Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Meg Gaertner of Flux & Jolly Fish Press

Meg Gaertner is a senior editor with Flux and Jolly Fish Press.

She is seeking young adult works.

Following jobs and internships in neuroscience, social work, and education, Meg rediscovered a childhood love of writing, earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch L.A., and got a job editing nonfiction at a publishing house. She has written three novels, attended multiple Futurescapes workshops, was a 2019 Pitch Wars mentee, made the Top Ten and Judges’ Favorites lists for Ink & Insights 2020, and is now the senior editor of middle grade and young adult fiction at Jolly Fish Press and Flux. She is also an author of YA fantasy and science fiction.

Young Adult Fiction Wish List:

Flux empowers young adults through imaginative, insightful, and inspiring fiction. Consistently provocative and independently alternative, Flux publishes unique narratives that expand perspectives, provide fresh takes, and increase representation. We welcome all voices and all genres of novel-length YA fiction.

I’m looking for well-crafted YA fiction with strong, engaging plots and one-of-a-kind characters. I prefer “out-of-the-box” stories that combine social commentary with a killer voice and a fresh premise. I also prefer stories with strong emotional arcs and themes.

I am open to the following YA genres:
• Contemporary
• Science Fiction
• Historical Fiction
• Horror
• Thrillers
• Mystery
• Contemporary Fantasy

Some specific wish list items:
• Genre-blending stories (mythology-inspired horror, sci-fi thriller, etc.)
• Anything horror, especially of the uncanny/unsettling variety
• Character-driven science fiction (less space opera and more exploring a theme such as our relationship to technology or what it means to be human)
• Historical fiction that highlights excluded or underrepresented experiences
• Protagonists as changemakers and activists
• Feminist, intersectional, post-colonial, and/or environmentally conscious stories
• Male lead characters who subvert toxic masculinity
• Found families and strong friendships, sibling relationships, and diverse ensemble casts
• Romance as a subplot OR romance not included at all (I’m not the best fit for romance as the chief plot)

Across all young adult genres, I welcome:
• LGBTQIA+ representation
• Neurodiversity
• Immigrant main characters
• Racial or cultural diversity


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Catherine Hedrick Armstrong of The Purcell Agency

Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency.

Cathie is an Oklahoma native transplanted in Minnesota for nearly 30 years. A proud alumnus of The University of Oklahoma, she holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in History and is a rabid fan of OU Sooners Football.

A prolific reader of many genres, Cathie represents Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary and Historical Romance, Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Mysteries, and Thrillers. She deliberately keeps her client list small to give her authors the attention each deserves while still allowing herself time for her own writing career as an author of issue-driven young adult and women’s fiction. Her own authored titles include the young adult novel, Roam, and the women’s fiction title, The Edge of Nowhere.

Cathie looks for manuscripts that catch her attention within the first few pages. If you can evoke an emotional response in the opening pages—make her laugh out loud, cause her pulse to race, make her cry—you’ve got a winner.

Cathie is never interested in Science Fiction or High Fantasy in any genre; however, fantasy with paranormal/supernatural elements IF GROUNDED IN THE REAL WORLD are often a good fit. (Examples: Victoria Laurie’s Ghost Hunter series, Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mysteries series, Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, or Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse or Harper Connelly series).

Overall Wishlist:

  • As an Oklahoma native, Cathie is desperately searching for an #OwnVoices novel from a Native American perspective in either Young Adult or Adult categories. Bonus points if the setting is in Oklahoma or the characters are from one of the many tribes who call Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, etc., home.
  • A slow-burn enemies to lovers romance like The Spanish Love Deception, or a misunderstandings breed false assumptions like The Love Hypothesis.
  • Forever on the lookout for a contemporary rom-com similar to Jill Barnett’s Dreaming.

Young Adult:

Cathie is currently looking for YA romance, romantic comedies, mysteries, thrillers, and horror.
She loves strong female characters and would love a female athlete such as gymnast, competitive diver, or girl playing a non-traditional female sport and kicking butt while doing it.
Favorite YA Authors: E. Lockhart, Dana L. Davis. Tiffany D. Jackson, Karen M. McManus, and Nikki Barthelmess


The most important aspect of a good romance for Cathie is one with a slow burn that allows the reader time to get to know the characters and root for them. The more angst keeping them apart (and eventually bringing them together), the better.

Favorite tropes are romantic comedies, enemies to lovers, misunderstandings, and best friends to lovers.

Varying heat levels are absolutely fine, but the story itself has to be strong enough that graphic sex isn’t what holds it together. Sex on the page should, in Cathie’s opinion, always make a story stronger and make sense for the characters’ story progression without “weakening” it if it was moved behind closed doors.

Favorite Romance Authors: Tessa Bailey, Rachel Van Dyken, Talia Hibbert, Helen Hoang, Alyssa Cole, Lyssa Kay Adams, Emily Henry, Ali Hazelwood, Kelly Cain, and Elena Armas.

Women’s Fiction, Mysteries, Thrillers, and Suspense:

Cathie wants to be pulled into the story immediately and forget everything else going on in the world around her. Oftentimes, these include stories with quirky characters, strong family relationships, or a hidden secrets the main character is keeping and must discover—or we, the reader, must discover.

Favorite Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense Authors: Colleen Hoover, Janet Evanovich, Kate Morton, Victoria Laurie, Lorna Landvik, Cathy Lamb, Heather Gudenkauf, Joshilyn Jackson, Mary Kubica, B.A. Paris, John Grisham, and Ruth Ware.


  • Nonfiction
  • High Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Stories including sexual assault when included without an absolutely “need” for inclusion in the story.
  • Queries to any social media inbox.
  • Queries to her email address or when she is closed to queries except by specific invitation from her to do so.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Savannah Brooks of KT Literary

Savannah Brooks is an agent with KT Literary.

Savannah started in agenting as an intern with the Jennifer De Chiara team in 2017, moving to associate agent in 2018. In 2022, she joined the incredible team at KT Literary as an agent, where she represents all of kid lit and adult contemporary fiction, romcoms, thrillers/mystery/suspense, and horror. She’s especially interested in stories that teach her something new, add to a larger sociopolitical conversation, and highlight underrepresented identities and cultures. She earned her MFA, focused in creative nonfiction, from Hamline University and her BS in marketing management from Virginia Tech and worked on the editorial side of publishing for two years prior to joining JDLA. As well as agenting, she works as a publishing and literature lecturer at the University of Minnesota and a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis and can regularly be found at one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes — yes, even in winter.

She represents:

  • picture books
  • chapter books
  • middle grade
  • young adult (fiction and nonfiction)
  • adult fiction (contemporary/commercial, romcoms, thrillers/mysteries, and horror)

For kid lit, I always want to learn something—which means I want your characters to teach me something. If your MC has an unusual hobby or interest, they’re probably for me. I’m also always looking to acquire books that give insight to our increasingly global world, so books that take place in other countries, books that highlight cultural pockets within a country, books about cultural intersection, etc. I want books that highlight friendship (especially when it isn’t easy), battling social norms to find one’s place, and diversity (across all spectrums). And I always, always need a strong voice.

“As a general breakdown:

“In picture books, I’m looking for 1) stories that tackle serious subjects like politics, mental health, grief, and belonging in an accessible and empowering way, 2) stories that teach about and celebrate different cultures and places in the world, and 3) nonfiction that delights and inspires—especially if it has a feminist/disability/multicultural/queer angle.

“In middle grade, I lean very heavily toward action-adventure—especially when it’s based on non-western (that means no Greek/Roman) mythology and folklore. If you think it could sit on a bookshelf next to Rick Riordan’s works, it’s for me. I’m looking for humor and fast-pacing but still want content that touches on larger themes like belonging, grief, friendship, family, culture, etc. I’m not a good fit for quiet and serious books.

“In young adult, I’m looking for multicultural, disabled, and queer perspectives on everything from modern teen experiences to reframing classic tropes like vampires and witches. Voice is everything for me—I love sarcasm, quirk, and wit—and the story needs to be speaking to a larger sociopolitical conversation, even if in a lighthearted way. I’m all for books that empower teens to get political and take a stand for what they believe in. I’m also really drawn to stories that treat setting like a character, and I’ve especially been wanting atmospheric horror—stories where the spook comes from the place itself, similar to Wilder Girls.

“On a specific level, I’m looking for:

  • Recreational fighting, both combat and noncombat (MMA, kick/boxing, karate, fencing, weapon work, etc.)
  • Girl gamers
  • Girl mechanics/riders (give me cars, motorcycles, racing, and rebuilding all day, please)
  • Science/math oriented clubs and hobbies (robotics, rockets, astronomy, coding, VR, etc.)
  • Career-orientation (more for YA than MG)
  • Activism
  • Crossing gender stereotypes/norms (boy ballerinas, girl motocrossers, what have you)
  • #OwnVoices Hmong characters (doesn’t have to take place in the Twin Cities, but that would be a plus!)
  • #OwnVoices Native American and indigenous characters
  • Books that take place around (but don’t necessarily center on) non-Christian holidays (Eid, Dio de los Muertos, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Holi, etc.)—especially for PB!
  • Inter-generational friendship (especially in MG)
  • Spooks/thrillers/ghosties
  • Unlikeable, snarky, witty MCs
  • Retellings of global, often-underrepresented folklore/mythology
  • Smart, quirky humor (especially if your book takes on heavy issues; I don’t do heavy without humor)
  • Author-illustrator graphic novels (especially those aimed at reluctant readers)
  • Informational nonfiction about unexpected, fun, inspiring topics

“Note about nonfiction: if I’m going to take it on, I need to know you’re qualified to write about it and have a strong platform/network, so be sure to include that in your query.

“I’m more interested in contemporary and light fantasy/spec than I am in SFF, but that doesn’t mean SFF won’t be a fit (I’m mainly just a real stickler about world building). I’m also not a great fit for trauma/terminal illness/impending death unless you’re taking a laughing-through-the-pain approach, and I pretty much entirely stay away from sexual assault.

“On the adult side, I represent both contemporary/commercial fiction, romcoms, thrillers and mysteries, and horror.

“For contemporary: I want smart writing that has something important to say while still incorporating humor. Voice is everything, so gives me a witty/sarcastic MC. Think SKYE FALLING, QUEENIE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE. I’m always looking for underrepresented voices and to learn something new.

“For romcoms, I want big emphasis on COM—à la Emily Henry. I also love stories that teach me something, so characters with intriguing jobs/hobbies is going to be up my alley. I’m particularly looking for interracial/intercultural stories (big plus if both character are of color).

“For thriller/mystery, I do NOT want the MC to be in law enforcement (including FBI/CIA). I’ve been digging Lisa Gardner’s Frankie Elkin series, and I love Lucy Foley, Andrea Bartz, and Riley Sager. I want badass, smart women, brilliant plotting, whiplash pacing, a strong secondary cast. I’m also open to paranormal elements here—think Simone St. James. I love a good haunting.

“For horror, atmosphere is everything, and I’d LOVE to get horror that plays off of folklore, particularly non-Eurocentric—think Stephen Graham Jones. I also want to learn about other cultures/histories—think Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Perks if there’s an environmental bent.

A note about thrillers, mysteries, and horror: while I love spooky and twisty and dark, I’m not a fan of gratuitous violence, and, again, I stay away from sexual assault.”

Writing Day Workshop Success Stories

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 Writing Workshop
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 attended the Writing Conference of Los Angeles and used the information,
and manuscript critique from Chuck Sambuchino, to pitch my novel
The Things We Didn’t Know to Simon & Schuster’s ‘Books Like Us’ Contest. The book won the $50,000 grand prize, which includes publication. My agent is Laurie Liss from Sterling Lord.”
– writer Elba Iris Perez

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 10.20.16 AM.png“I got to attend your 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 (Henry Holt Books, Jimmy Fallon’s Summer Reads Choice).
Her agent is Alexandra Machinist of ICM Partners

“I signed Nedda Lewers from the Philadelphia Writing Workshop. Her debut
novel comes out in February 2024 from Putnam Children’s, and is an Indie’s
Introduce Best Book of 2024. Its sequel publishes in July 2024.”

– literary agent Kelly Dyksterhouse of Tobias Literary Agency

“I signed writer Jennie Burke after meeting her at the 2023
Chesapeake Writers Conference. She’s written a gorgeous
memoir and I can’t wait to share the proposal with editors.”

– literary agent Pam Gruber of Highline Literary

“I have attended two of the Writing Workshop of Chicago conferences,
one in person and one virtual, and had wonderful experiences with
both. I signed with an agent I pitched at your event.” [UPDATE: Lina’s
debut mystery novel, PLAY THE FOOL, came out in 2023.]

– writer Lina Chern

“I signed a client, Frances Denny, after meeting her at
the [online] 2023 Florida Writing Workshop! (Her book
should be
going out on sub soon!)”
literary agent Kate Davids of Arc Literary Management

“I signed Leland Myrick, one of the authors I met
at the 2023 Writing Workshop of San Francisco.”
– literary agent Renee C. Fountain of GH Literary

“I signed with agent Emmy Nordstrom Higdon of Westwood Creative
I first met Emmy at a Writing Day Workshops conference
several years
ago. I can’t thank you enough for everything!”
– writer Dr. Arien Skiba

“I signed Caroline Fowler Davis at the [online] Pittsburgh Writing
and we are working on her book MAY IT PLEASE THE SEA
to get it
ready for publishers. Very exciting!”
– literary agent Allison Hellegers of Stimola Literary Studio

“I wanted to share the good news with you. I signed a client, 
Yosha Gunasekera, who I met at the [online] Florida Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Michelle Richter of Fuse Literary

“I signed Julie Tyler who pitched to me via your
[online] Tennessee Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Felice Laverne of ArtHouse Literary Agency

“I signed a client I met at the 2023 Writers
Conference of Los Angeles! Huzzah!”
– literary agent Halley Dunne Parry of The Hamilburg Agency

“I have signed with Ariana Philips of Jean V. Naggar Literary!
I pitched my novel to Ariana over Zoom at the 2021 online
Writing Workshop. It was a great experience, and
ecause of WDW, I have an agent!”
– writer Melissa Collings

“I found my literary agent at the [online]
2022 Michigan Writing Workshop.”
– writer Najla Mamou

“I’m grateful for the WDW conferences I attended in 2021! They
were instrumental to the start of my publishing career and I
recommend them regularly. I received an offer of representation
from an
agent I pitched at one of your conferences.”
– writer Clare Marie Edgeman

“I signed client Dawn Berson from your Writing Workshop
of San Francisco in 2023. Thank you for all you do to
bring writers and agents together!”

– literary agent Bonnie Swanson of The Purcell Agency

(See a list of upcoming Writing Day Workshops conferences, both in-person and online.)

“If it were not for your great Writing Day Workshops conferences, I
would not have learned so much in a short span of time. I think
these workshops have given me the necessary tools to be successful.”

– writer Soma Kar, agented by Selwa Anthony of Selwa Author Management

“An agent at the [online] 2021 Carolina Writing Workshop offered
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 wanted to let you know that we’ve agreed to a deal with one of the
writers who pitched me during the 2022 online Writing Workshop of
Chicago. Sourcebooks will be publishing a new edition of Cathy
Livingstone’s Best Grandmother Names book, and she will be writing
a Best Grandfather Names book for us as well. This is very exciting!”
Anna Michels, editorial director of Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press

“I signed writer Patricia Beadle from the
(online) 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Michelle Jackson of LCS Literary

I’m thrilled to have signed writer Maggie Lafreniere to 5 Otter
Literary, who I had an instant connection with in our pitch session
at the [online] 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago! She’s such a talent,
and we expect big things for her! Looking forward to finding more
amazing authors at future Writing Day Workshops conferences!”

– 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

“I found my agent through your [online] 2021 Pittsburgh Writing
Workshop! I signed with agent Leticia Gomez back in April and signed
a contract with HCI Books. My book comes out September 2023.”
– writer Laura K. Connell

“Because of the [online] 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop, and the
ability to pitch an agent one-on-one, I signed with agent Debbie
Alsdorf from Books & Such. Thank you for the opportunity and for
being a piece of my road to success. I truly appreciate it.”

– writer Chelsea Ohlemiller

“I attended the 2019 Seattle Writing Workshop and found
my agent at that event! I have since published my book,
Per My Last E-Mail. I am thankful for the agent pitch
sessions Writing Day Workshops provided.”

– author Stephanie K. Wright

“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. Doster of Geeky Acrylics

“I attended the 2023 Writing Conference of Los Angeles and
signed with agent Darlene Chan after pitching her at the event.”
– writer Esther Dixon

“This year I signed Natasha Khan, who pitched her story to
me at the [online] 2021 Atlanta Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kortney Price

“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

(See a list of upcoming Writing Day Workshops conferences, both in-person and online.)

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.” (Update: Kathleen’s
came out in 2018.)

– literary agent Adriann Ranta

“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

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 1.24.40 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 11.11.38 PM“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
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
professionals via Zoom was invaluable for me.”
– writer Didem Tali

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 11.54.44 AM.png“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 Howland Literary

Screen Shot 2019-04-27 at 11.08.05 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 11.29.53 AM.png“I signed Andrea Kessler, a picture book
writer I met at the 2019 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Shari Maurer of The Stringer Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.19.33 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.24.34 PM.png“I signed writer Julie Tuovi after we met
in person at the 2016 Cleveland Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Moe Ferrara of BookEnds 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 K.O. Media Management

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 1.34.53 AM.png“I signed writer Mia Lazarewicz after she pitched
me at the 2018 Boston Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Amelia Appel of TriadaUS Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.59.36 PM“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 agent Rachel Letofsky of CookeMcDermid Literary Management

“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

Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 12.42.27 PM.png“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 The Tobias Agency

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 2017-09-08 at 11.47.54 PM.png“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

(See a list of upcoming Writing Day Workshops conferences, both in-person and online.)

“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

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 5.03.53 PM“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

Screen Shot 2019-09-07 at 10.52.41 AM.png“I found a fabulous client at the
2019 Florida Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Cricket Freeman of The August Agency

“I’m signing a writer I met through
one of your WDW online writers conferences.”
– literary agent Leslie Varney of Prentis Literary

“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
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

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 11.13.50 AM.png“I signed Lew Schrager, an author from
the 2015 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Laura Strachan of The Strachan Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 6.35.07 PM“I signed a client, Claudia Sorsby, from the
2019 Boston Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Charlotte Wenger of Prospect Agency

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 10.48.43 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 4.27.50 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2019-12-07 at 12.01.07 PM“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

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 5.12.24 PM.png“I just signed writer E.J. Lawrence, who I met
at the 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Lesley Sabga of The Seymour Agency

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

(See a list of upcoming Writing Day Workshops conferences, both in-person and online.)

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 10.20.48 AM“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

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 8.10.32 PM“[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 agent Gordon 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.]

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 5.10.39 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 10.11.07 PM.png“I made an offer of representation to Sarah Kaminski,
pitched me at the 2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
A million thanks for introducing us.”
– literary agent Tina P. Schwartz of The Purcell Agency

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 11.48.39 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 10.57.22 PM.png“Yay! I signed two clients from the
2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Mary Cummings of Great River Literary

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 10.01.23 PM.png“I signed with a literary agent after pitching her at
the 2017 Alabama
Writing Workshop.”
– writer Laura W. Carter

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 6.06.45 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 11.30.09 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2018-12-29 at 10.48.03 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 12.53.01 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 12.18.06 AM.png“I signed with agent Veronica Park of Fuse Literary after
pitching my manuscript to her at the 2016 Atlanta Writing Workshop.”  

writer Renee Barrow

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.23.35 PM.png“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!”)
See all Georgina’s books here.
– literary agent Rachel Beck of Liza Dawson Associates

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 10.30.28 AM.png“I signed with a literary agency after pitching
at the the 2018 Michigan Writing Workshop.”
– writer Makiko Orser

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 3.42.12 PM“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

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.21.40 PM.png“I signed a writer-illustrator after meeting her
at the Atlanta Writing Workshop in 2016.”
– literary agent Sally Apokedak

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.20.42 PM.png“I signed a client after he pitched me
his novel at the 2014 Texas Writing Retreat.”
– literary agent Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 10.04.05 PM.png“Three positive agent pitches led to two offers of representation,
the 2019 Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”
– writer Andrea Kessler

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 10.57.36 PM.png“I signed writer Joe Stowitschek after meeting him
at the 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Paul S. Levine of Paul S. Levine Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.16.24 PM.png“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 agent Alex Barba

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 2.56.25 PM.png“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 an event, the connections you get will be life-changing.”

– writer Robert Blaine

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 10.48.23 PM“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

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 8.29.22 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.02.36 PM.png“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.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.49 AM.pngI signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson [of Marsal Lyon Literary
Agency], after
meeting her at the 2014 Arizona Writing Workshop.”
(Update: Patricia has sold several Axie’s novels to publishers, such
as HarperTeen. See all her books here.)

– 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 2014 Colorado Writing Workshop.” (Update:
Jessie’s novel, THE CALCULUS OF CHANGE, was released
from Clarion Books.)
– writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.13.03 AM.png“I signed writer Beka Passauer, who I met at a pitch
session at the 2017 Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Adria Goetz of P.S. Literary

“I found my literary agent through the
2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago.”
– writer Joel Brigham

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 3.20.47 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 11.07.44 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.31.50 AM.png“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

(Update: Attendee Anitra Schulte has two books out with Two Lions [Amazon imprint]. Also, attendee Laura Barnaby (pen name Laura Snider) has a book series out with Severn River Publishing.)

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.54.30 PM.png“I signed with a literary agent I met at the
2018 Writing Workshop of Chicago”
– writer Ryann Roberts

Screen Shot 2019-03-21 at 10.02.33 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 10.39.15 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.00 AM.png“After taking pitches at the 2015 Michigan Writing Workshop,
I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new client.”
– literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 12.23.17 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.03.30 PM.png“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

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 4.22.56 PM“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

Screen Shot 2019-01-24 at 10.43.12 AM.png“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

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.09 AM.png“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 Gwinn
of 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!

(See a list of upcoming Writing Day Workshops conferences, both in-person and online.)



Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2024 MWW

If you are coming to the 2024 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.