The 2018 Chesapeake Writing Workshop: July 28, 2018

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015 and 2016 events in DC, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2018 Chesapeake Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Arlington, VA (suburb of Washington, DC) on July 28, 2018.

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 2018 Chesapeake Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Arlington. 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 & editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Dara Kaye (Ross Yoon)
  • literary agent Stephanie Kehr (C.Y.L.E. Literary)
  • literary agent Stacey Graham (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Kimberly Brower (Brower Literary)
  • literary agent Amanda Jain (BookEnds Literary)
  • literary agent Ayesha Pande (Pande Literary)
  • literary agent Sha-Shana Crichton (Crichton & Associates)
  • literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray (The Steve Laube Agency)
  • editor Lauren Jablonski (St. Martin’s Press)
  • literary agent Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • and possibly 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 Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from local writing groups.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, July 28, 2018 — Crystal Gateway Marriott Arlington, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway Arlington Virginia 22202. 703-920-3230.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 11.38.09 AM.png


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.

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. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2018. This workshop is quick and easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing.

2. How to Make Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction a Reality. In this session, learn about diverse topics as world-building, pacing, character development, prequels and sequels, and writing a killer opening.

3. Developing Compelling Characters. We’ll discuss what the most interesting characters have in common across all genres, as well as practical strategies to take your characters from paper dolls to fully-fledged people.

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

1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros. This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice.

2. How to Query a Literary Agent. The class will discuss what goes into a successful query letter, and address many dos and don’ts for composing that initial contact.

3. Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime. The presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night

(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. 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 book proposals.

3. Writing for the Little Ones: How to Craft an Amazing Picture Book For Kids. In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Twenty 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.

2. The Secrets to Self-Publishing Success. Changes in the publishing environment have made self-publishing a viable path. But with thousands of would-be writers diving in, how can you rise above the morass and find success?

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. Writing for children isn’t all that different from writing for adults. However, there are some genre specific things to keep in mind when crafting books for those readers under 18.

(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. Sell Your Books and Yourself — Social Media and Book Marketing 101. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books.

2. Twenty 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.

3. A Guided Tour of the Elements of Writing Romance – Hands-on Plotting at High Speed. Romance author and editor Delancey Stewart will lay down the critical elements for writing a romance, and act as a guide for the group as you plot an example novel together.


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.



Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.00.08 AM.pngStacey Graham is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. Currently, she is seeking romance, humorous fiction, middle grade fiction with a great voice (especially funny and/or spooky), historical fiction with a commercial hook (no 20th century pitches please). She also represents nonfiction in the following categories: humor with a strong platform (no dating memoirs), history, and children’s nonfiction that walks on the weird side (adult nonfiction, young adult nonfiction, middle grade nonfiction, picture book nonfiction). Learn more about Stacey here.

Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 5.01.07 PMDara Kaye is a literary agent and Foreign Rights Manager at Ross Yoon Agency. For fiction, her interests include speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy). She is also looking for great nonfiction — particularly narrative nonfiction. “I’m looking for great storytelling that teaches readers to see things differently—whether it exposes a story of modern corruption, tells the backstory of a historic scientific breakthrough, recasts original research for a popular audience, or in the case of biography and memoir, holds up a mirror to a specific experience and shows what is universal in it. I am particularly interested in hidden histories, underrepresented voices, and unexpected intersections of topics, styles, and audiences.” Learn more about Dara here.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 10.07.17 AMStephanie Kehr is a jr. agent and for C.Y.L.E. Literary. She’s seeking young adult, middle grade, historical, children’s picture books, chapter books, romance, science fiction novels, fantasy novels, inspirational, and authors with strong platform, unique ideas, and diverse characters. In nonfiction, she’s interested in self-help, devotionals, leadership, biographies, and religious genres. Learn more about Stephanie here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 9.24.23 PM.pngAyesha Pande [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent and founder of Pande Literary. Her interests are wide-ranging and include literary as well as popular fiction, young adult, women’s fiction, historical fiction, African-American fiction, and international fiction. She is also seeking authors of nonfiction, including biography, history, popular culture, cultural commentary, and memoir. She is particularly drawn to distinctive, original voices. Learn more about Ayesha here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 8.58.53 PMAmanda Jain is a literary agent with BookEnds Literary. Amanda is primarily interested in adult fiction in the following categories: historical fiction (in all genres), women’s / book club / upmarket fiction, romance (particularly historical, suspenseful, or with a comedic bent), mysteries (particularly historical or cozy, or historical cozies), and narrative nonfiction in the areas of social history, archaeology, art history, material culture, etc. She is also interested in select YA and MG projects with unique hooks and a strong voice. Amanda is not the agent to query with picture books, memoirs, self-help, poetry, erotica, science fiction and fantasy, horror, or inspirational fiction. Learn more about Amanda here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 12.43.08 AM.pngLauren Jablonski [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an assistant editor at St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan. Lauren is interested in acquiring commercial fiction and nonfiction for both young adult and adult. She enjoys contemporary, historical, fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, romance, thrillers and anything with a unique voice — especially works that promote strong female characters, inclusion, and diversity. In nonfiction, she is interested in quirky, gifty, and celebrity projects as well as memoir, pop-science, business, and projects about strong women. She loves being sucked into worlds she knows nothing about. Learn more about Lauren here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 4.11.42 PM.pngErica Bauman is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. She is seeking: middle grade (all genres), young adult (all genres), and children’s nonfiction. In adult fiction, she seeks commercial fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, and historical fiction. For nonfiction, she seeks memoir and pop culture. Learn more about Erica here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 11.26.07 PM.pngKimberly Brower is a literary agent with Brower Literary & Management. She is interested in commercial and upmarket fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction, psychological thrillers, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and young adult (all genres). 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 character arcs. Learn more about Kimberly here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 12.58.45 AM.pngTamela Hancock Murray is a literary agent with The Steve Laube Literary Agency. She seeks Christian romance fiction (fresh stories within the romance novel framework); commercial or general fiction that 1) has a place in the Christian Booksellers Association, and 2) has romantic elements; general market (secular) fiction that involves a clean story and no disrespectful elements toward faith, and nonfiction from writers with an excellent platform. Learn more about Tamela here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.16.53 AM.pngSha-Shana Crichton is the founding agent of Crichton & Associates. Fiction interests: romance (all types especially gothic, historical, multicultural, romantic suspense), and women’s fiction. Nonfiction interests: business/economics/finance, current affairs/history/politics, diet & nutrition, health & medicine (conventional and alternative), investigative journalism, law, multicultural issues, parenting, relationships/advice, self-help, science & nature, true crime, and women’s issues. She does not represent children’s books, YA, poetry, science fiction or screenplays. Learn more about Sha-Shana here.

Shaheen Qureshi is a literary agent with Capital Talent Agency. Unfortunately, she had to cancel on the 2018 event.

        More 2018 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. You can pitch as many agents & editors as like you wish.

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.)



$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2018 CWW and access to all workshops, all day on July 28, 2018. As of October 24, 2017, 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 can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.20.11 AM.png“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.56 AM.png“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.00 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.09 AM.png“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 Brian Klems, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Chesapeake 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 $79 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 double-spaced 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:

  • Romance and women’s fiction: Faculty member Delancey Stewart, a published romance author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your manuscript, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, general fiction, memoir, historical fiction, and short stories: Faculty member Greer Macallister, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your manuscript, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Young adult / middle grade / chapter books: Faculty member Madeline Smoot, a children’s book editor, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Thriller, mystery, crime, and suspense: Faculty member Robert Bidinotto, a published thriller author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your manuscript, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Adult science fiction and fantasy: Faculty member Michael J. Sullivan, a published speculative fiction author (sci-fi and fantasy), will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your manuscript, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email:, 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 Chesapeake/DC workshop specifically.


Because of limited space at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Arlington, the workshop can only allow 200 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: 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 CWW 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 Chesapeake/DC 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 2016-11-16 at 10.43.05 AM.png





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s