Site icon The 2023 Writing Conference of Los Angeles

Schedule: 2023 WCLA Workshop

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCLA is an in-person event happening in Los Angeles on May 13, 2023. See you there.)

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Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

9:30 – 10:30: Session 1

1. How Do I Decide? Traditional vs. Indie Publishing (Room 402A)
, taught by Rachelle Gardner. There is plenty of information available on both traditional and self-publishing. But how do you choose between the two? This workshop will guide writers through the decision, allowing them to ignore the noise and hype and focus on their personal path. It’s a fair and balanced approach that avoids favoring one choice over the other–and instead teaches how to determine which choice best fits each individual’s situation.

2. Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account (Room 402B), taught by 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.

3. The Texture of Urgency: How to Deeply Engage Your Readers from the First Page to the Last (Room 404A), taught by Helga Schier. Urgency is not unique to thrillers and not always a function of a fast pace. Urgency drives all fiction, and a slow-moving passage can have you at the edge of your seat. Urgency may sit deep inside the subtext of a scene, manifest in a character’s motivation, or show in the ambiance of a setting. In fact, urgency is the very fabric of your novel. It is what engages readers in your plot and makes them care about your characters’ plight. So, how do you create that sense of urgency? This session will talk about the underlying storytelling strategies such as cliffhangers, smart cuts, masking and unmasking information, about creating ambiance and the art of the crawl, about tracing clues, pacing, and racing to the end.

10:45 – 11:50: Session 2

1. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Room 402A), taught by Brian Klems. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

2. Leveraging Social Media To Build Your Author Brand (Room 402B), taught by S.Z. Estavillo. Building your author brand is essential for all aspiring authors, regardless of your writing level. You don’t have to wait to become published to begin building your author brand, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Learn how to leverage smart content development strategy and social media management to build your platform.

11:50 – 1:15: Lunch on Your Own

You have 85 minutes on your own to break and eat.

1:15 – 2:30: Session 3

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (Room 402A), 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. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Room 402B), taught by Brian Klems. 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. The session will talk about platform, identifying your book’s place in the market, creating a great title (and subtitle), effective pitching, and more.

2:45 – 3:45: Session 4

1. Open Agent Q&A Panel (Room 402A). 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.

2. Navigating the Children’s Book Market (Room 402B), taught by Eve Porinchak. Ever thought about writing for children or teens? From picture books to young adult novels, children’s books are hotter than ever! Learn about the different age levels and genres, and how you can turn your original idea into a compelling story for young people. Author (and former agent) Eve Porinchak has guided hundreds of debut authors on their journeys taking their stories from concept to print.

3. Rise and Shine in the Slush Pile: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Submitting Your Manuscript (Room 404A), taught by Helga Schier. This session briefly explains what goes on behind the scenes of a publishing house and discusses how an awareness of submissions procedures can help you write a better manuscript. Fundamentals of the submissions process such as genre or page count or theme or even punctuation are not arbitrary; they are among the elements steering an acquisition editor’s decision – for good reasons we will explore. We will touch upon developing a query letter and sample chapters, and discuss a series of questions that will help you ensure that your manuscript develops naturally, your plot is paced well, your characters are relatable, and – most importantly – your work is creative and unique.

4:00 – 5:00: Session 5

1. Decolonizing Fiction (Room 402B), taught by Antoinette Van Sluytman. This class will focus on challenging the notion of there being an ideal and normative writing craft method. It centers an anti-colonial worldbuilding approach to telling our stories, and why that approach is so important to the publishing industry today. The goal is to broaden our modern perception of writing craft, primarily in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, by deconstructing the colonial lens in literature and analyzing how modern writers use non-western inspirations as expressions of anticolonialism. This class will help guide writers from the diaspora who are seeking to use fiction writing as a way of reclaiming culture and celebrating heritage.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Room 402A), taught by Brian Klems. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny. This is a general course that addresses commonsense things any writer can do to give their work the best shot at getting published, such as writing the best thing they can, stealing from themselves, and why writing for love and money is a good idea.

5:00: The Day is Over

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We will actually send attendees extra FREE pre-recorded classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s classes to enjoy live and in person, we will also send you 5 more free recorded classes on the side, from amazing instructors. In the week leading up to your in-person conference, we will send all confirmed attendees these classes below, some of which will aid in your pitching efforts:

  1. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an In-Person Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber.
  2. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an Online Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber.
  3. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the online 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  4. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the online 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  5. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the online 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
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