After a successful launch in 2015, the San Diego Writing Workshop is back for 2017! Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2017 San Diego Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in San Diego, CA, on May 20, 2017.
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 seats at the event (125 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2017 San Diego Writing Workshop!
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza San Diego. 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.
This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the 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 faculty so far includes:
- literary agent Thao Le (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency)
- literary agent Valerie Noble (Donaghy Literary Group)
- literary agent Annie Bomke (Annie Bomke Literary)
- literary agent Taylor Martindale (Full Circle Literary)
- literary agent Elise Capron (Sandra Dijsktra Literary Agency)
- literary agent Patricia Nelson (Marsal Lyon Literary Agency)
- literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan (Handspun Literary)
- literary agent Natalie Lakosil (Bradford Literary Agency)
- literary agent Jill Marr (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency)
- literary agent Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
- literary agent Jennifer Azantian (Jennifer Azantian Literary Agency)
- literary agent Jennifer Kim (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency)
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 coordinator Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops.
THIS YEAR’S PRESENTER/INSTRUCTOR
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the online editor of WritersDigest.com. His blog, The Writer’s Dig—which covers everything writing and publishing—is one of the fastest growing blogs in the writing community. Brian has been a part of the Writer’s Digest family since 2003 and has overseen the the launch of the Writer’s Digest blogs as well as helped Writer’s Digest become a vibrant member of the social media community, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in April 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza San Diego, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108.
WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (MAY 20, 2017)
9 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.
9:30 – 10:30: “A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2017.” This workshop is quick & easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing. The speech is designed to educate writers and help them understand what publishing options exist for them today and why it’s an exciting time to be a writer.
10:30 – 11:45: “Tips on How to Write Like the Pros.” This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice. We’ll discuss nuts & bolts tips for sentence construction like how to avoid passive tense, how to use vivid language, how to self-edit your own work, how to make your characters memorable, the art of compelling dialogue, and much more.
11:45 – 1:15: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance on the block.
1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest.” 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 our 4 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.)
2:45 – 4:00: “25 Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book.” Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, how to find the best self-publishing service for your need, what social media channels you should be on already, how to launch your book right, how to draft a compelling query/pitch and synopsis, how to find other writers who can help you, and much more.
4:00 – 5:00: “25 Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book.” After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to keep your career going with multiple books, how you cross between the words of self-publishing and traditional publishing (i.e., use them both) to make the most money, how to build a readership, and much more.
All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.
PITCH AN AGENT!
Kelly Sonnack is a literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents illustrators and writers for all age groups within children’s literature (picture books, middle grade novels, chapter book, young adult novels, and graphic novels). Kelly is on the Advisory Board and faculty for UCSD’s certificate in Writing and Illustrating for Children, and is a frequent speaker at conferences, including SCBWI’s national and regional conferences. Learn more about agent Kelly Sonnack here.
Annie Bomke is a literary agent and the founder of Annie Bomke Literary Agency. She has worked on a wide variety of genres including mainstream and literary fiction, self-help, business, health/diet, memoir, parenting, relationships, psychology, and humor, but she is most passionate about character-driven literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, and psychology. Learn more about Annie here.
Thao Le is a literary agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Thao is currently looking for: adult sci-fi/fantasy, young adult, middle grade, and is selectively open to romance, and picture books by authors who are also illustrators. For adult and YA science fiction & fantasy, she enjoys stories rooted in mythology, fairytales, and legends with atmospheric settings and strong world building. For contemporary YA, she’s seeking witty, heartfelt writing with an authentic teen voice. For middle grade, she’s looking for fantastic adventures and clever heroes/heroines. For romance, she’s drawn to strong, memorable characters whose individual journeys brings them together. She’s particularly seeking unique historical romance and speculative romance similar to Gail Carrier’s Parasol Protectorate series. She also loves magic realism and beautiful literary writing with a commercial hook. She is always on the lookout for more diversity and LGBTQ stories. Learn more about Thao here.
Valerie Noble is the senior agent at Donaghy Literary Group. Valerie loves science fiction and fantasy (think Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins) but reads everything under the sun. For her, it’s more about the writing and less about the genre. In saying that, Valerie is generally not interested in romance or paranormal. She is actively seeking young adult fiction and adult fiction in the following areas: science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and historical fantasy. Learn more about Valerie here.
Courtney Miller-Callihan is a literary agent and the founder of Handspun Literary Agency. For adult fiction, Courtney represents mainstream fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), and mystery novels. For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit. She is not currently accepting new middle grade, young adult, early reader, or picture book submissions. Learn more about Courtney here.
Patricia Nelson is actively building her client list at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Patricia represents adult and young adult fiction, and is actively looking to build her list. For adult fiction, she is seeking women’s fiction (both upmarket and commercial), historical fiction set in the 20th century, and compelling plot-driven literary fiction. She’s also looking for sexy, smart adult contemporary and historical single title romance. On the children’s side, Patricia is open to a wide range of genres for YA and MG, with particular interest in contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. She is interested in seeing diverse stories and characters, including LGBTQ, in all genres that she represents. Learn more about Patricia here.
Elise Capron is a literary agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She is interested in fiction that has unforgettable writing, a distinctive narrative voice, and memorable characters. She loves novels with an unusual or eccentric edge and is drawn to stories she has never heard before. She aims to work with writers who are getting their work published regularly in literary magazines and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. On the nonfiction front, Elise is looking for fascinating true stories told in a compelling way. She is especially interested in working with up-and-coming scholars (particularly historians) who are looking to transition from the academic market to a trade readership, as well as journalists. And while she will consider memoir, please note that she is very selective. Learn more about Elise here.
Taylor Martindale Kean is a literary agent with Full Circle Literary, actively acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. Taylor is looking for young adult fiction, literary middle grade fiction, and young adult and middle grade nonfiction. She is interested in finding unique and unforgettable voices in contemporary, fantasy and historical novels. She is looking for books that demand to be read. More than anything, Taylor is looking for diverse, character-driven stories that bring their worlds vividly to life, voices that are honest, original and interesting. When considering nonfiction projects, Taylor uses much the same approach, and hopes to find authors with fresh ideas and perspectives, with writing that is accessible, entertaining, and compelling. Learn more about Taylor here.
Natalie Lakosil is an agent at the Bradford Literary Agency. Her specialties are children’s literature (from picture book through teen and new adult), romance (contemporary and historical), cozy mystery/crime, upmarket women’s/general fiction and select children’s nonfiction. Her interests include historical, multicultural, magical realism, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, middle grade with heart, and short, quirky or character-driven picture books. She is always drawn to an open and positive attitude in an author, professionalism, good grammar, and fantastical, beautifully written, engaging and sexy plots. Natalie is not looking for: inspirational novels, memoir, romantic suspense, adult thrillers, poetry, screenplays. Learn more about Natalie here.
Jill Marr is a literary agent with Sandra Dijkstra Literary. She is interested in: commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense and horror, women’s commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for nonfiction by authors who are getting their work published regularly and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Jill is looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of history, sports, politics, current events, cookbooks, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor, music, and very select memoir. Learn more about Jill here.
Jennifer Azantian is a literary agent and the founder of Jennifer Azantian Literary Agency. Jennifer represents speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy) and psychological horror for readers of adult fiction, young adult fiction, and middle grade fiction. She is particularly interested in stories that explore meaningful human interactions against fantastic backdrops, underrepresented voices, literary science fiction, historical fantasy, creepy stories for young readers, humorous space operas, well-crafted and hopeful futures, internally consistent epic fantasy, obscure retold fairy tales, modernized mythologies, and eccentric protagonists. Learn more about Jennifer here.
Jennifer Kim is a literary agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She represents young adult (both speculative/SFF as well as contemporary; loves stories about outsiders or diversity) and middle grade. For adult fiction, Jennifer is drawn to travel narratives, historical fiction, coming-of-age stories, family sagas, stories of displacement, and magical realism. In general, Jennifer loves literary writing, with challenging themes and characters. She is excited to add writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her client list. Learn more about Jennifer here.
More 2017 agents/editors may be added in the coming months.
These one-on-one 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.)
$149 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2017 SDWW and access to all workshops, all day, on May 20, 2017. As of November 2016, event registration is now OPEN.
Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents 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, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four 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.)
“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh
“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos
“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park
“After taking pitches at the Alabama Writing
Workshop, I met Erin Hollis at a pitch session, and
she is now my newest client.” – agent Julie Gwinn
Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Brian Klems, instructor for the last workshop in San Diego. (This rate is a special event value for San Diego 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?
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and she will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the San Diego workshop specifically.
Because of limited space at the venue of the Crowne Plaza, the workshop can only allow 125 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.
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 Jessica Bell via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The SDWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the San Diego workshop specifically.
Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. 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 are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your letter.)