is looking for romance (contemporary, new adult, erotica, or historical–soft spot for Regency), young adult fiction (open to pretty much any genre; however, she’s looking especially for a very strong romantic element), and middle grade (action/adventure, contemporary). Learn more about Jordy here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.53.51 PMEric Smith [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. He 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.

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.)

PRICING

$129 — final registration pricing. This is the complete base price for registration to the 2016 PWW and access to all workshops, all day.

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 PM“I 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

Add $59 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Chuck Sambuchino. (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?

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 Philadelphia workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue of Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel Philadelphia downtown, the workshop can only allow 100 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 PWW 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 Philadelphia 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 are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your letter.)

 

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Thank you for your interest in the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.

 

 

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Caitlin McDonald of Donald Maass Literary

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 9.58.57 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] 

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

Caitlin joined DMLA in 2015, and was previously at Sterling Lord Literistic. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres, as well as contemporary fiction about geeky characters. She also handles a small amount of nonfiction in geeky areas, with a focus on feminist theory/women’s issues and pop culture. Caitlin grew up overseas and has a BA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

She does not want to see women’s fiction, crime fiction, Christian fiction, picture books, or young reader chapter books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julie Stevenson of Waxman Leavell Literary

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 11.53.35 AM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Waxman Leavell Literary.

She is seeking: While she represents different categories, Julie’s call-out right now is for the following:

  • upmarket fiction
  • literary fiction
  • adult thriller/suspense
  • memoir
  • young adult
  • middle grade

“I am especially drawn to literary fiction with unforgettable characters and a strong sense of narrative tension. I look for novels that explore  the depths of human experience and surprise readers with original storytelling. I also love sharply written atmospheric thrillers and suspense-driven work. I want to be caught in the story’s spell from page one.

“As an agent, I enjoy being on the writer’s side every step of the way—from providing feedback on early drafts, to matching the work with the right editor, to acting as a guide through the complicated and changing world of publishing. The writing life can be a solitary experience, and I love being the writer’s connection to a wide world of readers. I enjoy thinking about fiction in terms of craft. You’ll find well-worn copies of books by Anne Lamott and Charles Baxter on my bookshelf.

“I hold a B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Before joining Waxman Leavell, I worked at Sobel Weber Associates and in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly.”

Find Julie on Twitter. She is no longer taking pitches for picture books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Peterson of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.58.43 AM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Kelly Peterson is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She will be taking pitches on behalf of herself and Corvisiero Literary as a whole.

Kelly has spent her whole life with a book in her hands. Whether it’s from reading, writing, or day dreaming, her mind has always been up in the clouds wishing her fantasy stories would come true. A graduate of West Chester University, she earned her B.S.Ed. in English. When not working one of her three jobs and being a nerd, Kelly can be found dancing, riding horses, perfecting her yoga technique, blogging, and writing.

She personally seeks:

  • middle grade (fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi)
  • young adult — fantasy and all its subgenres, steampunk, sci-fi, paranormal, historical (19th century and earlier with strong heroines), dystopian (hold the cyborgs, the scorch, and diseases, please), sword and sorcery, a very selective few for Contemporary Romance, and any combination of the above with strong, female main characters.
  • new adult — fantasy, paranormal, romance (Cowboys, anyone? Sexy and somewhat geeky entrepreneur? Celebrity? Yes?), historical romance, or any combination of the above.
  • Adult fiction in the genres of fantasy and romance.

Kelly can also take pitches on behalf of Corvisiero Literary co-agents for:

  • adult science fiction
  • adult horror
  • adult thriller / mystery / crime / suspense
  • adult adventure / action
  • adult paranormal
  • women’s fiction

With books, there’s just something about strong female main characters holding their own against the world, in an environment that Kelly could never, in her wildest dreams, find herself living within. It tears at her heart and pulls at her soul, especially when the main character finds that she never needed another to complete her in the first place.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Allison Cohen of The Gersh Agency

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.18.06 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Allison Cohen is a literary agent with The Gersh Agency.

She represents: mystery, crime, thriller, literary fiction, mainstream / commercial fiction, and women’s fiction. She also seeks nonfiction in the areas of pop culture, humor, narrative, and some memoir. She is   always on the lookout for new talent. Learn more about Allison here. She also seeks all children’s books: picture books, middle grade, and young adult.

Allison got her start in publishing at Random House before moving over to the agency side of the business.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary

Sinsheimer_Green[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Jessica Sinsheimer is a literary agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency.

She’s known for #MSWL, ManuscriptWistList.com, #PubTalkTV — and for drinking far too much tea.

Always on the lookout for new writers, she is seeking: picture books, YA, upmarket genre fiction (especially women’s/romance/erotica, thrillers, mysteries) and—on the nonfiction
side—psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century. She especially likes highbrow sentences with lowbrow content, smart/nerdy protagonists, vivid descriptions of food, picture books with non-human characters, and justified acts of bravery.

You can follow her on Twitter at @JSinsheim.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Elise Erickson of Harold Ober Associates

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.48.19 PM.pngElise Erickson is a junior agent with Harold Ober Associates, Inc.

She is seeking: Romance (all subgenres), women’s fiction, paranormal, mystery including clever cozy mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial literary fiction, and some YA. She is particularly drawn to stories that contain a strong sense of place, and female protagonists with unique, compelling voices.

Elise graduated from St. Olaf College and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute in 2014, and spent several months interning at Penguin’s New American Library imprint, Folio Literary Management, and Susanna Lea Associates before taking on her current position at Harold Ober Associates. She grew up in both Florida and Minnesota, but is quickly learning to love city life in NYC. Elise is passionate about the role and responsibility of the literary agent, especially being an advocate for authors. In addition to working with books, she currently assists in selling Harold Ober’s TV, film, and subsidiary rights, and is actively building a client list of her own.

Not Looking For: Poetry, Screenplays, Picture Books, Horror, Self-help.