Schedule: 2021 Workshop


Friday, September 10, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “Editing for the Eye, the Ear, and the Hand,” taught by agent Vicki Selvaggio.

10:45 – 11:45: “How to Get a Literary Agent (and Write a Damn Good Query Letter),” taught by Chuck Sambuchino. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, 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: “A Bird’s-Eye View of Your Publishing Options in 2021,” taught by Brian Klems. This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing / e-publishing. We will examine the upsides of both routes, the challenges with both, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist

2:45 – 3:45: “How to Get Past Writer’s Block,” taught by agent Devon Halliday. If you’re bored when writing, the reader is bored when reading. Dreading or dragging your feet through a chapter is a sign that the chapter shouldn’t be in the book. 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,” taught by agent Kelly Van Sant.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: “The 7 Touches of Marketing for Authors,” taught by author E.J. Wenstrom. 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,” taught by agent Leticia Gomez. Selling a fiction or nonfiction book project to a traditional mainstream publisher requires different approaches. Whether you are a first-time unpublished author or a seasoned one who has been around the publishing block once, twice or more times, the industry rules and guidelines must be adhered to in order to be able to get your feet through the door. In this session, literary agent Leticia Gomez will explain in great detail what these established rules and guidelines are. She will also discuss precisely what sample material components are must haves and what is the best way to package them up in order to secure the publishing deal of your dreams.

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. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. All attendees are welcome to submit pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Instructions to participate will be sent out approximately one week before the event.

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,” taught by Julie Gwinn. 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.

* * * * * * *


Lastly, having this new technology allows us WDW faculty members to pre-record sessions, too—meaning we will actually send attendees many extra FREE classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s 5 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you 12 more FREE CWW classes on the side:

  1. “An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today”—a class on understanding the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, by Chuck Sambuchino
  2. “10 Query Letter Tips”—a class to help your submission chances, by Chuck Sambuchino
  3. “15 Tips on How to Write Like the Pros”—a class on craft and voice, by Brian Klems
  4. “Working with a Literary Agent”—a class on having a great relationship, by agent Kortney Price
  5. “The Ins and Outs of Perfecting Voice in Your Writing,” taught by author Christina Kaye.
  6. “Ask an Agent Anything Panel (Michigan Writing Workshop)”—hear writers ask questions and agents give blunt feedback
  7. “How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” by Brian Klems—a class specifically designed for writers of nonfiction who want to craft an awesome proposal
  8. “You Have an Agent Offer or Book Contract — Now What?”—a class explaining what happens after you sign with a rep, by agent Carlie Webber
  9. “Pitch, Please”—a class on pitching to agents successfully, by Ben Miller-Callihan and Courtney Miller-Callihan
  10. “Making Social Media Work For You”—a class on promoting yourself and your book via social media, by agent Kenzi Nevins
  11. “Talking Elevator Pitches, Twitter Pitches, and Query Letters”—a class on understanding the various ways to pitch your book to agents, by agent Heather Cashman
  12. “Elevating Your Work: How to Create Great Children’s Picture Books”—a class on writing picture books for kids, by author Gabrielle Pendergrast