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. How to Create and Strengthen the Opening Image of Your Book, taught by attending agent Michelle Jackson. In this interactive class, a literary agent instructor walks you through the opening images of books to help you learn how to create and strengthen the A-HA moments of your writing. In addition to her teaching, attendees will have time to work with other attendees to improve the opening images of your book in a workshop environment.

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. Query Like a Pro, taught by literary agent Kat Kerr. This class examines how to write an awesome query letter that gets agent attention and requests to see more of your writing. We will examine how to construct a query, what goes into an effective pitch, and the differences between a query letter for fiction vs. a query letter for nonfiction.

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. Between the Covers: How to Write a Romance Novel That Sells, taught by Anna Harrington. Ever wanted to try writing happily-ever-afters but didn’t know where to start? This session will give you the inspiration you need to start, along with all the behind-the-scenes knowledge of what should go on between the covers of a well-written romance novel. (Hint: very little of it has to do with sex.) You’ll learn the difference between romance and plot, when alpha males and swooning heroines just won’t do, why tycoons and dukes rule the romance world, and how to create all the conflict and attraction necessary to keep your readers turning the pages and wondering how on earth your two main characters will ever end up together. You’ll also learn insider information about book titles, pen names, and the importance of pitching high-concept series ideas—everything you’ve always wanted to know about writing romance but were afraid to ask.

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. You Have an Agent Offer or Book Contract, Now What?,  taught by literary agent Carlisle Webber. Many writers seek to get an agent and book deal. But what happens after these steps? Hear from a  literary agent on how to effectively work with a literary agent, what to expect in the submissions process, what it’s like to work with a publishing house editor, how to sell multiple books in your career, and much more. 

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.