The 2021 Chesapeake Writing Workshop: September 10-11, 2021

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 events in the DC area, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2021 Chesapeake Writing Workshop — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on September 10-11, 2021. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of two days, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited online “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 2021 Chesapeake Writing Workshop!

ONLINE: The 2021 CWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on September 10-11, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day “How to Get Published” online writing workshop on September 10-11, 2021. In other words, it’s two days 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. And even though this is the “Chesapeake” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online 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 2021 CWW agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Michelle Richter (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Alec Shane (Writers House)
  • literary agent Leah Pierre (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Stefanie Molina (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent James Mustelier (The Bent Agency)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Van Sant (KT Literary)
  • literary agent Alexandra Weiss (Azantian Literary)
  • literary agent Rena Rossner (Deborah Harris Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Hannah Brattesani (The Friedrich Agency)
  • literary agent Lori Steel (Raven Quill Literary)
  • literary agent Nicole Payne (Golden Wheat Literary)
  • literary agent Cortney Radocaj (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Julie Gwinn (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Devon Halliday (Transatlantic Literary)
  • literary agent Madison Scalera (Olswanger Literary)
  • literary agent Vicki Selvaggio (Storm Literary)
  • literary agent Caitlin McDonald (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Em Lysaght (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Caitlin White (Emerald City Literary)
  • literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Shari Maurer (Stringer Literary)
  • literary agent Lori Galvin (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Amy Guiffrida (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Erin Hosier (Dunow, Carlson and Lerner)
  • literary agent Cate Hart (Harvey Klinger Literary)
  • 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 coordinators Chuck Sambuchino and Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: The 2021 CWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on September 10-11, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (SEPTEMBER 10-11, 2021):

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.

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

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “Editing for the Eye, the Ear, and the Hand.” After what seems like the most work, putting fingers to keyboard, the REAL work begins! While some editing tips are effortless, some require more butt in chair and sweat and tears and work.

10:45 – 11:45: “How to Get a Literary Agent (and Write a Damn Good Query Letter).” We will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “The Importance of Place: How Setting Unlocks Superior Storytelling.” We’ll spend time diving into the concept of setting and how its power can unlock your story to become the standout project it deserves.

2:45 – 3:45: “How to Get Past Writer’s Block.” In this session, a literary agent instructor will suggest a few radical re-imagining exercises that will sidestep writer’s block entirely.

4:00 – 5:00: “You’re Probably Starting Your Story In The Wrong Place.

* * * * *

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “The 7 Touches of Marketing for Authors.” In this session, a seasoned communications pro will explain a fundamental principle of marketing and sales, and explain how authors and apply it to their own efforts to build a readership and sell books, in the context of a modern, digital world. 

10:45 – 11:45: “Writing and Selling Fiction vs. Nonfiction.” Whether you are a first-time unpublished author or a seasoned one who has been around the publishing block many times, the industry rules and guidelines must be adhered to in order to be able to get your feet through the door.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “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.

2:45 – 3:45: 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.

4:00 – 5:00: “Writing a NY Times Bestselling Novel.” This session covers a list of things to do (like establish mood and create conflict) and things to avoid (like weasel words and purple prose) on your journey to becoming a bestselling author.

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

(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.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez is a literary agent and the founder of Saavy Literary. At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish. Fiction areas of interest: adventure, chick lit, fantasy, historical, humor, multicultural, mystery, paranormal, romance, young adult, and middle grade. Nonfiction areas of interest: advice/relationships, biography, cooking, diet, health, history/politics/current affairs, how-to, humor, lifestyle, memoir, parenting, religion/spirituality and true crime. Learn more about Leticia here.

Madison Scalera is a literary agent with Olswanger Literary. Madison  is excited to represent a variety of fiction and nonfiction, including domestic fiction, historical fiction, romance, and memoirs. With years of editorial experience and a journalism background, she appreciates a writing style that teeters between the factual and the flowery, particularly something poetic without tortured metaphors. Madison is looking for fictional narratives that reflect postmodernism—books that have an awareness of realism and delight in being self-reflexive. She loves reading multilayered stories that challenge conventional ways of storytelling. She is interested in coming-of-age memoirs with quirky undertones as well as romance comprised of gothic, contemporary, and erotic fiction. Learn more about Madison here.

Stefanie Molina is a literary agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. “Across the board, I’m extremely passionate about increasing representation for Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in publishing, and have a soft spot for stories about mixed people of color. I’m also invested in increasing representation for other marginalized populations, including but not limited to LGBTQIA+ folks, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, and people who are neurodiverse. I am only interested in working with people who are invested in representing the diversity of our world on the page.” She represents picture books, middle grade, and young adult. She also represents the following in adult fiction: diverse rom-coms, cozy mysteries, steamy thrillers, fantasy (all subgenres), historical fiction and fantasy, solarpunk, hopepunk, and silkpunk. “I’m very selective with nonfiction, but I am interested in deeply moving memoirs and business/personal development by people of color. I’m also looking for cookbooks and baking books that make rich culinary traditions accessible while keeping them authentic, especially those with recipes that have been passed down through generations.” Learn more about Stefanie here.

Alec Shane is a literary agent with Writers House. “On the fiction side, I love mysteries, thrillers (although I’m experiencing a bit of terrorist fatigue at the moment), bad-ass protagonists with a chip on their shoulders, beautifully told historical fiction (The Vietnam War, the Maccabees, and The American Revolution fascinate me in particular), well-researched adventure stories, and great horror – I haven’t been scared to turn off the light in far too long and something needs to be done about it. In terms of children’s books, getting boys to read again is especially important to me, and thus I’m particularly on the lookout for a fun middle-grade adventure series, ghost story, or anything else geared toward younger male readers. On the nonfiction side, I’m attracted to odd, quirky histories, military history, biographies of people I didn’t even know existed (but definitely should have), “guy” reads, humor, narrative nonfiction that sheds light on under-the-radar events and lifestyles, and all things sports. I’m also currently up in the air as to whether or not I believe in ghosts, hauntings, and the supernatural, so if you have something that can convince me one way or the other, I’d love to see it.” Learn more about Alec here.

Kelly Van Sant is a literary agent with KT Literary Agency. “I am seeking Middle Grade, Young Adult, and limited women’s fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices and inclusive narratives. I’ve expanded on my interests within each category below. I am exclusively seeking nonfiction books on the subjects of magick and the occult, with a strong focus on tarot in particular (especially interested in working with tarot readers who are Indigenous, Black, POC, LGBTQIA+, or from other marginalized communities). Learn more about Kelly here.

Rena Rossner is a literary agent with The Deborah Harris Literary Agency. “I represent picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult. In terms of adult fiction, I look for literary, historical, fantasy & science fiction, romance, and thrillers, though I am open to all genres. Nonfiction: in all genres, but it depends on the project. I have a love for history, food, and literary science writing, but am open to anything. You will steal my heart if there is some kind of Middle Eastern, Israeli, or Jewish setting, theme, or character, in any genre, but those are certainly not the only types of books I represent.” Learn more about Rena here

Lori Steel is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency. She represents fiction for all young readers from picture books to young adult and is actively building her list. For MG and select YA, Lori seeks all genres except horror and hard sci-fi. She is interested in representing contemporary fiction told with transparency and heart and meticulously researched historical fiction that flips conventional interpretations and extends the conversation. She has a strong interest in graphic novels across genres and audiences. For Picture Books, Lori is eager to find both writers and writer-illustrators who craft stories with spare text and rich art. Learn more about Lori here.

Leah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. In young adult as well as adult fiction, she is seeking some fantasy, romantic meet-cute stories, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries, psychological thrillers, fairy tale retellings, espionage/heist, historical fiction and fantasy, social justice inspired stories, romance (ideally interracial or at least something out of the ordinary). In new adult fiction, she seeks romance (again, interracial or at least something out of the ordinary), coming of age, F/F friendship, and books about the college experience as well as the post-college experience. Learn more about Leah here.

Em Lysaght is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. Em is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She is looking for queer fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels for all age ranges. Outside of agenting, she draws comics about queer monsters being friends and travels the globe scoping out stationary stores. She is looking for genre-blending commercial queer Fiction in YA/MG/Adult/Graphic Novels with a particular focus on BIPOC authors and authors of marginalized identities. Learn more about Em here.

Devon Halliday is a literary agent with Transatlantic Literary. In fiction, she seeks literary fiction, upmarket fiction, science fiction and fantasy (though not high fantasy or hard sci-fi), topics such as climate change or feminism or Internet culture, love stories where complications arise from the flaws of the characters involved, and some young adult fiction. In Nonfiction, she seeks popular science, philosophy, psychology, medicine, etc. (anything that introduces a layperson (me) to niche and fascinating subjects), big-picture memoirs or investigative journalism that tackle broad societal truths, essay collections on the unique and bizarre, research-backed explorations of productivity culture, millennials, fandom and gaming culture, news addiction, and passionate, invested writing about subjects I never would have known I was interested in. Learn more about Devon here.

Alexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Azantian Literary Agency. She represents fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels (MG and YA), and select adult nonfiction. “Across the board, I’m dedicated to representing marginalized creators and diverse stories. I’m actively seeking BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, genderfluid, neurodiverse, and disabled voices for all ages and genres. Concerning nonfiction, I’m seeking nonfiction proposals from scientists and experts in their field. Some topics I’m interested in include global warming, space exploration, and mental heath. I’m also open to unique gift books that bring something new to the table.” Learn more about Alexandra here.

Hannah Brattesani is a literary agent with The Friedrich Agency. She is seeking: “I’m always intrigued by literary fiction that has a playful disregard for the rules of a novel, like SPEEDBOAT by Renata Adler, and I admire authors with a dark bent (Iain Reid) and an offbeat sense of humor (Jen Beagin). I’m drawn to narrative nonfiction that invites me into a community, culture, or lifestyle that I would never otherwise experience or reframes familiar subjects in humorous or surprising ways. I enjoy popular science but digest it in much the same way as I ate vegetables as a child: mixed into something I find more palatable – I need a strong story and voice to carry me through but appreciate every nutritious morsel I get along the way.” Learn more about Hannah here.

Caitlin McDonald is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres, as well as select contemporary YA fiction about geeky characters. Caitlin looks for diversity in all projects, and is most drawn to unique, evocative narratives and cross-genre works, with an emphasis on high-impact stories that have something powerful to say. Things that excite her: “All SF/F fiction for adult, YA, and select MG — especially secondary world fantasy or alternate history. Genre-bending or cross-genre fiction, and stories that examine tropes from a new angle. Diversity of all kinds, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and worldbuilding. ” Learn more about Caitlin here.

Michelle Richter is a Senior Literary Agent with Fuse Literary. Michelle joined Fuse Literary in 2014 from St. Martin’s Press, where she worked on a variety of fiction and nonfiction. She is seeking suspense, mystery, psychological thrillers, domestic suspense, women’s fiction, book club fiction, YA mystery/thriller, and select contemporary YA. She’s especially eager to find suspense and psychological thrillers with complex lead characters. BIPOC, LGBTQ, and disabled voices in fiction always welcome. Learn more about Michelle here.

Nicole Payne is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary. Nicole is currently hoping to find: Young Adult historical romance set in the Middle East;  Young Adult literary fiction about love, family and hope and will make me ugly cry;  Women’s Fiction involving a Rosie the Riveter influenced story;  Adult contemporary about a cut-throat fashion industry and the romance that shouldn’t be a priority over creativity;  Adult Action and Adventure that centers around elderly women putting down knitting needles and picking up nunchucks.  Both Christian and secular themes welcome. Learn more about Nicole here.

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. “I’m looking for both literary and commercial adult fiction. In literary fiction, I’m specifically drawn to visceral honesty coupled with a dark sense of humor. In commercial fiction I’m looking for horror, mystery, and thrillers. My favorite books have distinct and memorable voices that grab the reader’s attention, and a narrative gravity that permeates every action in the story.” Pitch him literary fiction, crime, mystery, suspense, horror, humor, young adult, and short story collections. Learn more about James here.

Erin Hosier is a literary agent with Dunow, Carlson and Lerner. Erin primarily works with nonfiction authors and has a special interest in popular culture, music biography, humor, women’s issues and memoir.  She has been a literary agent since 2001 (currently with Dunow Carlson & Lerner), and was an original co-host of the Literary Death Match. Learn more about Erin here.

Lori Galvin is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Lori represents both adult fiction (especially women’s fiction and crime fiction) and nonfiction (memoir, food writing, and cookbooks). Prior to joining Aevitas, Lori was executive editor at the multimedia publisher America’s Test Kitchen, where she led a team that produced dozens of landmark cookbooks. Galvin was also an editor at Houghton Mifflin, a restaurant cook, and ran a bed-and-breakfast in Maine. Learn more about Lori here.

Caitlin White is a literary agent with Emerald City Literary Agency. In young adult and middle grade fiction: Caitlin is looking for whodunnits that harken back to Agatha Christie (think: Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series), pretty much anything that makes her feel like summer (her favorite book is Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters), rom-coms with an original hook, stories about non-toxic groups of friends, magical realism that feels grounded (like Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours), unabashedly feminist POVs, and contemporary witches set in a real-life world, like These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling. (If it’s similar to The Craft or Practical Magic, she will likely read it.) She is always interested in seeing submissions from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors. Sorry, but she is not the right person for high fantasy. Learn more about Caitlin here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AMVicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary (formerly with Jennifer De Chiara Literary). She is currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, and adult fiction. Vicki is especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. “I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.” Learn more about Vicki here.

Amy Giuffrida is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. “​I am always looking for #ownvvoices stories written by traditionally underrepresented authors that feature BIPOC and LGBTQ+ characters.” In middle grade and young adult, she seeks horror, romance, contemporary, and mystery. In adult fiction, she seeks horror, romance, romantic comedies, and psychological thrillers. In nonfiction (all ages from MG to adult), ” I am looking for powerful stories from diverse voices, including cookbooks that highlight family stories or ancestral anecdotes.” Learn more about Amy here.

Shari Maurer is a literary agent with Stringer Literary. In fiction, she seeks Picture Books, Middle Grade (Contemporary, Historical, Literary and Mystery), and Young Adult (Contemporary, Historical, Literary, Mystery). In nonfiction, she seeks Juvenile (YA and Middle Grade), Memoir, Narrative, Parenting, and Popular Science. Learn more about Shari and her agency here.

Cortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. In both YA and Adult, she is seeking: LGBTQIA+ (particularly F/F), neurodiversity, contemporary, horror, fantasy, science fiction, subtle mythology/fairytale retellings, and paranormal. “I’m a member of the LGBTQIA+ community (#BisexualPride! <3) and of the neurodivergent community. I love to see healthy representation of queer and neurodivergent identities, especially in SFF, and I’m ecstatic to find and represent books that would have benefited me as a teen. I adore seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. Learn more about Cortney here.

Cate Hart is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency. She is particularly drawn to oft forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. In nonfiction, she seeks narrative stories, history, film/TV/theatre, pop culture, and music. In fiction, she seeks historical, commercial, women’s, romance, fantasy, mystery, psychological thriller, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Cate here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Julie Gwinn is a literary agent and vice president of The Seymour Agency. Julie is actively looking for diverse voices in both fiction and nonfiction and is currently looking for romance, mystery/true crime, historical and speculative/fantasy novels. In nonfiction she is looking for self-help, lifestyle, motivational and sports related books. Learn more about Julie and the books she seeks here.

[NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR THE EVENT] Cassie Mannes Murray is a literary agent with Howland Literary. Cassie is accepting submissions for adult fiction and nonfiction. As far as fiction, she is seeking literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, short story collections, and literary-speculative work (not high fantasy or science fiction). For nonfiction, she’s interested in representing memoir, essay collections, as well as narrative nonfiction. Learn more about Cassie here and what she is seeking.

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        More 2021 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:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2021 CWW and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10 additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of early 2021, 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. There is no limit. Here are 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 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 Brian Klems, one of the workshop’s former 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 get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Bailey, 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.
  • Young adult fiction (any kind or genre): Faculty member Julie Eshbaugh, an 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.
  • Speculative fiction of all kind (fantasy / science fiction / horror) across adult or young adult:  Faculty member E.J. Wenstrom, an 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.

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

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: The 2021 CWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on September 10-11, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

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 Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. 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 Brian 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 or CC refund]. 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 started edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Van Sant of KT Literary Agency

Kelly Van Sant is a literary agent with KT Literary Agency.

Kelly has nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She cut her teeth in New York working at esteemed literary agencies such as Writers House and Harold Ober Associates, where she developed an eye for compelling, emotionally resonant stories, honed her editorial skills, and soon grew adept at contract vetting. She quickly gained expertise in subsidiary rights management, with focuses on audio rights, foreign rights, and permissions.

After relocating to Minnesota, Kelly joined Llewellyn Worldwide as their Contracts Manager across all three imprints and then moved to Quarto Publishing Group USA where she led the contract department. She has worked as a freelance editor with various publishers and is a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center. She also blogs about writing and the publishing industry at Pub(lishing) Crawl and co-hosts the their weekly podcast.

Kelly’s career came full circle when she realized he true passions was advocating for authors. She is now a literary agent at KT Literary and is actively building a client list.

She is seeking:

I am seeking Middle Grade, Young Adult, and limited women’s fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices and inclusive narratives. I’ve expanded on my interests within each category below.

In Middle Grade:

I am seeking Upper MG only. Chapter books or early readers are not for me. My ideal middle grade needs to be whimsical, funny, and full of adventure. My tastes lean away from contemporary in this genre, and more toward fantasy, speculative, science-fiction, or magical realism. I like intricate world-building and MCs with gumption. Give me a quest, give me steadfast friendships, give me insightful, magical parallels with the real world, and make me laugh. No books with an educational thrust; I want to have fun!

Young Adult:

I dearly love fantasy, science-fiction, speculative, and other magical elements in YA stories. Even better if mixed and matched with other genres. YA historical fantasy? Yes, please. Alternate universes, fictional worlds, your very own hometown with a secret or sinister twist. If the world-building is original and intricate, if you’re either dismantling existing tropes or executing them exceptionally well, if your characters are complex and come alive on the page then what are you waiting for? Send me your query.

Let’s talk about romance in YA. I prefer romance in my YA to be an undercurrent (even an urgent one) but not the main point. Something needs to be going on in universe and in your characters’ lives beyond their love story. Instant love is not for me; I appreciate when characters grow together over the course of a book. Attraction can happen instantly, but intimacy takes time.

I am selective about YA contemporary. A strong voice is vital, and again, I love to see a complex web of relationships beyond just romantic (though romance can be included): especially friendships and family relationships. More often than not you need to break my heart or make me fall head over heels in love with your characters in order for me to be the right agent to rep a contemporary book. But my heart longs to love and be broken! These books above all else must absolutely be character-driven.

Nonfiction

I am exclusively seeking non-fiction books on the subjects of magick and the occult, with a strong focus on tarot in particular. Please be aware that within both the modern and historical practice of tarot there are issues of cultural appropriation, and I am not interested in projects that continue or condone that appropriation. I am especially interested in working with tarot readers who are Indigenous, Black, POC, LGBTQIA+, or from other marginalized communities, and with anyone who brings a unique perspective to the cards that is welcoming for all.

Not seeking:

I am NOT seeking picture books or poetry at this time.

I do not represent previously published books, whether self-published or put out by a small press. Please only query me with new work.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Caitlin McDonald of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Caitlin McDonald is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Caitlin joined DMLA in 2015, after five years at Sterling Lord Literistic. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres, as well as select contemporary YA fiction about geeky characters. She is also seeking graphic novels along the same lines as above. Caitlin looks for diversity in all projects, and is most drawn to unique, evocative narratives and cross-genre works, with an emphasis on high-impact stories that have something powerful to say. Some of her clients include C.L. Polk, Caitlin Starling, A.J. Hackwith, Lara Elena Donnelly, and Emma Mieko Candon.

Looking for:
– All SF/F fiction for adult, YA, and select MG, especially secondary world fantasy or alternate history
– Genre-bending or cross-genre fiction, and stories that examine tropes from a new angle
– Diversity of all kinds, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and worldbuilding

Do not send:
– contemporary women’s fiction
– crime or military fiction
– picture books or young reader chapter books
– poetry, screenplays or short stories
– memoir and nonfiction

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Hannah Brattesani of The Friedrich Agency

Hannah Brattesani is a literary agent with The Friedrich Agency.

“After handling international rights for Emma Sweeney agency and Folio Literary Management, I joined the Friedrich Agency at the end of 2019.”

She is seeking: “I’m always intrigued by literary fiction that has a playful disregard for the rules of a novel, like SPEEDBOAT by Renata Adler, and I admire authors with a dark bent (Iain Reid) and an offbeat sense of humor (Jen Beagin). I’m drawn to narrative nonfiction that invites me into a community, culture, or lifestyle that I would never otherwise experience or reframes familiar subjects in humorous or surprising ways. I enjoy popular science but digest it in much the same way as I ate vegetables as a child: mixed into something I find more palatable – I need a strong story and voice to carry me through but appreciate every nutritious morsel I get along the way.

“Five books that I loved but did NOT sell: FEVER DREAM, THE FALCONER, HOW TO BE BOTH, anything by Rebecca Solnit, and BARBARIAN DAYS.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rena Rossner of The Deborah Harris Literary Agency

Rena Rossner is a literary agent with The Deborah Harris Literary Agency.

“I represent Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult. In terms of Adult fiction, I look for Literary, Historical, Fantasy and SciFi, Romance and Thrillers, though I am open to all genres. Nonfiction: in all genres, but it depends on the project. I have a love for history, food, and literary science writing, but am open to anything.

“Picture Books: I want funny/quirky books (think Skippyjon Jones,) adorable books that have a classic feel (I love animals and precocious little girls and boys,) or books with a strong message (not ones that moralize) but something with an edge – be it historical fiction, an alternative princess story, or a family story that feels familiar but has a different twist. I love magical realism and poetry and I find myself attracted mostly to picture books under 500 words, though I am open to considering longer ones.

“Middle Grade: I love novels in verse. I love magical realism and poetic writing. I love funny, quirky middle grade. Historical fiction, books with a classic feel. I also love Science Fiction and Fantasy. MG contemporary with a great voice. I’m open to Mysteries/Thrillers.

“Young Adult: Novels in verse, poetry, poetic writing, historical fiction. Contemporary YA with lots of heart – I love romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Nonfiction, anything multicultural and QUILTBAG friendly too (send me the next Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe PLEASE!) but I would also give anything for the next Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.

“Adult Fiction – literary writing above all, poetic writing, but I will always be a sucker for all types of SciFi and Fantasy (I love literary scifi and richly imagined alternate worlds,) all types of fantasy, especially Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy and Magical Realism. Any kind of Literary Fiction, even edgy and gritty, but give me stunning phrases that make you want to stop and read them again and again. I love all kinds of Historical Fiction (give me the next Outlander, Hild or Pillars of the Earth,) but I am open to horror, psychological suspense and thrillers. I love romance in all genres. And I have a soft spot for Ireland and anything set in the Middle East.

“Nonfiction: I’m a foodie, so any books related to food are right up my alley including cookbooks, but in terms of non-fiction (besides cookbooks,) while I am open to them, I wouldn’t say that it’s a genre I know well, having said that, literary writing trumps all, especially in memoir.

“IN GENERAL: You will steal my heart if there is some kind of Middle Eastern, Israeli, or Jewish setting, theme, or character, in any genre, but those are certainly not the only types of books I represent. Though I am based in Jerusalem, I represent authors all over the world and about half of my current clients are US-based.

“Fun facts about me:

  • I’m a poet and an author
  • My pug’s name is Pablo Picasso Neruda
  • I love green and purple
  • And coffee and bourbon”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Shari Maurer of Stringer Literary

Shari Maurer is a literary agent with Stringer Literary.

Shari graduated from Duke University with a degree in English, and later studied Dramatic Writing at NYU. Following a stint at The Children’s Television Workshop on international productions of Sesame Street, she published both novels and non-fiction, and worked as a writer and editor. Shari has also written Parenting & Lifestyle columns for several websites. A mother of three, she lives in New York with her husband.

In fiction, she seeks Picture Books, Middle Grade (Contemporary, Historical, Literary and Mystery), and Young Adult (Contemporary, Historical, Literary, Mystery).

In nonfiction, she seeks Juvenile (YA and Middle Grade), Memoir, Narrative, Parenting, and Popular Science.

Note from the agency: Please do not send Literary fiction, Inspirational, Screenplays, Plays, Poetry, Short Stories, Comedy, Erotica or Erotic Romance, True Crime, Religious, or Instructional. We are not interested in seeing any projects that include abuse of children or animals as plot elements.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stefanie Molina of Ladderbird Literary Agency

Stefanie Molina is a literary agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency.

I became an agent in January 2021 and joined Ladderbird Literary Agency in April 2021 after spending my early career advocating for marginalized folks in publishing as a technical editor at a national laboratory, senior editor at the literary journal F(r)iction, and book coach and editor for women of color. I am one-half Mexican, one-quarter Japanese, and one-quarter Irish. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, both from the University of California at Davis. Aside from reading, I enjoy hiking, swimming, baking strange new things, and playing the piano. My favorite place in the world is Yosemite National Park

Across the board, I’m extremely passionate about increasing representation for Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in publishing, and have a soft spot for stories about mixed people of color. I’m also invested in increasing representation for other marginalized populations, including but not limited to LGBTQIA+ folks, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, and people who are neurodiverse.

I am only interested in working with people who are invested in representing the diversity of our world on the page.

Right now, in MG, YA, and Adult, I badly want a story that pulls from ancient legends and cultures written by someone with connection to and knowledge of those legends and cultures. If you have an #ownvoices book that fits this, I want to see it.

In all works, I love redemption arcs, especially those that result in enemies-to-lovers.

It’s hard, though not impossible, to sell me on a sad ending.

In children’s and picture books:

I’m most interested in stories that tell the experiences of growing up as a person of color, especially as a mixed person of color. Think Rise and Shine, Mariko Chan!; Lucia the Luchadora; Grandma Says My Hair Has Flair; We Are Water Protectors; and Binny’s Diwali.

I’d also love retellings of traditional folktales from all cultures, including stories that somehow reflect the oral storytelling tradition.

In middle grade and young adult:

Historical fiction and fantasy that explores diverse experiences and cultures (think Percy Jackson or Flame in the Mist)

Funny, deep, and heartfelt coming-of-age stories, especially about and by people of color (Never Have I Ever (the TV show), American Panda, Becoming Naomi Leon, Finding Miracles), bonus if it has romcom elements

Fantasy and all its subgenres: I’m looking for emotion- and story-heavy writing with an easily trackable narrative, diverse and inclusive cast, and mindful worldbuilding. Favorites: Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns.

Solarpunk, hopepunk, and silkpunk

In Adult Fiction:

The best books for me combine elements of humor, romance, and adventure into emotion-forward works full of feeling and excitement. I’m looking for:

Diverse romcoms, especially starring people of color and featuring interracial relationships between people of color, and/or starring LGBTQIA+ folks with an emphasis on bi and pan rep

Cozy mysteries, especially those that heavily feature dogs (Chet and Bernie, Andy Carpenter)

Steamy thrillers (think Sandra Brown)

Fantasy and all its subgenres: Again, I’m looking for emotion- and story-heavy writing with a trackable narrative, diverse and inclusive cast, and mindful worldbuilding. (Circe is a big favorite of mine.)

Historical fiction and fantasy that explores diverse experiences and cultures (Fifty Words for Rain)

Solarpunk, hopepunk, and silkpunk

In memoir and nonfiction:

I’m very selective with nonfiction, but I am interested in deeply moving memoirs and business/personal development by people of color.

I’m also looking for cookbooks and baking books that make rich culinary traditions accessible while keeping them authentic, especially those with recipes that have been passed down through generations. I love fusion cuisines and I get most excited about dessert!

Fun facts about me:

I’m a pianist and saxophonist (alto and tenor). I love running, volleyball, and swimming (I used to race butterfly!). I’m an avid baker and food is my love language. It is possible that I am a dog in a human body!

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alec Shane of Writers House

Alec Shane is a literary agent with Writers House.

Writers House is one of the largest literary agencies in the world and prides itself on providing an extraordinary amount of individual client attention combined with the full service benefits of foreign and sub rights departments, as well as a full accounting and royalty staff.

“I began my career at Writers House as an intern in September of 2008 and simply refused to leave, so I was given the wonderful job of Assistant to Jodi Reamer. I am now also in the process of actively building my own list and currently represent a fairly eclectic mix of Children’s and Adult fiction and nonfiction. I’m eagerly looking for both.

“On the fiction side, I love mysteries, thrillers (although I’m experiencing a bit of terrorist fatigue at the moment), bad-ass protagonists with a chip on their shoulders, beautifully told historical fiction (The Vietnam War, the Maccabees, and The American Revolution fascinate me in particular), well-researched adventure stories, and great horror – I haven’t been scared to turn off the light in far too long and something needs to be done about it.

“In terms of children’s books, getting boys to read again is especially important to me, and thus I’m particularly on the lookout for a fun middle-grade adventure series, ghost story, or anything else geared toward younger male readers.

“On the nonfiction side, I’m attracted to odd, quirky histories, military history, biographies of people I didn’t even know existed (but definitely should have), “guy” reads, humor, narrative nonfiction that sheds light on under-the-radar events and lifestyles, and all things sports. I’m also currently up in the air as to whether or not I believe in ghosts, hauntings, and the supernatural, so if you have something that can convince me one way or the other, I’d love to see it.

BEST-KNOWN PROJECTS

SHARK WARS, EJ Altbacker
THE LAST PUNISHER, Kevin Lacz
NIGHT ON FIRE, Ronald Kidd
THE BOOK OF BLOOD, HP Newquist
HOW THE STATES GOT THEIR SHAPES, Mark Stein
YOU MIGHT REMEMBER ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHIL HARTMAN, Mike Thomas