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 (175 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 the Westin Houston Downtown. 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 Patrice Caldwell (Howard Morhaim Literary)
  • literary agent Carlie Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Jessica Kirkland (Kirkland Media Management)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • literary agent Ann Rose (Prospect Agency)
  • and more to come

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Kerrie Flanagan of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, February 16, 2019, at the Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002. (713)228-1520.

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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: An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today. This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing / e-publishing. We will examine the upsides of both routes, the challenges with both, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 8.28.18 PM10:30 – 11:45: Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

11:45 – 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: How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform. 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: Ten Keys to Writing Success. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny. This is a general course that addresses commonsense things any writer can do to give their work the best shot at getting published, such as writing the best thing they can, stealing from themselves, and why writing for love and money is a good idea.

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

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AN AGENT!

Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 1.06.11 AM.pngPatrice Caldwell is a literary agent with Howard Morhaim Literary. Patrice is seeking commercial fiction — everything from chapter books through adult, as well as nonfiction. In children’s/YA, she is especially looking for illustrated chapter books and graphic novels, middle grade and young adult memoirs, diverse middle grade science fiction & fantasy, and character-driven stories that steal her heart and make her laugh and cry. For adults, she would love to find romance and women’s fiction authors a la Jasmine Guillory or Roselle Lim, as well as adult science fiction and fantasy with a literary twist and narrative nonfiction. In general, Patrice loves horror, and is open to any fresh take on vampires. Learn more about Patrice here.

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 2019-07-09 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

$189 — 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.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com, and she will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Houston workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Westin Houston Downtown, the workshop can only allow 175 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The HWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, 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: 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: Patrice Caldwell of Howard Morhaim Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 1.06.11 AM.pngPatrice Caldwell is a literary agent with Howard Morhaim Literary.

Patrice got her start in book publishing as an editor working with bestselling and critically-acclaimed children’s/YA authors & illustrators. She graduated from Wellesley College, where she studied Political Science and English, and is the founder of People of Color in Publishing–a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the book publishing industry.

In 2018, she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree and featured on Bustle’s inaugural “Lit List” as one of ten women changing the book world.

Patrice is seeking commercial fiction — everything from chapter books through adult, as well as nonfiction. In children’s/YA, she is especially looking for illustrated chapter books and graphic novels, middle grade and young adult memoirs, diverse middle grade science fiction & fantasy, and character-driven stories that steal her heart and make her laugh and cry. For adults, she would love to find romance and women’s fiction authors a la Jasmine Guillory or Roselle Lim, as well as adult science fiction and fantasy with a literary twist and narrative nonfiction. In general, Patrice loves horror, and is open to any fresh take on vampires.

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.