Schedule: 2021 Workshop


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9:30 – 10:30: Writing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them, taught by Kaitlyn Johnson. When writing, there are clear red flags that outline the newbies versus the pros. In this session, a literary agent calls these out and how you can avoid them in your own works. Get ready to take notes and dig deep into your pages to bring out your inner pro!

10:45 – 11:50: The Changing Author Role in Today’s Publishing World, taught by Courtney Miller-Callihan and Ben Callihan. How does self-publishing affect today’s marketplace? How much are you expected to do on social media to be an “attractive” author? Should you be putting chapters of your work online for all to see? These are important question in today’s digital changing marketplace. A pair of agents teach this class and help bring you up to speed on being an active and successful writer in 2021.

11:50 – 1:15: Break. 

1:15 – 2:30: Improve Your Writing: The Basics of Self-Editing and Revision, taught by Eve Porinchak. 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. Remember that good writing is rewriting. In this class, you’ll learn to identify your writing’s flaws (and fix them) — such as tense and POV issues, when to cut and shorten your length, and what makes some writing crackle.

2:45 – 3:45: How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online cheaply and easily.

4:00 – 5:00: Getting Published in Today’s World: 10 Tips to Make You the Writer Agents and Publishers Want, taught by Brian Klems. If you want to land an agent and a book deal in today’s market, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just write a great book (though that’s a good start). In this session, former Writer’s Digest editor Brian A. Klems discusses the challenges writers face in publishing today and offers up 10 practical tips to help you break through the barriers and find success.

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9:30 – 10:30:  From Idea to Bestseller, taught by Beth Marshea. Explore the life cycle of a book from creation, to query, to publication, to publicity, to sales. We will have an interesting discussion about the various ways that agents and authors come together and how they work as a team to shape a career, especially when they team up after a first book is already with a publisher. Beth will discuss a range of topics, such as contrasting “the dream of a book deal” with the reality, how the “niche” markets of queer or POC have evolved (or not), writing/selling in multiple genres, and how to parlay small press success into a Big Five deal for the follow-up book.

10:45 – 11:50: How to Write a Damn Fine Query Letter, taught by Carlisle Webber. This course, taught by an agent, explains how to write a query letter that gets attention. The class will go over query cliches, agent pet peeves, what to include, what NOT to include, how to use specifics & voice to single out your letter, and much more.

11:50 – 1:15: Break. 

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2:30 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from MWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Inspiration as an Author, taught by Cecilia Lyra. Inspiration is a fundamental part of any creative process. Pop culture would have us believe that inspiration is out of our control: the lightbulb moment, the rush to put pen to paper in the middle of night, the inimitable a-ha feeling that lends wings to our creativity, but that also shows up unannounced. Almost as if it’s … magic. And, to a certain degree, it is. But inspiration can also be learned, honed, and even stored. Join Cecilia Lyra’s class to learn practical tips on how writers can boost their inspiration levels—and improve their writing in the process.