Schedule: 2021 Workshop

All times listed below are
Eastern Time.

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

9:30 – 10:30: “Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes,” taught by Lesley Sabga. 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. Understand cliché openings, agent pet peeves, overused techniques, and more. Learn how to focus on how agents (and readers) like books to begin — with conflict, intrigue, and an interesting main character.

10:45 – 11:45: “Your Publishing Options for 2022,” taught by Sara Megibow. This session, taught by a literary agent, examines all the paths and choices you have for publishing or pitching your book in the coming year. Understand traditional publishing, small press publishing, and self-publishing. Take a deep look into the pros and cons of each path, and decide how yuu 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. 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: “How to Get a Literary Agent,” taught by Elizabeth Kracht. This course, taught by a literary agent, examines everything you need to know about literary agents and how to get one. 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,” taught by Eric Smith. This session, taught by a literary agent, examines query letters that rock, as well as a few that fell flat. You’ve only got one quick page to entice and impress an agent to read your manuscript — choose your words (and hook) carefully. This class will address the essential parts of any query, how to boil down your complex work into interesting sentences, and the things you should avoid when contacting an agent.

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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 5 classes happening December 11 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 5 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you at least 10 more FREE classes on the side:

  1. “This is Going to Be Harsh: 10 Things that Writers Need to Know About Writing and Publishing”–a class taught by agent Cecelia Lyra, with blunt tips and advice for aspiring writers.
  2. “An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today”—a class on understanding the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, taught by Chuck Sambuchino, former editor of the Guide to Literary Agents.
  3. “Self-Publishing: Top 10 Ways to Get it Right,” taught by author Marion Thomas. This class helps those interested in self-publishing books avoid potential pitfalls and mistakes.
  4. “Pursuing a Small Press Publisher for your Book,” taught by publisher Emily Victorson. If you don’t query agents but instead submit directly to publishers, know what you’re getting into.
  5. How to Think Like a Developmental Editor (and Write Well),” taught by editor Shirin Leos. Good writing is rewriting. Learn how to effectively self-edit your own work.
  6. “7 Touchpoints of Marketing for Authors,” by author E.J. Wenstrom. Sell more copies of your books, and build your presence online.
  7. “Writer’s Got Talent” – a Page 1 Critique Fest (San Diego). In this class, watch writers submit their anonymous manuscript first pages to agents, and hear agent praise and criticism of the work.
  8. “The Dos and Don’ts in Science Fiction & Fantasy World Building,” taught by agent Eric Smith. If you’re writing speculative fiction, this class will help you immensely in creating your world.
  9. “Picture Books: From Opening Line to Published Manuscript,” taught by author Reem Faruqi. This session is a great overview on how to write picture books for children, taught by a published author.
  10. How to Write Young Adult and Middle Grade that Sells,” taught by Jessica Burkhart. Writing novels for kids is so small feat. Get tips and advice with this class.
  11. “Romance 101,” taught by author Vicki Essex. This class is an intensive on writing romance novels, taught by a published author.
  12. “How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” taught by Brian Klems—a class specifically designed for writers of nonfiction who want to craft an awesome proposal and entice an agent/editor.