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 Kari Sutherland (Bradford Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Rachel Beck (Holloway Literary)
  • literary agent Dana Newman (Dana Newman Literary)
  • literary agent Betsy Amster (Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises)
  • literary agent Anne Tibbets (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Nephele Tempest (The Knight Agency)
  • literary agent Steven Hutson (Wordwise Media Services)
  • literary agent assistant Sonyo Estavillo (Metamorphosis 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 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 2018-12-04 at 9.08.40 PM.pngKari Sutherland is a literary agent with Bradford Literary Agency. She is open to genres from picture books through adult. In children’s books, Kari is interested in character-driven stories, new twists on classic tales, empowering themes, epic fantasy, fresh voices and experiences, inventive mysteries, humor, and magical realism. In YA, which is near and dear to her heart, Kari is drawn to compelling voices, tight pacing, and clear world-building regardless of whether it’s a space drama, an underground dystopia, a small town, or a big city contemporary. She is open to any genre within YA. Kari is interested in adult fiction — including general fiction; upmarket women’s fiction; intergenerational tales; magical realism; historical dramas; and light-hearted contemporary fiction. Kari is seeking nonfiction in the following categories: quirky topics; history and biography; pop science and psychology; humor; and parenting. Learn more about Kari 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.

Screen Shot 2018-11-25 at 10.17.03 PM.pngBetsy Amster is a literary agent and president of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. In adult fiction, she seeks literary fiction, upscale commercial women’s fiction, and voice-driven mysteries and thrillers. For nonfiction, she enjoys narrative nonfiction (especially by journalists), travelogues, memoirs (including graphic memoirs), social issues and trends, psychology, self-help, popular culture, women’s issues, history & biography, lifestyle, careers, health and medicine, parenting, cooking and nutrition, gardening, and quirky gift books. Learn more about Betsy here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.14.49 PM.pngNephele Tempest is a literary agent with The Knight Agency. 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 2018-11-21 at 5.12.36 PM.pngAnne Tibbets is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. She is seeking: adult science fiction / dystopian, adult and young adult fantasy, adult innovative thrillers (historical a plus), and adult and young adult horror (Think early Stephen King mixed with Gillian Flynn). Learn more about Anne here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 8.27.37 PM.pngSteven Hutson is a literary agent and the founder of Wordwise Media Services. He is seeking: Steven is open to any genre except picture books, short stories, and poetry. That means he is seeking historical fiction, literary fiction, mainstream/upmarket fiction, thriller, suspense, crime, mystery, romance, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, science fiction, women’s fiction, and fantasy. He also will take pitches for memoir. Get to know Steven here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 6.36.43 PM.pngSonyo Estavillo is an agent assistant with Metamorposis Literary. At the 2019 Los Angeles event, she will be taking pitches on behalf of her co-agents actively seeking new writers.On behalf of her acquiring co-agents, Sonyo is seeking the following types of pitches: young adult (any kind), adult science fiction and fantasy, thrillers, romance (all kinds), LGBTQ+, women’s fiction, book club reads, paranormal (romance or not), horror, and #ownvoices. Learn more about Sonyo 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: Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.14.49 PM.pngNephele Tempest is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

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.

Nephele joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles-area office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having previously worked on the editorial side of the business, as well as for several major New York investment firms as a financial advisor and later a financial marketing and communications writer. Her previous experience provided her with insight into multiple aspects of the publishing industry.

Nephele is a member of Romance Writers of America.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kari Sutherland of Bradford Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.08.42 PM.pngKari Sutherland is a literary agent with Bradford Literary Agency.

Kari joined the Bradford Literary Agency after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in English and Psychology, which she considers the perfect combination for working with authors on character and plot development. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.

She is seeking:

Open to genres from picture books through adult, Kari is most interested in finding stories full of heart; ones that carry readers to faraway places or deep into a character’s mind; action-packed page-turners that surprise her; dark dramas with touches of humor; and, above all, a voice that leaps off the page. She is actively seeking diverse voices across all genres.

In children’s books, Kari is interested in character-driven stories, new twists on classic tales, empowering themes, epic fantasy, fresh voices and experiences, inventive mysteries, humor, and magical realism.

In YA, which is near and dear to her heart, Kari is drawn to compelling voices, tight pacing, and clear world-building regardless of whether it’s a space drama, an underground dystopia, a small town, or a big city contemporary. She is open to any genre within YA.

Kari is interested in adult fiction — including general fiction; upmarket women’s fiction; intergenerational tales; magical realism; historical dramas; and light-hearted contemporary fiction.

A firm believer that truth can be stranger than fiction, Kari is seeking nonfiction in the following categories: quirky topics; history and biography; pop science and psychology; humor; and parenting. Most important to her are a concrete platform, an engaging voice, and well-researched material that will broaden readers’ understanding of themselves, the past, and the world around them.

Kari is not seeking: horror, romance, erotica, memoir, adult sci-fi/fantasy, thrillers, cookbooks, business, spiritual/religious, poetry, or screenplays.

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: Steve Hutson of Wordwise Media Services

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 8.27.37 PM.pngSteven Hutson is a literary agent and the founder of Wordwise Media Services.

He is seeking: Steven is open to any genre except picture books, short stories, and poetry. That means he is seeking historical fiction, literary fiction, mainstream/upmarket fiction, thriller, suspense, crime, mystery, romance, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, science fiction, women’s fiction, and fantasy. He also will take pitches for memoir.

Steven is a native of Los Angeles, a child of the sixties, and a storyteller almost from birth. After several years of freelance editing and directing a writers’ conference, he branched out as a literary agent in early 2011.

He has placed his clients’ works with Dutton, HarperCollins, Tyndale, David C. Cook, Hachette, Writer’s Digest Books, Harlequin, and others.

Steve lives in the High Desert of Southern California with his wife, Ruth.

Get to Know an Agent Assistant in Attendance: Sonyo Estavillo of Metamorphosis Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 6.36.40 PM.pngSonyo Estavillo is an agent assistant with Metamorphosis Literary. At the 2019 Los Angeles event, she will be taking pitches on behalf of her co-agents actively seeking new writers.

With a background in the entertainment industry and a master’s degree in television, radio, and film, Sonyo has always held a deep passion for visual and written storytelling. She delights in reading and writing adult commercial fiction punctuated by flawed, quirky characters with offbeat sensibilities.

Personally, she seeks stories led by male or female characters in general commercial fiction or thriller, detective, women’s, and horror genres. Romance woven into stories with drama or comedy is appreciated, but not required.

On behalf of her acquiring co-agents, Sonyo is seeking the following types of pitches: young adult (any kind), adult science fiction and fantasy, thrillers, romance (all kinds), LGBTQ+, women’s fiction, book club reads, paranormal (romance or not), horror, and #ownvoices.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Anne Tibbets of Red Sofa Literary.

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 5.12.36 PM.pngAnne Tibbets is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary.

She is seeking:

  • Adult science fiction: “Give me your dystopia, your utopia, your bloody, bomb-ridden, and gun-blazing shoot ‘em ups with hearts of gold and threads of hope. Earth bound or in space. Bring on your new planets and aliens of all sorts. I’m not afraid of grit, but I do detest sexism. Blow my socks off.”
  • Adult and young adult fantasy: “Give me your twist on magic, urban or high fantasy. Give me a unique kingdom or city to conquer, and I will be your greatest champion. Bonus points if female driven.”
  • Adult thrillers: “Innovative thrillers only. Can’t stress this enough. ‘Just say no’ to alcoholic detectives investigating dead girls. Give me something fresh and well researched. Historical a plus. No redemptive Nazi plots. Anything else? Bring it on.”
  • Adult and young adult horror: “I want demons, ghosts, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, zombies, aliens, or just really awful human beings – perhaps not all at once. Think early Stephen King mixed with Gillian Flynn. Scare me. Make me sleep with the lights on and marvel at your creepy word choice. My soul is ready.”

Anne is the author of multiple science fiction novels and a former screenwriter. In her free time, Anne watches television, reads, games, and participates in a myriad of “Old Lady” hobbies. She can be found on Twitter @AnneTibbets.