After successful events in 2015, 2017, and 2019, the Kentucky Writing Workshop is back for 2020! Writing Day Workshops excited to announce the online 2020 Kentucky Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Louisville, KY, on April 4, 2020.
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 spaces 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 2020 Kentucky Writing Workshop!
(IMPORTANT MARCH 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 KWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or phone. Learn all details about the new April 4 KWW Online Conference here and what everything means.)
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day online “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 4, 2020, at the Louisville Marriott 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:
- literary agent Cate Hart (Harvey Klinger Literary)
- literary agent Alexandra Weiss (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
- literary agent Kortney Price (Raven Quill Literary)
- literary agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary)
- literary agent Chrysa Keenon (CYLE Literary)
- literary agent Lizzie Poteet (The Seymour Agency)
- literary agent Kenzi Nevins (CYLE Literary)
- literary scout Brittany Smith (Metamorphosis Literary)
- and possibly more agents 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 Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 4, 2020, at the Louisville Marriott East, 1903 Embassy Square Blvd, Louisville, KY 40299. (502)491-1184.
(Update: There is no in-person event for 2020. To keep everyone safe, we are making the whole conference online. Learn what that means here.)
THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 4, 2020):
What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule page here.
Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:
8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.
BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30
1. Getting Published in Today’s World: 10 Tips to Make You the Writer Agents and Publishers Want (Bluegrass AB room). In this session, learn the challenges writers face in publishing today and offers up 10 practical tips to help you break through the barriers and find success.
2. How to Write Science Fiction/Fantasy That Sells (Colonel A room). This session will discuss the unique challenges that authors of sci-fi and fantasy face on the path to publication.
1. The Elusive Literary Agent: How to Find and Secure Your Publishing Representative (Bluegrass AB room). This class will cover the basic structure for a query letter, tips and tricks for improving an elevator pitch, tactics to avoid, and much more.
2. Making Social Media Work For You (Colonel A room). As authors, most of us wish we could spend more time writing and leave marketing to the experts, but in today’s world, social media is a necessary part of our job. Fortunately, with a little work, you can turn it in to a vehicle for reaching the world with your words, rather than a frustrating time-waster.
(What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule page here.)
LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15
Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.
BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30
1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest. (Bluegrass AB room) 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.
2. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Colonel A room). This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.
BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45
1. Talk That Talk: The Ins and Outs of Writing Great Dialogue (Bluegrass AB room). Dialogue isn’t just empty words – it’s part of the plot! This session will help authors craft dialogue that is believable, moves the story forward, and gives life to characters.
2. Author Brand Building (Colonel A room). While having a website and an active social media presence isn’t an absolute must for new writers, it’s important to develop a positive online presence in some shape or form.
(What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule page here.)
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. The Ins and Outs of Perfecting Voice in Your Writing (Colonel A room). When writing fiction, it’s crucial to have a distinct voice throughout your novel.
2. Panel: Ask an Agent Anything (Bluegrass AB room). In this session, attending literary agents, publishers and editors sit on a panel to answer your questions on everything to writing, publishing, building a platform, what agents want, what are the latest trends in publishing, how movie options work, and more. Come ready to ask questions about anything you want related to the writing and publishing industry, and our panel will answer them.
SESSIONS END: 5:00
At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.
Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.
PITCH AN AGENT!
Alice Speilburg is the founding literary agent of Speilburg Literary Agency. She enjoys nonfiction in the areas of History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Travel, and True Crime. “In nonfiction, I’m looking for cultural narratives, microhistory, nature, and pop science written by journalists and academics.” In fiction, she represents women’s fiction, crime fiction, some fantasy (specifics on her agent page), upmarket genre fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, action/adventure, and horror. Learn more about Alice here.
Alexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. She is seeking beautifully written young adult fiction (realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but stories that include magic, space, or science are not for her). She loves coming-of-age tales; stories that explore culture, race, sexuality, and identity; and literature from diverse and underrepresented voices. She represents all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children’s picture books and middle grade books. In adult fiction, she is “open to most genres, but category romance, or heavy mystery/horror/thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for.” Learn more about Alexandra here.
Cate Hart is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency. She specializes in historical, whether in young adult, women’s fiction and romance, or narrative nonfiction. She is particularly drawn to oft-forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. She also loves high-concept fantasy in YA and Adult fiction. Cate seeks the following nonfiction categories: narrative, history, film, TV, theatre, pop culture, and music. She also seeks the following fiction genres: historical, commercial, women’s fiction, romance, fantasy, mystety, psychological thriller, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Cate here.
Kortney Price is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary. Kortney specializes in books for children from picture books through young adult. Her belief in these stories’ ability to change lives and the world drives her to always look for a way to introduce young readers to new people, cultures, and adventures much like her favorite childhood stories did for her. Whether a story changes the reader’s world view, tells them they aren’t alone or just offers an escape, every book in this field has the potential to make a difference in a child’s life and Kortney is honored to play a part in getting those stories into the hands of readers. Learn more about Kortney here.
Chrysa Keenon is a literary agent with CYLE Literary. She is actively seeking: YA contemporary romance, YA fantasy novels , adult romance, adult fantasy, nonfiction picture books, MG fantasy, MG contemporary; anything with diverse casts, creative worldbuilding, and romances that make my heart throb. Learn more about Chrysa here.
Lizzie Poteet is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. Lizzie is always looking for a good love story. She loves classic romance tropes, strong dialogue, sassy heroines, witty banter, and good old fashion romance. She’s actively seeking inspirational romance, cozy mystery, new adult romance, young adult (no speculative), romantic suspense, historical and contemporary romances, and loves anything with a happy ending. Learn more about Lizzie here.
Kenzi Nevins is a literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite. Kenzi personally seeks picture books (text only is fine, but author-illustrators are her favorite), middle grade (all kinds), young adult (all kinds, including graphic novels with images), and adult fantasy. She is also happy to take pitches on behalf of her many co-agents, and pass on great submissions to them after the event. That means she will take pitches for romance (all kinds), literary fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction, high & low fantasy, historical, mystery, thriller, suspense, women’s, and Christian/inspirational. For nonfiction, she will take pitches for parenting, leadership, ministry, devotionals, and self-help. She will also take pitches for board books and chapter books. Learn more about Kenzi here.
Brittany Smith is a literary scout for Metamorphisis Literary. At the 2020 KY conference, she will be taking pitches on behalf of several of her co-agents (Amy Brewer, Patty Carothers, and Erica Christensen). She is taking pitches for: romance of all kinds (if your plot revolves around love or angst or both, that’s a good thing), general/mainstream fiction, LGBTQ+, women’s fiction, book club reads, quirky humor, nonfiction, graphic novels, and children’s book illustrators. She also will also take pitches for mysteries and thrillers (bonus points for cozy mysteries and psychological thrillers), picture books with diverse characters that bring valuable lessons to children in an entertaining and lighthearted way, and lastly: upper young adult, new adult and adult romance in most subgenres, ranging from clean/sweet to high heat in any pairings. Learn more about Brittany here.
Brent Taylor is a literary agent and subsidiary rights manager at Triada US Literary. Unfortunately, he is no longer attending the 2020 KY conference.
More 2020 agents/editors may be added at any time.
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.)
$189 — the EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the online 2020 KWW and access to all workshops, all day, on April 4, 2020. As of October 2019, 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 four quick testimonials regarding 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.)
“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary
“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary
“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary
“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary
“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the 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 instructor Brian Klems. (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?
Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 double-spaced 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:
- Romance, suspense, thriller, mystery, fantasy, paranormal: Faculty member Christina Kaye, a published writer, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- Picture books, board books, easy readers, young adult, middle grade: Faculty member Brittany J. Thurman, a published writer, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- Literary fiction, contemporary, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, crime, thriller, young adult, middle grade, general fiction. Faculty member Olivia Cole, a published writer, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
- More critique options possibly forthcoming.
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he 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 Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Kentucky workshop specifically.
Because of limited space at the venue of the Louisville Marriott East, 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 Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He 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 Brian 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.)