The 2021 San Diego Writing Workshop: May 14-15, 2021

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, and 2019 events in San Diego, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2021 San Diego Writing Workshop — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on May 14-15, 2021. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of two days, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited online “seats” at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2021 San Diego Writing Workshop!

ONLINE: The 2021 SDWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on May 14-15, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on May 14-15, 2021. In other words, it’s two days 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. And even though this is the “San Diego” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online 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 2021 SDWW agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Latoya C. Smith (LCS Literary)
  • literary agent Kortney Price (Raven Quill Literary)
  • literary agent Bibi Lewis (Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Leslie Varney (Prentis Literary)
  • literary agent Em Lysaght (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Annie Bomke (Annie Bomke Literary)
  • literary agent Tara Gelsomino (One Track Literary)
  • literary agent Mary C. Moore (Kimberley Cameron & Associates)
  • literary agent Lynnette Novak (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Emily Williamson (Williamson Literary)
  • literary agent Jaidree Braddix (Park & Fine Literary)
  • literary agent Susana Alvarez (Park & Fine Literary)
  • literary agent Kimberly Brower (Brower Literary)
  • literary agent Analieze Cervantes (Harvey Klinger Literary)
  • literary agent Beth Marshea (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Cassie Mannes Murray (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Jemiscoe Chambers-Black (Andrea Brown Literary)
  • literary agent Becky LeJeune (Bond Literary)
  • literary agent Markus Hoffmann (Regal Hoffman & Associates)
  • literary agent Leah Pierre (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Matt Belford (Tobias Agency)
  • literary agent Suzie Townsend (New Leaf Literary)
  • literary agent Michaela Whatnall (Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • literary agent Heather Cashman (Storm Literary)
  • literary agent Sandy Lu (Book Wyrm Literary)
  • literary agent Garrett Alwert (Emerald City Literary)
  • literary agent Stephanie Winter (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Amaryah Orenstein (Go Literary)
  • literary agent Tessa Emily Hall (CYLE Literary)
  • literary agent Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary)
  • and more to come

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 coordinators Chuck Sambuchino and Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: The 2021 SDWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on May 14-15, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MAY 14-15, 2021):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: Common Publishing Myths … Debunked. In this session, a literary agent discusses the most common myths about publishing and what the reality for writers truly is.

10:45 – 11:45: Plotting Arcs and Compelling Narratives. A great work of fiction requires excellent pacing to move the reader past those first pages and to propel them to the very end.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

2:45 – 3:45: How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books.

4:00 – 5:00: Understanding Hook and Theme. With real-life examples, concrete tips, and interactive exercises, this fun class will get your ready to be impactful and effective the next time somebody asks: What is your book about?

* * * * *

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: Lost In Revisions- How to Self-Edit Your Manuscript. You know that before you send your work out to the world it’s going to need some adjustments, but where do you begin?

10:45 – 11:45: After the Book Deal: What Happens Next? A pair of agent instructors will present a detailed explanation of the traditional publishing process.

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.

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from SDWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Getting Published in Today’s World: 10 Tips to Make You the Writer Agents and Publishers Want. In this session, writers will learn the challenges writers face in publishing today and offers up 10 practical tips to help you break through the barriers and find success.

 

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Kimberly Brower is a literary agent and founder of Brower Literary. Kimberly is interested in adult upmarket/commercial fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction, women’s fiction and romance. However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong story arcs. She also can never say no to an epic love story. Learn more about Kimberly here.

Kortney Price is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency. “I work primarily on children’s books — stories from board book up through young adult. My tastes in stories are pretty broad, but here’s a rundown of what I’m most excited about seeing in my inbox.  I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. I would love to see a vast array of characters and own voices writers writing them. Because of my experience working with the special needs community, I’m especially excited for books featuring all of those uniquely special brains or bodies that don’t operate like everyone else’s.” Kortney seeks all ages of children’s nonfiction and fiction, including picture book, graphic novel, early reader, middle grade, young adult. Learn more about Kortney here.

Bibi Lewis is a literary agent at the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. She represents children’s fiction and nonfiction and adult fiction. A contract nerd through and through, Bibi manages subsidiary rights for the agency as well. She was born and raised in NYC. She enjoys: commercial and upmarket women’s fiction;  contemporary and historical romance; mysteries and thrillers with a feminist angle and sharp language; middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Learn more about Bibi here.

Leslie Varney is a literary agent with Prentis Literary. She is seeking: “Prentis Literary is actively seeking new authors with fresh, intelligent voices. While we have historically focused on Science Fiction and Fantasy, our true passion is a well-crafted story that engages and captures the imagination, regardless of the genre. We have a focus on inclusion and providing representation for authors with diverse points of view. We support and help with career development on an individual basis, tailoring our approach to the unique needs of each author.” Learn more about Leslie here.

Em Lysaght is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. Em is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She is looking for queer fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels for all age ranges. Outside of agenting, she draws comics about queer monsters being friends and travels the globe scoping out stationary stores. She is looking for genre-blending commercial queer Fiction in YA/MG/Adult/Graphic Novels with a particular focus on BIPOC authors and authors of marginalized identities. Learn more about Em here.

Annie Bomke is a literary agent with Annie Bomke Literary Agency. She represents a wide variety of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction, including commercial and literary fiction, upmarket fiction, mysteries (from hilarious cozies to gritty police procedurals and everything in between), historical fiction, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, literary/psychological horror, self-help, business, health/diet, cookbooks, memoir, relationships, current events, psychology, and narrative nonfiction. Learn more about Annie here.

Tara Gelsomino is a literary agent and founder of One Track Literary. She is currently seeking completed works with vibrant, fresh voices in these genres: romance (especially romantic comedies), women’s fiction with fresh hooks, thrillers and psychological suspense (no cozy mysteries please), and contemporary young adult. Special preferences include (but are not limited to) these dynamics and elements: confident, competent, and complicated heroines, humorous beta heroes, smart and snappy banter, feminist themes, gender-role reversals, slow burn relationships. Own voices stories are especially welcome. Learn more about Tara here.

Mary C. Moore is a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates. She is eager to further build her client list in fiction, both children and adult. She reads widely and enjoys all fiction genres, but is especially seeking bookclub fiction with light speculative elements, female detective stories, whimsical middle-grade, and young adult that explores identity and culture. Learn more about Mary here.

Lynnette Novak is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy). In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary, mysteries, fantasy, and sci-fi. In middle grade: contemporary, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, and humor. In children’s fiction: picture books (non-rhyming preferred). Learn more about Lynnette here.

Kaitlyn Johnson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. For upper middle grade, she wants fantasy (high, urban, or magical realism), contemporary, light sci-fi, horror, paranormal, and historical. For young adult, she seeks fantasy (high, urban, or magical realism), contemporary, modern romance, historical, and paranormal. For adult fiction (and new adult), she seeks fantasy, light science fiction, historical, contemporary romance, and rom-coms. Learn more about Kaitlyn here.

Jaidree Braddix is a literary agent with Park & Fine Literary and Media. Although Jaidree focuses on nonfiction (see specifics below), she informed the conference that she is open to meeting with attendees who write fiction, specifically if the attendee wants feedback on their pitch, rather than to actually submit work. Her nonfiction interests range from serious nonfiction that dives deep to illuminate important issues, to buzz-worthy and mission-driven narratives that have the potential to influence the national conversation. She is committed to helping authors turn their assets—be they courageous ideas, foundations for social good, academic studies, health and fitness programs, popular blogs, or Instagram followings—into compelling proposals and noteworthy books. Learn more about Jaidree here.

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and the founder of Williamson Literary. In adult fiction she is looking for lyrical prose, stories with unique settings, adventure, international, fantasy/sci-fi or science inspired, magical realism. For children’s, she seeks stories that talk up to kids, that inspire and build confidence with cleverness and humor. Prefers middle grade over YA; no picture books. Nonfiction interests: history, sports, science, environmental, narrative, and a solid author platform. Currently looking for science or adventure/travel narratives in the vein of books such as Shadow of the Silk Road or The Sports Gene. Learn more about Emily here.

Susana Alvarez is a literary agent with Park & Fine Literary. As first-generation Mexican-American, she is especially drawn to and excited to reflect multicultural experiences and perspectives. Her interests range from narrative nonfiction, where she has a penchant for memoirs, to voice-driven Journalism, cultural commentary, big idea society-moving books, to the health and wellness industry; particularly among women and under-represented communities. Outside of nonfiction, her love of the literary world first arrived through the great American novel, which evolved into a passion for fiction rooted in themes of: the self, coming of age, complex human relationships, and multi-generational stories against the backdrop of multiple nations and cultures. Learn more about Susana here.

Beth Marshea is a literary agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. In all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, from LGBTQIA+ writers, from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more non-binary representation across categories as well. She seeks narrative nonfiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, mystery, thriller, fantasy, and science fiction. She also selectively represents young adult, middle grade, and picture books. Learn more about Beth here.

Analieze Cervantes is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency. Analieze is currently building her own list and is looking for stories in YA and Adult Fiction. She specializes in Sci-Fi, Romance, Thriller, Suspense, and Mystery. Analieze is especially open to BIPOC and LGBTQ voices in the mentioned categories. “I am looking for character-driven books that grip me from the first page until the very end. I want fantastic world-building, a clear plot, and want to know your main character’s desire by the time I get to page ten.” Learn more about Analieze here.

Latoya C. Smith is a literary agent with LCS Literary. In fiction, she seeks high-concept women’s fiction; high-concept mystery, thriller and horror, romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, cowboys, historical, LGBTQ, paranormal, sweet), comedy / romantic comedy, and young adult (no SF/F). In nonfiction, she is strictly seeking platform and market-based books in the areas of memoir, how to, advice, relationships, health, wellness, politics, current events, history, sports, pop culture, and business. Learn more about Latoya here.

Cassie Mannes Murray is a literary agent with Howland Literary. Cassie is accepting submissions for adult fiction and nonfiction. As far as fiction, she is seeking literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, short story collections, and literary-speculative work (not high fantasy or science fiction). For nonfiction, she’s interested in representing memoir, essay collections, as well as narrative nonfiction. Learn more about Cassie here and what she is seeking.

Stephanie Winter is a literary agent at P.S. Literary. Stephanie is acquiring: adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction, in addition to Graphic Novels. She’s actively seeking titles with diverse and inclusive representation that offer smart, culturally aware, and enriching narratives. For young readers, Stephanie loves a good adventure story, light SFF, and STEAM topics. In the adult space, she appreciates all sorts of fiction but particularly enjoys Rom-Coms and Thrillers (located outside the home) and LGBTQ+ stories that bring joy. Stephanie also acquires select nonfiction in all age groups, with a soft spot for projects that blend illustration with information on culturally relevant topics. Learn more about Stephanie here.

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary. Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Learn more about Amaryah here.

Eric Smith [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Eric has a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction. Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), Middle Grade, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of non-fiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, Middle Grade, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas. Learn more about Eric here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 3.10.25 PM.pngErica Bauman [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Erica is currently focused on representing a wide range of authors across middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as some select narrative nonfiction projects. She is most interested in novels that straddle the line between literary and commercial, imaginative tales with a speculative twist, fearless storytellers that tackle big ideas and contemporary issues, and working with and supporting marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity. “In adult, I gravitate towards stories that have a commercial premise and beautiful writing. I love voice-driven, witty romcoms, historical novels (especially mysteries), and light SFF and magical realism. I’m on the lookout for books starring nerds, and stories that make me laugh. Across all age ranges and genres, I’m eager to support and work with marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity.” Learn more about Erica here.

Garrett Alwert is a literary agent with Emerald City Literary Agency. Garrett is looking for: smart, funny, contemporary stories with fresh voices, a strong hook and awesome dialogue. “Emerald City Literary represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and children’s nonfiction. We welcome submissions with LGBTQ+ themes and/or diverse characters as well as traditionally underrepresented authors.” He enjoys romance and stories that focus on friendship, family, and all the ways those relationships come together. He also likes well paced psychological thrillers as well as stories with unique story structures and timelines. He is actively looking for projects by POC authors or with LGBTQ+ themes. Learn more about Garrett here.

Jemiscoe Chambers-Black is a literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency. In middle grade, se seeks contemporary, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, horror, graphic novels, and novels in verse. In young adult, she seeks romance, contemporary, fantasy, mystery, and novel in verse. She seeks illustrators and author-illustrators of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA. For adult fiction, she seeks romance, rom-coms, upmarket psychological thrillers & mysteries, literary fiction, and fantasy (not high fantasy). Jem is especially open to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent voices and stories in all the above categories. Learn more about Jemiscoe.

Becky LeJeune is a literary agent with Bond Literary. Becky spent 5 years as an acquisitions editor at The History Press before joining Sandra at BLA in 2014. She is interested in adult and teen general fiction, horror, mystery/thriller, historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and cookbooks. Learn more about Becky here.

Markus Hoffmann is a literary agent with Regal Hoffman Associates. Markus joined Regal Literary in 2006 and was made a partner in the agency in 2014, when it became Regal Hoffmann & Associates. His main interests as an agent are international and literary fiction, unusual speculative fiction, crime, literary memoir, philosophy, history, music, popular science, and travel literature. He also looks after the agency’s foreign rights. Learn more about Markus here.

Leah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. In young adult as well as adult fiction, she is seeking some fantasy, romantic meet-cute stories, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries, psychological thrillers, fairy tale retellings, espionage/heist, historical fiction and fantasy, social justice inspired stories, romance (ideally interracial or at least something out of the ordinary). In new adult fiction, she seeks romance (again, interracial or at least something out of the ordinary), coming of age, F/F friendship, and books about the college experience as well as the post-college experience. Learn more about Leah here.

Suzie Townsend [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is Vice President and Literary Agent at New Leaf Media. Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She loves women’s fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and debut fiction. On the children’s side, she is interested in select young adult and middle grade. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories. Learn more about Suzie here.

Heather Cashman is a literary agent with Storm Literary. Heather is currently seeking submissions for middle grade and young adult. For MG and YA fiction, she’ll consider all genres and loves a good genre splice. For MG and YA nonfiction, anything that takes her back to those days in the library when she wanted to learn about someone, something, and somewhere new. For all writing, Heather enjoys unique characters formed from their own experiences in a unique world. Learn more about Heather here.

Sandy Lu is a literary agent with Book Wyrm Literary Agency. In fiction, Sandy seeks literary and commercial fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, and YA. In nonfiction: narrative nonfiction, history, biography, science, business, psychology, pop culture, and food writing. Learn more about Sandy here as well as what she is seeking.

Matt Belford is a literary agent with The Tobias Literary Agency. A lover of all things science fiction and fantasy, Matt accepts his nerd status readily. Matt is interested in receiving submissions for both graphic memoirs and graphic novels, as well as adult science fiction and fantasy, and some popular nonfiction. He is not interested in young adult novels. Learn more about Matt here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez is a literary agent and the founder of Saavy Literary. At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish. Fiction areas of interest: adventure, chick lit, fantasy, historical, humor, multicultural, mystery, paranormal, romance, young adult, and middle grade. Nonfiction areas of interest: advice/relationships, biography, cooking, diet, health, history/politics/current affairs, how-to, humor, lifestyle, memoir, parenting, religion/spirituality and true crime. Learn more about Leticia here.

Michaela Whatnall is a literary agent with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. Their background in school and library marketing accounts for their strong interest in children’s literature, from picture books up through middle grade and young adult novels and graphic novels. In the adult fiction space, they are particularly seeking character-driven speculative fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, and literary fiction. They are also interested in nonfiction for both children and adults, especially narrative nonfiction in the areas of history, the creative arts, and lifestyle. Learn more about Michaela here.

Tessa Emily Hall is a literary agent for CYLE Literary. She seeks young adult fiction (all kinds and genres) for Illuminate YA Fiction publishing. Learn more about Tessa here.

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        More 2021 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open.

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.)

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PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2021 SDWW and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10 additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of early 2021, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors 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. There is no limit. Here are 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.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Brian Klems, one of the workshop’s former instructors. (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?

Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Bailey, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, women’s fiction, historical, any kind of young adult, any kind of middle grade, and picture books. Faculty member Laura Biagi, a former literary agent and current Editor-in-Chief of Southeast Review, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).
  • Memoir, children’s picture books, adult fiction of any kind, young adult, middle grade: Faculty member Shirin Leos, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the San Diego workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: The 2021 SDWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on May 14-15, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

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 Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. 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 Brian 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 at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal or CC refund]. 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 and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already started edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 San Diego Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Annie Bomke of Annie Bomke Literary Agency

Annie Bomke is a literary agent with Annie Bomke Literary Agency.

Annie has over a decade of experience helping authors succeed. Her books include Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver, winner of the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and nominated for a Lammy Award, Strand Critics Award, Barry Award and Anthony Award, and the Barnes & Noble bestselling Poppy McAllister cozy mystery series by Libby Klein. She has edited a wide range of projects—from hard-nosed business books to otherworldly historical novels. Authors have called her the pH test for good writing, and a bedrock for literary quality control.

Annie has loved the publishing industry since her position as an Editorial Assistant at Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine founded by Francis Ford Coppola. She explored her love of books managing Alcala Gallery, an art gallery and rare bookstore, and even had a brief stint as a technical writer for a Department of Defense contractor.

She represents a wide variety of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction, including commercial and literary fiction, upmarket fiction, mysteries (from hilarious cozies to gritty police procedurals and everything in between), historical fiction, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, literary/psychological horror, self-help, business, health/diet, cookbooks, memoir, relationships, current events, psychology, and narrative nonfiction.

Annie spends her free time reading, going for walks in the park, and dancing. Her favorite authors include Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Tana French, and Paul Auster.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tara Gelsomino of One Track Literary

Tara Gelsomino is a literary agent and founder of One Track Literary.

One Track Literary is currently seeking completed works with vibrant, fresh voices in these genres: romance (especially romantic comedies), women’s fiction with fresh hooks, thrillers and psychological suspense (no cozy mysteries please), and contemporary young adult.

(Note: I am not the best fit for paranormal and fantasy, though futuristic/sci-fi/dystopian is fine.)

Special preferences include (but are not limited to) these dynamics and elements:

  • confident, competent, and complicated heroines
  • humorous beta heroes
  • smart and snappy banter
  • feminist themes
  • gender-role reversals
  • slow burn relationships
  • Own voices stories are especially welcome.

A voracious genre reader since childhood, Tara began her publishing industry career at Romantic Times magazine in 1998 as a writer/editor then managing editor, before transitioning to audiobook publishing in 2005 with BBC Audiobooks America as managing editor, acquisitions editor, and executive marketing manager. During her time with BBCAA, she also spearheaded creating and publishing the first crowd-sourced audiobooks via Twitter with renowned bestselling authors Neil Gaiman and Meg Cabot. (Despite not having the correctly shaped head to pull it off, she has indeed worn many hats.)​

In 2013, she returned to her romance roots as the Executive Editor of Crimson Romance, a digital-first imprint for F+W Media and later Simon & Schuster, where she acquired and published more than 300 titles by new and up-and-coming authors. Her proudest achievements at Crimson include leading the imprint to become the largest romance publisher of own voices titles, with nearly 30 percent of its 2017 books by authors of color (per The Ripped Bodice’s Diversity in Romance report), and conceiving, editing, and publishing Snow Falling, the TV tie-in romance novel for the Peabody Award-winning CW show, Jane the Virgin.​

Tara lives in Rhode Island with her husband and her rescue dog, Yoda. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys watching too much television, buying yarn (and occasionally even knitting it), seeing Broadway musicals, and traveling to new places.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates

Mary C. Moore is a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

She is eager to further build her client list in fiction, both children and adult. She reads widely and enjoys all fiction genres, but is especially seeking bookclub fiction with light speculative elements, female detective stories, whimsical middle-grade, and young adult that explores identity and culture.

She does not represent non-fiction (including memoir), picture books, or self-published novels (although she will consider your next project).

Always a passionate reader, Mary C. Moore made the career change to publishing in her early thirties. She graduated from Mills College, Oakland with a MFA in Creative Writing and English, dabbled in freelance editing and copy-writing, before starting an internship at Kimberley Cameron & Associates. She quickly fell in love with agenting, and dedicated two years as Kimberley’s assistant, before beginning her own client list. Her daughter was born shortly after causing a small hiatus, but she continued part time, making deals with Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan and more.

In 2019 she officially began agenting full time, becoming an associate member of the AAR.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Emily Williamson of Williamson Literary

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and the founder of Williamson Literary.

In adult fiction she is looking for lyrical prose, stories with unique settings, adventure, international, fantasy/sci-fi or science inspired, magical realism. For children’s, she seeks stories that talk up to kids, that inspire and build confidence with cleverness and humor. Prefers middle grade over YA; no picture books. Nonfiction interests: history, sports, science, environmental, narrative, and a solid author platform. Currently looking for science or adventure/travel narratives in the vein of books such as Shadow of the Silk Road or The Sports Gene.

Williamson Literary is a small but vibrant and actively engaged literary agency in Baltimore, Maryland.

Emily is a native of New Jersey, graduated from American University (BA Anthropology) in 1997 and Johns Hopkins University (MA Writing) in 2012. She began her editing career in 2011 with Chrysalis Editorial* in Washington, DC. In 2016 she founded Williamson Literary, driven by the desire to help great writers achieve their publishing goals.

As a writer, she understands the investment of time and heart it takes to follow this challenging path. It is the core of Williamson Literary—to support the careers of dedicated writers who deserve to see their ideas and imaginings realized. Williamson Literary is also about building relationships: agent-author, agent-publisher, author-publisher.

In the past, Emily spent 13 years as an archaeologist traveling all over the US and abroad in search of many things…sometimes finding nothing. It is this varied, nomadic past that has influenced her own writing and her particular interests as an agent. Emily does other things. She is a painter (see Twitter page). She loves the outdoors, cuts her own firewood, and plays fantasy football. She’s one of those annoying people who can’t eat gluten; she binge-watches Netflix shows; loves to travel; and her preferred clothing season is Autumn.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Em Lysaght of Ladderbird Literary

Em Lysaght is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

​Em is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She is looking for queer fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels for all age ranges. Outside of agenting, she draws comics about queer monsters being friends and travels the globe scoping out stationary stores.

She holds an B.A in Comparative Literature from Occidental College, a publishing certificate from NYU, an MLitt in Ancient Greek Monsters from The University of St Andrews in Scotland, and a handful of college credits from art schools across the US.

She is seeking:

She is looking for genre-blending commercial queer Fiction in YA/MG/Adult/Graphic Novels with a particular focus on BIPOC authors and authors of marginalized identities.

She wants:

  • Rich and subtle world building like Wilder Girls or The Mortal Engine series
  • Normalized trans and non-binary existence in worldbuilding, like the Tales of the High Court series
  • Shamelessly manga and fanfic inspired stories like Foxhole Court
  • Silk punk, Asian attitudes, historical revision that doesn’t think Europe invented the world (Socrates was born after Confucius died! Genghis Khan was a contemporary of King John! Guns were being used in China before the English invented longbows!)
  • Reworking myth and gods and their influence, like The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps and American Gods
  • Sexy, dark, magical horror, like the Hexslinger series
  • Queer romance with high stakes, like Lord of the White Hell
  • Middle Grade protagonists who cry and fail and try anyways, like How to Train Your Dragon
  • F/F romance, friendship, and intersectional girl gangs against the world
  • Ride-or-die friendships and high stakes, like The Raven Cycle

She does NOT want:

  • Nonfiction
  • Genre fiction that perpetrates the racist, colonial, imperialistic, sexist, ableist tropes of the past
  • Non-intersectional representation; no victories at the expense of another group
  • Precocious (read: bratty) MG protagonists
  • Low stakes, excessive realism

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Bibi Lewis of the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency

Bibi Lewis is a literary agent at the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency.

She represents children’s fiction and nonfiction and adult fiction. A contract nerd through and through, Bibi manages subsidiary rights for the agency as well. She was born and raised in NYC.

She is looking for high-concept stories with captivating writing. She reads widely across many genres and enjoys books that play with tropes while bringing a fresh and diverse outlook. She is interested in realistic, upmarket and book club fiction as well as romance. An avid Thriller and Suspense reader, she would love to see new takes on the genres and enjoys stories that blend a fast-paced plot with vivid characters and literary language. She is not looking for sci-fi; also, she enjoys her fantasy grounded in reality.

She enjoys:

  • Commercial and upmarket women’s fiction
  • Contemporary and Historical Romance
  • Mysteries and Thrillers with a feminist angle and sharp language
  • Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction and Nonfiction

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Latoya C. Smith of LCS Literary

Latoya C. Smith is a literary agent with LCS Literary.

In fiction, she seeks high-concept women’s fiction; high-concept mystery, thriller and horror, romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, cowboys, historical, LGBTQ, paranormal, sweet), comedy / romantic comedy, and young adult (no SF/F). In nonfiction, she is strictly seeking platform and market-based books in the areas of memoir, how to, advice, relationships, health, wellness, politics, current events, history, sports, pop culture, and business.

“Having worked for corporate New York publishing houses, independent and boutique presses, and with self-published authors, I have a well-rounded knowledge of book publishing with a core network of relationships with authors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals. I graduated Cum Laude from Temple University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in African American Studies. I have been featured in Publishers Weekly, Forbes, and USA Today, as well as on various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. I am the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple Award for Editor of the Year, the 2017 RWA Golden Apple Award for Agent of the Year, and the 2017 Literary Jewels Award for Editor of the Year. In early 2014, I appeared on CSpan2 where I contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cassie Mannes Murray of Howland Literary

Cassie Mannes Murray is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

Cassie is accepting submissions for adult fiction and nonfiction. As far as fiction, she is seeking literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, short story collections, and literary-speculative work (not high fantasy or science fiction). For nonfiction, she’s interested in representing memoir, essay collections, as well as narrative nonfiction.

Before pivoting into publishing, Cassie Mannes Murray was a high school teacher for six years, and ran an infamous book blog known as Books & Bowel Movements where she worked with several brands, including several publishing houses and indie presses. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from North Carolina State University, and is working on her MFA at UNCW in creative nonfiction. She currently designs spreads, broadsides, posters, and promotional materials for Ecotone and Lookout Books, and her writing has been supported by the Shannon Morton Fellowship, Ralph Brauer Fellowship, Sundress Academy for the Arts, and Kenyon Writers Workshop. She is working on a book. Her writing can be found in Passages North, Story Quarterly, The Rumpus, Fugue, and Hobart. Her pronouns are she/her.

Because she believes genre categories are for marketing purposes, Cassie would like to work with authors who are difficult to categorize, or are attempting to bridge gaps between multiple genre categories. She wants to work with writers that are passionate about writing, particularly at the sentence level. While she can become invested in a wide-range of books, topics that are always a hit for her include: reckoning with girlhood or coming-of-age in adult narratives, slipstream, strange, or left-of-center fiction (Karen Russell, Kelly Link, Helen Oyeyemi), retellings of obscure fairytales, folklore (particularly from nonwestern traditions), manipulative or unlikeable characters, LGBTQ+ narratives, odd jobs, education, climate science, and anything that centers Southern culture.