The 2024 Chesapeake Writing Workshop: March 23, 2024

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter many successful previous conferences in Washington DC, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2024 Chesapeake Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Washington, DC (Arlington) on March 23, 2024.

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 (175 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2024 Chesapeake 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 CWW is an in-person event happening in Washington, DC [Arlington area] on Saturday, March 23, 2024. See you there.)


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 23, 2024, 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 and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Lori Steel (Red Fox Literary)
  • literary agent Dani Segelbaum (Carol Mann Agency)
  • literary agent Taj McCoy (Rees Agency)
  • literary agent Max Sinsheimer (Sinsheimer Literary)
  • literary agent Kirsten Neuhaus (Ultra Literary)
  • literary agent Michelle Jackson (LCS Literary)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Stacey Graham (3 Seas Literary)
  • literary agent Lane Clarke (Arthouse Literary)
  • literary agent Gary Heidt (Signature Literary)
  • editorial assistant Makayla Tabron (HarperCollins)
  • literary agent Lauren Albury (Holloway Literary)
  • literary agent Kayla Lightner (Ayesha Pande Literary)
  • literary agent Bethany Jett (CYLE Literary)
  • literary agent Dean Krystek (Wordlink)
  • 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 Chuck Sambuchino of Writing Day Workshops. E-mail him to register for the event at and say you’re interested in the Chesapeake event specifically.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 23, 2024 — at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Arlington, 1700 Richmond Hwy, Arlington, VA 22202.(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 CWW is an in-person event happening in Washington, DC [Arlington area] on Saturday, March 23, 2024. See you there.)


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. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

2. Leveraging Social Media To Build Your Author Brand. Building your author brand is essential for all aspiring authors, regardless of your writing level. Learn how to leverage smart content development strategy and social media management to build your platform.

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

1. Understanding the Publishing Industry in 2024 — From Hybrid Publishing to Artificial Intelligence and Everything in Between.  How are traditional publishing and self-publishing changing? What kind of writer is attractive to an agent currently? What is hybrid publishing? How will A.I. (artificial intelligence) help or hurt writers in the years to come? All these questions, and more, will be addressed during the speech.

2. Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account. Examine the four major ways authors make money from traditional book publishing.

(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 CWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

2. Write Better, Right Now: What an Editor Learned by Critiquing 400 Manuscripts (and What Writers Can Take Away). Hear straightforward writing advice from a professional book doctor. Understand why agents (and editors, and readers) stop reading, and learn how to fix your writing mistakes as you overhaul and revise your work.

(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. Craft Amazing First Pages That Grab Readers (and Agents). Agents judge a book on its first chapter, first page, first paragraph, and yes even the first sentence. This class will explain what an agent needs to see on your opening pages to keep reading. 

2. 10 Evergreen Keys to Writing Success. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny.


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.



Dani Segelbaum is Vice President, Literary Agent, and Subsidiary Rights Director at the Carol Mann Agency. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks. In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices. Learn more about Dani here.

Taj McCoy is a literary agent with Rees Literary. Taj is building her list in Adult Fiction and Nonfiction, Young Adult, and Middle Grade, as well as looking for illustrators. She’s passionately seeking BIPOC and queer creators who highlight parts of their cultures and experiences. She is an advocate for body positivity in publishing, and loves to highlight intersectionality. In Adult Fiction, she is searching for: Steamy romance; Comedy-forward rom-coms; Exciting mysteries (cozy or otherwise) which include a romantic element; Family sagas and strong, character-driven commercial fiction with a clear character arc; Powerful women’s fiction; Main characters who are members of underrepresented groups in publishing; and Cinnamon roll love interests, intergenerational family dynamics, and masculinity that isn’t toxic. In Young Adult, she’s searching for: Angsty, emotional love stories; Rom-coms; Challenging coming-of-age stories; Exciting mysteries and thrillers; Witty teens who embrace their cultures and differences. In Middle Grade, she’s looking for: Adventure stories, Thrilling fantasies which help kids explore their identities, Mysteries that allow readers to explore intersectionality and inclusivity; and Romance/romcom: first crushes, first kisses, acknowledged feelings. In Nonfiction, she’s searching for: Adult biographies and memoirs which shed light on people and parts of history that are often erased or forgotten, Self-help collections focused on empowerment; Cookbooks that highlight family traditions and culture; YA and MG nonfiction that highlights historical figures and innovators who aren’t included in today’s curriculum; Nonfiction picture books; Interesting gift/survey/table books––including illustrations or photography; Humorous pop culture books. Learn more about Taj here.

Gary Heidt is a literary agent with Signature Literary Agency. In fiction, he seeks: high-quality literary fiction, science fiction and the occasional thriller. He is interested in exceptional nonfiction proposals in the following areas: history, science, popular culture, narrative nonfiction, psychology, religion, reference,  spirituality, cultural criticism, memoir, politics, and Fortean/High Strangeness/paranormal. Learn more about Gary here.

Lauren Albury is an literary agent with Holloway Literary. She is seeking: literary fiction, historical fiction, book club fiction, women’s fiction, upmarket fiction. She has a soft spot for: Caribbean stories and voices, Southern settings, romantic themes, and rich immersive settings like Where the Crawdads Sing and lyrical prose like All the Light We Cannot See. “Give me compelling characters with unexpected story arcs. Immerse me in another culture so I feel like I grew up there. Make me laugh with sharp wit and cry at poignant subtleties. Teach me something new about the human experience and what it means to be alive.” Learn more about Lauren here.

Kayla Lightner is a literary agent with Ayesha Pande Literary. For fiction, she seeks: magical realism with southern gothic elements; books that use speculative elements as a means to examine history; book club fiction; family sagas that turn the picket white-fence narrative on its head and/or are rooted in the immigrant experience. Within nonfiction, she seeks: narrative histories that are compelling, well-researched stories about forgotten / willfully overlooked moments in history; deeply reported narrative nonfiction that examines race, class, current events, arts, business, and technology; “Big Idea Books” that critique the different ways the internet and “internet culture” currently impact our lives; platform-driven memoirs that take me inside a previously inaccessible community, a niche sub-culture, or a unique way of life; practical nonfiction that taps into gen-z’s changing attitudes around work, money, and mental health; and true crime that provides a fresh perspective on scams and multi-level-marketing schemes. Learn more about Kayla here.

Stacey Graham is a literary agent with 3 Seas Literary Agency. Her current wishlist includes: romance novels, graphic novels for both YA and adults, mystery, commercial fiction. In nonfiction, she likes pop culture, humor, and fun, quirky, fascinating topics with strong commercial appeal and a great platform. She is specifically looking for how-to books, antiques, craft books, cookbooks, lifestyle and pets. Learn more about Stacey here and the books she’s seeking.

Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency, with a love for young adult books, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction 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.

Lane Clarke is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary. Lane is looking for an array of genres in Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult. In all age groups, she would love to see stories by underrepresented and marginalized creators. In Middle Grade, she is looking for adventure stories and big emotions. She loves inquisitive middle grade books that ask big questions. She would love to see horror stories with a historical lens, contemporary books that push against the status quo, and fantasy that takes on underrepresented mythology. In Young Adult, she is looking for contemporary stories that pack an emotional punch, and coming-of-age stories. She would also love historical fiction similar to Stacey Lee and Ruta Sepetys (certain to make her cry). She is looking for speculative contemporary fiction. She would love to see Graphic Novels from writer/illustrators. In Adult, she is looking for romance with lots of tension! She is also looking for literary fiction that are generational sagas or societal commentary. She is looking for epic fantasy with a strong cultural point of view. She would love smart horror that reveals inner demons. She would love adult fiction that addresses societal issues. In Nonfiction, she is looking for little known historical figures who made big impacts  in all age groups MG and above. She is looking for humorous essay collections that address societal issues and personal growth. She would love to see memoirs about the immigrant experience. Learn more about Lane here.

Bethany Jett is a literary agent with CYLE Literary. She is looking for adult fiction books within these genres: commercial, upmarket, and literary fiction; historical; time travel and time slip;  romantic comedies (low spice, sweet HEA); cozy mysteries with depth. In picture books, she seeks: text-only manuscripts and author-illustrator. She is open to PBs of all kinds but am specifically looking for: holiday, bilingual, where the MC has a disability but it does not define who they are, books that provide back matter (like Stella’s Stellar Hair), and STEM, STEAM, SEL. In middle grade and young adult, she seeks: everything listed in the adult fiction genres above, as well as horror, cozy fantasy / magical realism, and some fantasy (fantasy: noblebright, nobledark, grimbright). In Nonfiction, she seeks: platform-driven authors writing cookbooks, how-to, self-help, Christian living, lifestyle, home & garden, business, leadership, inspirational/gift, devotionals, Bible studies. Learn more about Bethany here.

Kirsten Neuhaus is a literary agent with Ultra Literary. “My top nonfiction categories are memoir, business books, journalist authored issue driven or current events narratives, and parenting. On the fiction side, I do occasionally represent young adult.” She represents primarily nonfiction, in the categories of: business/finance; memoir; advice/relationships/self-help; food/beverage; health/medicine; lifestyle; culture/pop culture; biography; how-to; parenting; science/technology;  body, mind & spirit;  Illustrated/art; reference. Her list of clients includes entrepreneurs, personalities, influencers and thought leaders across a wide range of industries. Learn more about Kirsten here

Michelle Jackson is a Literary Associate with LCS Literary. “I look forward to bringing adult fiction and select nonfiction of new authors work out there, especially BIPOC and underrepresented authors.” In fiction, she seeks: Commercial, Historical, Humor, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Women’s Fiction. Her fiction subgenres include: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense. In nonfiction, she seeks: Biography, True Crime, Self-Help, Relationships, Cookbooks, Narrative, Spirituality. Learn more about Michelle here.

Max Sinsheimer is a literary agent and founder of Sinsheimer Literary. I exclusively represent nonfiction works across a range of subjects, but particularly history, social issues, popular science, food & culture, and cookery. Both published and unpublished authors are welcome to submit their work, just bear in mind that I can only agree to represent a very small number of new clients in any given year, and I will gravitate towards authors who are established in their field. I’ve taken an interest lately in memoirs and memoir-ish projects, including Slow Cooked (University of California Press, 2022), in which Marion Nestle reflects on how she achieved late-in-life success as a leading advocate for healthier and more sustainable diets, and Missed Conceptions (Broadleaf Books, 2022), in which Karen Stollznow illuminates the shadow nation of the infertile throughout time and across cultures, and relates her own decade-long struggle to conceive. Learn more about Max here.

Lori Steel is a literary agent with Red Fox Literary. “For all projects, I seek stories with authentic, unforgettable voices that reflect the diverse world we inhabit, instill the possibility of hope and change, and illuminate the shared human experience. More specifically for YA, I would love to find a fresh take on fantasy tropes, contemporary stories that flip conventional scripts, unexpected historical and/or historical fantasy mash-ups that disrupt entrenched notions. I like middle grade contemporary, historical, and fantasy fiction stories that demonstrate deep understanding of readers’ age, voice, and growing awareness of themselves and the world around them is paramount. For Graphic Novels, I’m looking for writer-illustrators crafting accessible contemporary and select nonfiction stories. For Picture Books, I’m eager to find writer-illustrators who craft stories with spare text and rich art, creators who play with structure, utilize collusion to engage participation, and don’t underestimate young readers. Nonfiction stories that surprise and instill a sense of wonder are always welcome. Whimsical, lyrical, and/or humorous stories that young readers will beg to read over and over again always top the list.” Learn more about Lori here.

Dean Krystek is a literary agent with Wordlink. He is seeking: Dean is looking for authors with distinctive voices whose narratives invoke a strong sense of time and place and whose stories create a memorable reading experience. He’d like to see mysteries (whodunit, cozy); sci-fi (space opera, dystopian, alternate history, time travel); psychological suspense; thrillers (looking for small town America setting vs international in scale); military fiction (character-driven pieces; favoring post-WWII, such as Vietnam). In young adult and middle grade fiction, he would like to see mysteries, paranormal, sci-fi, coming of age, and suspense with writing that stirs the imagination and caters to the young reader’s sense of wonder and adventure. Learn more about Dean here.

Makayla Tabron is part of the editorial team at HarperCollins Publishers & Amistad. At the 2024 in-person CWW, Makayla is using her one-on-one attendee meetings for editorial help and guidance, not for submissions. In other words, she cannot take pitches on behalf of her imprint. However, she can use her experience and knowledge to help writers on their path. Use a 10-minute meeting with her to ask questions about writing/publishing, or present your first page or query for her quick thoughts. She welcomes all types of writers writing all types of books to consult with her. Learn more about Makayla here.

* * * * *

* * * * *

ADDED ONLINE PITCHING: To ensure that writers have a robust and diverse lineup of agents & editors to pitch, 2024 Chesapeake Writing Workshop attendees will have the ability to also pitch literary agents at the Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2024 CWW on our calendar.

That event is the 2024 Online Writing Workshop of San Francisco, April 5-6, 2024, which will have 30-40 agents taking one-on-one Zoom virtual pitches.

This means that 2024 CWW attendees can have access to pitching all those online San Francisco agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online April 2024 WWSF. (That said, if you want to formally register for the April 5-6 WWSF and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a discount for confirmed Chesapeake attendees.)

If you are interested in this added pitching opportunity, the first step is to get formally registered for DC. Following the CWW conference on March 23, 2024, we will be in touch with all Chesapeake attendees and ask them if they want to partake in pitching online agents at the 2024 WWSF (April 5-6). At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and purchase meeting time.

* * * * *

        More 2024 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.)



$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2024 CWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2023, registration is now OPEN. Just email and say you want to register for the Chesapeake workshop.

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 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 $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:

  • Fantasy (both YA and adult), fantasy romance, contemporary romance, women’s fiction (virtual critiques): Faculty member Shauna Golden, a former agent, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, talk with you virtually (Zoom/phone) for 15 minutes workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes.
  • Women’s, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, thriller, mystery (virtual critiques): Faculty member Michelle McGill-Vargas, 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.
  • Middle grade, young adult; adult fiction in the areas of low fantasy, literary fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and mainstream fiction (virtual critiques): Faculty member Joel Brigham, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, talk with you virtually (Zoom/phone) for 15 minutes sometime around the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes.
  • More critique options forthcoming.

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


Because of limited space at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Arlington, the workshop can only allow 175 registrants. 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 CWW is an in-person event happening in Washington, DC [Arlington area] on Saturday, March 23, 2024. 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 Chuck Sambuchino via email: Chuck will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by credit card, 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 Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Chesapeake 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.)

Thank you for your interest in the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.