The 2020 Writing Conference of Los Angeles: May 2, 2020

la(APRIL 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 Writing Conference of Los Angeles is postponed until 2021 for safety reasons. If you are signed up for the 2020 event as a paid attendee, or you would like to know more about WDW’s new 2020 online conferences — which include many recorded sessions, one-on-one pitching to agents by phone or Skype, and more — please see all info here, and be in contact with us anytime you want — writingdayworkshops@gmail.com.)

After a successful LA events in 2015 and 2019, Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from Coffee House Writers Group, is excited to announce The 2020 Writing Conference of Los Angeles — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Culver City on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

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 2020 Writing Conference of Los Angeles!

(If you already know you want to register for the 2020 LA event, you can do so immediately at this link: http://bit.ly/LARegistrationForm)

(For people asking, the 2020 LA workshop is ON as planned. We are excited about May 2. For our statement regarding events in the news, click here. Thanks again!)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 2, 2020, 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.

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:

  • NEW ADDITION: literary agent Kianna Shore (Ladderbird Literary)
  • NEW ADDITION: literary agent Melanie Castillo (Root Literary)
  • literary agent Samantha Bagood (Samantha B Literary)
  • literary agent Rachael Dillon Fried (Sanford J. Greenburger Associates)
  • literary agent Susan Finesman (Fine Literary)
  • literary agent Paul Levine (Paul Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Sherry Robb (The Robb Company)
  • literary agent Dana Newman (Dana Newman Literary)
  • literary agent Rachel Beck (Liza Dawson Associates)
  • literary agent Anne Tibbets (D4EO Literary)
  • literary agent Nephele Tempest (The Knight Agency)
  • literary agent Tara Gilbert (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Steven Hutson (Wordwise Media Services)
  • literary agent Jemiscoe Chambers-Black (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary scout Rae Loverde (Donald Maass Literary Agency)
  • and possibly 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 Kerrie Flanagan of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from Coffee House Writers Group, a local writing group.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 2, 2020 — at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles – Westside, 6161 W Centinela Ave, Culver City, CA 90230. (310)649-1776.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 6.01.35 PM.png

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MAY 2, 2020):

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. The Biggest Myths of How to Land an Agent Debunked. There aren’t a lot of resources out there on landing an agent, so naturally false rumors abound. In this session, a literary agent instructor will attempt to clear the air, covering topics such as trying too hard to stand out and thinking you’re immune from the rules.

2. Improve Your Writing: The Basics of Self-Editing and Revision. In this class, you’ll learn to identify your writing’s flaws (and fix them) — such as tense and POV issues, when to cut and shorten your length, and what makes some writing crackle.

3. How Do Writers Make Money? In this class, you’ll begin to understand how writers make money from their books. We’ll discuss subrights, translations, how to sell the next book, speaking engagements, and much more.

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

1. “The End” — Now What? Everything You Need to Understand, From a Finished Draft to Your Whole Career. The session outlines in detail the steps needed after writers complete their first draft of a novel or other full-length book. Attendees will leave with insider knowledge of the publishing business and ideas about how to plan their next steps.

2. Thoughtful World Building for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers. Topics will include research, how to avoid anachronisms, what makes a fully realized world– even how geography and weather affect plot.

3. Plot Intensive. In this session, a published novelist will examine the fundamental questions you need to ask yourself in order to develop your plot.

(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 (Adult Fiction & Memoir Only), 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. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book. This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Elevating Your Work: How to Create Children’s Picture Books That Are Not Just Entertaining, but Transformative. Discover how to create books that will impact children in a lasting way while embracing the transformative power of your work.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. What Do Highly Successful Writers Have In Common? A teacher shares what she’s discovered as common practices and habits across successful writers of all stripes.

2. The Return of Querypalooza!. Back by popular demand, this interactive workshop will teach query letter Dos and Don’ts..

3. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (Young Adult & Middle Grade Only), 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.

(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. Make Your First Five Pages Agent Ready. We will take a look at what makes a great opening, what you need to successfully grab a reader’s attention, and how to leave them wanting more after five pages.

2. Writing For Kids and Teens. What is the difference between writing for adults, and writing for teens? We’ll go over some theories, and discuss how you as a writer can achieve the right voice, tone, and balance of action and character to make your work for kids and teens sing.

3. Five Ways to Build your Author Platform. This workshop shares five different ways to build an effective author platform, allowing you to choose the routes that best match your personality and experiences.

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 2018-11-17 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 2020-01-18 at 11.24.53 PMKianna Shore is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. Kianna wants prose that reads like poetry. “Create characters that are super flawed and awful or a precious cinnamon roll that must be protected — but make me care. Make me fall in love with them and then break my heart. Introduce me to unforgettable worlds. Super intersectional? I’m your girl. Fantasy inspired by non-western cultures? Yes! Fantasy starring a character with a disability? For sure. YA historical with a queer BIPOC lead? Send it my way. I want to champion underrepresented writers who write their #ownvoices. Right now I am actively looking for young adult, but will consider well written middle grade and new adult that follow my same guidelines [on my agent page here]” — Learn more about Kianna here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 3.57.47 PMMelanie Castillo is a literary agent with Root Literary. “I’m actively looking for fiction and narrative nonfiction. I’m especially excited to find high-concept commercial and literary leaning general fiction, young adult novels with a strong voice and propulsive pacing, and heartfelt and humorous middle grade novels across genres. She is seeking upmarket fiction with elements of mystery/suspense, any commercial fiction that could sit on a shelf next to Blake Crouch or Michael Crichton, and beautifully-written, well-researched, and expansive adult fiction that straddles the line between commercial and literary.  In young adult, she seeks YA SF/F or high fantasy that can be summed up as “feelings while running.” (There’s page-turning action and adventure, but there’s also an emotional undercurrent that carries through to those last pages.) She also seeks a YA slow burn romance (contemporary, rom-com, and fantasy). In middle grade, she seeks heartwarming and adventurous contemporary stories, a darker fantasy (standalone or series), and anything that reads like a Studio Ghibli film. Learn more about Melanie here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 12.58.58 PM.pngRachael Dillon Fried is a literary agent with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Rachael is selectively growing her client list with a keen interest in women’s literary and commercial fiction. She hopes to build long-term relationships with clients who are passionate about developing their career. Learn more about Rachael here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 11.30.28 AMSamantha Bagood is a literary agent and founder of Samantha B. Literary. She specializes in books for all kinds of books for children — picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. (No adult fiction pitches of any kind please.) She enjoys out-of-the-box formats and styles done well, and would love to see more stories from an Asian-American perspective. Learn more about Samantha here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 12.15.03 AMSusan Finesman is a literary agent and founder of Fine Literary. She seeks: Literary and mainstream fiction, mystery, romance, young adult novels, and historical fiction. In nonfiction, her favorites are lifestyle and cookbooks, but she also will consider memoir/biography, business/investing/finance, history, mind/body/spirit, health, and travel. Learn more about Susan 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.

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 2.43.30 PM.pngSherry Robb is a literary agent and founder of The Robb Company. In her own words: “Book development and selling books to publishers has been my main focus my whole professional life. Over the years I have launched the publishing careers of over 300 writers. My main interests are: psychological thrillers/suspense, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and how-to nonfiction books (any subject if the writer is an expert in the field of her/his choice). Another, more subtle desire is to find novels that have a unique and/or quirky voice even if the story line is unusual — or a story we have heard but told in a different way.” Learn more about Sherry 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 2020-01-08 at 12.09.04 PM.pngAnne Tibbets is a literary agent with D4EO Literary Agency and also a speculative fiction novelist herself. She is seeking: adult and young adult thrillers, mystery novels, science fiction novels, fantasy novels, historical, horror novels, and romance novels. Learn more about Anne here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 4.47.29 PM.pngRachel Beck is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates. Rachel is looking for: upmarket/book club women’s fiction in the vein of Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner and Liane Moriarty; light-hearted millennial fiction or contemporary romance like Kristan Higgins or Sophie Kinsella; character-driven, psychological/domestic suspense that contain fresh plots and mind-blowing premises; contemporary young adult, primarily issue-driven material that explores topics such as sexual assault, LGBTQ issues, etc.; and select nonfiction, such as feminist material; career/business/personal growth books; extreme underdog, survival, accomplishment, or rising-from-poverty type stories; select health and wellness books (especially mental health, eating disorders, any rare or underrepresented conditions, Alzheimer’s/memory books); books about football/the NFL; marathoner/triathlete memoirs; parenting books with new angles; books that explore cult life or extreme religion; 9/11 survival stories. Learn more about Rachel here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 2.52.20 PMTara Gilbert is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Agency. At the 2020 LA conference, she is taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as co-agents. Personally, she is seeking all kinds of young adult and middle grade, adult sci-fi, adult fantasy, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, and romance. On behalf of co-agents, she will take pitches for historical novels, women’s fiction, mainstream/general fiction, and children’s picture books. Learn more about Tara 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 2019-12-11 at 7.58.17 PMJemiscoe Chambers-Black is a jr. literary agent at Corvisiero Literary. She is seeking: mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, romance in all genres (especially in contemporary and fantasy), thriller, crime, fantasy, middle grade, young adult, and literary fiction. Learn more about Jemiscoe here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency. At the 2020 LA 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. 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.

        More 2020 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 2020 WCLA and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2019, 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 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:

  • Young adult, middle grade, and children’s picture books: Faculty member Gabrielle Prendergast, author of YA / MG / PB books for kids, will get your work in advance, critique 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. For picture book critiques, 1,000 words maximum please (can include illustrations or not).
  • Young adult (all kinds): Faculty member Sarah Enni, author of young adult novels, will get your work in advance, critique 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.
  • Adult science fiction and fantasy: Faculty member Lynn Flewelling, author of adult fantasy novels, will get your work in advance, critique 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.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction, upmarket fiction: Faculty member Rufi Thorpe, a published novelist, will get your work in advance, critique 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.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, historical fiction, memoir: Faculty member Eve Porinchak, editing coach and former literary agent, will get your work in advance, critique 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.
  • More critique options possibly forthcoming

How to pay/registerRegistration is now open.


To register by Google Forms, click on the link below to fill out the form. Once you submit the form and let us know everything you want at the conference, you will get instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check.

http://bit.ly/LARegistrationForm

Once the Google form is complete and payment is made (either check or PayPal), you will have reserved a seat at the event.

If you have any issues with the Google form, or would simply rather talk with someone via email, just reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com. She can 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 Writing Conference of Los Angeles will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, if you email her, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Los Angeles workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

(APRIL 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 Writing Conference of Los Angeles is postponed until 2021 for safety reasons. If you are signed up for the 2020 event as a paid attendee, or you would like to know more about WDW’s new 2020 online conferences — which include many recorded sessions, one-on-one pitching to agents by phone or Skype, and more — please see all info here, and be in contact with us anytime you want — writingdayworkshops@gmail.com.)

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: Registration is now open.


To register by Google Forms, click on the link below to fill out the form. Once you submit the form and let us know everything you want at the conference, you will get instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check.

http://bit.ly/LARegistrationForm

Once the Google form is complete and payment is made (either check or PayPal), you will have reserved a seat at the event.

If you have any issues with the Google form, or would simply rather talk with someone via email, just reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com. She can 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 Writing Conference of Los Angeles will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, if you email her, 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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2020 Agents to Pitch — Full List

Our 2020 WDW conferences for Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tampa have all been cancelled. Sorry about this news, but it’s for the best because of safety. That said, many of the attending literary agents to these three conferences have responded and said they are willing to still take one-on-one personal pitches — via phone or Skype or Zoom, etc — from attendees this spring. 

If you were set to attend any of those three 2020 WDW conferences and want to either move your registration in full to the 2021 event, or transfer your credit to either of our April 25 teleconferences — The Seattle Writing Workshop, or the Michigan Writing Workshop — then you can keep your 2020 pitches and use them on any agents attending either of the online events I just mentioned, or the growing list below (not just ones from the specific event you signed up for, but rather any open agent listed).

Be in touch with me (Chuck Sambuchino) at writingdayworkshops@gmail.com to discuss any next steps or ask questions.

(Keep in mind this list below will grow over April as we add new remote agents who want to be part of everything we’re doing. Also, because these three cancelled conferences — LA, SD, Fla. — were all in May, logically we will schedule pitches with these listed agents below either in early May sometime, or on the online conference weekend (for Seattle and Michigan) of April 25).

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Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 3.07.23 PM.pngKatherine Wessbecher is a literary agent with Bradford Literary Agency. In middle grade and young adult, historical fiction and fantasy have been favorites since she was young. But more than genre, she’s looking for the kinds of stories that transport her: to the past, an imagined world, or a perspective wholly different from her own. She’s drawn to stories that push readers to question their assumptions of the world. Her favorite picture books are the kind that make both kids and grown-ups laugh. Inventive premises, twist endings, and quirky characters are all good ways to pique her interest. Katherine is looking for upmarket adult fiction that straddles the literary and commercial divide. Books that inspire her list run the gamut from Where’d You Go, Bernadette to Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. She loves unexpected takes on familiar stories and flawed yet endearing characters. Katherine is actively seeking adult and juvenile narrative nonfiction—particularly projects that highlight stories the history textbooks left out. In the same vein, she’d love to work with nonfiction graphic novel projects like John Hendrix’s The Faithful Spy. Learn more about Katherine here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 11.01.53 PMMichael L. Joy is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. In fiction, he seeks character-driven commercial fiction in mystery/crime/suspense/thriller (including graphic novel script format; stories that transcend genre and have the potential to attract a wider audience (aka: upmarket fiction); new perspectives – #OwnVoices, race, gender, LGBTQ, or sub-culture – different POVs, obstacles and outcomes. In nonfiction, he seeks authors with good platform writing art, music, pop-culture or sub-culture topics, including positive mental and physical health for artist; true crime; and business self-help (ow to survive and keep positive while starting a business, running a business or working a high-pressure job). Learn more about Micheal here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 1.15.07 PMJessica Schmeidler is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary. She is seeking: general/mainstream fiction, mystery, romance, suspense/thriller, fantasy, science fiction, young adult and middle grade, religious nonfiction, children’s picture books, and Christian fiction. Golden Wheat Literary was founded in an effort to help connect Christian writers with the vast market of both Christian and secular publishers. To that end, the manuscripts that are accepted do not need to be overtly Christian, but must exist within the realities of Christian faith. If your manuscript’s elements can all be true without any part of God’s Word needing to step aside or be discounted, it is acceptable for submission/pitch. Learn more about Jessica here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 2.52.20 PMTara Gilbert is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Agency. At the 2020 LA conference, she is taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as co-agents. Personally, she is seeking all kinds of young adult and middle grade, adult sci-fi, adult fantasy, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, and romance. On behalf of co-agents, she will take pitches for historical novels, women’s fiction, mainstream/general fiction, and children’s picture books. Learn more about Tara 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 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.

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 2.43.30 PM.pngSherry Robb is a literary agent and founder of The Robb Company. In her own words: “Book development and selling books to publishers has been my main focus my whole professional life. Over the years I have launched the publishing careers of over 300 writers. My main interests are: psychological thrillers/suspense, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and how-to nonfiction books (any subject if the writer is an expert in the field of her/his choice). Another, more subtle desire is to find novels that have a unique and/or quirky voice even if the story line is unusual — or a story we have heard but told in a different way.” Learn more about Sherry here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency. At the 2020 LA 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. 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.

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 5.52.10 PM.pngAnnie Bomke is a literary agent and the founder of Annie Bomke Literary Agency. She is looking for adult and YA fiction and nonfiction, including commercial and literary fiction, upmarket fiction, mysteries (from hilarious cozies to gritty police procedurals and everything in between), historical fiction, magical realism, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers/suspense, literary/psychological horror, self-help, business, health/diet, cookbooks, memoir, relationships, current events, true crime, psychology, prescriptive nonfiction, and narrative nonfiction. She’s a sucker for locked room mysteries, books set in the Victorian era, books about evil children, and unreliable narrators. In any genre, she is looking for character-driven stories. She is especially interested in books that feature diverse characters. Learn more about Annie here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 6.31.09 PMCourtney Miller-Callihan is a literary agent and founder of Handspun Literary. She is always looking for stories she can’t stop reading. For adult fiction, Courtney represents mainstream/upmarket fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), mystery novels, and speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy). For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit. Learn more about Courtney here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.17.01 AM.pngCarlie Webber is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. She represents fiction in the genres of: young adult, middle grade, new adult, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, and romance. She does not want to rep picture books, easy readers, poetry, scripts or curriculum nonfiction. She no longer seeks nonfiction (or memoir) of any kind. Learn more about Carlie here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 6.31.13 PMBen Miller-Callihan is a literary agent with Handspun Literary Agency. His interests include: humor, young adult and middle grade novels, science fiction & fantasy (especially decolonial SF/F), cookbooks, mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related. Learn more about Ben here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AMVicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary (formerly with Jennifer De Chiara Literary). She is currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, and adult fiction. Vicki is especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. “I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.” Learn more about Vicki here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 9.55.15 PMKaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She is seeking upper middle grade, young adult, new adult romance, fantasy works (yes, that very much includes urban!) and time travel, romance (erotic elements OK), historical fiction (anything other than Henry VIII, Shakespeare, American Civil War, Greek gods/myths), contemporary (can grab her attention only if the concept is unique and well executed, LGBT welcome in all noted genres. Learn more about Kaitlyn here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.26.15 AM.pngAmanda Leuck is a literary agent with Spencerhill Associates. Amanda is currently seeking strong, character-driven stories with an unforgettable voice. She’s looking for literary and commercial YA, select adult sci-fi and fantasy, and romance in all genres, including edgy romantic suspense, contemporary, and paranormal with a fresh twist. Learn more about Amanda here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 2.39.57 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Literary. She is seeking mainstream/commercial fiction, family sagas, literary fiction, women’s fiction, RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. For young adult, she seeks contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, and fantasy. Beth is also starting to acquire a very select list of middle grade and picture books. Learn more about Beth here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 4.27.27 PM.pngRob Arnold is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Rob is interested in literary fiction and nonfiction, graphic novels, memoir and biography, science, technology, art, and narrative nonfiction exploring issues of race and gender and class. Rob is a Chamorro writer whose work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received support from the Somerville Arts Council and Artist Trust. Learn more about Rob here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 7.02.44 PMBen Grange is a literary agent at L. Perkins Associates. His tastes gravitate towards middle grade fiction, and he is particularly on the lookout for exceptional author-illustrators who write middle grade or young adult. He sometimes gets the inkling to read a great YA sci-fi or fantasy, particularly weird or slightly dark stories (à la The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Thanks to his time at JABberwocky, he also loves epic fantasy and science fiction, and although his focus is on middle grade and young adult, he won’t say no to a great adult fantasy or sci-fi. He is also interested in pop culture nonfiction for authors with established platforms. Learn more about Ben here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 8.54.34 PMGarrett Alwert is an associate literary agent with Emerald City Literary Agency. He is actively seeking new clients. He and the agency represent young adult and middle grade — specifically in the areas of romance, thriller/mystery, magical realism and sci-fi (no kidlit fantasy for him). Learn more about Garrett here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 3.51.11 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-12-18 at 11.14.09 PMJennifer Worick is the editorial director of Sasquatch Books. She is taking pitches beside associate editor Daniel Germain. They are seeking: “At Sasquatch, our adult acquisitions team acquires nonfiction books by Pacific Northwest authors, artists, influencers, and thought leaders on the following subjects: cookbooks, health and wellness, nature, house & home, self-help, craft and how-to, history, pop culture, and lifestyle, as well as memoir and books that capture the zeitgeist of our current culture in ways large and small.” Learn more about Jennifer and Daniel here.

Writing Conference of Los Angeles fully postponed — Here Are Your Options

Hi writers,

Thank you for signing up for the 2020 Writing Conference of Los Angeles on May 2. It was going to be our 3rd time in LA and we were excited about the event. Sadly, we have to fully cancel the event because of COVID and other complications. This is unfortunate news and these are strange times for small businesses like ours. We just informed the faculty, and they were sad but supportive.

Please read this whole email when you get the chance. While we previously reached out to you (Kerrie did) and said that we were turning it into a teleconference, but we have made the decision to fully postpone the event until 2021. Here’s what happens now. We will list out all details. Contact Kerrie or I (Chuck Sambuchino) anytime — writingdayworkshops@gmail.com

1. Critique options are still ON if you want them.

If you bought a query critique and/or a manuscript critique of your first 10 double-spaced pages, you can still choose to engage those specific options, if you wish. We don’t need an in-person event for you to enjoy those. I am doing the query critiques, so if you purchased one as an add-on element, you can still email me your query and I can send you back notes within 3 weeks. And for manuscript critiques, you can send the work to us, we send it to the critique faculty, then the faculty reaches out to you personally to arrange a 10-minute call/Skype to discuss their thoughts, and they also email you formal notes.

Please let us know if you bought add-on critiques and still want to engage.

Of the 2020 LA faculty who were set to do manuscript critiques, the following confirmed to us they are still happy to follow through on those critiques and talk with you afterward via Skype or phone:

  • Gabrielle Prendergast
  • Eve Porinchak
  • Rufi Thorpe
  • Lynn Flewelling

 

2. Still want to pitch literary agents? If you stick with us, you can! (And we even have more agents joining us!) Here’s how it works — you have 2 options.

We know that attendees really value one-on-one personal agent pitches. Our track record of success stories at our conferences speaks to the value of these personal talks.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so we will try to explain everything. But the gist is that if you either switch your registration to an upcoming WDW online conference (you have choices) OR you move your money to a credit for any 2021 WDW conference (logically LA 2021, but can be anywhere), then you can keep your agent pitches for this year, and also get an additional free agent pitch AND learn of more 2020 agents to pitch. We can explain.

Here’s the whole deal: Some of our spring conferences — such as LA — are cancelled. That said, a few of our larger upcoming spring events have been transformed into full Online Conferences — specifically these two events:

The Seattle Writing Workshop on April 25

The Michigan Writing Workshop on April 25

We are very excited about these online events. Here’s why — at a typical WDW three-track conference like the WCLA, you choose five classes you want to attend during the day, but miss the other ten. But with these new online events, we are recording all 15 of the day’s live classes, and all attendees get access to the 15 classes after the event. Plus — we the staffers are recording a few bonus classes to send out to attendees, as well. It works out very nice. Attendees still get critiques and engage their virtual agent pitches (phone or Skype, etc), and attendees actually get more classes in the end.

So if you’re stuck inside but looking to forward your writing career, switching your 2020 WCLA registration to either of these April 25 live online conferences would be an easy & great move. Feel free to click on both links and look at the schedule pages to see the class schedule for both. Both events have 15 total classes, but the classes/teachers, are completely different for either event. Remember all sessions are recorded, so even if you cannot see the webinars live on April 25, you still get all content sent to you afterward, and we will even forward your questions on to instructors for them to answer following the event. No question goes unanswered at a WDW online event.

Or — another choice — is that you simply move your registration to the 2021 WCLA in full. We do not yet have a date for our 2021 WCLA but presume it will be in the spring/summer once concerns have lessened considerably. Keep in mind if you transfer your money to 2021, we will assume it is for our LA event, but it can be for any city. If you don’t reply to this email, we will assume a credit to LA 2021 is fine by you.

If you choose either of these options and stay with us, then you can still enjoy your 2020 agent pitches, if you wish, and do them virtually over Skype or the phone or Zoom, etc. Agents have been happy to work with us through these changes.

But there’s more. If you stay with us and choose either of those two options — switch to a 2020 online event, or transfer registration to 2021 — here are the additional benefits:

a) We will give you a FREE additional agent pitch of your choosing to be used this year or next. If you had no agent pitches, now you have 1. If you had 3, now you have 4 — etc.

b) Your list of agents to pitch has actually gotten bigger with these cancellations. See, we had to cancel 3 upcoming conferences that were all back to back — our May 2 event in LA, our May 9 event in SD, and our May 16 event in Tampa. We reached out to the agents at each and asked them if they would be willing to do virtual pitches (Skype or phone) with attendees who still wanted to do those pitches in 2020. Many agents said yes, and since it’s all virtual/online this year, you can have your pick of ANY of these agents to pitch. See the whole list here of added virtual SD/LA/FLA agents, and remember this list is in addition to the lists for either Seattle and Michigan.

That means you can:

  • keep your current agent choices for pitches (IF the agents you had are still willing to do virtual pitches — see the list)
  • switch to any open agents on any of the lists (joint, SEA, MICH)
  • get one additional free pitch
  • purchase any additional agent pitches that you like — $29 a piece.

To see the full list of available agents you can pitch in 2020 if you stay with us, see here:

2020 Agents to Pitch (LA, SD, FLA, and more)

 

3. If none of this sounds good, you can get a refund.

If this is what you want, let us know. You do not need to make a decision right this moment. Feel free to take a week or two to consider.

If you choose a refund, please allow 30 days for a full refund to be enacted, as we are dealing with a lot right now. We appreciate you working with us through this. It’s a strange time for small events businesses like ours.

Do you want the refund by check? Then we need a full mailing address.

If you paid by PayPal and want the money back that way, just say so. It can be refunded.

Our usual refund policy is 50% and has been for five years, but these are unique times, so if you choose, you can have a full refund. Please remember us in the future, especially hopefully when the in-person event reboots in 2021.

And keep in mind that even if you want a full refund of registration & pitches, you can still engage/keep any critiques that you like (see point #1 above) — let us know. That said, regarding point #2 above, if you choose a full refund, you cannot pitch any participating agents this year.

Ask us any questions you want.

Thanks
Chuck Sambuchino and Kerrie Flanagan
writingdayworkshops@gmail.com

coordinators, Writing Day Workshops

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Melanie Castillo of Root Literary

Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 3.57.47 PMMelanie Castillo is a literary agent with Root Literary.

“I want to work with the kind of stories that both create and sustain life-long readers—books that make me sigh with contentment, learn something new, or take delight in the unexpected. Those stories stay with you, and they’re a gift I want to help give readers by lifting up the voices of talented and hard-working creatives.”

“I’m actively looking for fiction and narrative nonfiction. I’m especially excited to find high-concept commercial and literary leaning general fiction, young adult novels with a strong voice and propulsive pacing, and heartfelt and humorous middle grade novels across genres. I was born and raised in Southern California in a multi-cultural, blended family, so I have a soft spot for books that shine a spotlight on the nuances of family relationships and identity. In all cases—no matter what genre you’re writing in—I want to read books that are inclusive and that accurately reflect our world. I like characters who aren’t your typical lead and to be surprised by the unexpected.”

She is seeking:

ADULT:

-Upmarket fiction with elements of mystery/suspense in the vein of Celeste Ng’s EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU and Angie Kim’s MIRACLE CREEK.

-Basically any commercial fiction that could sit on a shelf next to Blake Crouch or Michael Crichton.

-Beautifully-written, well-researched, and expansive adult fiction that straddles the line between commercial and literary. A recent example is Madeline Miller’s CIRCE, but Barbara Kingsolver’s THE POISONWOOD BIBLE is a tried-and-true favorite. I’d also add anything that feels like a modern-day EAST OF EDEN.

YOUNG ADULT:

-Stealing a phrase jointly coined by my colleagues Holly Root and Molly O’Neill—I’d love a YA SFF or HF that can be summed up as “feelings while running.” There’s page-turning action and adventure, but there’s also an emotional undercurrent that carries through to those last pages.

-A slow burn romance (contemporary, rom-com, and fantasy).

MIDDLE GRADE:

-Heartwarming and adventurous contemporary middle-grade fiction. I especially love books that manage to be timeless while oh so subtly touching on timely topics in a way that doesn’t feel didactic. I find most of what I read in this space is in that sweet spot between literary and commercial (a trend you may be noticing here). A recent example is Root Literary author Lynne Kelly’s SONG FOR A WHALE.

-A darker fantasy (standalone or series) that feels reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS or Jim Henson’s THE DARK CRYSTAL. Both of these series, despite their different mediums, are epic in scope but so immersive, character-driven, and awe-inspiring that it never feels like work for the audience—instead, around every corner is another surprise.

-I’m constantly on the lookout for anything that reads like a Studio Ghibli film in both MG and YA (I love them all—especially Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle).

ABOUT THE AGENCY:

Literary agent Holly Root launched over two dozen New York Times bestsellers before founding Root Literary in 2017. The agency’s clients benefit from our agents’ proven skills in identifying talent, negotiating advantageous deals, and advocating for our books all the way from submission to publication. We offer our clients broad-based industry insights as well as individualized strategic thinking to empower each author to define and pursue their own unique path to success.

We love what we do, and we do it best in partnership with authors who combine skillful storytelling with the drive to build a lasting body of work.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rachael Dillon Fried of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 12.58.58 PM.pngRachael Dillon Fried is a literary agent with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Rachael is selectively growing her client list with a keen interest in women’s literary and commercial fiction. She hopes to build long-term relationships with clients who are passionate about developing their career.

Rachael enthusiastically joined Greenburger Associates in 2009 as an assistant to agent Heide Lange. She is a Rhode Island native and graduate of Brown University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, a television writer, and two energetic young boys.

Follow Rachael on Twitter @rachdillonfried

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rachel Beck of Liza Dawson Associates

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 3.21.51 PM.pngRachel Beck is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates.

Rachel Beck joined Liza Dawson Associates in 2020 after working at a boutique literary agency for 4 years. She has been in the publishing industry since 2009 and worked at Harlequin editing romance novels for nearly six years before transitioning her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for authors.

Rachel is looking for:

  • upmarket/book club women’s fiction in the vein of Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner and Liane Moriarty
  • light-hearted millennial fiction or contemporary romance like Kristan Higgins or Sophie Kinsella
  • character-driven, psychological/domestic suspense that contain fresh plots and mind-blowing premises
  • contemporary young adult, primarily issue-driven material that explores topics such as sexual assault, LGBTQ issues, etc.
  • and select nonfiction, such as feminist material; career/business/personal growth books; extreme underdog, survival, accomplishment, or rising-from-poverty type stories; select health and wellness books (especially mental health, eating disorders, any rare or underrepresented conditions, Alzheimer’s/memory books); books about football/the NFL; marathoner/triathlete memoirs; parenting books with new angles; books that explore cult life or extreme religion; 9/11 survival stories.

She is not interested in middle grade, picture books, epic/high fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, erotic romance, short stories or poetry.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sherry Robb of The Robb Company

Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 2.43.30 PM.pngSherry Robb is a literary agent and founder of The Robb Company.

In her own words: “Book development and selling books to publishers has been my main focus my whole professional life. Over the years I have launched the publishing careers of over 300 writers.”

“My main interests are: psychological thrillers/suspense, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and how-to nonfiction books (any subject if the writer is an expert in the field of her/his choice). Another, more subtle desire is to find novels that have a unique and/or quirky voice even if the story line is unusual — or a story we have heard but told in a different way.”