The 2019 Writing Conference of Los Angeles: May 4, 2019

laAfter a successful launch in 2015, Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from Coffeehouse Writer Group, is excited to announce The 2019 Writing Conference of Los Angeles — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Culver City on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Writing Conference of Los Angeles!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles – Westside. 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.2

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s agent & editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Rachel Beck (Holloway Literary)
  • literary agent Dana Newman (Dana Newman Literary)
  • and many more to come.

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from local writing groups.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 4, 2019 — at the Hilton Hotel Los Angeles – Westside, 6161 W Centinela Ave, Culver City, CA 90230. (310)649-1776.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MAY 4, 2019):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule page here.

Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

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

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2019. This workshop is quick and easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing.

2. Social Media on a Budget. How do you build your audience beyond your friends’ lists? Ads and graphics cost money, and often can easily begin chopping at your bank account. This class is one that will teach how to gain an audience and how to utilize social media when you are on a budget.

3. Query Letter Comprehensive. Stand out from the slush and workshop your way to crafting a successful query letter. It’s time to kick the clichés, ditch the info dumps, and get ready to dive deeper than a list of dos and don’ts.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros. This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice.

2. How NOT to Get a Literary Agent. This workshop examines pitfalls new authors make when approaching agents (and editors). Learn where writers go wrong in their search for an agent — and how they should do it right.

3. Amuse Yourself With Murder: How to Write a Thrilling Mystery. Writing a mystery can be a killer — unless you entertain yourself first. This workshop offers insights for taking the pressure off of yourself and joyfully completing your mystery novel.

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest. This is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission.
   
2.  How to Sell a Nonfiction Book. This session is completely devoted to nonfiction book proposals.

3. Picture Book Boot Camp. Learn how to pitch and publish in the children’s book market. Understand the craft and business of writing for young kids.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book. Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, what social media to use, how to launch your book right, and much more.

2. Revision: Selling Your Book Before You Submit. Do you find it hard to see your own writing mistakes? Become a writer that wows a prospective agent or editor by enhancing your manuscript and proposal submission with targeted editing geared to make your submission shine above the competition.

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. Writing for children isn’t all that different from writing for adults.

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book. After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to build a readership, and much more.

2. Writing Speculative Fiction — How to Compose Great Sci-Fi and Fantasy. A discussion regarding the genres of science fiction and fantasy — how the markets are changing, what writers can do to improve their craft in these genres, and much more.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market. This session will address important topics and tips for writers of romance.

SESSIONS END: 5:00

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

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AGENTS AND EDITORS:

Screen shot 2015-05-26 at 9.23.50 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. 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 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. He is not interested in science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Learn more about Paul here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 3.21.55 PM.pngRachel Beck is a literary agent with Holloway Literary. Rachel is interested in representing: women’s fiction (especially upmarket/book club fiction), contemporary romance with a humorous voice and subplots in addition to the romance, young adult (no historical, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi or middle-grade please), psychological, character-driven women’s suspense/thrillers, and Southern fiction. In nonfiction, she seeks memoir, true crime, and select health and self-help books (such as professional/career development). Learn more about Rachel here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 8.35.06 PM.pngDana Newman is a literary agent and the founder of Dana Newman Literary. She is seeking: “On the fiction side, we consider a very selective amount of literary fiction and women’s upmarket fiction. We look for character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice that are emotionally truthful. We are interested in practical nonfiction (business, health and wellness, psychology, parenting, technology) by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms who are committed to actively marketing and promoting their books. We love compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down.” Learn more about Dana here.

        More 2019 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open. You can pitch as many agents & editors as like you wish.

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 2019 WCLA and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 2018, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.20.11 AM.png“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.56 AM.png“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.00 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.09 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Alabama Writing
Workshop, I met Erin Hollis at a pitch session, and
she is now my newest client.” – agent Julie Gwinn

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, one of the workshop’s former instructors. (This rate is a special event value for WCLA 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 double-spaced 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:

  • Forthcoming

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 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles – Westside, the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal, credit card, 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 at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your work.)

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dana Newman of Dana Newman Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 8.34.12 PM.pngDana Newman is a literary agent and the founder of Dana Newman Literary.

She is seeking: “On the fiction side, we consider a very selective amount of literary fiction and women’s upmarket fiction. We look for character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice that are emotionally truthful.

“We are interested in practical nonfiction (business, health and wellness, psychology, parenting, technology) by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms who are committed to actively marketing and promoting their books.

“We love compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down.”

Dana Newman Literary was founded by Dana Newman in 2010. Prior to becoming a literary agent, she worked for 14 years as General Counsel for Moviola and its affiliates, Paskal Lighting and Magnasync Corporation. With years of experience working in the entertainment and communications technology industries during the digital revolution in film editing and audio recording, Dana enthusiastically embraces new technologies and ideas about how books will be created, distributed and experienced. Dana combines her professional insight, educational background (B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley, J.D. from University of San Francisco), and a lifelong love of reading to her role as a literary agent. She regularly attends writers’ conferences and speaks frequently on legal issues for authors (including publishing contracts, collaboration agreements, and copyright). Dana Newman Literary works with Judy Klein of Kleinworks Agency on handling clients’ foreign rights sales. She works as a co-agent with Phyllis Parsons of The Parsons Company, Inc. in connection with speakers and film/TV rights.

In addition to her work as a literary agent, Dana is also Of Counsel at Raines Feldman LLP, where she focuses on business and legal advising, negotiating and drafting contracts, intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks), licensing and publishing law. She has extensive experience with publishing and literary agency agreements, and also does pre-publication legal review of manuscripts. Her specialty is helping creative entrepreneurs and authors achieve their goals, and she’s represented a wide variety of clients in entertainment, media and business. She wrote “Copyright Grants: as Powerful as Kryptonite?” published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and co-authored the chapter on Technology and Intellectual Property Rights in the book Emerging Companies Guide: A Resource for Professionals and Entrepreneurs, Second Edition (American Bar Association 2011).

Dana is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and the California State Bar.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rachel Beck of Holloway Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 3.21.51 PM.pngRachel Beck is a literary agent with Holloway Literary.

Rachel is interested in representing:

  • Women’s fiction, especially upmarket/book club fiction, such as Emily Giffin, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain
  • Contemporary romance with a humorous voice and subplots in addition to the romance, such as Kristan Higgins
  • Young adult, especially emotional/deep issue (even dark) stories (no historical, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi or middle-grade please), such as Jandy Nelson and Courtney Summers
  • Psychological, character-driven women’s suspense/thrillers, such as Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Mary Kubica
  • Southern fiction, such as Elaine Hussey
  • Nonfiction — particularly memoir, true crime, and select health and self-help books (such as professional/career development).

Rachel Beck has been in the publishing industry since 2009. After completing an internship with two literary agencies, reading mostly young adult and thrillers, she then worked as an editor for Harlequin, acquiring category romance, contemporary romance, multicultural romance and women’s fiction.

Rachel’s career highlights include helping her authors achieve prestigious romance book nominations and two selective awards, including the National Readers Choice Award, and several top reviews in Romantic Times magazine for her books.

In her free time, Rachel likes reading first and foremost–mostly women’s fiction, psychological suspense and young adult–as well as traveling with her husband, spoiling her cat, Ginnie, and watching football (go Steelers!).

Rachel is drawn to voice-driven fiction, particularly in young adult; quirky, three-dimensional, flawed characters, including and especially secondary characters; beautiful writing; dark themes; books that explore good people in morally complicated situations; and complex, detailed plots.

Rachel is NOT interested in:

no children’s/picture books
no middle grade
no science fiction/fantasy
no romantic suspense
no action-driven suspense (prefer character/psychological-driven)
no heavily faith-based/inspirational material

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2019 Writing Conference of Los Angeles

If you are coming to the 2019 Writing Conference of Los Angeles (May 4, 2019), 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 previous 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.

 

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 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.

He is not interested in science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

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.