The 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop: March 2, 2019

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2014, 2017, and 2018 events in Minnesota, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in St. Paul, MN on March 2, 2019.

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 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 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:

  • [NEW ADDITION] agent Catherine Hedrick-Armstrong (The Purcell Agency)
  • literary agent Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Latoya C. Smith (LCS Literary)
  • literary agent Weronika Janczuk (D4E0 Literary)
  • literary agent Amelia Appel (TriadaUS Literary)
  • literary agent Savannah Brooks (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Van Sant (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Mary Cummings (Betsy Amster Literary)
  • literary agent Alexandra Weiss (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Laura Zats (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Jennie Goloboy (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Erik Hane (Red Sofa Literary)
  • literary agent Lynnette Novak (The Seymour Agency)
  • and possibly 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 Kimiko Nakamura of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from local Minnesota writing groups.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 2, 2019 — at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront, 11 E Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55101. (651)292-1900.

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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. Determining your Book’s Publication Path – Traditional vs. Non-Traditional (State Suite). One of the biggest questions that many authors will consider is: Should I self-publish, or do I continue to query agents? In this class, we will highlight the differences around this decision, as well as things any writer needs to take into consideration when choosing which direction to go.

2. With Great Power: The Author’s Responsibility When Creating Science Fiction and Fantasy Worlds (Governor 1). When you decide to write genre and develop a milieu for your story, what considerations should you keep in mind? What do authors owe each other and our readers when we dive into world-building and the construction of new universes?

3. How to Write and Sell Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Governor 2). This presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night.

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

1. Pre-Work for Your Best Work (Governor 1). Is writing your first draft a drag? Are you a pantser or a plotter and still struggle with getting that first draft done? “Pre-work” involves techniques and exercises the writer completes before starting their first draft to help ease the drafting and revision process.

2. Query Letter Comprehensive (State Suite). Stand out from the slush and workshop your way to crafting a successful query letter. It’s time to kick the clichés, ditch the info dumps, and get ready to dive deeper than a list of dos and don’ts.

3. How to Write a Memoir Agents (and Readers) Will Love (Governor 2). In this session, attendees will examine why some debut memoirs get published but many do not — by discussing what tips and techniques that aid memoir writers.

(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). 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 1). If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Grow a Spine: Picture Book Writing with Confidence (Governor 2). Getting started as a picture book author can seem a bit overwhelming. Learn some basic facts, tips, and tricks from a published author.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. How to Write & Pitch Romance in 2019 (Governor 2). This session, taught by an attending literary agent will address important topics and tips for writers of romance.

2. From A to Z: Strategies for Plotting, Pacing and Structure (State Suite). In this class, a literary agent will begin with a detailed introduction to the three-act screenwriting structure that lends itself to theoretical preparation for novel-writing and outlining, and then identify different tools for plot consideration, outlining, as well as writing that permit novelists to plot and pace their work tightly.

3. Author Brand Building (Governor 1). Learn how to identify and establish your unique brand as a writer, what to include (and not include) on your website, understanding the differences between social media platforms and determining which one is right for you, and managing and growing your brand over time.

(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. You Have an Agent — Now What? Best Practices for Working With Your Representation (State Suite). In this class we’ll discuss the agent’s role on your path to publication, as well as best collaboration practices in this potentially long-term business relationship.

2. Why Writing for Kids Matters — How to Write Meaningful and Great Young Adult and Middle Grade Books (Governor 1). In this session, the presenter will walk you through some of the differences and challenges faced by the kidlit writer, as well as tips and tricks to help you accomplish your writing goals and reach your young audience in new and lasting ways.

3. Improve Your Writing: The Basics of Self-Editing and Revision (Governor 2). Writing your manuscript’s first draft is a huge step, but only a primary one. Now it’s time to look at your creation and slowly make it amazing through overhauls, self-editing, and revision.


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.



Screen shot 2016-05-16 at 5.47.13 PM.pngLaura 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), and romance & erotica (especially contemporary; please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids). Learn more about Laura here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 3.25.19 PM.pngCatherine Hedrick-Armstrong is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency. Though her reading tastes are somewhat eclectic, Catherine is especially drawn to issue-driven Young Adult and New Adult fiction, ranging from the heart-wrenching stories of kids trying to navigate the difficult hallways of their high schools to the heartbreaking, yet empowering, stories of overcoming the odds when life throws you a curve ball. In the New Adult category, she can’t get enough of Jamie McGuire’s Maddox Brothers series, and anything written by Colleen Hoover or Rachel Van Dyken. She is not interested in science fiction or fantasy in YA or NA. Learn more about Catherine here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 10.11.00 PM.pngLatoya C. Smith is a literary agent with LCS Literary. She is seeking: general fiction, romance, suspense, thriller, biography, business/investing/finance, mind/body/spirit, health, lifestyle, and African-American fiction & nonfiction. Latoya has previously worked for Samhain Publishing, Hachette Book Group, Kensington Publishing, and more. Learn more about Latoya here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 1.56.58 PM.pngWeronika Janczuk [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with D4E0 Literary. “I am not, and have never been, a single-genre reader. I am eager only for the best-told stories, building out a list of talented novelists and writers in many genres.” She is seeking: young adult, fantasy & sci-fi, literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance crime, mystery & thrillers. memoir and nonfiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.). Learn more about Weronika here.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 1.38.50 PMAmelia Appel [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with TriadaUS. For adult fiction, she is most interested in literary fiction, mystery, thriller, upmarket women’s fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and horror. Projects with a smart, distinct voice, a fantastic setting to jump into, and/or a witty protagonist are all up her alley. She is not looking for romance novels. For adult nonfiction, she is primarily looking for creative nonfiction, humor, sports, how-to, pop culture, and true crime. She is not looking to represent memoir. Learn more about Amelia here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.03.13 PMSavannah Brooks [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. “I represent memoir, adult literary/contemporary fiction, young adult contemporary fiction, and topic-driven and narrative nonfiction (books and essay collections).” Learn more about Savannah here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.37.40 AMKelly Van Sant is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. She says, “I am seeking middle grade, young adult, and very 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, inclusive narratives, and diverse writers.” Learn more about Kelly here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.34.58 AMDawn Frederick is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary. In fiction, she seeks young adult and middle grade. In nonfiction, she seeks biograohy, creative/narrative nonfiction, graphic novels, history, humor, pop culture, social issues / current affarirs, sports, women’s narratives, and juvenile nonfiction (MG / YA). She does not seek memoir. Learn more about Dawn here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 12.30.33 PM.pngAlexandra Weiss [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She is seeking young adult (all kinds), middle grade and children’s fiction, and some adult fiction. She is passionate about representing literature from diverse and underrepresented voices. Concerning adult fiction she seeks, “I’m not looking for romance, but I am looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels. I’m interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. I’m open to most genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for. Learn more about Alexandra 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, literary nonfiction, and poetry for children and teens, from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, including contemporary and historical, humor, mystery, fantasy, and multicultural. She is particularly seeking middle grade novels as well as picture books with strong story arcs, a spunky central character, and warmth, humor, or quirky charm. In literary nonfiction, her areas of interest include lyrically written science, arts, nature, mindfulness, and social awareness issues. Learn more about Mary here.

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 8.09.55 PM.pngJennie Goloboy is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary. Jennie is particularly looking for fun, innovative, diverse, and progressive science fiction and fantasy for adults. She thinks that one of the most important jobs of science fiction is to imagine a future we want to live in. Jennie is also looking for nonfiction history for a popular, adult audience. She’s a particular fan of histories of an idea, and narratives about early America. She is not interested in historical novels, or in memoir. Learn more about Jennie 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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 11.43.46 AMLynnette Novak [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an associate agent at The Seymour Agency and is building her list. She loves dark and suspenseful, mysterious twists, unique worlds, light and funny, a good love story, and lots of voice. She’s seeking middle grade (contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and horror); Young adult (thrillers, contemporary, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery); Adult fiction (thrillers, mystery [cozy, amateur sleuth, traditional], fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary romance, and romantic comedy). She’d love to see more diversity and #ownvoices projects too. Learn more about Lynnette here.

        More 2019 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.)



$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2019 MWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 24, 2018, 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 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the 2017 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 2017 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 2018 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 2017 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 2016 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, a longtime editor for Writer’s Digest Books and one of the workshop’s former 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 $89 — 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:

  • Adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror: Faculty member A. Merc Rustad, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, general fiction: Faculty member Kelsey Sutton, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Young adult and middle grade: Faculty member Sarah Ahiers, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Memoir: Faculty member Kimiko Nakamura, a literary agent who reps memoir clients, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • 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.
  • Children’s picture books: Faculty member Cori Doerrfeld, a published picture book author/illustrator, will get your work in advance, critique your picture 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. There is a maximum of 1,000 words for each picture book submission. The submission can include illustrations or be text only.
  • and more forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email:, 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 Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Minnesota workshop specifically.


Because of limited space at the Intercontinental Downtown Riverfront, 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 2019 workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email: 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 Kimiko 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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