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.

————-

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.)

———

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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