The 2021 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop: December 11, 2021

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2017, 2019, and 2020 events in Pittsburgh, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2021 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on December 11, 2021. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

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 online “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 2021 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop!

ONLINE: The 2021 PWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on December 11, 2021. 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.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on December 11, 2021. 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. And even though this is the “Pittsburgh” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online 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 2021 PWW agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Julie Stevenson (Massie & McQuilkin)
  • literary agent Karly Dizon (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Allison Hellegers (Stimola Literary Studio)
  • literary agent Dani Segelbaum (Carol Mann Agency)
  • literary agent Becky LeJeune (Bond Literary)
  • literary agent Ann Rose (Prospect Agency)
  • literary agent Ella Marie Shupe (Belcastro Literary)
  • literary agent Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman Literary)
  • literary agent Cortney Radocaj (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Jen Nadol (The Unter Literary)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Emily Williamson (Williamson Literary)
  • literary agent Weronika Janczuk (Janczuk Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Victoria Dillman (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Lesley Sabga (Seymour Literary)
  • literary agent Kirsten Aguilar (Ladderbird Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Carrie Howland (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Tori Sharp (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Jordan Hill (New Leaf Literary)
  • literary agent Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberley Cameron & Associates)
  • literary agent Bre Stephens (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Eva Scalzo (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Amy Giuffrida (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Carlisle Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Paul Levine (Paul Levine Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Cate Hart (Harvey Klinger Literary)
  • and probably 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 coordinators Chuck Sambuchino and Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: The 2021 PWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on December 11, 2021. 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.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (DECEMBER 11, 2021):

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.

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

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes.” This class, taught by a literary agent, will explain the most common reasons agents reject your manuscript after reading through your sample pages or chapters.

10:45 – 11:45: “Your Publishing Options for 2022.” Understand traditional publishing, small press publishing, and self-publishing. Take a deep look into the pros and cons of each path, and decide how you can best strategize your author career. 

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.

2:45 – 3:45: “How to Get a Literary Agent.”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, submission dos and don’ts, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

4:00 – 5:00: “Query Letter Essentials.” This class will address the essential parts of any query, how to boil down your complex work into interesting sentences in the query, and the pet peeves you should avoid when contacting an agent.

 

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

(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.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

————-

PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary. In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance novels (all subgenres except inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy novels. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction. She is interested in submissions from diverse authors. Learn more about Eva here, as well as her specific interests and what is seeking from writers.

Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents. Julie represents literary and upmarket fiction, suspense, memoir, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, young adult fiction, and children’s picture books. She is drawn to powerful storytelling in these categories and looks for unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, a strong sense of narrative tension, and stories that explore the depths of human experience, particularly the many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, social justice, and regional backgrounds. Julie specializes in editorial development of both fiction and nonfiction projects and values the creativity and collaboration of the agent-author relationship. Learn more about Julie here.

Karly Dizon is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. Karly has a deep love for characters with a strong voice and seeks out stories she can get lost in. Diversity in genre fiction is a major bonus. She specializes in middle grade and young adult genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary). In addition to designing a wide range of print and web promotional material for clients, Karly creates book covers for Short Fuse and promotional graphics for Fuse authors. Learn more about Karly here.

Jen Nadol is a literary agent with The Unter Agency. Jen is not currently considering picture books. That said, the agency is seeking: “We are interested in seeing quality fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness. Additionally, we are looking for all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult).” Learn more about Jen here.

Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency, with a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction. Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), middle grade, and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, middle grade, essay collections, and blog to book ideas. Learn more about Eric here.

Dani Segelbaum is a literary agent with the Carol Mann Agency. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks. In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices. Learn more about Dani here.

Tori Sharp is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She is ONLY open to middle grade novels as well as children’s graphic novels. “As a graphic novelist myself, I am eager to represent stunning, playful, diverse, and important comics for kids in elementary through high school. I love comics that are heartfelt and gestural, and I tend to like art styles that look animated and soft, but bright. I am also currently looking for upbeat middle-grade manuscripts that make readers think about the world around them in a new way—especially fantasy, high-concept fiction, and memoirs. I gravitate toward stories that are simultaneously silly and sincere. I am looking for clearly defined magic, intimate stakes, and clever twists that I won’t be able to stop thinking about.” Learn more about Tori here.

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. Concerning what he seeks, Ken is a generalist, and represents adult fiction and nonfiction of all types. He does not want pitches for children’s books or novels of any kind. Learn more about Ken Sherman here.

Ann Rose is a literary agent with Prospect Agency. She is seeking all kinds of young adult fiction; she loves stories with heart & humor, strong characters that stand up for their convictions, thrillers, and stories that deal with the issues kids face today. She seeks middle grade across all genres, especially ones that push the boundaries. For adult fiction, she wants swoony romances (any level but erotica), very light sci-fi or fantasy, fresh retellings, heartwarming contemporaries, unique voices, diverse perspectives, vivid settings, and stories that explore tough topics. Learn more about Ann here.

Kirsten Aguilar is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.  Currently, she is only looking for Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. She is not open to YA, MG or PB. Across the board, she is looking for work that represents the complexity, intersectionality and diversity of the world without tokenization. She is especially dedicated to representing writers of marginalized communities whose stories are often left out of the publishing landscape.  Across all categories, she would love to see more works-in-translation. She seeks literary fiction, commercial/upmarket fiction, thriller, and mystery. In nonfiction, she likes creative (narrative) nonfiction. Learn more about Kristen here.

Jordan Hill is a literary agent at New Leaf Literary. A Texas transplant, Jordan graduated from Smith College with a degree in English Language and Literature. After a year of handselling books at the Odyssey Bookshop in Massachusetts, she packed up and moved to NYC. There she found herself at a creative agency as an Account Director focusing on all things branding and marketing. She wanted to find her way back into the book world and now at New Leaf, assists Joanna Volpe in marketing, publicity campaigns, and reading queries. It is her life goal to find the perfect notebook, the perfect pair of jeans, and the perfect cheeseburger. Learn more about Jordan here.

Lesley Sabga is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. She is seeking: Lesley loves intricate and vivid world-building and character-driven plots. She is acquiring young adult and adult fiction. She is always down to read dark and twisty suspense or thriller featuring strong, female protagonists. She also loves curling up with a good cozy mystery. For non-fiction, Lesley would love to see more self-help, lifestyle, true crime, and pop culture submissions in her inbox. Always open to diversity, Lesley is actively looking for marginalized authors to bring into the literary world. Learn more about Lesley here.

Elizabeth Kracht is a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates. Having lived in cities such as New York, San Francisco and San Juan, Puerto Rico, she is compelled by multicultural themes and characters and is drawn toward strong settings. In fiction, she represents literary, commercial, women’s, thrillers, mysteries, historical, and crossover YA. In nonfiction, she is interested in high concept, health, science, environment, prescriptive, investigative, true crime, voice- or adventure-driven memoir, sexuality, spirituality, and animal/pet stories. Learn more about Elizabeth here.

Bre Stephens is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. In adult fiction, she seeks: gothic, horror, speculative, fantasy, psychological Realism, detective/mystery. In middle grade & young adult, she seeks: gothic, horror, fantasy, psychological realism, detective/mystery, slice of life, adventure, coming of age, graphic novels. In nonfiction, she seeks art, history, personal journey, healing, memoir, biography, and self-help. Learn more about Bre here.

Allison Hellegers is a literary agent and rights director at Stimola Literary Studio. As both Foreign Rights Director and Literary Agent, Allison’s tastes lean towards books that have emotional hooks mixed with strong plot, film/TV and/or translation appeal, and take the reader on a journey. “Please send me your middle-grade and young adult submissions: I’m looking for strong, real voices (#ownvoices a plus, especially LGBTQ+ and BIPOC), diverse stories, gut-wrenching romance and impossible love triangles, coming-of-age family dynamics/drama, charming magical realism, quirky humor, survival stories, 80s/90s nostalgia, and books that have a profound new angle and emotionally resonate. Above all, it should say something new, uniquely. Please do NOT send picture book texts, but I would look at an author-illustrator submission with an already existing dummy. For adult fiction and nonfiction, I’m drawn to powerful and engaging stories told from the voices that we don’t often hear. I love psychological drama, gripping family dysfunction and stories that go in unexpected directions.” Learn more about Allison here.

Weronika Janczuk is a literary agent with Janczuk Literary Agency (JLA). JLA represents a full range of literary works, fiction and nonfiction both, ever-hungry for smart writing and narrative, with interests that range the entire genre spectrum. “We love distinct voices, and books which hit the literary-commercial sweet spot. It is not rare for us to discover and love eclectic projects, especially those that challenge genre lines.” JLA Is seeking the following fiction genres: young adult, literary, commercial, women’s, crime, mystery, thriller, romance, science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, and picture books (writers, illustrators). On the nonfiction side, JLA is particularly interested in hearts and minds with personal, academic, or otherwise professional experiences that have the capacity to leave impact (social, cultural, political, intellectual, practical, or otherwise). We also love projects that show healthy degrees of intelligence, research, and advancing discourse. On the narrative nonfiction side, to start: Send us philosophy, theology, psychology, history, politics, economics, journalism, (pop) science, (pop) culture, technology, business, social commentary, memoir, and humor. With regards to more practical nonfiction, we seek books that examine family, marriage, sex, health & wellness, public speaking, writing, reading, lifestyle, art, architecture, and design, as well as any form of innovative and structural how-to’s. Learn more about Weronika here.

Victoria Dillman is a literary agent with Howland Literary. Victoria is most interested in adult literary/upmarket fiction and narrative and expert-driven nonfiction. She would particularly like to hear from underrepresented communities including neurodivergent, queer, and BIPOC voices. In fiction, she looks for a well-paced plot with a strong, distinctive voice. She is fascinated by complex and nuanced characters with conflicting desires. She especially loves literary fiction with a speculative or magical element. She is also intrigued by hybrids of literary-genre fiction: pieces that work to subvert genre conventions. She will always be captured by family relationships, particularly the complexities of sibling dynamics and intergenerational trauma. In nonfiction, she is looking for projects that have a passion for and in-depth knowledge of niche topics. She is drawn to narratives that focus on the individual and offer fresh perspectives on our world. Some of the topics she is interested include social justice, climate change, mental health, cults, true crime, and counterculture. Learn more about Victoria here.

Amy Giuffrida is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. “​I am always looking for #ownvvoices stories written by traditionally underrepresented authors that feature BIPOC and LGBTQ+ characters.” In middle grade and young adult, she seeks horror, romance, contemporary, and mystery. In adult fiction, she seeks horror, romance, romantic comedies, and psychological thrillers. In nonfiction (all ages from MG to adult), ” I am looking for powerful stories from diverse voices, including cookbooks that highlight family stories or ancestral anecdotes.” Learn more about Amy here.

Becky LeJeune is a literary agent with Bond Literary. Becky spent 5 years as an acquisitions editor at The History Press before joining Sandra at BLA in 2014. She is interested in adult and teen general fiction, horror, mystery/thriller, historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and cookbooks. Learn more about Becky here.

Cortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. As a member and advocate of both the LGBT and neurodiverse communities, Cortney adores seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. She is seeking: young adult, new adult, and adult. She is looking for LGBT (particularly F/F), neurodiversity, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology/fairytale retellings, gothic, paranormal, contemporary, horror, and magical realism. Learn more about Cortney here.

Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary. Carlisle is looking for: high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you. Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities. Pitch her: Middle grade (any genre), Young adult (any genre), thriller, mystery, suspense, horror, women’s fiction, and popular/mainstream fiction. Learn more about Carlisle here.

Cate Hart is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency. She is particularly drawn to oft forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. In nonfiction, she seeks narrative stories, history, film/TV/theatre, pop culture, and music. In fiction, she seeks historical, commercial, women’s, romance, fantasy, mystery, psychological thriller, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Cate 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.

Carrie Howland founded Howland Literary after thirteen years as an agent, most recently at Empire Literary. Carrie is accepting submissions for: adult literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction as well as memoir, narrative and prescriptive nonfiction. Learn more about Carrie here.

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and the founder of Williamson Literary. In adult fiction she is looking for lyrical prose, stories with unique settings, adventure, international, fantasy/sci-fi or science inspired, magical realism. For children’s, she seeks stories that talk up to kids, that inspire and build confidence with cleverness and humor. Prefers middle grade over YA; no picture books. Nonfiction interests: history, sports, science, environmental, narrative, and a solid author platform. Currently looking for science or adventure/travel narratives in the vein of books such as Shadow of the Silk Road or The Sports Gene. Learn more about Emily here.

Ella Marie Shupe is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. In adult fiction, she is seeking: mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. In young adult, she is seeking thriller, suspense, mystery, detective, and historical. “I am always looking for #OwnVoices authors. I love fast-paced stories that keep me on the edge of my seat.” Learn more about Ella Marie here.

 

 

        More 2021 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.

These one-on-one (virtual) 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:

$149 — Base price for registration to the 2021 PWW and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10 additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of fall 2021, 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 organizers. (This rate is a special event value for Pittsburgh Writing Workshop 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 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:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Bailey, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Children’s picture books, middle grade, young adult, memoir, historical fiction, general fiction: Faculty member Eve Porinchak, a former agent turned publishing coach, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. Children’s picture books should be 1,000 words maximum, and can or cannot have illustrations.
  • Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance (no erotica), contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, young adult (including genre YA and SF/F): Faculty member Amber Royer, author and writing instructor repped by Jennie Goloboy of Donald Maass Literary Agency, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Pittsburgh workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: The 2021 PWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on December 11, 2021. 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.)

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The PWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Pittsburgh 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 or CC refund]. 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 started edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julie Stevenson of Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents

Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents.

Julie represents literary and upmarket fiction, suspense, memoir, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, young adult fiction, and children’s picture books. She is drawn to powerful storytelling in these categories and looks for unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, a strong sense of narrative tension, and stories that explore the depths of human experience, particularly the many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, social justice, and regional backgrounds. Julie specializes in editorial development of both fiction and nonfiction projects and values the creativity and collaboration of the agent-author relationship.

She’s agented books that have won the Pulitzer Prize, the MWA Edgar Award, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the National Book Critics Circle Finalist recognition, the Caldecott Honor, and the Eisner Award nomination. Before she became an agent, Julie worked in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly. A Montana native, she received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dani Segelbaum of the Carol Mann Agency

Dani Segelbaum is a literary agent with the Carol Mann Agency.

Dani joined the Carol Mann Agency in 2021 as a literary agent and subrights manager. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks.

In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Dani is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication where she studied journalism and political science. She has been a voracious reader for as long as she can remember. Dani began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins Publishers, focusing primarily on highly designed nonfiction titles. She previously worked as a literary assistant at New Leaf Literary & Media, working with established and debut authors.

A few books she loves… A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein, Coming To My Sense by Alice Waters, Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Dani spends her free time exploring the streets of her neighborhood and trying the latest restaurants in town. Her guilty pleasures include cookbooks (seriously, she has way too many), reading the newspaper in the middle of the night, and baking dozens of delicious baked goods for friends and family (she does use the cookbooks).

Dani is addicted to the joy of discovering new work, she is always open to queries. You can follow Dani on Instagram and Twitter or email her at dani@carolmannagency.com.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Victoria Dillman of Howland Literary

Victoria Dillman is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

Before Howland Literary, Victoria Dillman was an assistant and foreign rights associate at Sobel Weber Associates and an intern at Linda Leith Publishing, as well as a reader for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Awards. She holds a B.A. in English from McGill University, and an MFA in Fiction from The New School. Her pronouns are she/her.

Victoria is most interested in adult literary/upmarket fiction and narrative and expert-driven nonfiction. She would particularly like to hear from underrepresented communities including neurodivergent, queer, and BIPOC voices.

In fiction, she looks for a well-paced plot with a strong, distinctive voice. She is fascinated by complex and nuanced characters with conflicting desires. She especially loves literary fiction with a speculative or magical element. She is also intrigued by hybrids of literary-genre fiction: pieces that work to subvert genre conventions. She will always be captured by family relationships, particularly the complexities of sibling dynamics and intergenerational trauma. As someone who grew up internationally, Victoria is drawn to narratives exploring transitory homes and cultures.

In nonfiction, she is looking for projects that have a passion for and in-depth knowledge of niche topics. She is drawn to narratives that focus on the individual and offer fresh perspectives on our world. Some of the topics she is interested include social justice, climate change, mental health, cults, true crime, and counterculture.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lesley Sabga of The Seymour Agency

Lesley Sabga is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency.

Lesley has worked as an editorial assistant and freelancer for multiple publishing houses such as Entangled, Jolly Fish Press and Flux Books, as well as Sourcebooks. She’s also been working for The Seymour Agency since 2014.

Starting out as an eager intern, she worked her way up to being a literary assistant, and in the fall of 2017, Lesley became an agent with The Seymour Agency. Lesley is a member of AAR.

She is seeking: Lesley loves intricate and vivid world-building and character-driven plots. She is acquiring young adult and adult fiction. She is always down to read dark and twisty suspense or thriller featuring strong, female protagonists. She also loves curling up with a good cozy mystery. For non-fiction, Lesley would love to see more self-help, lifestyle, true crime, and pop culture submissions in her inbox. Always open to diversity, Lesley is actively looking for marginalized authors to bring into the literary world.

When she is not rescuing animals or searching for her next debut author, Lesley is a constant occupant at local bookstores in Colorado Springs and is a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tori Sharp of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Tori Sharp is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Tori joined JDCLA as an Associate Literary Agent in 2020 after a two-year internship. Tori has a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and her bestselling graphic memoir, JUST PRETEND, is out from Little, Brown. When she’s not reading, writing, or making comics, she can be found swing and blues dancing, playing tabletop games, or admiring her tiny poodle in beautiful Seattle, WA. Tori represents all manner of children’s literature.

She is ONLY open to middle grade novels as well as children’s graphic novels.

SHE SEEKING:

Children’s graphic novels:

“As a graphic novelist myself, I am eager to represent stunning, playful, diverse, and important comics for kids in elementary through high school. I love comics that are heartfelt and gestural, and I tend to like art styles that look animated and soft, but bright. I would jump at a raw but playful middle-grade graphic memoir, slice-of-life comic strip collections, or stories that feel like fairy tales. I also adore contemporary and historical fiction in comics. I love romcoms, action-adventures, and modern witchcraft. Some of my favorite comics are Catboy, Crush, Nimona, Fake Blood, The Prince and the Dressmaker, On a Sunbeam, Lore Olympus, and Check, Please!”

Middle grade prose:

“I am currently looking for upbeat middle-grade manuscripts that make readers think about the world around them in a new way—especially fantasy, high-concept fiction, and memoirs. I gravitate toward stories that are simultaneously silly and sincere. I am looking for clearly defined magic, intimate stakes, and clever twists that I won’t be able to stop thinking about.

“My favorite novels include Saffy’s Angel, The School Story, Ella Enchanted, Eliza and her Monsters, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spinning Silver, Blood Water Paint, and Chaotic Good.

Note:

“Currently, I am open to queries for children’s graphic novels and middle-grade prose only. I love to see silliness, silliness, silliness. I like prose that is strange and joyful, while also being grounded, smart, and evocative; I love a balance of humor and heartfelt moments. I have a soft spot for chaotic/trickster characters, proactive main characters, riddles and lateral thinking problems in the narrative, thoughtful neurodivergent representation, LGBTQ+ characters, and invisible disabilities. If your project features healthy, reciprocal friendships, creativity, geekery, saying “no,” or kids with big dreams, send it my way.

“Please do not pitch me any unsolicited queries for the picture book or adult markets. I’m not the right agent for horror or “grimdark” projects, stories about sexual assault, medical dramas, religious fiction, or “issue books.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Weronika Janczuk of Janczuk Literary Agency

Weronika Janczuk is a literary agent with Janczuk Literary Agency (JLA).

JLA represents a full range of literary works, fiction and nonfiction both, ever-hungry for smart writing and narrative, with interests that range the entire genre spectrum.

We love distinct voices, and books which hit the literary-commercial sweet spot. It is not rare for us to discover and love eclectic projects, especially those that challenge genre lines.

JLA is interested in representing fiction of the following genres:

  • young adult
  • literary
  • commercial
  • women’s
  • crime/mystery/thriller
  • romance
  • sci-fi/fantasy
  • graphic novels
  • picture books (writers, illustrators)

We are not interested in middle grade novels.

On the nonfiction side, JLA is particularly interested in hearts and minds with personal, academic, or otherwise professional experiences that have the capacity to leave impact (social, cultural, political, intellectual, practical, or otherwise). We also love projects that show healthy degrees of intelligence, research, and advancing discourse.

On the narrative non-fiction side, to start: Send us philosophy, theology, psychology, history, politics, economics, journalism, (pop) science, (pop) culture, technology, business, social commentary, memoir, and humor. With regards to more practical nonfiction, we seek books that examine family, marriage, sex, health & wellness, public speaking, writing, reading, lifestyle, art, architecture, and design, as well as any form of innovative and structural how-to’s.

Despite being a boutique literary agency in size, we maintain a corporate and entrepreneurial spirit, oriented to longevity and efficacy, nourishment and nurture, formation and development, as well as structure and selection, for authors, their books, our staff, our colleagues and co-agents, as well as the networks we build, manage, and maintain.

We are members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

Weronika (/vɛ.rɔˈɲi.ka/) (Veronica) E. K. Janczuk is the founder of the Janczuk Literary Agency.

Weronika began her work in trade book publishing in 2009, during a high school work-study that placed her in an internship with a small imprint in Minnesota. She then worked with the industry’s best agents, including Lynn C. Franklin (1946-2021), Kathleen Anderson, Jenny Bent, and Mary Kole (formerly of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency), and agented from 2010-2012, while an undergrad at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, building a list that included the first four books of Campbell Award-winning and two-time Hugo Award-nominee novelist Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence.

At NYU, she studied creative writing under the direction of Dr. June Foley, wrote and served as editor for her undergraduate literary and literacy journals, and aided literacy-related projects on NYC’s Lower East Side. She graduated NYU in December 2013.

After five years working for two international non-profits on education- and health-related programming, Weronika returned to the world of corporate book publishing, opening JLA in the fall of 2019.

Born in Canada to parents who immigrated as political exiles from communist Poland, Weronika moved to the USA in 1998. Fluent in Polish and English, today she is privileged to be a rare tri-citizen: Polish, Canadian, and American. She lives in Brooklyn.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eric Smith of P.S. Literary Agency

Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency, with a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction. He’s worked on award-winning and New York Times bestselling titles, and began his publishing career at Quirk Books.

A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books and the publishing industry regularly appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. He also occasionally writes books when he finds the time, like his latest, Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).

Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), middle grade, and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, middle grade, essay collections, and blog to book ideas.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jen Nadol of The Unter Agency

Jen Nadol is a literary agent with The Unter Agency.

Jen has worked in publishing for over ten years, first as a Young Adult author with novels published by Bloomsbury USA and Simon and Schuster. After a one year internship with Entangled Publishing, she joined The Unter Agency as an Associate Agent. Jen is originally from Reading, PA, graduated from American University with a BA in literature and has lived in Washington D.C., Boston, NYC, and now, an old farmhouse north of the city with her three sons.

She is not currently considering picture books.

The agency is seeking: “We are interested in seeing quality fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness. Additionally, we are looking for all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult).”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Bre Stephens of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Bre Stephens is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

Bre has 13 years of experience as a writer, publisher, educator, literary judge, and editor. She has worked as an Editor-in-Chief of a literary magazine and has taught university composition, technical writing, and creative writing. Bre holds an MA in English and Creative Writing, an M.Ed. in ESL, and a BA in Art History. In her spare time, she loves attending Japanese festivals and learning more about world cultures.

In adult fiction, she seeks:

  • Gothic
  • Horror
  • Speculative
  • Fantasy
  • Psychological Realism
  • Detective/Mystery

In Middle Grade & Young Adult, she seeks:

  • Gothic
  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Psychological Realism
  • Detective/Mystery
  • Slice of Life
  • Adventure
  • Coming of Age
  • Graphic Novels

In nonfiction, she seeks: ​

  • Art
  • History
  • Personal Journey
  • Healing
  • Memoirs
  • Biographies
  • Self-Help

NOTE: Anything with a darker tone/theme is especially of interest. VAMPIRES, monsters, inner-struggle, mental health awareness, angels/demons, pirates are all welcome.

​She is NOT seeking:

Science Fiction

Cosmic Horror

Weird Horror

Romance

Pandemic Stories