The 2015 Writing Conference of Los Angeles: Oct. 10, 2015

laThe 2015 Writing Conference of Los Angeles is now over. It was a great event and we look forward to hosting another workshop in SoCal in the future. If you would like to be kept on an email list to be notified of future area events, please simply contact us to say so: writingdayworkshops [at] gmail.com. Thanks!

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The staff behind the organization and instruction of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop are excited to announce The Writing Conference of Los Angeles — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Culver City on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

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 2015 Writing Conference of Los Angeles!

(If you live closer to San Diego than Los Angeles, note that there is also a nearly identical workshop in San Diego the day before on Friday, October 9, 2015.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, at the Four Points Sheraton in Culver City, CA. 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 ever-growing faculty so far includes literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary); literary agent Nephele Tempest (The Knight Agency); literary agent Sara Sciuto (Fuse Literary); literary agent Patricia Nelson (Marsal Lyon Literary); literary agent Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Associates); literary agent Valerie Noble (Donaghy Literary); literary agent Megan Close (Keller Media); and literary agent Eve Porinchak (Jill Corcoran 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, October 10, 2015, at the Four Points Sheraton Los Angeles Westside, 5990 Green Valley Cir, Culver City, CA 90230. (310)641-7740. Click on this image to see its location on a map:

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WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (OCT. 10, 2015)

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 2015-05-26 at 9.23.50 PMPaul S. Levine is the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary and an attorney. His fiction areas of interest include adventure, children/juvenile, middle grade, young adult, mainstream, mystery, politics/law, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction areas of interest include business/commerce, children’s, contemporary, popular culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 9.45.56 AMKen Sherman [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent and the founder of Ken Sherman & Associates. 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. He represents many genres of fiction and categories of nonfiction. He is a generalist, and will listen to pitches for any type of book (except picture books) as long as the writing is exceptional and the writer has a platform if pitching nonfiction. Learn more about Ken here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 4.01.35 PMNephele Tempest, [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] a literary agent, joined The Knight Agency in 2005 and continues to actively build her client list. She is currently seeking works in the following genres: literary/commercial fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy, science fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, historical fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction. Learn more about Nephele here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 2.31.55 PMSara Sciuto [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. Sara is actively building her list with a focus on middle grade and young adult fiction; in particular, contemporary, historical, gothic/thriller/horror, sci-fi, mystery/suspense, fantasy and other speculative fiction. Sara is also looking for standout picture books, especially those with a quirky or humorous narrative; and welcomes author/illustrators, as well as conceptual or art-driven projects. She’s also considering select adult nonfiction in the areas of craft, design, how-to, lifestyle, and pop culture. For children’s nonfiction, she’s open to a wider range of both narrative and prescriptive projects. Currently, she is not considering any adult fiction (all genres). Learn more about Sara here.

Screen shot 2015-05-26 at 9.19.13 PMPatricia Nelson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is actively building her client list at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Patricia represents adult and young adult fiction, and is actively looking to build her list. She is a fiction generalist, and will take pitches on the whole gamut of literary and commercial adult fiction. On the adult side, she is particularly interested in literary fiction and commercial fiction in the new adult, women’s fiction, and romance genres. For young adult, she is looking for contemporary/realistic fiction as well YA mystery/thriller, horror, magical realism, science fiction and fantasy. She is also interested in finding exciting multicultural and LGBTQ fiction, both YA and adult. Learn more about Patricia here.

150925_350208521744956_801373278_nValerie Noble is a literary agent with Donaghy Literary who is actively building her client list. She loves science fiction and fantasy (think Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins) but reads everything under the sun. For her, it’s more about the writing and less about the genre. In saying that, Valerie is generally not interested in romance or paranormal. She is seeking young adult and new adult in the following areas: science fiction, fantasy, historical fantasy, and historical fiction. Learn more about Valerie here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 4.39.26 PMEve Porinchak [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jill Corcoran Literary. She has eclectic literary tastes and is open to everything from picture books to adult novels. Specifically looking for edgy, psychological thrillers, gang-lit, realistic contemporary. Some of Eve’s favorite books are: True Notebooks by Mark Salzman, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. Eve is not a fan of high fantasy; however, she loves the Hunger Games series as well as science fiction. Also a huge fan of true crime, and loved NPR’s SERIAL. If your story reads like a Tuesday night episode of “Dateline,” then she wants to meet you at the conference. Learn more about Eve here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 12.59.50 PMMegan Close is a literary agent at Keller Media. She specializes in nonfiction in the areas of General Nonfiction, Self-Help, Relationships, Pop Culture, Pop Psychology, Management, Career, and Entrepreneurship. For fiction pitches, she seeks Literary Fiction (especially literary Mystery/Suspense). Learn more about Megan here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 1.57.02 PMJamie Weiss Chilton [CANCELED] is a literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

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

$149 — FINAL registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2015 WCLA 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.

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 the Writing Conference of Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Four Points Sheraton, 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 WCLA 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 Los Angeles 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 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Paul S. Levine of Paul S. Levine Literary

Screen shot 2015-05-26 at 9.23.50 PMPaul S. Levine is the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. Open to virtually any genre or category, he will consider fiction, nonfiction, children’s, young adult manuscripts, and proposals for nonfiction books. Highly aware of market trends and editors’ preferences, Levine limits himself to projects which he believes in and feels certain he can sell. Some of his recent fiction sales include science fiction, fantasy, mystery, crime, thriller, women’s fiction, and romance. Some of his recent nonfiction sales include diet, how-to, business/finance, true crime, parenting, and advice/relationships.

When he opened The Paul S. Levine Literary Agency in 1996, Levine had less than 200 editors in his private database; in his database he now has over 1,600 editors, to whom he has sold over 150 fiction and non-fiction books.

As an entertainment lawyer, Levine has written the legal contracts for several books adapted as movies-for-television. With over a quarter of a century of experience in the entertainment and book industries, Levine is one of the few lawyers on the West coast who also understands the world of book publishing; as such, he is able to act as both literary agent and publishing attorney for his clients.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ken Sherman of Ken Sherman & Associates

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 9.45.56 AM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

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.

He represents many genres of fiction and categories of nonfiction. He is a generalist, and will listen to pitches for any type of book (except picture books) as long as the writing is exceptional and the writer has a platform if pitching nonfiction.

An agent for more than twenty years, Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker, having taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference and The Eugene International Film Festival where he just received a lifetime achievement award.

Since graduating from the University of California-Berkeley with a major in psychology, Ken has returned numerous times to the classroom to teach his course, “The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and the Publishing Worlds,” at both USC and UCLA. He also co-taught a screenwriting class for many years at the Eugene International Film Festival.

Ken maintains strong community involvement as well, serving as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television/Los Angeles (BAFTA), and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Science and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 4.01.30 PM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Literary agent Nephele Tempest joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. In addition, she spends time developing the agency’s Hollywood film and multi-media contacts. Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having worked in the editorial department at Simon and Schuster, as a financial advisor, in the marketing and communications departments of several major New York investment firms, and as a freelance writer. Her experiences in sales, marketing, and writing provide her with insights into multiple aspects of the publishing industry. Nephele belongs to the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She continues to actively build her client list.

She is currently seeking works in the following genres: literary/commercial fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy, science fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, historical fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sara Sciuto of Fuse Literary

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 2.31.55 PM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Sara Sciuto is a literary agent with Fuse Literary.

She is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, and also completed literature coursework at NYU. Her first industry experience was working on film and foreign rights with Taryn Fagerness Agency. From there she joined Full Circle Literary where she specialized in children’s literature and was there for over three years before joining Fuse Literary.

Sara is actively building her list with a focus on middle grade and young adult fiction; in particular, contemporary, historical, gothic/thriller/horror, sci-fi, mystery/suspense, fantasy and other speculative fiction. For YA she’s especially drawn to literary voices with commercial appeal (i.e. no chick-lit, please). For MG, her tastes are broader and she seeks everything from provoking historical to fun/silly adventure projects. She has a particular soft spot for gritty narratives, anything with international or regional locales, period settings, and anything with artistic themes. Sara is also looking for standout picture books, especially those with a quirky or humorous narrative; and welcomes author/illustrators, as well as conceptual or art-driven projects. She’s also considering select adult nonfiction in the areas of craft, design, how-to, lifestyle, and pop culture. For children’s nonfiction, she’s open to a wider range of both narrative and prescriptive projects. Currently, she is NOT considering any adult fiction (all genres).

To learn more about Sara, you can follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Patricia Nelson of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patricia-Nelson-296x300[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Patricia Nelson joined the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency as assistant to Kevan Lyon before becoming an acquiring agent at the agency. Previously, she interned at The Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency and in the children’s division at Running Press.

Patricia represents adult and young adult fiction, and is actively looking to build her list. She is a fiction generalist, and will take pitches on the whole gamut of literary and commercial adult fiction.

On the adult side, she is particularly interested in literary fiction and commercial fiction in the New Adult, women’s fiction, and romance genres. For YA, she is looking for contemporary/realistic fiction as well YA mystery/thriller, horror, magical realism, science fiction and fantasy. She is also interested in finding exciting multicultural and LGBTQ fiction, both YA and adult. In general, Patricia loves stories with complex characters that jump off the page and thoughtfully drawn, believable relationships – along with writing that makes her feel completely pulled into these characters’ lives and worlds.

Patricia received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the world of publishing, she spent four years as a university-level instructor of literature and writing.

Follow Patricia on Twitter at @patricianels.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2015 Writing Conference of Los Angeles

If you are coming to the 2015 Writing Conference of Los Angeles (Oct. 10, 2015), you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from instructor 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.