Schedule: 2023 Workshop

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online and in-person events. This next ATLWW is an in-person event happening in the north suburbs on March 11, 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. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. 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. 10 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me About Marketing My Book, taught by Gilly Segal. When your book is ready to go, you don’t want it just sitting around collecting dust–you want it to sell! Author Gilly Segal shares ten important action items all writers should consider when harnessing the power of public appearances, online appearances and social media for promotion.

10:45 – 11:50: Session 2

1. Everything You Need to Know About Revisions, Editing, and Feedback, taught by Gilly Segal. Completing a first draft is tough, but the real work begins during the editing process. Author Gilly Segal walks you through how to collect valuable feedback on your manuscript, how to decipher the helpful notes from the not-so-helpful notes, and, most important, how to edit your work to make your book the best it can be. 

2. “The End” — Now What? Everything You Need to Understand, From a Finished Draft to Your Whole Career. The session outlines in detail the steps needed after writers complete their first draft of a novel or other full-length book. Topics covered include getting feedback, doing revisions and working with editors and beta readers, as well as how to proceed to the marketing phase of your journey with queries, synopses, loglines, and Twitter pitches. We will cover the differences between traditional and indie publishing and discuss the pros and cons of working with agents. Attendees will leave with insider knowledge of the publishing business and ideas about how to plan their next steps.

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, 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. 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. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from AWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

2. Character-Centered Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Science fiction and fantasy (speculative fiction) authors devote hours of research and thought to building the world of their story. But explaining complex magic systems and cultures can leave readers feeling like they’re drowning in detail, and writers often struggle to decide which details of their worlds to disclose when. In this presentation, a literary agent will share his approach to crafting fantasy worlds rooted in character conflict, demonstrating an approach to let exposition flow naturally while that the same time raising the emotional stakes of the story.

4:00 – 5:00: Session 5

1. The Art of Storytelling, taught by Zachary Steele. Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Whether you are a student of the three or four act method, moving characters through a plot is where the art of storytelling begins. But to truly have your story sing, it needs tension. It needs a personal flaw your character must overcome. It needs structure. Join Broadleaf Writers Founder & Executive Director, and author of The Weight of Ashes and Perfectly Normal (July 2023), Zachary Steele for a presentation on the elements and art of storytelling. From the inciting event to the resolution, the road to great storytelling weaves through the beats and debates your characters must endure. Learn the path and get your manuscript ready for readers.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success. 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.

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.