The 2021 Michigan Writing Workshop: April 9-10, 2021

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 events in Michigan, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2021 Michigan Writing Workshop — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on April 9-10, 2021. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of two days, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited online “seats” at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Michigan Writing Workshop!

ONLINE: The 2021 MWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on April 9-10, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on April 9-10, 2021. In other words, it’s two days 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. And even though this is the “Michigan” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online 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 2021 MWW agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Jennifer Unter (The Unter Agency)
  • literary agent Jaidree Braddix (Park & Fine Literary)
  • literary agent Nicole Payne (Golden Wheat Literary)
  • literary agent Susana Alvarez (Park & Fine Literary)
  • literary agent Samantha Wekstein (Thompson Literary)
  • literary agent James Mustelier (The Bent Agency)
  • literary agent Stephanie Winter (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Jennifer Herrington (Harvey Klinger Literary)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Amaryah Orenstein (Go Literary)
  • literary agent Katherine Wessbecher (Bradford Literary)
  • literary agent Jess Dallow (Brower Literary)
  • literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan (Handspun Literary)
  • literary agent Ben Miller-Callihan (Handspun Literary)
  • literary agent Tessa Emily Hall (CYLE Literary)
  • literary agent Reiko Davis (Defiore and Company)
  • literary agent Nikki Terpilowski (Holloway Literary)
  • literary agent Amanda Leuck (Spencerhill Associates)
  • literary agent Brenna English-Loeb (Transatlantic Agency)
  • literary agent Darlene Chan (Linda Chester Literary)
  • literary agent Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Cortney Radocaj (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Emmy Nordstrom Higdon (Westwood Creative)
  • literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Cecilia Lyra (P.S. Literary)
  • 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 coordinators Chuck Sambuchino and Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: The 2021 MWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on April 9-10, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 9-10, 2021):

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.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

FRIDAY, APRIL 9, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: The Changing Role of the Author. This informative and fast-paced workshop will cover a variety of changes in the publishing landscape, including self-publishing versus “trad pub,” social media marketing, privacy concerns, and more.

10:45 – 11:45: Voice in a Manuscript. In this session, we’ll target common mishaps and approach creating strong narratives on three levels: dialogue, prose, and characters.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from MWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

2:45 – 3:45: Creating Compelling Characters. This session, taught by a former literary agent, will explain how to create characters that agents, editors, and (most importantly) readers connect with.

4:00 – 5:00: 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.

SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2021

9:30 – 10:30: How to Write a Great Query Letter to an Agent. In this class, a literary agent will explain the essential elements of an effective query letter, and share some dos and don’ts when sending this all-important initial communication to agents.

10:45 – 11:45: After the Book Deal: What Happens Next?. Two agent instructors will present a detailed explanation of the traditional publishing process, including the differences between the acquisitions editor and the production editor, sales, marketing, publicity, cover design, distribution, and much more. Bring your questions!

11:45 – 1:15: Break

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.

2:45 – 3:45: How to Think Like a Developmental Editor (and Write Well). Thinking like a developmental editor can help you mold your book for success even as you write; it can eventually help you edit yourself so that the book you submit is the book an editor is looking for.

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.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

(What you see here 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.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Jennifer Unter is a literary agent with The Unter Agency. “We are interested in seeing quality fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness. Additionally, we are looking for all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult).” Learn more about Jennifer here.

Jaidree Braddix is a literary agent with Park & Fine Literary and Media. Although Jaidree focuses on nonfiction (see specifics below), she informed the conference that she is open to meeting with attendees who write fiction, specifically if the attendee wants feedback on their pitch, rather than to actually submit work. Her nonfiction interests range from serious nonfiction that dives deep to illuminate important issues, to buzz-worthy and mission-driven narratives that have the potential to influence the national conversation. She is committed to helping authors turn their assets—be they courageous ideas, foundations for social good, academic studies, health and fitness programs, popular blogs, or Instagram followings—into compelling proposals and noteworthy books. Learn more about Jaidree here.

Nicole Payne is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary. Nicole is currently hoping to find: Young Adult historical romance set in the Middle East;  Young Adult literary fiction about love, family and hope and will make me ugly cry;  Women’s Fiction involving a Rosie the Riveter influenced story;  Adult contemporary about a cut-throat fashion industry and the romance that shouldn’t be a priority over creativity;  Adult Action and Adventure that centers around elderly women putting down knitting needles and picking up nunchucks.  Both Christian and secular themes welcome. Learn more about Nicole here.

Susana Alvarez is a literary agent with Park & Fine Literary. As first-generation Mexican-American, she is especially drawn to and excited to reflect multicultural experiences and perspectives. Her interests range from narrative nonfiction, where she has a penchant for memoirs, to voice-driven Journalism, cultural commentary, big idea society-moving books, to the health and wellness industry; particularly among women and under-represented communities. Outside of nonfiction, her love of the literary world first arrived through the great American novel, which evolved into a passion for fiction rooted in themes of: the self, coming of age, complex human relationships, and multi-generational stories against the backdrop of multiple nations and cultures. Learn more about Susana here.

Samantha Wekstein is a literary agent with Thompson Literary. In young adult, she loves creative and epic fantasies, but she is also drawn to realistic stories with multi-dimensional female characters. She is always interested in elevating diverse voices, particularly through feminist narratives. She is seeking middle grade of all stripes, but especially stories that deal with themes of friendship, adventure, or encountering tragedy for the first time. She is also on the lookout for whimsical, meaningful, and funny picture books. On the adult side she is drawn to commercial voices in romance, women’s fiction, historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Learn more about Samantha here.

Stephanie Winter is a literary agent at P.S. Literary. Stephanie is acquiring: adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction, in addition to Graphic Novels. She’s actively seeking titles with diverse and inclusive representation that offer smart, culturally aware, and enriching narratives. For young readers, Stephanie loves a good adventure story, light SFF, and STEAM topics. In the adult space, she appreciates all sorts of fiction but particularly enjoys Rom-Coms and Thrillers (located outside the home) and LGBTQ+ stories that bring joy. Stephanie also acquires select nonfiction in all age groups, with a soft spot for projects that blend illustration with information on culturally relevant topics. Learn more about Stephanie here.

Jennifer Herrington is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency. “I am actively building my list in the middle grade, YA, and adult categories. I am looking for character and voice-driven books that I connect with on an emotional level. I want a book that makes me laugh or cry and extra points for both! I’m especially open to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ stories and voices in the mentioned categories. In Adult fiction I’d like to see: romance with a fresh twist, a sports romance, dark paranormal romances (with gritty vamps, wolves, or witches), romantic comedy, romantic suspense, mysteries and thrillers that keep me up all night, and science fiction & fantasy. Learn more about Jennifer here.

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary. Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Learn more about Amaryah here.

Katherine Wessbecher is a literary agent with Bradford Literary. Katherine is looking for children’s books (picture books through YA), upmarket adult fiction, and narrative nonfiction for all ages. In MG and YA, historical fiction and fantasy have been favorites since Katherine was young. But more than genre, she’s looking for the kinds of stories that transport her: to the past, an imagined world, or a perspective wholly different from her own. Her favorite picture books are the kind that make both kids and grown-ups laugh. In adult fiction and nonfiction, Katherine is looking for upmarket adult fiction that straddles the literary and commercial divide. Katherine is actively seeking adult and juvenile narrative nonfiction. Learn more about Katherine here.

Eric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Eric has a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction. Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), Middle Grade, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of non-fiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, Middle Grade, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas. Learn more about Eric here.

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. “I’m looking for both literary and commercial adult fiction. In literary fiction, I’m specifically drawn to visceral honesty coupled with a dark sense of humor. In commercial fiction I’m looking for horror, mystery, and thrillers. My favorite books have distinct and memorable voices that grab the reader’s attention, and a narrative gravity that permeates every action in the story.” Pitch him literary fiction, crime, mystery, suspense, horror, humor, young adult, and short story collections. Learn more about James here.

Amanda Leuck is a literary agent with Spencerhill Associates. Amanda is currently seeking strong, character-driven stories with an unforgettable voice. She’s looking for literary and commercial YA, select sci-fi and fantasy, and romance in all genres, including edgy romantic suspense, contemporary, and paranormal with a fresh twist. Among other things, she is excited about YA fantasy based in mythology across cultures; historical novels that spark my need to know more; characters with disability, chronic illness or mental illness – that doesn’t necessarily drive the plot; and #ownvoices. Learn more about Amanda here.

Reiko Davis is a literary agent with Defiore and Company. Reiko’s interests are varied, but she is particularly drawn to narrative journalism on the topics of pop culture, science/psychology, and current events as well as memoir that focuses on social justice, issues of race and gender, and the history and experiences of women and people of color. For fiction, she’s primarily looking for upmarket and literary novels, specifically set in contemporary times. She loves young, underrepresented voices, magical realism, and voice driven coming-of-age stories. On the children’s side, she’s actively looking for YA and middle grade projects that aren’t afraid to tackle big questions or important emotional truths, and do so through remarkable storytelling, humor, and heart. Right now she’s especially on the lookout for middle grade nonfiction projects (STEM focused, DIY, inspirational, activist driven, historical) and for adult rom com. She’d also love to connect with promising writers of short fiction with a strong initial publication record with magazines/literary journals who are now at work on a story collection and/or a debut novel. Learn more about Reiko here.

Darlene Chan is a literary agent with Linda Chester Literary Agency. Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), women’s fiction, chick lit, crime fiction, young adult novels. In nonfiction, she is actively seeking pop culture books, and books on film and the entertainment industry. Learn more about Darlene and what she seeks here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.07.45 AM.pngNikki Terpilowski is a literary agent and founder of Holloway Literary. She seeks Southern fiction, historical fiction, young adult, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, romance (contemporary, historical and romantic suspense), cozy mysteries, science fiction (including Afrofuturist fiction), and African-American fiction of all types. For nonfiction, she seeks books related to mindfulness, healthy eating (Paleo, gluten-free, etc.), regional/ethnic/fusion cookbooks, foodie subjects, travel, alternative simple living, i.e. homesteading, minimalism, etc, interesting self-help (personal and professional), military experiences, Civil War, and Southern living. Learn more about Nikki here.

Jess Dallow is a literary agent with Brower Literary. She is seeking: contemporary thrillers and mysteries in YA. In Adult, she is looking for small town romance, rom-coms, domestic suspense, and book club fiction. She would love to see diverse characters and #ownvoices within these genres. Jess has always had a love for books, especially those that feature child psychopaths, platonic friendships between men and women, a romance that makes her heart beat faster, and serial killers. Learn more about Jess here.

Cecilia Lyra is an associate agent at P.S. Literary representing adult fiction and nonfiction. In terms of nonfiction, Cecilia is seeking Psychology, Pop Culture, Science, Business, and Lifestyle from experts in their fields with an original angle, as well as compelling memoirs—both long-form and memoir-in-essays. As for fiction, Cecilia is passionate about voice-y Literary Fiction and fast-paced Commercial Fiction. She adores reading about dysfunctional families from the point-of-view of a morally ambiguous protagonist. Books that are centered around feminist issues have a special place in her heart. Above all else, Cecilia is looking for a story she can’t put down. Learn more about Cecilia here.

Literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan is a literary agent and founder of Handspun Literary Agency. She is always looking for stories she can’t stop reading. For adult fiction, Courtney represents only the following: mainstream fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), mystery novels, and speculative fiction. For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit. Learn more about Courtney here.

Ben Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019. He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and is now actively building his client list. His interests include humor, young adult and middle grade novels, speculative fiction (especially decolonial science fiction and fantasy), mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related. Learn more about Ben here.

Emmy Nordstrom Higdon is a literary agent with Westwood Creative Artists. Emmy is seeking: “I grew up on fantasy novels and 90s kidlit horror like Bunnicula and Goosebumps. I represent authors of literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction, and narrative nonfiction, for adults and young adults. I specialize in character-driven #OwnVoices projects that are devastating to put down, particularly from the LGBTQ2S+ and disability communities. Murder is my comfort read. I prioritize queries from trans, Black or BIPOC, and/or disabled authors. Learn more about Emmy here.

Cortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. As a member and advocate of both the LGBT and neurodiverse communities, Cortney adores seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. She is seeking: young adult, new adult, and adult. She is looking for LGBT (particularly F/F), neurodiversity, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology/fairytale retellings, gothic, paranormal, contemporary, horror, and magical realism. Learn more about Cortney here.

Brenna English-Loeb is a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency. She is specifically looking for works of YA and adult science fiction, fantasy, mystery and suspense. She loves grounded space operas, rare myth and fairy tale retellings, nature survival stories, epistolary novels, and heists. She also has a soft spot for stories that blend multiple genres and she is always looking for works by underrepresented groups and identities. For nonfiction, Brenna is looking for serious, groundbreaking sociological work that holds our culture up to the magnifying glass. She also loves accounts of historical events and people that deserve to be better known, as well as unusual and influential object histories. Learn more about Brenna here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 3.10.25 PM.pngErica Bauman is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Erica is currently focused on representing a wide range of authors across middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as some select narrative nonfiction projects. She is most interested in novels that straddle the line between literary and commercial, imaginative tales with a speculative twist, fearless storytellers that tackle big ideas and contemporary issues, and working with and supporting marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity. “In adult, I gravitate towards stories that have a commercial premise and beautiful writing. I love voice-driven, witty romcoms, historical novels (especially mysteries), and light SFF and magical realism. I’m on the lookout for books starring nerds, and stories that make me laugh. Across all age ranges and genres, I’m eager to support and work with marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity. Learn more about Erica here.

Tessa Emily Hall is a literary agent for CYLE Literary. She seeks young adult fiction (all kinds and genres) for Illuminate YA Fiction publishing. Learn more about Tessa here.

 

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        More 2021 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.

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.)

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PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2021 MWW and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10 additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of early 2021, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors 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. There is no limit. Here are 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.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the 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 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 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 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 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, one of the workshop’s former instructors. (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?

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:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Bailey, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.

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 PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Michigan workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: The 2021 MWW is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on April 9-10, 2021. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

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 or credit card. 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 Brian 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 at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal or CC refund]. 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 and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already started edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Michigan Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tessa Emily Hall of CYLE Literary

Tessa Emily Hall is a literary agent for CYLE Literary.

She seeks young adult fiction (all kinds and genres) for Illuminate YA Fiction.

Tessa writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teenagers they’re not alone in their struggles. The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second YA novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, released with Clean Reads fall 2016. She’s the Founder of PursueMagazine.net, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling, and is a columnist for Broken But Priceless Magazine.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephanie Winter of P.S. Literary

Stephanie Winter is a literary agent at P.S. Literary.

She first joined the agency as an intern before becoming the agency’s relations assistant. Stephanie holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in English Literature and an M.A. in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London. She is looking for diverse, inclusive voices in fiction and graphic novels for adults and young readers. Stephanie particularly appreciates strong characters who bend stereotypes, genders, and more.

Stephanie is acquiring: adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction, in addition to Graphic Novels. She’s actively seeking titles with diverse and inclusive representation that offer smart, culturally aware, and enriching narratives. For young readers, Stephanie loves a good adventure story, light SFF, and STEAM topics. In the adult space, she appreciates all sorts of fiction but particularly enjoys Rom-Coms and Thrillers (located outside the home) and LGBTQ+ stories that bring joy. Stephanie also acquires select nonfiction in all age groups, with a soft spot for projects that blend illustration with information on culturally relevant topics.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Samantha Wekstein of Thompson Literary

Samantha Wekstein is a literary agent with Thompson Literary.

Samantha grew up in Westchester, NY. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park and received a B.A. in English. She now lives in NYC with her husband and dog. After internships with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency and Rowman & Littlefield, she began her career in 2013 at Writers House LLC. She then briefly worked as an assistant at The Agency Group (now UTA) before returning to Writers House for the next 5 years where she began supporting the CEO, and then the Founder, before becoming an agent. She’s been lucky to work with a variety of best-selling and award winning authors across all genres.

She joined TLA in 2019 where she’s excited to grow her list. In YA, she loves creative and epic fantasies, but she is also drawn to realistic stories with multi-dimensional female characters. She is always interested in elevating diverse voices, particularly through feminist narratives. She is seeking middle grade of all stripes, but especially stories that deal with themes of friendship, adventure, or encountering tragedy for the first time. She is also on the lookout for whimsical, meaningful, and funny picture books. On the adult side she is drawn to commercial voices in Romance, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jaidree Braddix of Park & Fine Literary and Media

Jaidree Braddix is a literary agent with Park & Fine Literary and Media.

Although Jaidree focuses on nonfiction (see specifics below), she informed the conference that she is open to meeting with attendees who write fiction, specifically if the attendee wants feedback on their pitch, rather than to actually submit work.

Jaidree began her publishing career as a publicist at an independent press and she will forever be fascinated by headline-making stories.

Her interests range from serious nonfiction that dives deep to illuminate important issues, to buzz-worthy and mission-driven narratives that have the potential to influence the national conversation.

Priding herself on being a creative problem solver with a “no mountain too steep” attitude and an unabashed belief that every system can be improved, no matter how well established, Jaidree works closely with Emily Sweet and Andrea Mai to provide authors with attentive and strategic support at every step of the book publishing process. She has a particular passion for editorial development and positioning, helping authors to find where their message fits and how it can be heard in the current social and political landscape. She is committed to helping authors turn their assets—be they courageous ideas, foundations for social good, academic studies, health and fitness programs, popular blogs, or Instagram followings—into compelling proposals and noteworthy books.

Jaidree holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University in New York. She was most recently an associate agent at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Get to Know An Agent in Attendance: Katherine Wessbecher of Bradford Literary

Katherine Wessbecher is a literary agent with Bradford Literary.

Katherine joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2020. Prior to becoming an agent, Katherine edited children’s and young adult books at Putnam, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, and was the science and technology editor at an academic book review journal. She holds a B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary. As an editor, Katherine worked with debut and veteran authors, including Sherri L. Smith, Stacey Lee, Keir Graff, Jeff Seymour, and Eliot Sappingfield. She brings to her work a nuanced understanding of the publishing industry and a practiced editorial eye.

Katherine is looking for children’s books (picture books through YA), upmarket adult fiction, and narrative nonfiction for all ages.

Middle Grade & Young Adult:

In MG and YA, historical fiction and fantasy have been favorites since Katherine was young. But more than genre, she’s looking for the kinds of stories that transport her: to the past, an imagined world, or a perspective wholly different from her own. She’s drawn to stories that push readers to question their assumptions of the world. She’s interested in humorous voices; she’s also a fan of epistolary novels and other unexpected storytelling techniques, like Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae Files series or Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.

Picture Books:

Her favorite picture books are the kind that make both kids and grown-ups laugh. Inventive premises, twist endings, and quirky characters are all good ways to pique her interest.

Adult Fiction & Nonfiction:

Katherine is looking for upmarket adult fiction that straddles the literary and commercial divide. Books that inspire her list run the gamut from Where’d You Go, Bernadette to Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. She loves unexpected takes on familiar stories and flawed yet endearing characters. Katherine is actively seeking adult and juvenile narrative nonfiction—particularly projects that highlight stories the history textbooks left out. In the same vein, she’d love to work with nonfiction graphic novel projects like John Hendrix’s The Faithful Spy.

Katherine is NOT looking for:

  • Adult Genre Fiction (romance, thriller, high fantasy/sci-fi)
  • Business
  • Poetry
  • Memoirs
  • Screenplays

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amaryah Orenstein of Go Literary

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary.

Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling.

Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eric Smith of P.S. Literary

Eric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary.

Eric has a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. He’s worked on award-winning and New York Times bestselling titles, and began his publishing career at Quirk Books. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books and the publishing industry regularly appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. He also occasionally writes books when he finds the time, like his latest, Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).

Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), Middle Grade, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of non-fiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, Middle Grade, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency

Jennifer Unter is a literary agent with The Unter Agency.

Jennifer has worked in many aspects of the publishing industry from editorial at Henry Holt, to a copyright lawyer at an entertainment firm. In addition to placing projects at domestic and foreign publishers, she also sells to audio, film and television. She is a member of Women’s Media Group.

“We are interested in seeing quality fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness. Additionally, we are looking for all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult).”

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennifer Herrington of Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

Jennifer Herrington is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

“As an associate agent with the Harvey Klinger Literary Agency, I am actively building my list in the middle grade, YA, and adult categories. I am looking for character and voice-driven books that I connect with on an emotional level. I want a book that makes me laugh or cry and extra points for both! I’m especially open to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ stories and voices in the mentioned categories.

In middle grade fiction I’d like to see:

  • Contemporary stories that deal with tough and realistic issues kids are facing today.
  • Stories that feature humor and adventure.
  • Paranormal, fantasy (except high fantasy), mystery, horror, and graphic novels are also of special interest.

In YA fiction I’d like to see:

  • Feel-good contemporary and contemporary romance.
  • Paranormals with strong world building and an interesting twist in vamps, wolves, or witches.
  • Romantic Comedy.
  • Mystery series featuring a YA detective.
  • Sci-Fi, fantasy (except high fantasy), horror, and graphic novels are also of special interest.

In Adult fiction I’d like to see:

  • Romance with a fresh twist on trope-driven plots include best friend’s little sister/brother, enemies to lovers, friends to lover, etc. I like sweet to spicy.
  • A strong sports romance (would love a heroine athlete!) or a sexy cowboy.
  • Dark paranormal romances with gritty vamps, wolves, or witches. Think outside the box for world building.
  • Romantic Comedy with snarky protagonists and hilarious plot lines.
  • Romantic Suspense with equal parts steamy as action.
  • Mysteries, thrillers, and suspense that keep me up all night.
  • Sci-Fi and fantasy are also welcome.