Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC, women’s fiction, literary fiction, chick lit/rom-com, crime fiction, pop culture, narrative non-fiction and non-fiction books on film and the entertainment industry.
She’s not seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, family saga, children’s/YA or screenplays that have been turned into novels.
Darlene is a veteran of the film industry. She served as an executive for Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures (both times under Jeffrey Katzenberg), Davis Entertainment and as an independent producer. Among the titles she has been associated with are Grumpy Old Men, Beverly Hills Cop, Thing Called Love and Shattered.
In 2009, Darlene established Darlene Chan PR, which specializes in web PR and social media for authors. Among her clients are Live Talks Los Angeles, Daniel H. Wilson, Joe Ide, Elizabeth Brundage, Tara Ison and Denise Hamilton.
Rachelle Gardner is literary agent and owner of Gardner Literary, representing fiction and nonfiction.
She works in the Christian market (CBA) as well as the general market, and is considering new clients for both.
In fiction she’s looking at novels of 75,000 to 100,000 words in the following genres: contemporary women’s fiction, romance, suspense/thriller, historical, YA and YA fantasy including fairy tale retellings with a unique approach.
NOT looking at adult fantasy, sci-fi, or literary fiction.
Rachelle is looking at a wide variety of nonfiction, but please note, she can’t sell it unless you have a platform. If you have begun developing a following, bring her your nonfiction!
She is especially interested in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors.
Jessica recieved her BA in English Literature from New York University and her MPhil in Irish Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Before moving to Israel, she was an editor at the Wall Street Journal Book Review. She has previously worked at the Joy Harris Literary Agency in New York, The Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin, and Blue Man Group in Boston.
Jessica is interested in literary fiction, serious nonfiction memoir, historical fiction and picture books.
These are some of our growing list of success stories regarding workshop attendees who have found their agent (or editor) match at a Writing Day Workshops event:
“I met Mai Nguyen at the Toronto Writers Workshop [online] in 2020 and sold her manuscript in early 2022 in a pre-empt to Atria Books/S&S for six-figures. It’s called SUNSHINE NAILS and will be out in 2023.” – literary agent Carly Watters (she/her) of P.S. Literary Agency
“I signed Julie Tyler who pitched to me via your [online] 2021 Tennessee Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Felice Laverne of ArtHouse Literary Agency
“I have signed with Ariana Philips of Jean V. Naggar Literary! I pitched my novel to Ariana over Zoom at the 2021 online
Tennessee Writing Workshop. It was a great experience, and
because of WDW, I have an agent!” – writer Melissa Collings
“An agent at the [online] 2021 Carolina Writing Workshop offered
representation and I parlayed that into another offer at the [online] 2021 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop. I’m now represented by Dani
Segelbaum at the Carol Mann Agency. I am so grateful for the
opportunity to meet agents at your workshops. It’s a great program!” – writer Jennifer Davis
“I really enjoyed the [online] 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago pitch sessions. I offered representation to an attendee who pitched me.” – literary agent Ali McDonald of 5 Otter Literary
“I have BIG news. I just signed with a literary agent I met
through the 2021 [online] Minnesota Writing Conference. I want to
thank you for all the support you have shown me over this year and
the wonderful conferences you put on.” – writer Maria Costanzo Palmer
“I can’t thank you enough. The [online] 2021 Chesapeake Writing Workshop was really a great venue to meet my literary agent.” – writer Hamsa Buvaraghan
“Last week I signed Sarah Elisabeth Brown who pitched to me via your [online] 2021 Michigan Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Darlene Chan of Linda Chester Associates
“After pitching him at the 2022 [online] Atlanta Writing Workshop, I signed with agent Daniel Cramer of Page Turner Literary Agency.” – writer Melody Plan
“Highly recommend these workshops! This is how I got my agent!
The live pitch definitely gave more opportunity to be passionate & talk
about the book than my query letter ever could.” [S.E. found her agent, Eric Smith of P.S. Literary, at the online 2021 San Diego Writing Workshop.] – writer S.E. Dosterof Geeky Acrylics
“This year I signed Natasha Khan, who pitched her story to me at the [online] 2021 Atlanta Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Kortney Price of Raven Quill Literary
“Excited to announce that Megan Davies-Ostrom is my newest client!
Her horror and horror-adjacent work is wickedly fun and I know you’ll
all love it! She pitched me at the 2020 [online] Toronto Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Becky LeJeune of Bond Literary
“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the 2016 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media
“I just signed client Kyle Reardon from the [online] 2021 San Diego Writing Workshop. Online virtual pitches DO WORK!!!” – literary agent Lynnette Novak of The Seymour Agency
“I met author M. David Flanagan at the 2019 Writing Workshop of San Francisco and will be representing his middle grade series, Maggie Monday! How exciting!” – literary agent and partner Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary
“Fun fact: I have offered representation to at least one attendee
per Writing Day Workshops conference. There’s always one gem
(at least!). So excited for your events!” – literary agent Cecilia Lyra of P.S. Literary Agency
“After pitching to book agent Nikki Terpilowski through the [online] 2020 Colorado Writing Workshop, she wants to represent my book. Thank
you for your wonderful online conference and for making this possible.” – writer Karen Harlin
“I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Anne Christopher to #TeamSpencerhill. We first met at the 2020 Atlanta Writing Workshop, and I absolutely fell in love with her Southern-flavored reunion romance.” – literary agent Ali Herring of Spencerhill Associates
“I ended up signing up with agent Michael Carr of Veritas
Literary following the [online] 2020 Boston Writing Conference. As a non-US author and non-native English speaker living
outside the big literary hubs, the opportunity to connect with
industry professionals via Zoom was invaluable for me.” – writer Didem Tali
“I’m thrilled to announce that Sandra Knisely Barnidge has signed with me!
I met Sandra in Birmingham [2020 Alabama Writing Workshop] in March.
She pitched me her story about a group of girlfriends & what happens
when one girl becomes convinced she can levitate—I was hooked.”
– literary agent Erin Clyburn of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
“I just signed a writer from the 2019 North Carolina Writing Workshop! Her name is Sarah Warburton and we’ll be working together on her women’s fiction. Thanks!” – literary agent Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency
“I signed Andrea Kessler, a picture book writer I met at the 2019 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Shari Maurer of The Stringer Agency
“I am happy to report that I signed a writer after meeting them through a pitch session at the 2016 Writing Workshop of Chicago.” – literary agent Marcy Posner of Folio Literary
“I got an offer of representation from an agent at the [online] 2020 Boston Writing Workshop. I can’t thank you enough for your incredible hard work in organizing the conference.” – writer Anoop Ahuja Judge
“I signed writer Julie Tuovi after we met in person at the 2016 Cleveland Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary
“I signed author Stephanie Wright from the 2018 Seattle Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary
“I signed writer Mia Lazarewicz after she pitched me at the 2018 Boston Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Amelia Appel of TriadaUS Literary
“I signed an author from the 2016 Toronto Writing Workshop. I
requested her manuscript during a pitch session, read it overnight,
and loved it so much that I offered representation the next day!” – literary agentRachel Letofskyof CookeMcDermid Literary Management
“I got to attend your 2015 L.A. Conference [The Writing Conference of Los Angeles] and it was a great experience. Thank you for all the information!” – Tomi Adeyemi, author of #1 New York Times bestseller CHILDREN OF
BLOOD AND BONE (March 2018, Henry Holt Books, Jimmy Fallon’s Summer Reads Choice). Her agent is Alexandra Machinist of ICM Partners
“I went to the 2019 Kansas City Writing Workshop, and that’s how I got
my agent! Also, your encouraging critique of my query letter and
synopsis helped me have the confidence to put myself out there.” – writer Angela Crocker
“I recently signed Cathy Collison & Janis Campbell, who I met at the 2019
Michigan Writing Workshop. We’re starting out with a MG nonfiction
project and have a lot of other things in the pipeline after that!”
– literary agent Jacqui Lipton of Raven Quill Literary
“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann] from the 2017 Michigan Writing Workshop!” – literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary
“I wanted to let you know I signed a writer who
I met at the 2017 Writing Workshop of Chicago,
Rebecca Rissman. It was a quality conference.” – literary agent Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency
“I first met my agent, Lindsay Guzzardo from Martin Literary, at the 2019
Seattle Writing Workshop. She sold my novel, ALL THE LIGHTS ABOVE US
(May 2022) to Alcove Press, a women’s fiction offshoot of Crooked Lane Publishing.” – writer Melinda Burns-Henry
“I truly loved doing the 2019 San Diego Writing Workshop and signed writer Marie Lavanier from the conference!” – literary agent Jessica Watterson of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
“I am writing to say thank you for organizing these writing workshops.
I attended in 2019 and 2020, and I learned so much. My book, Own Your Opportunities, is scheduled to be released in 2022. Attending
your workshops gave me so much information. I appreciated the
opportunity to speak directly to agents and get feedback. All in all, your workshops
helped me secure an agent and get a book deal. Dreams do come true. I encourage
everyone I know who desires to write a book to attend your workshops.” – writer Juliet Hall
I recently signed on Daniel Stuart Olmes, whom I met at the 2021 [online] Chesapeake Writers Conference for his book Reflections of
an Ordinary Guy: The Everyday Experiences That Changed My Life.” – literary agent Leticia Gomez of Savvy Literary
“I found a fabulous client at the 2019 Florida Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Cricket Freeman of The August Agency
“I attended the 2019 Philadelphia Writing Workshop. The conference and one-on-one session with agent John Willig reaffirmed my belief in my book idea and book proposal. About a year ago I earned representation from
Waterside Productions; my book APA Style & Citations was released
by Wiley in May 2021. Thank you for the encouragement.” [UPDATE: Joe’s second book, College Writing For Dummies, comes out in 2022.] – writer Joe Giampalmi
“I signed Lew Schrager, an author from the 2015 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Laura Strachan of The Strachan Literary Agency
“I signed a client, Claudia Sorsby, from the 2019 Boston Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Charlotte Wenger of Prospect Agency
“I signed an attendee from the 2018 Writing Workshop of San Francisco! Her name is Justine Macauley, and we are very excited to have made the match!” – literary agent Jennie Kendrick of Red Fox Literary
“After attending the [online] 2020 Colorado Writing Workshop, I signed with a literary agent! I am so delighted. I received interest from multiple agents and signed with Keely Boeving from WordServe Literary. I am thrilled.” – writer Brie R. Doyle
“Hi WDW team, I just wanted to let you know that I signed an author I met at the 2017 Michigan Writing Workshop: Theresa Grant. Thanks so much!”
– literary agent Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary
“I pitched two agents at the 2019 Florida Writing Workshop. Both agents requested my manuscript and, less than a week later, one of them offered representation! I ultimately received five (!!) offers of representation on the manuscript. I’ve always said the WDW conference was the ‘first domino’ in getting my agent, Stefanie Lieberman of Janklow & Nesbit.
My debut novel sold in a pre-empt.” – author Sarah L. Penner
“I just signed writer E.J. Lawrence, who I met at the 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Lesley Sabga of The Seymour Agency
“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
“I love the quality of clients I find at the Writing Day Workshops events. I signed writer Alicia Bernasconi from the 2018 Indiana Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Cyle Young of Hartline Literary
“[Author] Amber Cowie met [agent] Gordon Warnock of Fuse
Literary and [editor] Alison Dasho of Lake Union Publishing
at the 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop. Amber’s debut
RAPID FALLS is due out from Lake Union in fall 2018.”
– literary agentGordon Warnock writing on the Fuse Literary blog
[UPDATE: RAPID FALLS was released and quickly gathered more than 900 reviews on Amazon, reaching #1 on some categories.]
“After meeting him at the 2019 Writing Conference of Los Angeles, I signed with agent Steven Hutson as a client. I’m so stoked to move
into the next leg of my writing career. Such a blessing.” – writer Mya Douglas
“I made an offer of representation to Sarah Kaminski,
who pitched me at the 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago. A million thanks for introducing us.” – literary agent Tina P. Schwartz of The Purcell Agency
“I got my agent at the 2018 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop. The conference was a great opportunity to connect with agents in person.” – writer Caitlin M. Smith
“Yay! I signed two clients from the 2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop!” – literary agentMary Cummingsof Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises
“I signed with a literary agent after pitching her at
the 2017 Alabama Writing Workshop.” – writer Laura W. Carter
“I was at the 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop. I pitched two
agencies that day, and today I signed with one of them! I am now
represented by Brower Literary! Thank you for all you do to
support writers trying to get their stories out in the world.” – writer Jenny Raphael
“I signed with Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Literary Agency! I pitched her at the 2018 Florida Writing Workshop. It was a perfect match.” – writer Erica Shaw
“I attended the 2017 Alabama Writing Workshop. With the instruction
I received at your conference, I was better prepared to submit my novel. I
landed a great NY-based agent, got a book deal, went on a book tour,
and was picked as a columnist by a women’s magazine!” – author Lorna Hollifield
“Agent Julie Gwinn [of The Seymour Agency] signed me from the 2017
Kentucky Writing Workshop! I feel so blessed and am thrilled beyond
belief!” [2020 update: Sue’s memoir, THE ATHLETE INSIDE, was sold
to Fortress Press and released in 2020.] – writer Sue Reynolds
“I signed with agent Veronica Park of Fuse Literary after
pitching my manuscript to her at the 2016 Atlanta Writing Workshop.” –writer Renee Barrow
“I signed an author from the 2016 Writing Workshop of Chicago. Her name is Georgina Cross and I’m delighted I found her.” (UPDATE:
“Georgina is now writing suspense novels for Penguin Random
House and Bookouture. So grateful I met her there at a pitch
session, as we’ve had a fantastic relationship and friendship for 6 years!” – literary agent Rachel Beck (nee Burkot)of Liza Dawson Associates
“I signed with a literary agency after pitching
them at the the 2018 Michigan Writing Workshop.” – writer Makiko Orser
“I just wanted you to know that I signed writer Brian Roth, whom I met at your 2018 Indiana Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor & Luedeke Literary
“I signed a writer-illustrator after meeting her at the Atlanta Writing Workshop in 2016.” – literary agentSally Apokedakof Apokedak Literary Agency
“I signed a client after he pitched me
his novel at the 2014 Texas Writing Retreat.”
– literary agent Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates
“Three positive agent pitches led to two offers of representation, following the 2019 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.” – writer Andrea Kessler
“I signed writer Joe Stowitschek after meeting him at the 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Paul S. Levine of Paul S. Levine Literary
“My newest client’s name is Leslie Vedder. She pitched me during the 2016 Colorado Writing Workshop. I read her story afterward and loved it. I offered representation the week following the event!” – literary agentAlex Barba
“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary
“I signed a client from the 2016 Writing Workshop of Chicago.” – literary agent Abby Saul of The Lark Group
“This is easily the best spent money I’ve ever spent on a
writing conference. Period. I can’t sing enough praise for
Writing Day Workshops. Their help directly led to signing
with agent Sharon Belcastro. Even if you don’t find your
match at one of their events, the connections and feedback you get
will be life-changing.” – writer Robert Blaine
“I attended the 2019 Atlanta Writing Workshop and loved it. I pitched my book to an agent, and through one of them, I signed with her agency. We got a book deal with Skyhorse and my book will be published this spring! I’m so thankful for this workshop!” – writer Leah Weber
“I signed with The Seymour Agency after pitching one of their agents at the 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop.”
[UPDATE: Tera’s memoir, Swimming for Freedom, was
released in 2020 by Broadstreet Publishing.] – writer Tera Bradham
“I met my client Lindsey Smith (The Food Mood Girl) at the 2016 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Eric Smith of P.S. Literary
(Update: Eric sold Lindsey’s book to St. Martin’s Press, and it came out in fall 2017.)
“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson [of Marsal Lyon Literary
Agency], after meeting her at the 2014 Arizona Writing Workshop.” – writer Axie Oh
(Update: Patricia sold Axie’s debut novel, THE AMATERASU PROJECT, to Tu Books.)
“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT Literary.
I met her at the 2014 Colorado Writing Workshop.”
– writer Jessie Hilb Akos
(Update: Jessie’s novel, THE CALCULUS OF CHANGE, was released from Clarion Books.)
“I signed writer Beka Passauer, who I met at a pitch session at the 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management
“I found my literary agent through the 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago.” – writer Joel Brigham
“I’m happy to report that I signed an author from the 2019
Chesapeake Writing Workshop! She’s terrific. I sold her book to
Simon & Schuster! It will be out in spring 2022.” – literary agent Emily Williamson of Williamson Literary
“I’m proud to say I signed Andrew Southwick, one of the writers
who pitched me at the 2018 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Michelle Lazurek of Wordwise Media Services
“I think without these WDW conferences, I’d have queried too much, too soon and missed out on valuable feedback and connections for this manuscript and future manuscripts.” – writer Stephanie Losi, 2022 Michigan Writing Workshop attendee
“I signed writers Laura Barnaby and Anitra Schulte after
meeting them at the 2017 Kansas City Writers Workshop.” – literary agent Stephanie Hansen of Metamorphosis Literary Agency
“I signed with a literary agent I met at the 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago” – writer Ryann Roberts
“I attended the 2018 Chesapeake Writing Workshop and I signed with a literary agent from the event. It was the first conference I’ve been to, and I found it super helpful.” – writer Katie Mastin
“I met my literary agent, Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary, at
the 2015 Kentucky Writing Workshop in Louisville. She is awesome
and I can’t recommend Writing Day Workshops events highly enough.
Book four of my #1 Amazon-bestselling Horizon Alpha series
releases April 2020, and the fifth and final book will hit stores in November 2020.” – writer Wendy Vogel
“After taking pitches at the 2015 Michigan Writing Workshop,
I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new client.”
– literary agent Veronica Parkof Fuse Literary
“I found my agent at the 2018 Boston Writing Workshop. She and I hit it off right away, and I knew she was the right agent for me. I’m happy I made the trip from North Carolina and would highly recommend WDW conferences for anyone who needs an agent.” – writer Dawn Reno Langley
“At the 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop, I signed a number
of new authors whose books will be published in 2018.” – editor Mike Parker of WordCrafts Press
“I now have an agent! I signed with an agent I met at the [online] 2020 Kansas City Writing Workshop!” – author Dionne Jones
“I am a success story! I attended the 2018 Michigan Writing Workshop and it thrills me to announce that I am now represented by an agent I pitched at the event.” – writer Kristiana Sfirlea
“I enjoyed last year’s 2018 Pittsburgh Writing Workshop so much,
and from it I was able to sign a book deal with a great publisher!
I see now that I would never be where I am if it wasn’t for the workshop.” – writer Addison Schmitt
“After taking pitches at the 2016 Alabama Writing Workshop, I met
Erin Brown Hollis at a pitch session, and she is now my client.”
[UPDATE:] “I got two publishing contracts for Erin — Broadstreet
Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.”
– literary agent Julie Gwinnof The Seymour Agency
We will continue to update the list as success stories trickle in. Will our next success story be you? Join us at an event and pitch your work to agents and editors seeking new writers now!
If you are coming to the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching one of the literary agents or editors in attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from one of a previous year’s instructors, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:
Try to keep your pitch to 60-90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane is victorious at the story’s end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.