Schedule: 2023 Workshop

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 PWW is an Online Conference, on August 4-5. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

The schedule here is on Eastern time.



Friday, August 4, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: Unpacking the Query Letter, taught by Eric Smith. Publishing is a subjective industry — and guess what? Turns out the query letter is a bit subjective too. Where should the pitch start? Do you need comparable titles listed? Should you have a bio at the end? How do you pitch yourself as a nonfiction author? You’ll find a lot of different answers for each of these questions, and during our query letter chat, we’ll use real-world query letter examples to unpack what works, what doesn’t, and why you should always read submission guidelines.

10:45 – 11:45: Common First Chapter Mistakes in First Chapters, by Najla Mamou. Your first chapter sets the tone for the entire novel. (Scary, right?) It not only introduces the main character, it introduces you and your voice. Whether in a bookstore, in a library, or using an electronic device, the reader uses the first chapter to decide if they want to continue on after the first chapter. Yikes, a lot of pressure! So, what the must have elements of a first chapter? This class will start with the common mistakes and work our way back. Examine how to craft an excellent beginning that keeps readers (and agents interested).

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Bringing Characters to Life, taught by Kerrie Flanagan. Intriguing characters are the backbone of any good story. By examining motives, fears, desires, upbringing and other traits, you add depth to your characters, bringing them to life for your reader and making each personality unique. This workshop explores how successful authors do this in their writing. Then participants will learn and practice effective techniques such as, point of view descriptions and dialogue and begin to apply those to your own writing.

2:45 – 3:45: Build Your Own Story Universe: Monetizing Your Books by Building Bigger Stories, by Jaimie Engle.  Learn how to build a story universe that connects all your stories across multiple mediums in books, film, comics, gaming, and more to stand out in the marketplace and create an experience your fans will never want to leave!

4:00 – 5:00: Writing an Irresistible Nonfiction Book Proposal, taught by Dani Segelbaum. Nonfiction is a massive, murky category in the publishing world. How do memoirs fit in? Or lifestyle and cookbooks? On top of navigating those waters, it can also be hard to know what’s needed to write an irresistible nonfiction book proposal. What information do you need, and where do you start? A literary agent instructor will cover the golden rules of writing the perfect book proposal and help you unpack what’s needed to write something enticing and salable. The goal? Well, you want to get paid for your efforts. By the end of this presentation, you’ll have the tools to craft a finished proposal, plus tips on getting the best possible agent and deal for your book.

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Saturday, August 5, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: Create, Build, and Improve Your Author Website, taught by E.J. Wenstrom. Join Author E.J. Wenstrom for a hands-on workshop to create a basic author website and begin building your readership. Together, we will consider the pros and cons of different website service options and review the fundamentals of websites. This workshop will focus on what to put on your website — from what goes on a home page, to what subpages you need, and what add-ons to consider. If you have an established website, the class will also provide instruction on optimizing your site and getting more attention.

10:45 – 11:45: Picture This: How to Write Children’s Picture Books, taught by Gabrielle Prendergast. This workshop will cover the “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How” of picture books for children. With exercises and instruction exploring types of picture books, literary devices in picture books and where to find inspiration for picture books, we will discuss examples and analyze different techniques and styles. We will also discuss the picture book publishing process including querying publishers and working with illustrators. Attendees will leave with the tools to try their hand at writing picture book manuscripts suited to today’s market. 

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 PWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Your Book is Your Business, taught by Elizabeth Copps. This class will give aspiring authors essential tools to navigate the publishing industry at various stages of the publication process. Learn what makes the industry tick, and what strategies writers can add to their toolbox as they query agents. Additionally, you will understand what questions to ask a potential agent, and what they can (generally) expect from the process once they secure representation. The workshop is also interactive, with exercises to help them strengthen their queries, nail down their genres, and choose pitch-perfect comp titles.

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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 August 4-5, 2023 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 at least 10 more FREE classes on the side:

  1. Changes in the Publishing Industry — What Writers Need to Know to Succeed, taught by literary agent Rachel Beck at the 2023 Florida Writing Workshop.
  2. Improve Your Craft — How to Show, Not Tell, taught by author Shirin Leos at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
  3. Revise Like the Pros — How to Use Beta Readers in Your Life and Make Your Writing Better, taught by author Cherie Postill at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop.
  4. So, What Exactly Does a Literary Agent Do?, taught by literary agent Leticia Gomez at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  5. An Agent’s Tips on Writing Thriller & Mystery, taught by literary agent Jill Marr at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
  6. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction, taught by author and editor Madeline Smoot.
  7. How to Write a Stunning Nonfiction Book Proposal taught by literary agent Mary Demuth at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  8. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with literary agents at the Florida Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  9. Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel, with literary agents at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop.
  10. Copyright FAQs and Other Legal Topics, taught by literary agent Dana Newman at the 2022 Kansas City Writing Workshop.