The 2015 Kentucky Writing Workshop: Feb. 6, 2015

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 11.13.19 PMThe 2015 Kentucky Writing Workshop is now over, and it was a wonderful success. If you are interested in future KY writing events, email coordinator Jessica Bell at writingdayworkshops [at] gmail.com and ask to be alerted when other events come together. Meanwhile, if you live elsewhere in the country, you can see other Writing Day Workshop dates and locations here.

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The staff behind the organization and instruction of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop are excited to announce The Kentucky Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Louisville, KY, on February 6, 2015.

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 (90 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Kentucky Writing Workshop!

(If you live closer to Nashville than Louisville, note that there is also a nearly identical writing workshop in Nashville in Feb. 2015.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Louisville East. 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. This year’s faculty so far includes agent Natalia Aponte (Aponte Literary), agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary), agent Brent Taylor (TriadaUS Literary), agent Victoria Lea (Aponte Literary), and editor JD DeWitt (River Valley Publishing).

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey.

THIS YEAR’S PRESENTER/INSTRUCTOR

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 1.09.19 PMChuck Sambuchino (chucksambuchino.com, @chucksambuchino) of Writer’s Digest Books is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His authored books include Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript; Create Your Writer Platform, which was praised by Forbes.com; and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, which was optioned for film by Sony. He oversees one of the biggest blogs in publishing (the Guide to Literary Agents Blog) as well as one of the biggest Twitter accounts in publishing (@WritersDigest). He is a freelance editor who has seen dozens of his clients get agents and/or book deals, and he has presented at 120 writing conferences and events over the past ten years.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Louisville East, 1325 S Hurstbourne Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40222, (502)426-2600. The hotel is right off I-64, between I-264 and I-265. Click on this image to see its location on a map:

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Click on this image to see the workshop venue on a map.

 

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (FEB. 6, 2015)

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

9:30 – 10:30: “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 downsides, 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.

10:30 – 11:45: “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Queries & Pitching.” 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: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance. A map of places to eat will be passed out prior to the event.

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 11.12.09 PM1 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest.” 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.)

2:30 – 3:45: “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Author Platform & Social Media Explained.” A writer’s platform is as important as ever now. Visibility and ability to self-market are mandatory these days for writers of nonfiction and self-published works. Furthermore, fiction writers want a platform to sell more books, meet readers, and increase their value. This speech teaches writers the basics of what a platform is and why it is necessary. Then we delve into the building blocks of what can constitute a platform, from media appearances and speaking engagements to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more.

3:45 – 5:00: “How to Get Published: 10 Professional Writing Practices That You Need to Know NOW to Find Success as a Writer.” This final speech is a general presentation examining good writing practices that all editors appreciate—whether writing for books, magazines, newspapers or online. It discusses how to not put all your eggs in one writing basket, how to steal ideas from yourself to generate more stories and books, how to avoid the two most common reasons agents reject you, and much more.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AN AGENT!

UntitledNatalia Aponte [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at Aponte Literary. She accepts submissions of any genre of mainstream fiction and nonfiction, but especially seeks women’s novels, historical novels, supernatural and paranormal fiction, fantasy novels, political and science thrillers. In nonfiction, she’ll look at any genre with commercial potential. What she consider most important, and certainly more important than genre, is that the writing be strong and fresh. Learn more about Natalia here.

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 12.34.10 AMAlice Speilburg [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at Speilburg Literary. In nonfiction, she’s looking for authors with established platforms who are writing books in the following categories: biography, food, gender issues, health, history, literary journalism, music, pop culture, relationships, science, travel. In fiction, she’s currently looking for character-driven novels that fall under the following genres: historical fiction, mainstream, literary, mystery, science fiction, thriller/suspense, middle grade, young adult. Learn more about Alice here.

brent-taylor-literary-agentBrent Taylor is actively seeking new clients as an agent with TriadaUS Literary Agency. He represents middle grade novels, young adult novels, new adult novels, and select mystery/crime as well as some women’s fiction novels. Learn more about Brent and more about what he seeks here.

1400255_10200197887830313_1109260645_o-150x150Victoria Lea is a literary agent at Aponte Literary. She accepts submissions of any genre of mainstream fiction and nonfiction, but especially seeks women’s novels, historical novels, supernatural and paranormal fiction, fantasy novels, political and science thrillers. In nonfiction, she’ll look at any genre with commercial potential. What she consider most important, and certainly more important than genre, is that the writing be strong and fresh. Learn more about Victoria here.

Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 10.10.54 PMJD DeWitt is director of acquisitions with River Valley Publishing, LLC, a boutique publishing house. JD is eager to acquire contemporary works (or historical romance) for the faith-based market (Christian/inspirational), and she is especially seeking edgy westerns. Non-faith-based pitches will be considered if they are sweet historical romance or western romance (no erotica). Learn more about J.D. here.

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

$99 — the complete base price for registration to the KWW and access to all workshops, all day.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our 4 literary agents in attendance. Between them, our agents are seeking mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, historical novels, supernatural and paranormal fiction, fantasy novels, political and science thrillers, middle grade novels, young adult novels, new adult novels, mystery/crime, science fiction, thriller/suspense, and many areas of nonfiction.

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.

Add $59 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Chuck Sambuchino. (This rate is a special event value for Kentucky 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?

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@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 Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Kentucky workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Holiday Inn Louisville East, the workshop can only allow 90 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 Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@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 KWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Kentucky 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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Thank you for your interest in the Tennessee Writing Workshop.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Natalia Aponte of Aponte Literary

UntitledAponte Literary was founded in 2005 by Natalia Aponte [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] after a long career in publishing that included working as a book buyer for a regional distributor, clerking in a bookstore, working in the marketing dept of a major publisher, and editing manuscripts at Tor books for over 20 years.

She is seeking: “We accept submissions of any genre of mainstream fiction and nonfiction, but we especially seek women’s novels, historical novels, supernatural and paranormal fiction, fantasy novels, political and science thrillers. In nonfiction, we’ll look at any category with commercial potential. What we consider most important, and certainly more important than genre, is that the writing be strong and fresh.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 12.34.10 AM[ALICE IS NOW SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS FOR THE WORKSHOP.]

Alice Speilburg founded Speilburg Literary Agency in 2012, bringing with her the editorial and business expertise she had developed in previous publishing positions at John Wiley & Sons and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. She is currently building her client list and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction.

She is seeking: In nonfiction, she’s looking for authors with established platforms who are writing books in the following categories: biography, food, gender issues, health, history, literary journalism, music, pop culture, relationships, science, travel. in fiction, she’s currently looking for character-driven novels that fall under the following genres: historical fiction, mainstream, literary, mystery, science fiction, thriller/suspense, middle grade, young adult.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2015 KWW

If you are coming to the 2015 Kentucky Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-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 this year’s instructor, 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 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 wins at the 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.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary Agency

brent-taylor-literary-agentPrior to joining TriadaUS Literary Agency, Inc., Brent Taylor completed numerous internships in publishing, most recently at The Bent Agency. (Find Brent on Twitter.)

He is seeking: “My tastes are eclectic, but all of my favorite novels are similar in that they have big commercial hooks and fantastic writing. I am seeking smart, fun, and exciting books for readers of middle grade, young adult, new adult, and select mystery/crime and women’s fiction.

“Middle Grade: for younger readers I am on the hunt for a humorous, intelligent fantasy; a scare-the-pants-off-me ghost or haunting story; fast-paced literary writing similar in style to Jerry Spinelli and Cynthia Lord. I have soft spots for larger-than-life characters and atmospheric setting (creepy and/or quirky).

“Young Adult: I’m always looking for genre-bending books that can be an exciting puzzlement when thinking about how precisely to market; specifically mystery and crime for teens, the grittier the better; high-concept contemporary stories with addicting romantic tension. I’m a sucker for themes of finding your place in the world, new beginnings, and summer-before-college stories.

“New Adult: my tastes in New Adult tend to be more darkly skewed but I would love a well-executed story that shares the same excitement, wonder, and invigoration of books like LOSING IT. Although I appreciate any story that’s told well in great language, in New Adult I’m more concerned with being entertained and gripped by the edge of my seat than in being stimulated. Adult: I would love a psychological suspense based on actual events, i.e. CARTWHEEL by Jennifer Dubois which fictionalized the Amanda Knox trial and hooked me from beginning to end. Alternatively, I’d love high-concept women’s fiction; either an exquisitely told story huge in size and scope, or a less ambitious novel that simply warms my heart.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Victoria Lea of Aponte Literary

1400255_10200197887830313_1109260645_o-150x150Agent Victoria Lea comes to Aponte Literary with a degree in psychology, a  background in social work and a life-long passion for reading – especially long, classic novels. As an Associate Agent Victoria seeks to establish her own list of authors and is also responsible for digital content and social media marketing at the agency.

She is seeking: “We accept submissions of any genre of mainstream fiction and nonfiction, but we especially seek women’s novels, historical novels, supernatural and paranormal fiction, fantasy novels, political and science thrillers. In nonfiction, we’ll look at any category with commercial potential. What we consider most important, and certainly more important than genre, is that the writing be strong and fresh.”

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: JD DeWitt of River Valley Publishing

Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 10.10.54 PMA former literary and talent agent, JD DeWitt currently acquires projects as director of acquisitions for her small press, River Valley Publishing, LLC.

JD is eager to acquire contemporary works (or historical romance) for the faith-based market (Christian/inspirational), and is especially seeking edgy westerns. Non-faith-based pitches will be considered if they are sweet historical romance or western romance (no erotica).

JD is also senior partner at Ink Slinger Entertainment, a production company with focus on producing and distributing books to film.