The 2015 Michigan Writing Workshop: Sept. 12, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.23.09 AM[THE 2015 MICHIGAN WRITING WORKSHOP IS NOW OVER. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ATTENDED. We do not know when the next workshop will happen in Michigan, but if you are interested in being on an e-mail list with that date/news (and you have not contacted us previously), send us an email saying so to writingdayworkshops [at] gmail.com. Thanks!]

The staff behind the organization and instruction of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop are excited to announce The Michigan Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event just outside Detroit, MI (Livonia/Novi area of Michigan) on September 12, 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 (100 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Michigan Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at the Embassy Suites Detroit – Livonia/Novi. 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 includes literary agent Kara Leigh Miller (Corvisiero Literary); literary agent Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary); literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary); literary agent Veronica Park (Corvisiero Literary), literary agent Amanda Luedeke (MacGregor Literary), literary agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary), and literary agent Brent Taylor (TriadaUS Literary).

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., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at the Embassy Suites Detroit – Livonia/Novi, 19525 Victor Pkwy, Livonia, MI 48152. (734)462-6000. Click on this image to see its location on a map:

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Click on this image to see the hotel venue on a map. It is in the Livonia/Novi area, northwest of Detroit downtown.

 

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (SEPT. 12, 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 – 1:15: 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 2014-10-02 at 10.30.04 PM1:15 – 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!

Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 6.50.19 PMKara Leigh Miller is an agent with Corvisiero Literary. Her passions lie with romance, horror, thriller/mystery novels, and inspirational fiction of any kind. She reps those categories for the young adult, new adult and adult markets. She also seeks any kind of young adult book that is not hard sci-fi or high/epic fantasy. In some of these categories, she has specific tastes, so learn more about Kara here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 2.07.00 PMKaylee Davis [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. She represents science fiction novels, fantasy novels, speculative fiction, middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, new adult fiction, steampunk, urban fantasy, social commentary, LGBTQ, and counter-culture. Learn more about Kaylee here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.53.51 PMEric Smith [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. He is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), new adult, and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas. Since he is representing all of P.S. Literary, he is happy to take pitches for his co-agents for romance, middle grade, illustrated picture books, historical fiction, alternate history, magic realism, upmarket (book club) fiction, women’s fiction, LGBTQ (any genre), graphic novels, memoir, as well as nonfiction in the areas of design, pop psychology, narrative nonfiction, photography, pop science, business and lifestyle. Learn more about Eric here.

Screen shot 2015-06-09 at 10.22.43 PMVeronica Park [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. Veronica is representing the entire agency and their genres, and is open to hearing pitches for all her co-agents in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, romance, thrillers, romantic suspense, adventure, paranormal, young adult, middle grade, picture books, historical romance, new adult (both romance and non-romance), and graphic novels. In nonfiction, she can take pitches for parenting, education, self-improvement, science, and business. Learn more about Veronica here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.14.13 AMAmanda Luedeke [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS!] is a literary agent at MacGregor Literary. She represents general market and Christian market projects, and her areas of interest include nonfiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, speculative fiction (fantasy and science fiction), young adult, and twenty-something/post college-aged hip lit (think Joe Meno, Brett McCracken, Brad Land, JD Salinger). Learn more about Amanda 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, and young adult. Learn more about Alice here.

brent-taylor-literary-agentBrent Taylor [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is actively seeking new clients as an agent with TriadaUS Literary Agency. He is taking pitches for middle grade novels, young adult novels, literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, crime novels, and women’s fiction. Learn more about Brent here.

Mark Gottlieb, [CANCELED] a literary agent with Trident Media Group, was previously scheduled to attend the workshop but had to cancel his appearance as of early August 2015. If you were already signed up to meet with him, please e-mail coordinator Jessica Bell to switch your pitch to another one of the 5 other attending agents or get a pitch refund.

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

$129 — FINAL registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2015 MWW and access to all workshops, all day.

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.

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 Michigan 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 Michigan workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of Embassy Suites, the workshop can only allow 100 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 MWW 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 Michigan 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 Michigan Writing Workshop.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kara Leigh Miller of Corvisiero Literary

Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 6.50.19 PMKara Leigh Miller is an agent with Corvisiero Literary.

She is a lover of all things literary. She began her venture into the publishing world as a wet behind the ears author back in 2010. Since then, she’s found her true passion to be helping authors achieve their dreams of publication. She started as an intern for a small press and worked her way up to Senior Editor within months. From there, she moved on to become the Editorial Direct at Anaiah Press, LLC. Now, as a well versed author and editor, she’s excited to switch sides to become an agent. Kara is excited to begin building her client list and working closely with authors to help them find the success they deserve.

Being an avid reader of all genres and categories, Kara has a soft spot for books that will knock her legs out from under her and gut punch her with emotion. Bonus points if you can make her cry. With an addictive personality and obsessions that run deep, she will champion hard for the things she loves — books, the authors who write them, her husband and five kids, and Pit Bulls. Oh, and cats. She really likes cats. Especially white, fluffy ones.

She is seeking:

YOUNG ADULT — any category besides high/epic fantasy and hard science fiction is fair game, but her passions lie toward YA in the categories she highlights below (thriller, mystery, romance, inspirational). She is open to fiction with very light sci-fi or fantasy elements (such as light urban fantasy, magical realism, or comparables to Divergent).

INSPIRATIONAL FICTION — Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult — Please note: While Kara has years of experience within the Christian fiction market, she’s open to all forms of inspirational fiction, not just those that are focused around the Christian faith. She would love to find stories that push the boundaries and get people talking about faith in a positive way; angels and demons, good vs. evil plot types. Some of her favorite authors within this genre: Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Jody Hedlund, Courtney Rice Gager, Lisa Dunn, Sharon Srock.

ROMANCE — Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult — While Kara will consider romance with erotic elements, if you can compare your book to Fifty Shades in any capacity, she is not the agent for you. Contemporaries and romantic suspense are her forte, but she’s willing to consider just about anything as long as it’s well written, including paranormal and urban fantasy. Favorite authors in this genre: Lora Leigh, Julie Ann Walker, Abbi Glines, and Jennifer Armentrout.

MYSTERIES / LEGAL THRILLERS / HORROR — Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult — With a background in law and a fetish for all sorts of scary movies, Kara has a weakness for these types of stories. Her love of reading began and continues with authors such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Gillian Flynn, and John Grisham.

Things Kara Will NOT represent:
– Picture books, Children’s books, Middle Grade
– Comic books / Graphic Novels
– Non-fiction, Memoirs, Biographies, Creative non-fiction, Devotionals, – Historical fiction
– High/epic Fantasy (such as Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings)
– Hard Science Fiction
– Adult sci-fi or fantasy
– Short Story Collections / Anthologies / Poetry
– Scripts / Screenplays

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kaylee Davis of Dee Mura Literary

17232682-20503393-thumbnail[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Kaylee Davis is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary.

Growing up in The Middle of Nowhere, Ohio, Kaylee’s lifeline to sanity was the local library where she nurtured her love of all things literary. Kaylee received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Recognized for her obsessive-compulsive attention to detail and crazy-fast reading ability, Kaylee joined the Dee Mura team as a professional copyeditor, proofreader, and administrative assistant before being named an agent.

She represents science fiction novels, fantasy novels, speculative fiction, middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, new adult fiction, steampunk, urban fantasy, social commentary, LGBTQ, and counter-culture. Learn more about Kaylee here.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.14.13 AM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS!]

Literary agent Amanda Luedeke (LEE-duh-key) works for the MacGregor Literary Agency.

Amanda was a 2006 graduate of the acclaimed Professional Writing program at Taylor University Fort Wayne. Since college, she’s made her living as a writer, working as a freelancer for local newspapers and marketing companies, while operating her own writing business.

With five years experience as an agent, Amanda brings unique interests to the MacGregor Literary team. She represents general market and CBA (Christian market) projects, and her areas of interest include nonfiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, speculative fiction (fantasy and science fiction), young adult, and twenty-something/post college-aged hip lit (think Joe Meno, Brett McCracken, Brad Land, JD Salinger).

Utilizing her marketing background, Amanda blogs every Thursday on ChipMacGregor.com, and she also released a marketing book, The Extroverted Writer.

Amanda loves big cities, great music, snuggly dogs, and taking online quizzes. Though she considers the Chicagoland area to be home, she currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband and Great Dane.

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

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 12.34.10 AM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS!]

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.

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

brent-taylor-literary-agent[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Prior 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.” He seeks middle grade books, young adult, literary fiction, crime novels, mystery, thrillers, 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.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2015 MWW

If you are coming to the 2015 Michigan 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.