The 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop: May 6-7, 2022

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 events in Philadelphia, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on May 6-7, 2022. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of two days, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited online “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 2022 online Philadelphia Writing Workshop! Registration is now open!

ONLINE: The 2022 PWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on May 6-7, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day online “How to Get Published” writing workshop on May 6-7, 2022. In other words, it’s two days 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. And even though this is the “Philadelphia” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually. Our WDW writers conferences have helped dozens of writers find literary agent representation — see our growing list of success stories here.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online 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 2022 PWW agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Eloy Bleifuss (Janklow & Nesbit)
  • literary agent Zoe Bodzas (McIntosh & Otis)
  • literary agent Jessica Kasmer-Jacobs (The Deborah Harris Agency)
  • literary agent Julie Stevenson (Massie & McQuilkin)
  • literary agent Allison Hellegers (Stimola Literary Studio)
  • literary agent Kayla Cichello (Upstart Crow Literary)
  • literary agent Charlotte Wenger (Prospect Agency)
  • literary agent Michael Carr (Veritas Literary)
  • literary agent Emily Williamson (Williamson Literary)
  • literary agent Michelle Grajkowski (Three Seas Literary)
  • literary assistant Rae Loverde (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • literary agent Shauna Turnmire (Arthouse Literary)
  • literary agent Ben Miller Callihan (Handspun Literary)
  • literary agent Lesley Sabga (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Tori Sharp (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Sera Rivers (Martin Literary Management)
  • literary agent Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Associates)
  • literary agent Leah Pierre (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Gordon Warnock (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Paul Levine (Paul Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Hannah VanVels (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Latoya Smith (Arthouse Literary)
  • literary agent Kortney Price (Raven Quill Literary)
  • literary agent Leonicka Valcius (Transatlantic Literary)
  • literary agent Jared Johnson (Olswanger Literary)
  • literary agent Saint Gibson (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberley Cameron & Associates)
  • literary agent Amaryah Orenstein (Go Literary)
  • literary agent Rebecca Eskildsen (Writers House)
  • literary agent Dani Segelbaum (Carol Mann Agency)
  • literary agent Denise Barone (Barone Literary)
  • and likely 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 coordinators Chuck Sambuchino and Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: The 2022 PWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on May 6-7, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MAY 6-7, 2022):

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.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2022

9:30 – 10:30: Writing a NY Times Bestselling Novel. This session covers a list of things to do (like establish mood and create conflict) and things to avoid (like weasel words and purple prose) on your journey to becoming a bestselling author.


10:45 – 11:45: 20 Quick Tips on Getting a Literary Agent. This workshop is chock full of helpful advice and tips on finding literary agent representation for your work — such as how to ID the best agents for you, where to find good agents online, query letter mistakes, and much more.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books.

2:45 – 3:45: 2:45 – 3:45: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing. In this introductory workshop, a literary agent instructor breaks down the basics of self-publishing, traditional publishing, and how writers can navigate each to maximize their opportunities for success.

4:00 – 5:00: Improve Your Fiction — How to Master Self-Editing and Revision. This workshop will cover more than 50 points for consideration before submitting to an agent, editor, or indie publisher — such as how to sharpen dialogue and prose, improving characterization, complicating plot, and much more.

* * * * *

SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2022

9:30 – 10:30: Seeking Representation: Next Level Querying. In this workshop, you will learn how to make your query letter stand out from the rest, answering the question industry professionals ask with each submission they receive: Why THIS book?! This workshop will also cover the essential components of a successful query letter and accompanying materials.

10:45 – 11:45: Kinetic Dialogue: Creating Unforgettable Character Voice.  This class will explore the art of creating profound and dynamic character voices that deepen the reader’s experience and compliment the tone of your story.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, 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.

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from PWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Insider Secrets From an Agent Assistant. In this special class, a former assistant at multiple top agencies pulls back the curtain on the invisible labor that keeps the industry running, and what writers can do to win the favor of publishing’s most important hidden gatekeepers.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

(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.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

————-

PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Zoe Bodzas [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with McIntosh & Otis, Inc. For fiction, interested in dark comedy, dry humor, coming of age, campy/pulpy sensibility, strong and uncommon settings, dysfunctional family sagas, offbeat coming-of-age, graphic novels, friend groups, ghosts, outcasts and underdogs, books that feel like new Netflix romcoms, stories with unconventional structures/forms, #OwnVoices projects. For nonfiction, interested in the internet, gender, travel, design, forgotten histories, subcultures, mental health, pop culture, climate, family. In general, looking to champion books that bend the rules, raise voices that are often overlooked, and offer readers something unusually funny, beautiful, or surreal. Learn more about Zoe here.

Lesley Sabga is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. She is seeking: Lesley loves intricate and vivid world-building and character-driven plots. She is acquiring young adult and adult fiction. She is always down to read dark and twisty suspense or thriller featuring strong, female protagonists. She also loves curling up with a good cozy mystery. For non-fiction, Lesley would love to see more self-help, lifestyle, true crime, and pop culture submissions in her inbox. Always open to diversity, Lesley is actively looking for marginalized authors to bring into the literary world. Learn more about Lesley here.

Eloy Bleifuss is a literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit. Eloy is drawn to genre-blurring novels that balance character and voice with tension and plot. He enjoys stories of regular people navigating relationships and work (Bryan Washington, Deesha Philyaw, Torrey Peters, Lauren Oyler, Andrew Martin) and character-driven speculative fiction (Jeff VanderMeer, Rivers Solomon, Stephen Graham Jones, Seth Dickinson, Yoon Ha Lee). He likes writing that is dark, uncanny, funny, and queer. When it comes to nonfiction, Eloy is interested in a broad range of categories from omnivorous cultural criticism and forgotten histories to big ideas books and relatable self-help. Learn more about Eloy here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent and the founder of Savvy Literary. At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish. Fiction areas of interest: adventure, chick lit, fantasy, historical, humor, multicultural, mystery, paranormal, romance, young adult, and middle grade. Nonfiction areas of interest: advice/relationships, biography, cooking, diet, health, history/politics/current affairs, how-to, humor, lifestyle, memoir, parenting, religion/spirituality and true crime. Learn more about Leticia here.

Leah Pierre [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. In young adult as well as adult fiction, she is seeking some fantasy, romantic meet-cute stories, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries, psychological thrillers, fairy tale retellings, espionage/heist, historical fiction and fantasy, social justice inspired stories, romance (ideally interracial or at least something out of the ordinary). In new adult fiction, she seeks romance (again, interracial or at least something out of the ordinary), coming of age, F/F friendship, and books about the college experience as well as the post-college experience. Learn more about Leah here.

Allison Hellegers is a literary agent and rights director at Stimola Literary Studio. As both Foreign Rights Director and Literary Agent, Allison’s tastes lean towards books that have emotional hooks mixed with strong plot, film/TV and/or translation appeal, and take the reader on a journey. “Please send me your middle-grade and young adult submissions: I’m looking for strong, real voices (#ownvoices a plus, especially LGBTQ+ and BIPOC), diverse stories, gut-wrenching romance and impossible love triangles, coming-of-age family dynamics/drama, charming magical realism, quirky humor, survival stories, 80s/90s nostalgia, and books that have a profound new angle and emotionally resonate. Above all, it should say something new, uniquely. Please do NOT send picture book texts, but I would look at an author-illustrator submission with an already existing dummy. For adult fiction and nonfiction, I’m drawn to powerful and engaging stories told from the voices that we don’t often hear. I love psychological drama, gripping family dysfunction and stories that go in unexpected directions.” Learn more about Allison here.

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and the founder of Williamson Literary. In adult fiction she is looking for lyrical prose, stories with unique settings, adventure, international, fantasy/sci-fi or science inspired, magical realism. For children’s, she seeks stories that talk up to kids, that inspire and build confidence with cleverness and humor. Prefers middle grade over YA; no picture books. Nonfiction interests: history, sports, science, environmental, narrative, and a solid author platform. Currently looking for science or adventure/travel narratives in the vein of books such as Shadow of the Silk Road or The Sports Gene. Learn more about Emily here.

Sera Rivers is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management. Sera is currently accepting queries for middle grade and young adult fiction and graphic novels, as well as the occasional picture book. Specifically, among other things, Sera likes: #ownvoices, YA that is fast-paced, compelling, and mind-bending stories with unreliable narrators. In middle grade, Sera is seeking voice-driven contemporary stories that tackle tough topics (such as From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks; Melissa’s Story by Alex Gino). Sera would love to represent more graphic stories in all genres of the children’s market. Sera is only looking for picture books that tackle tough topics. Learn more about Sera here.

Michael Carr is a literary agent with Veritas Literary. ​With a strong background in editing and writing, Michael enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. He is fluent in Spanish and speaks conversational French. Before joining Veritas, Michael had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont. He is seeking: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Nonfiction of all stripes. Learn more about Michael here.

Latoya C. Smith is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary. In fiction, she seeks high-concept women’s fiction; high-concept mystery, thriller and horror, romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, cowboys, historical, LGBTQ, paranormal, sweet), comedy / romantic comedy, and young adult (no SF/F). In nonfiction, she is strictly seeking platform and market-based books in the areas of memoir, how to, advice, relationships, health, wellness, politics, current events, history, sports, pop culture, and business. Learn more about Latoya here.

Ben Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019. He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and is now actively building his client list. His interests include humor, young adult and middle grade novels, speculative fiction (especially decolonial science fiction and fantasy), mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related. Learn more about Ben here.

Jared Johnson is a literary agent with Olswanger Literary. “I am interested in science fiction, fantasy (high, historical, or contemporary), magical realism and speculative fiction, mystery, and thriller. I’m also hoping to add some thought-provoking upmarket horror to my list. In nonfiction, I am looking for narrative-driven books, and I am drawn to accessible scholarship that engages with current social issues. In particular, I am interested in works that challenge long-held cultural narratives. With both, I am actively searching for writers who identify as being from marginalized communities. Learn more about Jared here.

Jessica Kasmer-Jacobs is a literary agent with The Deborah Harris Agency. Jessica recieved her BA in English Literature from New York University and her MPhil in Irish Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Before moving to Israel, she was an editor at the Wall Street Journal Book Review. She has previously worked at the Joy Harris Literary Agency in New York, The Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin, and Blue Man Group in Boston. Jessica is interested in literary fiction, serious nonfiction memoir, historical fiction and picture books. Learn more about Jessica here.

Shauna Turnmire is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary. As an associate agent at ArtHouse, Shauna is often drawn to stories that are a little strange, and especially ones that use speculative or fantastic elements in beautiful, original ways. Across the board, she’s looking for an inclusive cast of characters, across gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and mental health spectrums. Pitch her: contemporary romance, upmarket fiction, YA fantasy, new adult fantasy, thriller & speculative fiction. Shauna is mostly looking for YA and new adult fantasy with major character development. Shauna is also intrigued by historical fiction, preferably centered around the Holocaust and the French Revolution. She would love to see anything centered around Irish or Celtic history and lore/mythology. Learn more about Shauna here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency. At the 2022 online PWW event, she will be acting as a literary scout — taking pitches at the workshop on behalf of her co-agents. Her co-agent Kiana Nguyen is seeking the following: contemporary romances like Alisha Rai and Alyssa Cole, adult sci-fi that feels like “Black Mirror,” and psychological thrillers. In YA, she’s looking for thrillers and contemporary that’s queer, POC, or features a mystery. Her co-agent Caitlin McDonald is seeking the following: all science fiction & fantasy fiction for adult, YA, and MG, 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. Learn more about Rae here.

Gordon Warnock is a literary agent founding partner at Fuse Literary. In nonfiction, he seeks platform-heavy authors in the categories of memoir (Adult, NA, YA, Graphic), cookbooks/Food Narrative/Food Studies,  Illustrated/Art/Photography (especially graphic nonfiction), Political and Current Events, Pop-Science, Pop-Culture (especially punk culture and geek culture), Self-Help, How-To, Humor, Pets, Business and Career. In fiction, he seeks High-Concept Suspense, Book Club Women’s Fiction,  Literary Fiction for Adults through YA, and Graphic Novels for Adults through MG. Learn more about Gordon here.

Tori Sharp is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She is ONLY open to middle grade novels as well as children’s graphic novels. “As a graphic novelist myself, I am eager to represent stunning, playful, diverse, and important comics for kids in elementary through high school. I love comics that are heartfelt and gestural, and I tend to like art styles that look animated and soft, but bright. I am also currently looking for upbeat middle-grade manuscripts that make readers think about the world around them in a new way—especially fantasy, high-concept fiction, and memoirs. I gravitate toward stories that are simultaneously silly and sincere. I am looking for clearly defined magic, intimate stakes, and clever twists that I won’t be able to stop thinking about.” Learn more about Tori here.

Léonicka Valcius is a literary agent at Transatlantic Literary. “I am eager to work with people of color, including (but not limited to) trans people, disabled people, religious minorities, and queer folks. Adult and Young Adult fiction: “I like books I can read on a beach vacation — fun commercial fiction, romance that ranges from sweet to steamy, otherworldly fantasy, and sweeping historical fiction.” Middle Grade and younger: “I love humour, adventure, and make believe. I also enjoy stories about children navigating their changing relationships with family and friends. I strongly prefer books with at least one human character.” Learn more about Léonicka here.

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. Concerning what he seeks, Ken is a generalist, and represents adult fiction and nonfiction of all types. He does not want pitches for children’s books or novels of any kind. Learn more about Ken Sherman here.

Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents. Julie represents literary and upmarket fiction, suspense, memoir, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, young adult fiction, and children’s picture books. She is drawn to powerful storytelling in these categories and looks for unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, a strong sense of narrative tension, and stories that explore the depths of human experience, particularly the many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, social justice, and regional backgrounds. Julie specializes in editorial development of both fiction and nonfiction projects and values the creativity and collaboration of the agent-author relationship. Learn more about Julie here.

Rebecca Eskildsen is a literary agent at Writers House. “I am actively growing my list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Across the board, I’m looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives. In middle grade, I’m looking for a range of fiction, from fun adventure stories to contemporary books that make kids feel seen. Mostly I want to see fresh, engaging voices, particularly narratives with a sense of humor and a strong emotional core. For YA, I’m looking for some darker themes and twisty, gripping stories, but also some lighthearted fun! Give me your ambitious “unlikable” girls (ugh – I’ll like them) and your funny, slow-burn romances. I’m looking for a more limited variety of adult books. I’d love to have my inbox full of contemporary rom coms. I’m also looking for sagas about families and/or friends, of any age or topic, and I’m looking for 20-something coming-of-age stories.” Learn more about Rebecca here.

Dani Segelbaum is a literary agent with the Carol Mann Agency. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks. In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices. Learn more about Dani here.

Kayla Cichello is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary. Kayla brings to Upstart Crow Literary nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing. A former Conference Coordinator for the International Summer and Winter Conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she most recently logged several years as an agent assistant. She is open to a wide range of children’s books, from picture books through young adult novels, and is especially keen to discover unique voices and champion new creators of tomorrow’s classics. Learn more about Kayla here.

Saint Gibson is a literary agent with Speilburg Literary. Saint is interested in representing adult novels and graphic novels in the genres of romance, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In romance, she’s most interested in representing queer and polyamorous love stories of all kinds, especially historicals that read like KJ Charles or Cat Sebastian, or high heat, high angst contemporary romances that feel like Sierra Simone or Tiffany Reisz books. Saint is also interested in representing select titles in religious and metaphysical nonfiction, particularly titles with a progressive bent or interfaith appeal. She’s interested in memoirs of faith lost or found, accessible theology that engages with current events and pop culture, and stories of syncretism. Learn more about Saint here.

Elizabeth Kracht is a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates. Having lived in cities such as New York, San Francisco and San Juan, Puerto Rico, she is compelled by multicultural themes and characters and is drawn toward strong settings. In fiction, she represents literary, commercial, women’s, thrillers, mysteries, historical, and crossover YA. In nonfiction, she is interested in high concept, health, science, environment, prescriptive, investigative, true crime, voice- or adventure-driven memoir, sexuality, spirituality, and animal/pet stories. Learn more about Elizabeth here.

Michelle Grajkowski is a literary agent with 3 Seas Literary. She primarily represents romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction along with select nonfiction projects with a terrific message. She is currently looking for fantastic writers with a voice of their own. Learn more about Michelle here and the books she seeks.

Hannah VanVels is a literary with Belcastro Agency. She is seeking:”First and foremost, I’m building an inclusive list with a variety of voices and genres. I love working with #OwnVoices authors, and I’m looking for voices from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, regardless of genre. In a nutshell, I am looking for fresh voices and fresh takes in the following categories:” children’s picture books (including author-illustrators), middle grade (fantasy, adventure, horror, or animals), young adult (fantasy, thrillers/creepy, contemporary, sci-fi, and books that trend younger), and new adult & adult novels (horror, accessible fantasy, commercial women’s fiction and romantic comedies). Learn more about Hannah here.

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary. Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Learn more about Amaryah here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Charlotte Wenger is a literary agent in the Boston area with Prospect Agency. Prior to joining Prospect, she was an associate editor at Page Street Kids, where she acquired and edited fiction and nonfiction picture books. Charlotte is drawn to children’s literature and art for all ages—board books through young adult, but especially picture books—as well as select adult nonfiction biographies and memoirs. Learn more about Charlotte here.

Kortney Price is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency. “I work primarily on children’s books — stories from board book up through young adult. My tastes in stories are pretty broad, but here’s a rundown of what I’m most excited about seeing in my inbox.  I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. I would love to see a vast array of characters and own voices writers writing them. Because of my experience working with the special needs community, I’m especially excited for books featuring all of those uniquely special brains or bodies that don’t operate like everyone else’s.” Kortney seeks all ages of children’s nonfiction and fiction, including picture book, graphic novel, early reader, middle grade, young adult. Learn more about Kortney here.

Denise Barone is a literary agent and the founder of Barone Literary Agency.  She is seeking: horror, young adult, new adult, erotic romance, women’s fiction, and romance (single title, category, or historical). She does not want: No picture books, middle grade, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, or nonfiction. “I have been a member of RWA since 2000. I do not accept any previously published materials.” Learn more about Denise here.

 

        More 2022 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:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2022 PWW and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10+ additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of late 2021, 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. There is no limit. Here are 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 Brian Klems, one of the workshop’s coordinators. (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:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Bailey, a writing coach and 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 10 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Adult fiction (all), memoir, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and children’s picture books: Faculty member Laura Biagi, a writing coach and 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 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.
  • Middle grade, young adult; adult fiction in the areas of low fantasy, literary fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and mainstream fiction: Faculty member Joel Brigham, a writing coach and 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 10 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, romance, women’s fiction, memoir: Faculty member Ricki Cardenas, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit 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.
  • Young adult fiction (in the areas of contemporary/realistic, rom-com, contemporary (“low”) fantasy, and paranormal fantasy): Faculty member Alex Barba, a former literary agent and current editor, 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.
  • More options to come.

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 PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Philadelphia workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: The 2022 PWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on May 6-7, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

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. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. 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 Brian 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 or CC refund]. 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 started edited your work.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Denise Barone of Barone Literary Agency

Denise Barone is a literary agent and the founder of Barone Literary Agency.

She is seeking: horror, young adult, new adult, erotic romance, women’s fiction, and romance (single title, category, or historical).

She does not want: No picture books, middle grade, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, or nonfiction.

“I opened my literary agency on June 1, 2010. A lawyer licensed to practice in the State of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I am also a published writer. After writing for many years, I have acquired a knowledge of books, book contracts and the publishing world. I have been a member of RWA since 2000. I do not accept any previously published materials.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michael Carr of Veritas Literary

Michael Carr is a literary agent with Veritas Literary.

With a strong background in editing and writing, Michael enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. He is fluent in Spanish and speaks conversational French. Before joining Veritas, Michael had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.

He is seeking: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Nonfiction of all stripes.

Get to Know an Agent Assistant in Attendance: Rae Loverde of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency. At the 2022 online PWW event, she will be acting as a literary scout — taking pitches at the workshop on behalf of her co-agents.

Her co-agent Kiana Nguyen is seeking the following: contemporary romances like Alisha Rai and Alyssa Cole, adult sci-fi that feels like “Black Mirror,” and psychological thrillers. In YA, she’s looking for thrillers and contemporary that’s queer, POC, or features a mystery.

Her co-agent Caitlin McDonald is seeking the following: all science fiction & fantasy fiction for adult, YA, and MG, 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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zoe Bodzas of McIntosh & Otis

Zoe Bodzas is a literary agent with McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

She is seeking:

For fiction, interested in dark comedy, dry humor, coming of age, campy/pulpy sensibility, strong and uncommon settings, dysfunctional family sagas, offbeat coming-of-age, graphic novels, friend groups, ghosts, outcasts and underdogs, books that feel like new Netflix romcoms, stories with unconventional structures/forms, novels by poets, #OwnVoices projects.

For nonfiction, interested in the Internet, gender, travel, design, forgotten histories, subcultures, mental health, pop culture, climate, family.

In general, looking to champion books that bend the rules, raise voices that are often overlooked, and offer readers something unusually funny, beautiful, or surreal.

No young adult, please.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Léonicka Valcius of Transatlantic Literary

Léonicka Valcius is a literary agent at Transatlantic Literary.

Areas of interest:

“As I build my client list, I will be co-agenting with senior literary agents at Transatlantic.

“I am eager to work with people of color, including (but not limited to) trans people, disabled people, religious minorities, and queer folks.

Adult and Young Adult fiction: “I like books I can read on a beach vacation — fun commercial fiction, romance that ranges from sweet to steamy, otherworldly fantasy, and sweeping historical fiction. For reference, my faves include Kevin Kwan, Alisha Rai, N.K. Jemisin, Philippa Gregory, Nicola Yoon, Marie Lu, and Elizabeth Wein. I do not represent literary fiction, mysteries or thrillers.”

Middle Grade and younger: “I love humour, adventure, and make believe. I also enjoy stories about children navigating their changing relationships with family and friends. I strongly prefer books with at least one human character. My faves include Jason Reynolds, Dan Santat, Dav Pilkey, and Christopher Paul Curtis. I do not represent picture books.”

Nonfiction: “At this time I am accepting non-fiction proposals by referral only.”

Léonicka Valcius was that kid who got in trouble for reading past her bedtime… and while the teacher was talking… and while crossing the street. In 2011 she was able to turn this obsession into an actual career, much to her mother’s relief.

After completing the publishing program at Centennial College, Léonicka interned at HarperCollins Canada before working at Scholastic Book Fairs Canada for nearly 4 years as a book buyer and marketer. She then joined the Online and Digital Sales team at Penguin Random House Canada where she sold ebooks and audiobooks. Léonicka is eager to draw from these experiences to return to her original passion: working with writers.

As the founder of #DiverseCanLit and the first Chair of the Board of the Festival of Literary Diversity, serving readers and writers of colour is the core of Léonicka’s career. She brings this same mandate to her work at Transatlantic. As Assistant Agent, Léonicka will be working closely with Senior Agents with whom she will be coagenting new clients.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eloy Bleifuss of Janklow & Nesbit

Eloy Bleifuss is a literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit.

After a brief stint in journalism, Eloy began his publishing career as an assistant at Simon & Schuster where he worked in the editorial and publisher’s departments of the S&S, Touchstone, and Scribner imprints. Eloy switched to the agency side in 2019 when he started at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. He is building his client list and looking to work with both fiction and nonfiction writers.

Eloy is drawn to genre-blurring novels that balance character and voice with tension and plot. He enjoys stories of regular people navigating relationships and work (Bryan Washington, Deesha Philyaw, Torrey Peters, Lauren Oyler, Andrew Martin) and character-driven speculative fiction (Jeff VanderMeer, Rivers Solomon, Stephen Graham Jones, Seth Dickinson, Yoon Ha Lee). He likes writing that is dark, uncanny, funny, and queer.

When it comes to nonfiction, Eloy is interested in a broad range of categories from omnivorous cultural criticism and forgotten histories to big ideas books and relatable self-help.

A graduate of Vassar College, he hails from Chicago and now lives in Brooklyn. Some of Eloy’s clients include E.M. Tran, Claire Oleson, Julian K. Jarboe, and Jeremy Gordon.

(Headshot photo credit: Michael Baker Photography Studios)

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2022 PWW

If you are attending the online 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agents and editors. An in-person (or one-on-one virtual) pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from one of last year’s instructors, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:

  • Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
  • Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
  • Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
  • Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
  • Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.