Schedule: 2023 Workshop

(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.)

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

9:30 – 10:30: Session 1

1. Story Lessons From Hollywood, taught by Stephanie Storey. After spending over 20 years working as a national television producer in Hollywood, Stephanie teaches lessons from screenwriting, acting, directing, editing and more to help novelists (and creative nonfiction writers & memorists) embrace the storytelling skills of Hollywood filmmakers to craft better work.

2. The Rules of Mystery Writing, taught by Tammy Kaehler. This session will cover the basics of how to write a mystery, starting with the unofficial and sometimes unwritten “rules” and dos and don’ts for the genre. You’ll also learn what you need to know at different stages of the writing process to write YOUR mystery, as well as tools to help you get started, get unstuck, and get finished.

10:45 – 11:50: Session 2

1. The Changing Author Role in Today’s Publishing World, taught by Ben Miller-Callihan. How does self-publishing affect today’s marketplace? How much are you expected to do on social media to be an “attractive” author? Should you be putting chapters of your work online for all to see? These are important question in today’s digital changing marketplace. A literary agent instructor will help bring you up to speed on being an active and successful writer in 2023.

2. Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account, taught by Paul S. Levine, Esq. Examine the four major ways authors make money from traditional book publishing. This session, taught by a literary agent and attorney, will explain advances, royalties, subsidiary rights, and much more. If you’re curious how money works in the publishing process, this class is for you.

11:50 – 1:15: Lunch on Your Own

You have 85 minutes on your own to break and eat.

1:15 – 2:30: Session 3

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book, taught by Annie Bomke. This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you. The session will talk about platform, identifying your book’s place in the market, creating a great title (and subtitle), effective pitching, and more.

2:45 – 3:45: Session 4

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

2. How to Get Past Rejection, and Stay a Writer, taught by Stephanie Storey. When starting to write, most beginning writers are filled with hope and excitement for the craft, the process, and their journey. But as time goes on, it’s easy to be suffocated by rejection and self-doubt. Join a bestselling author for some truth-telling about the realities of perusing a writing life and how to stay inspired to continue chasing your dreams.

4:00 – 5:00: Session 5

1. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters, taught by Carlie Webber. There are more ways than ever to find and pitch literary agents, so how do you navigate the modern pitching world? Twitter contests? Cold email queries? Online classes taught by agents? All can be helpful. In this class, attendees will understand the basics of query letters, synopses, the difference of pitching fiction vs. nonfiction, agent submission pet peeves, and more.

2. Getting Your Memoir Published, taught by Jesse Leon. Everybody has a story. How do you make your story stand out? Jesse discusses his writing journey from first draft to publication. Learn about the writing process, getting published and best practices. This presentation on how to make your memoir stand out reaches across all audiences.

5:00: The Day is Over

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We will actually send attendees extra FREE pre-recorded classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s classes to enjoy live and in person, we will also send you 5 more free recorded classes on the side, from amazing instructors. In the week leading up to your in-person conference, we will send all confirmed attendees these classes below, some of which will aid in your pitching efforts:

  1. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an In-Person Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber.
  2. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an Online Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber.
  3. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the online 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  4. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the online 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  5. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the online 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.