The 2023 San Diego Writing Workshop: April 29, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 events in San Diego, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 San Diego Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in San Diego, CA on April 29, 2023.

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 (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 San Diego Writing Workshop! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next SDWW is an in-person event happening in San Diego on April 29, 2023. See you there.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown. 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 agent and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Ameerah Holliday (Serendipity Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Annie Bomke (Annie Bomke Literary)
  • literary agent Ben Miller-Callihan (Handspun Literary)
  • literary agent Lindsay Auld (Writers House)
  • literary agent Antoinette Van Sluytman (Irene Goodman Literary Agency)
  • 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 coordinator Carlie Webber of Writing Day Workshops. E-mail her to register for the event at WDWfaculty@gmail.com.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 29, 2023 — at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown, 601 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 239-2400.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next SDWW is an in-person event happening in San Diego on April 29, 2023. See you there.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 29, 2023):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. You can see a more detailed layout of the day’s classes on the Schedule Page here.

Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. TBD

2. TBD

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. TBD

2. TBD.

(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.)

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

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.

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 a nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. 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.

2. TBD

(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.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. TBD

2. TBD

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR (IN PERSON):

Ameerah Holliday is a literary agent with Serendipity Literary Agency. Ameerah is primarily interested in middle grade, young adult, and (new) adult fiction. She enjoys contemporary literature, supernatural/paranormal stories (bonus points for witches!), RomComs, literary fiction, and novels in verse. Holliday looks for writing that explores diverse experiences with elements of intersectionality. She is drawn to stories that take you on a journey through growth, and she loves a good friendship story! Learn more about Ameerah here.

Lindsay Auld is a literary agent with Writers House LLC. “I’m seeking books in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult categories, including illustrated and graphic novel submissions. I’m particularly drawn to mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, friendship stories, romance, magical realism, adventure, and books with humor — light or dark or both. As an environmentalist at heart, I enjoy submissions with an environmental element or streak. I would also love to see manuscripts from diverse and underrepresented authors and artists.” Learn more about Lindsay here.

Ben Miller-Callihan is a literary agent at Handspun Literary Agency.  His interests include humor, YA, fantasy and speculative fiction (especially decolonial sci-fi/fantasy), crossover fiction a la William Gibson and Erin Morgenstern, the macabre (for all ages), off-the-beaten-path folklore, Deaf culture and community, and anything food-related. Writers from historically excluded communities are especially welcomed. He is not currently accepting early reader or picture book submissions. Learn more about Ben 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.

Antoinette Van Sluytman is a literary agent with Irene Goodman Literary Agency. Antoinette is interested in all genres of speculative fiction, specifically cosmic horror, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, sci-fi, in addition to historical fiction. Antoinette maintains special interest in adult projects but is also open to select YA and graphic novels. In historical fiction she’s interested in finding stories inspired by non-western mythologies or about the untold stories of female heroines around the world. In general she loves lyrical prose that challenges narrative conventions, ambitiously immersive worlds inspired by different cultures, morally gray and dysfunctional but lovable characters with fun dynamics, and new takes on old tropes. Learn more about Antoinette here.

* * * * * * * *

ADDED ONLINE PITCHING: To ensure that writers have a robust and diverse lineup of agents & editors to pitch, 2023 San Diego Writing Workshop attendees will have the ability to also pitch literary agents at the Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2023 SDWW on our event calendar.

That event is the 2023 Online Florida Writing Workshop, May 12-13, 2023, which will have 30-40 agents taking one-on-one Zoom virtual pitches. 

This means that 2023 San Diego attendees can have access to pitching all those online Florida event agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online May 2023 FWW. (That said, if you want to formally register for the FWW and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a discount for confirmed San Diego attendees.)

If you are interested in this added pitching opportunity, the first step is to get formally registered for San Diego. Following the SDWW one-day conference on April 29, 2023, we will be in touch with all San Diego attendees and ask them if they want to partake in pitching online agents at the 2023 FWW (May 12-13). At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and secure meeting time.

* * * * * * * *

        More 2023 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.)

———

PRICING:

$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 SDWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2022, 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, 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 an 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 Chuck Sambuchino, one of the event’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 will either 1) get an in-person meeting at the workshop, if the faculty member is attending the live event, or 2) get a 10-minute phone call with the faculty member, and have notes passed along via email, if the critiquer is not attending the live event. Options:

  • TBD
  • More critique options possible forthcoming.

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

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown), the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next SDWW is an in-person event happening in San Diego on April 29, 2023. See you there.)

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 Carlie Webber via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com. Carlie 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 Carlie 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]. 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 edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 San Diego Writing Workshop.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2023 SDWW

If you are coming to the 2023 San Diego Writing Workshop (May 6, 2023), you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from a previous workshop instructor) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:

  • Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
  • Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
  • Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
  • Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
  • Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lindsay Auld of Writers House

Lindsay Auld is a literary agent with Writers House LLC.

“I started at Writers House in the West Coast office, and have worked with a wide range of New York Times bestsellers, award-winners, and debut authors and illustrators. After studying literature at Bowdoin College, I joined Teach for America before beginning my publishing career at Harcourt Children’s Books and then Writers House.

“I’m seeking books in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult categories, including illustrated and graphic novel submissions. I’m particularly drawn to mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, friendship stories, romance, magical realism, adventure, and books with humor–light or dark or both. As someone who is an environmentalist at heart, I would be happy to read submissions with an environmental element or streak. I would also love to see manuscripts from diverse and underrepresented authors and artists. I’ve always been passionate about children’s and young adult literature, and, as an agent, I’m eager to help bring fresh voices, characters and stories to a new generation of readers.”

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 is a literary agent with over a decade of experience in the publishing industry. Her books include Gus Moreno’s critically acclaimed literary horror novel This Thing Between Us, the Macavity Award winning Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver, and People magazine pick Double Exposure by Ava Barry. Her interests span a range of genres—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 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: Ben Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency

Ben Miller-Callihan is a literary agent at Handspun Literary Agency.

Ben (he/him/his) joined Handspun Literary Agency as an agent in 2019, after working behind the scenes since the agency’s founding in tech support and bookkeeping roles, as well as more than a decade teaching high school English.

His interests include humor, YA, fantasy and speculative fiction (especially decolonial sci-fi and fantasy), crossover fiction a la William Gibson and Erin Morgenstern, the macabre (for all ages), off-the-beaten-path folklore, Deaf culture and community, and anything food-related. Writers from historically excluded communities are especially welcomed.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A., English), and New York University (M.A., English Education), he lives in San Diego with his human, canine, and kitchen appliance families.

He is not currently accepting early reader or picture book submissions.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Antoinette Van Sluytman of Irene Goodman Literary Agency

Antoinette Van Sluytman is a literary agent with Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Antoinette is a junior agent and Natalie Lakosil’s assistant. She is also a writer, freelance illustrator/fine artist, graphic designer, poet, martial artist, and history enthusiast during her free time with a bachelors in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. She is a member of the AALA and MDI committee, and volunteers at the African Diaspora Museum & Research Center in San Diego, and at writing nonprofit organization WriteHive, as an outreach coordinator, artist professional in residence, and diversity ally. She considers herself an entrepreneurial scholartist who advocates for countering literary hegemony through speculative radicalism and diverse narratives within art and writing.

Antoinette is interested in all genres of speculative fiction, specifically cosmic horror, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, sci-fi, in addition to historical fiction. Antoinette maintains special interest in adult projects but is also open to select YA and graphic novels.

In general she loves lyrical prose that challenges narrative conventions, ambitiously immersive worlds inspired by different cultures, morally gray and dysfunctional but lovable characters with fun dynamics, and new takes on old tropes. She is drawn to atmospheric and lyrical prose and complex philosophical/psychological themes across all genres. Some general themes she enjoys are adventures, antiheroines, quirky concepts you might find in an anime, dark fantasy, and anticolonialism. In historical fiction she’s interested in finding stories inspired by non-western mythologies or about the untold stories of female heroines around the world such as Tomoe Gozen, Queen Amanirenas, or Sayyida-Al-Hura. Please do not send her military fiction or fae/vampire/elemental magic fantasy. Some favorite books of hers are BLACK SUN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, and DEATH NOTE.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ameerah Holliday of Serendipity Literary Agency

Ameerah Holliday is a literary agent with Serendipity Literary Agency.

Ameerah is a dancer and self-proclaimed poetess from San Diego, California whose pronouns are she/her/hers. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University. Holliday is a former editorial assistant intern for Poetry International and currently serves as editorial director for the San Diego Poetry Annual and editor for Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.

Ameerah has attended the San Diego Comic-Con every year since 2011, is a published poet, and has a cat named after a villain from The Vampire Diaries.

What She’s Looking For:

Ameerah is primarily interested in middle grade, young adult, and (new) adult fiction. She enjoys contemporary literature, supernatural/paranormal stories (bonus points for witches!), RomComs, literary fiction, and novels in verse. Holliday looks for writing that explores diverse experiences with elements of intersectionality. She is drawn to stories that take you on a journey through growth, and she loves a good friendship story!