Schedule: 2022 WCLA Workshop

ONLINE: The 2022 WCLA is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on September 9-10, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)



9:30 – 10:30: Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!), taught by Sera Rivers. What’s it like to crawl on your belly in complete darkness through a narrow passageway 150 feet below ground? What does the mouth of an active volcano look and smell like? Books, videos, audio clips, and the Internet make it possible to research just about anything—but the knowledge you gain is second hand. If you really want to know what your characters experience, you must live in their worlds. See what your characters see with your own eyes, feel what they feel, trace their steps as they journey to new lands. Find out how extreme research can strengthen your world building, plotting, and character development — and take your writing to the next level.

10:45 – 11:45: Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes, taught by agent Lesley Sabga. In this class, attendees will learn the most common reasons agents reject your manuscript after reading through sample pages or chapters as well as dive into what elements make a first chapter a success and get agents to request.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Crafting the Query Letter, taught by Jill Marr. You’ve finished your novel or completed your nonfiction proposal. Now it’s time to start pitching your project. So what do you do next? In this workshop taught by a literary agent, we will discuss the dreaded query letter, and how to write one that will get the attention of an agent or editor. What are the turn-ons and turn-offs? How do they make the judgment calls? With real-life examples of queries that do and don’t work, you will learn how you can refine your own query letter.

2:45 – 3:45: So You’ve Got an Agent … Now What? taught by Claire Harris. Signing with an agent is a huge accomplishment, but it’s only the beginning of your publishing journey. What happens after you’ve signed? Hear from literary agent Claire Harris about how to handle everything that comes next—from submission and auctions to working with your editor and career planning. Claire is ready to talk through all the additional steps in the publishing process that you might not even know about yet.

4:00 – 5:00:  Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account, taught by agent Paul S. Levine, Esq. Examine the four major ways authors make money from traditional book publishing. This session, taught by a literary agent and attorney, will explain advances, royalties, subsidiary rights, and much more. If you’re curious how money works in the publishing process, this class is for you.

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9:30 – 10:30: Publishing 101, taught by Amaryah Orenstein. In this seminar, you will sit down with an experienced literary agent who will offer an overview of the publishing process, spotlighting the different paths to publication for fiction and nonfiction writers, and demystify the role of the agent. In addition to other key tips on how to secure an agent, you will learn how (and how not) to pitch your work, and how to make a great first impression with your opening pages. You will also get an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about agents and the state of publishing.

10:45 – 11:45: The Biggest Myths of How to Land an Agent — Debunked! taught by Rachel Beck. 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.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, 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. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from WCLA attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: The Power in Choosing Your Dream, taught by Brittany J. Thurman. Understand fundamental steps every writer can take to cultivate the career they desire. This speech will provide key aspects and advice on how to lean into writing full time, especially through work, family and other demanding aspects of life.

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Classes are recorded (and this is amazing news)! With an in-person conference, attendees would miss snippets of classes because they leave the classroom to pitch, or make a phone call, or anything else. But the 10 classes happening March 4-5, 2022 are all recorded, which means we will send the days’ recording following the event. You can watch classes as many times as you want during the next six months. This is an exciting new element that we couldn’t include before. Also, we will be sending out all handouts for all classes to attendees in advance.


Lastly, having this new technology allows us WDW faculty members to pre-record sessions, too—meaning we will actually send attendees many extra FREE classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s 10 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you 12 more FREE classes on the side, for attending in 2022:

  1. “How to Write a Damn Fine Query Letter,” taught by literary agent Carlisle Webber.
  2. “Word Wizardry: Crafting a Stand-Out Voice,” taught by literary agent Kelly Peterson.
  3. “The Business of How Authors Make Money,” taught by literary agent Carly Waters
  4. “3 Things You Must Do Before Contacting a Literary Agent,” taught by literary agent Barb Roose.
  5. “7 Marketing Tips for Authors,” taught by published author E.J. Wenstrom.
  6. “How to Get Past Writer’s Block,” taught by literary agent Devon Halliday.
  7. “Traditional vs. Independent/Self-publishing, taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez.
  8. “How to Write Great Romance Novels,” taught by published author Sarah Zettel.
  9. “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy that Sells,” taught by published author Olivia Cole.
  10. “Ask an Agent Anything: A Q&A Panel” — a chance to see aspiring writers get expert answers and advice from literary agents.
  11. “So You’ve Finished Writing and Revising Your Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel,” taught by published author Julie Eshbaugh.
  12. “Writing and Selling Fiction vs. Nonfiction,” taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez.