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!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at the Hilton 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 Stacey Graham (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Shaheen Qureshi (Capital Talent Agency)
  • literary agent Kimberly Brower (Brower 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 many 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.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, July 28, 2018 — Hilton Arlington, 950 N Stafford St, Arlington, VA 22203. (703)528-6000

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS:

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. Create New Worlds: A Guide to Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. Let this session help you understand worldbuilding, the differences between sci-fi and fantasy, the tropes of both genres, when you should follow the rules, when you should break the rules, and more.

3. Self-Editing and Revision. Revision can make or break a book. This presentation will discuss the importance of revision as all stages of one’s career—from beta readers and critique groups to querying agents.

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 Get a Literary Agent. The class will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, and more.

3. Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime. This 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. Self-Publishing: How Do You Know if It’s Right for You? So, how do you know if self-publishing is the right thing for you as a writer? Join a successful author who shares the secrets of self-publishing and how to do it right.

2. Breaking the Rules of Writing. What are “the rules” and when is it okay to break them? Let’s look at recent examples of flying in the face of conventional literary wisdom.

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. Writing for children isn’t all that different from writing for adults.

(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. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online.

2. Talking Craft and Revision. This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market. This session will address important topics and tips for writers of romance.

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 AGENTS AND EDITORS:

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 2017-11-09 at 9.24.23 PM.pngAyesha Pande 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 2017-11-20 at 12.43.08 AM.pngLauren Jablonski 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 2017-11-11 at 3.38.33 PM.pngShaheen Qureshi is a literary agent with Capital Talent Agency. She is actively seeking literary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, cookbooks, and graphic novels. She is particularly interested in character-driven stories that give voice to the underrepresented and marginalized. Books that challenge the status quo and look at race, class, food, gender, colonialism, or history in a new light will grab her attention. Learn more about Shaheen 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 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.

        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.)

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PRICING:

$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:

  • Critique options forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, 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.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the Hilton 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: WDWconference@gmail.com. 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.)

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Shaheen Qureshi of Capital Talent Agency

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 3.38.33 PM.pngShaheen Qureshi is a literary agent with Capital Talent Agency.

Shaheen is a native of the Washington, DC area and has worked in publishing and editing for the past five years. As the former managing editor of Tadween Publishing, a Middle East academic press, she facilitated the publication of a political cartoon book and a collection of interviews with Iraqi activists. She teaches writing workshops and volunteers in public schools as a writing mentor and tutor. Shaheen received her B.A. at Bard College where she was awarded the Wilton Moore Lockwood prize in creative writing and has published her poetry in Bard Papers and Sukoon Magazine.

Shaheen is actively seeking literary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, cookbooks, and graphic novels. She is particularly interested in character-driven stories that give voice to the underrepresented and marginalized. Books that challenge the status quo and look at race, class, food, gender, colonialism, or history in a new light will grab her attention.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ayesha Pande of Pande Literary

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 9.24.23 PM.pngAyesha Pande is a literary agent and founder of Pande Literary.

Ayesha has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. Before launching her boutique agency, Ayesha was a senior editor at Farrar Straus & Giroux. She has also held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Crown Publishers. She is a member of AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives), PEN, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop and the Women’s Media Group. She has attended numerous writing conferences and has taught college level courses in editing. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University. Among her many wonderful clients are National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi, PEN/Bingham Prize winner Danielle Evans, PEN/Bellwether Prize winner Lisa Ko, NYT Bestseller Shilpi Somaya Gowda and PEN/Hemingway finalist Patricia Engel.

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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sha-Shana Crichton of Crichton & Associates

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.16.49 AM.pngSha-Shana Crichton is the founding agent of Crichton & Associates, Inc., a boutique literary agency that represents quality works of fiction and nonfiction.

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

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stacey Graham of Red Sofa Literary

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.00.00 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).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 12.58.45 AM.pngTamela Hancock Murray is a literary agent with The Steve Laube Literary Agency.

Tamela has been a literary agent since 2001. She is a bestselling author of over thirty novels, novellas, and nonfiction books, and won an RWA Inspirational Readers Choice Award (follow this link for a complete list of her books). Although her current writing for publication is limited to the Agency blog, because of her experience, Tamela brings the perspective of a working writer to her role as a literary agent. She represents many top authors and continues to develop new talent.

In 2017 she was named Agent-of-the-Year by ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

She earned her BA with honors in Journalism from Lynchburg College in Virginia. Today she enjoys living in Northern Virginia with her husband of over thirty years. They are the proud parents of two lovely adult daughters. She can often be found reading books on her Kindle.

She is seeking (in her own words):

By God’s will and pleasure, during my career as a literary agent I have been successful in representing authors writing Christian romance, Christian and general market trade book fiction, and Christian nonfiction.

My interests have changed very little since I joined The Steve Laube Agency, here’s an update for you:

Do you still want to see Christian romance novels?
Indeed I do! I’m happy to say that this is one area of Christian fiction that continues to thrive and enjoy an enthusiastic readership.

I am still passionate about Christian romance novels. I respect and honor the fact that the editors of the romance lines are very specific about their needs and wants. They look for hardworking, dedicated, talented authors who are able to write a fresh story within the romance novel framework. Does this describe you? If so, I’d love to partner with you!

What about other genres of fiction?
As those following the industry are aware, the trade book fiction market has contracted in recent years, but I have never experienced an easy time for authors to break in to trade fiction. As with modeling and acting, more people want those jobs than there are jobs available. This is a perennial fact.

However, I am always seeking a tale well told that I believe deserves a place in CBA. My personal tastes will always veer to heavy romantic elements. To wit, if my husband has a movie on television and I don’t see any women (e.g., cowboys sitting around a fire or a bunch of guys on a boat), I find something else to do until the movie is over.

But as long as there is a heavy romantic element, I’m open to all sorts of stories.

Are you open to general market fiction?
Yes. But the story must be so clean you’d be willing to share it with your most devout friend or relative. Nothing that would dishonor God or disrespect the faith of the church, as defined by The Apostle’s Creed, is welcome here.

Are you still open to nonfiction submissions?
Yes, and I continue to be highly selective. The importance of author platform here is magnified a thousandfold in comparison with fiction. I need to see an author who’s already connecting with his or her audience so I can show publishers the author has gained respect and credibility with current readers and will be a great partner with the publisher in expanding reader base. Nonfiction readers are looking for insight, consolation, help, knowledge, and encouragement. An author needs to come from a position of authority when delivering a book to these readers.

Platform must be accompanied by a great idea told in dynamic writing. Tell me why you have an audience eager to read what you have to say on your topic, and why. I love books that make me want to read them even when the topic doesn’t apply to me. Now that’s a well-written and engaging book.

And in today’s market, that’s what you need.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary & Management

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 1.34.18 PM.pngKimberly Brower is a literary agent with Brower Literary & Management.

Kimberly 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.

Kimberly fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of seven and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. She holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge and received her JD from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Although she loves all things romance, she is also searching for books that are different and will surprise her, with empathetic characters and compelling stories. She takes great pride in her client list, from the debut authors to #1 NYT bestsellers, and likes to consider them all her favorite authors. She previously worked for over two years at Rebecca Friedman Literary before starting her own agency. After spending 14 years in California, she is thrilled to be back on the east coast living in New York City.