The 2019 Houston Writing Workshop: November 16, 2019

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 12.58.51 PM After a successful launch in 2016, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Houston Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, November 16, 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 (125 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Houston Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. 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. So far, this year’s faculty includes:

  • literary agent Carlie Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Vicki Selvaggio (Storm Literary)
  • literary agent Caroline George (CYLE Literary Elite)
  • literary agent Jessica Kirkland (Kirkland Media Management)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • literary agent Ann Rose (Prospect Agency)

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 Kerrie Flanagan of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS (UPDATED VENUE)

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, November 16, 2019, at the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, 18700 John F Kennedy Blvd, Houston, TX 77032. (281) 443-2310. The hotel has offered a discount guest room rate to attendees, and you can book rooms here while the offer lasts (through Oct. 28, 2019).

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WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (NOVEMBER 16, 2019)

8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location. Check in and get comfortable.

9:30 – 10:30: How to Write an Awesome Query Letter to an Agent: Quelling Your Query Conundrums, taught by agent Ann Rose. Dread no more, and tame the query beast. The instructor will highlight the do’s and don’ts of querying so your submission will rise above the slush. Also, Ann will workshop a few queries to optimize the chance of an offer of representation, and show attendees what works and what does not.

10:30 – 11:45: Talking About Craft: 7 Ways to Improve Your Writing, taught by former literary agent Laura Biagi (bio below). This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice. We’ll discuss nuts & bolts tips for sentence construction like how to avoid passive tense, how to use vivid language, how to self-edit your own work, how to make your characters memorable, the art of compelling dialogue, and much more.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 8.28.18 PM11:45 – 1:15: Lunch on your own.

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.)

2:50 – 3:50: You, the Protagonist: Developing Your Character (Author) Brand, taught by agent Caroline George. To find success as digital age authors, writers must develop lasting brands that showcase their personality, writing style and target audience. In this workshop, Caroline leads attendees through various steps to help them determine their personal brands, social media voices and plans for further development.

4:00 – 5:00: You Have an Agent Offer or Book Contract — Now What?, taught by agent Carlie Webber. Many writers seek to get an agent and book deal. But what happens after these steps? Hear from literary agent Carlie Webber on how to effectively work with a literary agent, what to expect in the submission process, what it’s like to work with a publishing house editor, how to sell multiple books in your career, and much more.

At 5 p.m., the day is done.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AN AGENT!

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.17.01 AM.pngCarlie Webber is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. She represents fiction in the genres of: young adult, middle grade, new adult, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, science fiction, and fantasy. She does not want to rep picture books, easy readers, poetry, scripts or curriculum nonfiction. She no longer seeks nonfiction (or memoir) of any kind. Learn more about Carlie here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 12.01.01 AM.pngAnn Rose is a literary agent at Prospect Agency. “I am looking for characters who aren’t afraid to stand up for their convictions and beliefs — whether they fight with their fists or their words. I’m also open to all genres of middle grade, and especially love stories that push the MG boundary by exploring topics that affect middle graders but aren’t always broached in stories written for them. In the adult fiction arena, I adore swoony romances, light sci-fi or fantasy, commercial fiction, and heartwarming — or heart wrenching — contemporaries. I’m always looking for unique voices, diverse perspectives, vivid settings, and stories that explore tough topics. Dark and edgy is totally okay too. Above all I’m looking for compelling characters who make me think in new ways, and laugh and cry, hopefully in the same story!” Learn more about Ann here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 4.28.24 AM.pngVictoria Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary. She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.” Learn more about Victoria here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 4.30.27 AM.pngCaroline George is a literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite. She is a generalist, and seeks many genres of fiction, including: picture books, middle grade contemporary, middle grade sci-fi/fantasy, YA contemporary, YA sci-fi/fantasy, historical, women’s, mystery, thriller, romance, adult science fiction and fantasy, Christian/inspirational fiction, horror literary fiction, and mainstream fiction. Regarding nonfiction, she likes memoir, inspirational, self-help, and socially relevant titles. Learn more about Caroline here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.38.55 PM.pngJessica Kirkland, a literary agent and entrepreneur, is the owner and primary agent with Kirkland Media Management. Jessica is looking for strong stories that encourage, equip, challenge, and change. Her fiction interests include romance (Christian market, ABA/Sweet romance, or crossover), historical and/or historical romance, suspense, thriller, crime, speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy), literary fiction, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. Her nonfiction interests include memoir, Christian-living, and narrative nonfiction. Special areas of interest are: parenting, pet memoirs, humor, motherhood, health, cooking, politics, cultural issues, prophecy, current events. Learn more about Jessica here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez is a literary agent and the founder of Saavy Literary. At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish. Fiction areas of interest: adventure, chick lit, fantasy, historical, humor, multicultural, mystery, paranormal, romance, young adult, and middle grade. Nonfiction areas of interest: advice/relationships, biography, cooking, diet, health, history/politics/current affairs, how-to, humor, lifestyle, memoir, parenting, religion/spirituality and true crime. Learn more about Leticia 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.)

PRICING

$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2019 HWW and access to all workshops, all day, on November 16, 2019. As of November 2018, event registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents 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 some testimonials from 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, the workshop’s previous instructor. (This rate is a special event value for HWW 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 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:

  • Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 8.17.17 PM.pngLiterary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, women’s fiction, historical, any kind of young adult, any kind of middle grade, and picture books. Laura Biagi, a former literary agent for Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and current University of Houston MFA graduate fellow and Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your manuscript, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).
  • Screen Shot 2019-09-12 at 10.58.47 PM.pngThriller, mystery, crime, romance, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, short stories: Faculty member Eve Porinchak, a former literary agent and current writing coach, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your manuscript, and provide a critique. Unlike other critiquers helping our Houston workshop, Eve will not personally be at the event. That means you will get your notes emailed from her, and she can talk with you via Skype or phone in place of an in-person consultation. Eve is a former literary agent for Jill Corcoran Literary, and the author of ONE CUT, a teen true crime book that launch the imprint Simon True for Simon & Schuster.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open.


To register by Google Forms, click on the link below to fill out the form. Once you submit the form and let us know everything you want at the conference, you will get instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check.



http://bit.ly/HoustonRegistrationForm

Once the Google form is complete and payment is made (either check or PayPal), you will have reserved a seat at the event.

If you have any issues with the Google form, or would simply rather talk with someone via email, just reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com. She can 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 Houston Writing Workshop will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, if you email her, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Houston workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the workshop can only allow 125 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: Registration is now open.


To register by Google Forms, click on the link below to fill out the form. Once you submit the form and let us know everything you want at the conference, you will get instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check.



http://bit.ly/HoustonRegistrationForm

Once the Google form is complete and payment is made (either check or PayPal), you will have reserved a seat at the event.

If you have any issues with the Google form, or would simply rather talk with someone via email, just reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com. She can 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 Houston Writing Workshop will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, if you email her, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Houston workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason, 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 are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your letter.)

 

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Vicki Selvaggio of Storm Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 12.32.57 PM.pngVicki Selvaggio is a literary agent and partner with Storm Literary (formerly with Jennifer De Chiara Literary).

Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to Storm Literary Agency as a Literary Agent and Partner. Previously with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, she was drawn to the publishing scene first as an author. As a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio, Victoria’s desire to help writers and illustrators reach their publications goals inspired her to become an agent.

With over twenty-five years as a business owner, Victoria is excited to help grow the agency’s client base with talented writers and illustrators, while also helping build the agency from within with motivated agents who possess the same ideals, literary interests, goals, and approaches to the industry.As a frequent presenter at conferences, library events, contests, etc., Victoria is always interested in meeting writers and illustrators, and hearing about unique projects! While Storm Literary is primarily a children’s book agency, Victoria will be accepting pitches for adult projects from conference attendees.

She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carolina George of CYLE Literary Elite

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 5.59.32 PM.png

Caroline George is a literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite.

She is a generalist, and seeks many genres of fiction, including: picture books, middle grade contemporary, middle grade sci-fi/fantasy, YA contemporary, YA sci-fi/fantasy, historical, women’s, mystery, thriller, romance, adult science fiction and fantasy, Christian/inspirational fiction, horror literary fiction, and mainstream fiction.

Regarding nonfiction, she likes memoir, inspirational, self-help, and socially relevant titles.

Caroline commits her time and energy to telling stories in their many forms. As a Belmont University graduate with a double-major in publishing and public relations, Caroline aims to pursue a career committed to helping authors, publishers and organizations project their stories to their publics. She spends her time blogging, writing for various magazines and authoring young adult fiction books (her current publications include “The Prime Way Trilogy” and “The Vestige”). She considers herself a not-so-southern Georgia peach, coffee-junkie, bona fide goofball and delights in being best known for writing the phrase, “Coffee first. Save the world later.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ann Rose of Prospect Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 12.01.01 AM.pngAnn Rose is a literary agent at Prospect Literary.

“I’m a California native who now resides in Texas after a stint in Florida. Each place has its pros and cons, but I can say that I left my heart in San Diego and dream of going back one day (although that will probably never happen). My degree is in Communication from San Diego State University, and my resume holds a gamut of jobs from Life Guard to Business Systems Analyst/Portfolio Manager, but books have always been my passion. I’m excited to finally merge my love of literature with my past professional experiences as a literary agent with Prospect. It is my honor to help authors build successful, sustainable careers.”

“I fell in love with young adult books when my niece asked me to read with her and I remain devoted to YA of all genres. I am looking for characters who aren’t afraid to stand up for their convictions and beliefs — whether they fight with their fists or their words. I’m also open to all genres of middle grade, and especially love stories that push the MG boundary by exploring topics that affect middle graders but aren’t always broached in stories written for them.”

“In the adult fiction arena, I adore swoony romances, light sci-fi or fantasy, commercial fiction, and heartwarming — or heart wrenching — contemporaries. I’m always looking for unique voices, diverse perspectives, vivid settings, and stories that explore tough topics. Dark and edgy is totally okay too. Above all I’m looking for compelling characters who make me think in new ways, and laugh and cry, hopefully in the same story!”

“My clients know I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to help create the best books possible, from brainstorming at the idea stage all the way through submissions and beyond. I love attending conferences, and sharing my knowledge of the publishing industry. I am a member of the SCBWI, YARWA and RWA.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leticia Gomez of Savvy Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez is a literary agent and the founder of Saavy Literary.

Leticia has been working in the publishing industry for more than two decades. During this span of time, she has published her own newspaper, authored and published three books, edited numerous fiction and nonfiction manuscripts written in both English and Spanish that have gone on to publication. Thus far in her career as a literary agent she has placed close to 200 books with independent and mainstream traditional publishers.

At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish in the following genres:

Fiction: Adventure, Chick-lit, Fantasy, Historical, Humor, Multi-cultural, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult and Middle-grade.

Nonfiction: Advice/Relationships, Biography, Cooking, Diet, Health, History/Politics/Current Affairs, How-to, Humor, Lifestyle, Memoir, Parenting, Religion/Spirituality and True Crime.

The Savvy Literary Agency is not interested in representing projects in the following genres: Children’s Picture Books, Horror, Erotica, Poetry, Short Story Collections, and Graphic Novels

In January of 2007, she launched Savvy Literary, becoming one of a highly select group of agencies in the world that specializes in the Latino book market and offers literary representation in English and Spanish. Since its inception, the agency’s prime directive has been to professionally, diligently, and tirelessly represent Latino and other ethnic minority writers since oftentimes they are misrepresented or worse yet not represented at all in the publishing and film/television industry. Although Savvy Literary has evolved through the years and is now an industry leader by also specializing in Business and Self-Help, Suspense/Thriller, and the Young Adult market, championing the work of minority authors continues to be a top priority for the agency.

In partnership with Ascendant Group, one of the leading branding and marketing firms in the nation, Leticia offers an even greater level of support to aspiring authors. As president of the company’s entertainment division, she has distinguished herself as a literary/film/television agent who can communicate effectively with the authors she is representing. She has helped her clients secure deals with the largest publishers in the world. In addition, she has seen several of her projects successfully optioned for TV and film rights. She is currently an Executive Producer for Bridges, an independent feature-length film starring Chris Routhe. Blending her experience as an author, literary/film/television agent and acquisition editor, she is now truly excited to spearhead her very own Hispanic book imprint Café con Leche Books (www.cafeconlechebooks.com).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carlie Webber of Fuse Literary

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.25.16 AM.pngCarlie Webber is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. Previously, she was the founding agent of CK Webber Associates Literary Management.

She represents fiction in the genres of: young adult, middle grade, new adult, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, science fiction, and fantasy.

She does not want to rep picture books, easy readers, poetry, scripts or curriculum nonfiction. She no longer seeks nonfiction (or memoir) of any kind.

Carlie refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She took her love of YA and commercial fiction to the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science. For ten years, she worked as a public librarian serving teens and adults, served on book awards committees, and reviewed books professionally for journals including Kirkus Reviews and VOYA. Wishing to pursue her interest in the business side of books, she then enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course. Her professional publishing experience includes an internship at Writers House and work with the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates and the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.38.55 PM.pngJessica Kirkland, a literary agent and entrepreneur, is the owner and primary agent with Kirkland Media Management, LLC., a Texas-based boutique agency that specializes in publishing & film contracts in the inspirational market.

Jessica possesses a unique skill set as an agent, which includes a strong command of sales, marketing, and creative development. She loves discovering new talent and identifying stories that have the capacity to change the world. Her outside-the-box thinking and keen business sense have allowed her to excel in the publishing industry and emerge as a champion for traditional and hybrid authors. With her eye always on the big picture, Jessica represents fiction and non-fiction clients who continue to thrive in an ever-changing publishing environment.

Jessica graduated with honors from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Marketing. She is a popular conference speaker where she teaches on publishing trends, marketing, blogging, and the writer’s journey. She has been an agent for five years, and was named Agent of the Year in 2016 by American Christian Fiction Writers.

Jessica is looking for strong stories that encourage, equip, challenge, and change.

Fiction interests:

Romance (Christian market, ABA/Sweet Romance, or crossover)
Historical and/or Historical Romance
Suspense, Thriller, and Crime Fiction
Speculative fiction
Literary fiction
Contemporary Romance
Women’s fiction

Nonfiction interests:

Memoir
Christian-living
Narrative non-fiction
Special interest topics: parenting, pet memoirs, humor, motherhood, health, cooking, politics, cultural issues, prophecy, current events

Note: I do not represent children’s, short stories, or poetry.

Tip: 95% of the author’s I represent were signed after they pitched to me in person at a writer’s conference or as a result of a referral from an existing client. Although I review email queries, face-to-face pitches get faster responses as do recommendations from current clients.