The 2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop: February 11, 2017

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter a successful 2014 event in Minnesota, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in St. Paul, MN on February 11, 2017.

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 (150 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront. 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 Laura Zats (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency)
  • editor Yana Makuwa (Graywolf Press)
  • literary agent Mary Cummings (Betsy Amster Literary)
  • literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (Dee Mura Literary)
  • literary agent Vicki Selvaggio (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Jennie Goloboy (Red Sofa Literary)
  • editor Elizabeth May (Kensington Publishing)
  • literary agent Abby Saul (The Lark Group)
  • literary agent Samantha Fountain (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary)
  • editor Lauren Kukla (Mighty Media Press Children’s Books)
  • literary agent Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary)
  • literary agent Erik Hane (Red Sofa Literary)

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 the Minnesota SCBWI.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, February 11, 2017 — at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront, 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101.(651)292-1900.

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 4.14.01 PM.png

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

*Official welcome from coordinator Jessica Bell.

1. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (State Suite Room). This workshop examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing / e-publishing.

2. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Governor 1 Room). This session will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

3. The Art and Craft of Memoir (Governor 2 Room). In this session, you’ll learn what sells (and why), and how you can write a great life story.

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

1. Invest in Yourself and Your Book (Governor 1 Room). Once your book comes out, what are the more effective ways to spend time and money in promotion of it? This class addresses your options.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (State Suite Room). This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. Ten Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Governor 2 Room). 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 (State Suite Room). 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.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips (Governor 2 Room). If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book (Governor 1 Room). 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. How to Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right (Governor 1 Room). You’ll learn how to: prepare your manuscript, design your cover, format your paperback interior & ebook, register with desired retailers/distributors, and much more.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (State Suite Room). Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and find success.

3. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction (Governor 2 Room). A literary agent who actively seeks SF/F will be discuss how to write and sell speculative fiction.

(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 (Governor 1 Room). 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 (State Suite Room). 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 (Governor 2 Room). 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 (Governor 4 room): All throughout the day.

————-

PITCH AGENTS AND EDITORS:

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 5.47.13 PM.pngLaura Zats [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. Laura seeks young adult fiction (especially contemporary), middle grade contemporary / adventure, adult fantasy and science fiction (loves non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor; no high fantasy), and romance & erotica (especially contemporary; please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids). Learn more about Laura here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 1.37.49 PM.pngYana Makuwa is an editorial assistant at Graywolf Press.
She is taking pitches for the following: literary fiction, memoir,
short story collections, and essay collections. She is excited to
meet writers and learn about their completed projects. Learn more about Yana here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 9.10.51 AM.pngMary Cummings is a literary agent at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. She represents fiction and poetry for children and teens, from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, including contemporary and historical, humor, mystery, fantasy, and multi-cultural. (No children’s nonfiction, please.) She represents both career writers and newcomers. Learn more about Mary here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.06.32 PMGemma Cooper [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. Gemma represents authors who write for children, from picture books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. “I love younger fiction, and have a soft spot for funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential. For middle grade, I’d love to see a good mystery or adventure, but really any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller). For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance or something with strong friendships or sibling relationships. For picture books, I prefer short texts that don’t take themselves too seriously, and high concept ideas that can be sold on the title alone. Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention.” Learn more about Gemma here.

17232682-20503311-thumbnailKimiko Nakamura [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. Kimiko represents fiction in young adult and adult within the genres of historical, contemporary, literary, and women’s fiction. She loves thought-provoking projects that re-imagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and anything with elements of magical realism. For nonfiction she represents cookbooks and memoirs. On her bookshelf and in her inbox, she looks for cookbooks she can read like the Sunday morning paper and daring memoirs of people making their mark on the world. Learn more about Kimiko here.

jennie-goloboy-2014Jennie Goloboy is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary Agency in Minnesota. She represents science fiction and fantasy (especially with a literary flair), historical nonfiction (no memoir), romance (primarily with sci-fi/fantasy elements), and young adult fiction. She is excited to meet with all kinds of writers and hopefully build her client list. Learn more about Jennie here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AMVicki Selvaggio [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent 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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.05.34 AM.pngAbby Saul [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with The Lark Group. She’s looking for great and engrossing writing, no matter what the genre, and is actively exploring new digital possibilities for books. (She also occasionally reps young adult and middle grade, but does not want to see fantasy or science fiction for any age of reader.) A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Abby spends her weekends—when she’s not reading—cooking and hiking with her husband. Learn more about Abby here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.14.19 AMSamantha Fountain [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary-agent-in-training with Corvisiero Literary. She will be taking pitches for herself as well as Corvisiero Literary as a whole. Samantha is personally seeking young adult contemporary titles, historical fiction for both young adults and adults, as well as mysteries and thrillers with dark, dramatic undertones. She is also taking pitches on behalf of Corvisiero Literary co-agents for the following: science fiction, fantasy, horror, action / adventure, young adult fantasy and sci-fi, and middle grade. Learn more about Samantha here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 7.14.57 PM.pngElizabeth May [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an editorial assistant at Kensington Publishing Corporation. She is seeking: Fiction areas of interest include action/adventure, commercial, fantasy, general, historical, horror, humorous, LGBTQ, literary, mystery, new adult, religious, romance, science fiction, women’s fiction. Nonfiction areas of interest: biography, crafts/DIY, history, humor, journalism, memoir, pop culture, travel, and true crime. Learn more about Elizabeth here.

dawn-1313Dawn Frederick is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary Agency. She represents writers of young adult, middle grade, and graphic novels. She also personally seeks nonfiction in the following categories: biography, creative (narrative) nonfiction, history, humor, pop culture, women’s narratives (chick lit nonfiction), sports, social issues and current affairs, pop culture. Learn more about Dawn here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 10.32.21 AM.pngLauren Kukla is an editor with Mighty Media Press (formerly Scarletta Press). She is seeking excellent picture books and middle grade fiction. Mighty Media Press delivers captivating books and media that ignite a child’s curiosity, imagination, social awareness, and sense of adventure. The imprint only publishes books that fit all four parts of this mission. Learn more about Lauren here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 2.07.00 PMKaylee Davis [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. Kaylee is actively acquiring middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction — particularly sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, literary, and LGBTQ. She is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She loves plot twists, genre-bending, unlikely allies, flawed heroes, and stories that are both literally and figuratively out of this world. Learn more about Kaylee here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 10.29.03 AM.pngErik Hane is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. Erik is looking for the following: literary/upmarket fiction with an emphasis on plot (as in, nothing too slow/quiet/static); popular and academic/trade science nonfiction, especially evolutionary biology; narrative history and biography; contemporary culture criticism (think Klosterman); sports books, if it’s got a scope that extends past just games and players and into culture/larger issues. Learn more about Erik here.

        More 2017 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 2017 MWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 10, 2016, 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.pngI 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 Chuck Sambuchino, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Minnesota 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:

  • Young adult / middle grade / chapter books: Faculty member Madeline Smoot, a children’s book editor who is teaching at the event, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. No picture books, please.
  • Mystery / crime / thriller / suspense: Faculty member Kristi Belcamino, a published mystery novelist, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Romance: Faculty member Michele Hauf, a published romance novelist, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Picture books, women’s fiction, and historical fiction: Faculty member Amy Quale, co-founder of Wise Ink, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. If you are submitting a picture book to her, the maximum word count is 1,000 words.
  • Memoir: Faculty member Marge Barrett, a published memoir writer, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Adult science fiction & fantasy: Faculty member Lyda Morehouse, a published speculative fiction writer, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your fiction, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@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 Minnesota workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the Intercontinental Downtown Riverfront, the workshop can only allow 150 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: writingdayworkshops@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 MWW 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 Minnesota 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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Thank you for your interest in the 2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.06.32 PM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Gemma Cooper is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

Gemma represents: authors who write for children, from picture books to young adult, fiction and nonfiction.

“I started my publishing career in New York, spent several years working in London, and now live in Chicago, where I work with authors based in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. The best part of my job is getting to be the first fan of an unpublished book and then champion this book — nothing beats being able to talk up your passions to other book fanatics! My client list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions. I love younger fiction, and have a soft spot for funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential. For middle grade, I’d love to see a good mystery or adventure, but really any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller). For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance or something with strong friendships or sibling relationships. For picture books, I prefer short texts that don’t take themselves too seriously, and high concept ideas that can be sold on the title alone. Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention, particularly in the chapter book and MG market. For nonfiction, I’m interested in history and science, but want very accessible books with an obvious hook.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary

Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 5.47.13 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Laura Zats is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary.

Laura seeks young adult fiction, especially contemporary, middle grade contemporary/adventure, adult fantasy and science fiction (loves non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor; no high fantasy) romance and erotica (especially contemporary; please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids).

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Yana Makuwa of Graywolf Press

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 1.37.49 PM.pngYana Makuwa is an editorial assistant at Graywolf Press.

She is taking pitches for literary fiction, memoir, short story collections, and essay collections.

Yana studied English and Spanish at Cornell University, with a focus on African American and African diaspora literature, and literary translation. Before joining Graywolf, she worked as an intern at Macmillan with the We Need Diverse Books internship program. She is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kimiko Nakamura of Dee Mura Literary

17232682-20503311-thumbnail[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Kimiko Nakamura is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary.

Kimiko’s career started in the publishing houses of Boston where she fostered her talent for sales. At Dee Mura Literary, she found another passion: helping writers build successful careers. Kimiko works with new and emerging writers. She looks for page-turning fiction and non-fiction that leaves people inspired and offers readers a full range of emotions—laughter that slips out while reading in public, tears that splash onto our e-readers, and an aha of connection on the page, reminding us that books are more than something we simply hold in our hands.

She represents: Kimiko represents fiction in young adult and adult within the genres of historical, contemporary, literary, and women’s fiction. She loves thought-provoking projects that re-imagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and anything with elements of magical realism. For nonfiction she represents cookbooks and memoirs. On her bookshelf and in her inbox, she looks for cookbooks she can read like the Sunday morning paper and daring memoirs of people making their mark on the world.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Vicki Selvaggio of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Vicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

With a strong background in business ownership, Vicki came to The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency with over 6 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio. Drawn to the publishing scene first as an author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m 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.”