The 2023 Michigan Writing Workshop: April 29, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 events in Michigan, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Michigan Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in the Detroit suburbs (Livonia) on April 29, 2023.

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 (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Michigan Writing Workshop! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next MWW is an in-person event happening in the Detroit suburbs on April 29, 2023. See you there.)


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at the Holiday-Inn Detroit-Northwest/Livonia. 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 agent and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Justin Brouckaert (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Claire Harris (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Najla Mamou (Savvy Literary Services)
  • literary agent Rachel Beck (Liza Dawson Associates)
  • literary agent Jennifer Wills (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Barb Roose (Books & Such Literary)
  • literary agent Cyle Young (Hartline Literary)
  • literary agent Carrie Howland (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Linda S. Glaz (Linda S. Glaz Literary)
  • literary agent Jon Michael Darga (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Jacqui Lipton (The Tobias Literary Agency)
  • and many more to come.

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops. E-mail him to register for the event at


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 29, 2023 — at the Holiday Inn Detroit Northwest – Livonia, 17123 N. Laurel Park Dr. N, Livonia, MI 48152.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next MWW is an in-person event happening in the Detroit suburbs on April 29, 2023. See you there.)


What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. You can see a more detailed layout of the day’s classes on the 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. Everything You Need to Know About Query Letters and Pitching Agents. This class will examine how to construct a query, what goes into an effective pitch, why you should write a synopsis, and the differences between a query letter for fiction vs. a query letter for nonfiction. 

2. How to Write a First Page That Pops and Pops Again! In this session, a literary agent instructor will teach you the most impactful elements you must consider when crafting a first page that will leave everyone wanting more.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. Publishing Law 101. Can I quote song lyrics in my manuscript? Or talk about how much my main character enjoys eating at McDonalds (TM)? What if I want to write about real people? Can I be sued for defamation? And what about publishing contracts? Are there red flags I should look out for in contracts with agents and publishers? This presentation will answer these questions and more, in a user-friendly accessible manner. You will learn what to worry about and more importantly what NOT to worry about, and when (and how) to find affordable legal assistance if you need it.

2.The Three Most Valuable Revision Techniques I Learned from My Editor. Take your writing to the next level with revision techniques from an award-winning YA author. How do you bring your characters fully to life and generate an emotional response in your readers? Kristin’s editor taught her three revision techniques that elevated her writing. Hint: You’ll need to step away from your computer. She’ll share specific examples from her drafts and provide take-home exercises.

(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.)

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. 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. 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. 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. Build Platform NOW. Platform is a word everyone says and no one truly understands. Cyle Young told authors the importance of platform for getting contracts and selling books for years. He shared that ANYONE can build platform. Finally , he decided to prove anyone can build it. Learn how Cyle went from 10,000 followers to nearly 700,000 followers on social media. Check out this class to learn more about how you can build platform, and learn how to sell that platform to an agent or publisher.

(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.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. What to Expect From a Literary Agent. There’s no shortage of material aimed at helping writers find and connect with the right literary agent. But what happens when you make a match? What questions should you ask before signing on the dotted line? What does that relationship actually look like, day-to-day and long-term? What should your agent do for you—and what are the red flags to look out for? In this presentation, literary agent Justin Brouckaert will offer advice—with firsthand stories and examples—on how to navigate the author-agent relationship, how and when to advocate for yourself, and just what you can expect when you sign with a literary agency.

2. Publishing with a Small Press: Pros and Cons. Kristin Bartley Lenz was aiming for New York, but she veered off to an award-winning small press in Connecticut to publish her Michigan bestselling YA novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go. She’ll share the benefits and challenges from her own publishing experience and provide plenty of examples from other small press authors including children’s picture books, young adult novels, and adult fiction. You’ll leave this session with an understanding of the risks and rewards of publishing with a small press, and how to make your own informed decision.


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



Jon Michael Darga is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Darga represents both nonfiction and fiction. He is most interested in voice-driven pop culture writing, non-fiction histories that re-cast the narrative by emphasizing unexpected or unheard voices, and both adult and young adult commercial fiction that features diverse casts and new stories. He is not looking for genre fiction like political/crime thrillers, fantasy/sci-fi, or nonfiction in the self-help/how-to/business categories. Learn more about Jon here.

Claire Harris is a literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency. Claire is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction projects for adults. She’s actively seeking projects that shine a spotlight on people, places, and events that are often overlooked or not given the attention they deserve. In fiction, she’s looking for adult rom coms, contemporary fiction, psychological thrillers, select horror, and cozy mysteries—all for millennial audiences, specifically. Claire is happiest when reading manuscripts with unexpected endings or new twists on classic genre tropes. For nonfiction, Claire is seeking a range of projects, including lifestyle guides, pop culture celebrations, pop psychology, cultural criticism, humor, true crime, essay collections, and illustrated books for adults. Learn more about Claire here.

Najla Mamou is a literary agent with Savvy Literary Services. Najla represents adult fiction and some YA. She’s most interested in mystery, romance, crime, and thriller. She’s most interested in main characters that are BIPOC or immigrants or expats, anything set in rural and inner city areas, and historical fiction genres/categories/settings. She also is interested in narrative and creative nonfiction. She enjoys stories about: rags to riches, overcoming discrimination, fish out of water, forbidden love, secret babies, arranged marriage, redemption, road trips or stories where the discovery happens away from home and more expat books where a POC moves to another place. Learn more about Najla here.

Rachel Beck is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates. She is seeking: Upmarket/book club women’s fiction, Light-hearted millennial fiction or contemporary romance, Domestic suspense, Character-driven, psychologically intense reads, and Contemporary young adult. She also seeks select nonfiction—feminist material; career/business/personal growth books with new focus points; extreme underdog, survival, accomplishment, or rising-from-poverty type stories; select health and wellness books (especially mental health, eating disorders, any rare or underrepresented conditions, Alzheimer’s/memory—she’s especially interested in the condition known as HSAM, Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory); books about football/the NFL; marathoner/triathlete memoirs; parenting books that bring something new to the conversation; books that explore cult life or extreme religion; 9/11 survival stories; anything about Anne Frank. Learn more about Rachel here.

Justin Brouckaert is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.  Justin is interested in literary fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, and select illustrated and prescriptive works. In fiction, he is most interested in novels that are driven by flawed, magnetic characters; novels with innovate structures; novels that engage with the wide world of sports; and novels that are set in the Midwest. In nonfiction, he is most interested in memoirs that offer access to exclusive places and experiences, as well as reported narratives that shed light on under-represented people and communities. Learn more about Justin here.

Barb Roose is a literary agent with Books & Such Literary. Barb represents nonfiction and adult fiction exclusively to Christian publishers. She loves partnering with authors to achieve their publishing career goals. With experience as an author, award-winning pharmaceutical sales representative and executive leader in the megachurch environment, Barb embraces the challenges and opportunities that agenting in Christian publishing offers. Her desire is to come alongside hopeful and established authors to create the most marketable, appealing manuscripts that will build lasting careers and influence readers. Learn more about Barb here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 9.28.47 AM.pngCyle Young is a literary agent and founder of CYLE Literary Elite, and an agent with Hartline Literary. Cyle is seeking: young adult, middle grade, and chapter books; genre fiction (mystery, thriller), especially romance; love stories; speculative (sci-fi and fantasy); easy readers, picture books and board books; nonfiction (parenting, leadership, ministry, and self-help); movie and screenplays. Learn more about Cyle here.

Jennifer Wills is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. Jennifer is particularly interested in a wide range of picture books and cookbooks, with a soft spot for author/illustrators of sweet and wacky picture books, and cookbooks with mouth-watering recipes of the health-conscious, budget-friendly, or celebrity chef variety. For fiction, she’s also interested in middle grade and YA with a sci-fi/fantasy, horror/suspense, or contemporary bent, and upmarket women’s fiction with a sense of humor. On the nonfiction side, narrative nonfiction and memoir are also welcome. If your manuscript has a great hook, a distinct voice, and can make her laugh out loud or ugly cry (or even better, both), she’d love to see it. Learn more about Jennifer here.

Jacqui Lipton is a Senior Literary Agent at The Tobias Literary Agency and head of the Adult Department, although she selectively represents children’s books, particularly middle grade and young adult novels and nonfiction. Jacqui is open to pretty much anything but has a soft spot for genre fiction (mystery/thriller, romance, selective science fiction). Jacqui is not the best fit for high fantasy (think Game of Thrones) or books with animal protagonists. Jacqui is open to unique takes on nonfiction but is not seeking memoir currently. Learn more about Jacqui here.

Carrie Howland is a literary agent and the President of Howland Literary, LLC, which she established in 2018, after thirteen years as an agent, most recently at Empire Literary. She has been featured in several publications discussing her work as an agent including Poets & Writers, SCWBI insight, Akashic Books, and Slice Magazine. Carrie Howland joined Empire Literary after eleven years as an agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents young adult, middle grade, and select picture book authors. Learn more about Carrie here.

Linda S. Glaz is a literary agent with the Linda S. Glaz Literary Agency, serving the Christian and General Markets. What do I mean when I say I seek “clean reads”? Books that anyone can read without blushing, without cringing, and without having to skip over the parts you wouldn’t want your kids to see. My clients write without graphic sexuality or profanity, yet their stories resonate with readers anxious for the conflict, tension, and characters who live in the pages of their books. Linda is a generalist, and open to almost all kinds of novels/genres and nonfiction books that can be deemed a “clean read” (no profanity, no graphic sexuality). That said, please note that she does not handle children’s books of any kind nor speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy). Nonfiction pitches to her should be by authors with solid platforms. Learn more about Linda here.

ADDED ONLINE PITCHING: To ensure that writers have a robust and diverse lineup of agents & editors to pitch, 2023 Michigan Writing Workshop attendees will have the ability to also pitch literary agents at an Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2023 MWW on our event calendar.

That event is the 2023 Online Tennessee Writing Workshop, June 2-3, which will have 30-40 agents taking one-on-one Zoom virtual pitches. 

This means that 2023 MWW attendees can have access to pitching all those online TWW agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online June 2023 TWW. (That said, if you want to formally register for Tennessee and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a significant discount for confirmed Michigan attendees.)

If you are interested in this added pitching opportunity, the first step is to get formally registered for Michigan. Following the MWW one-day conference on April 29, 2023, we will be in touch with all MWW attendees and ask them if they want to partake in pitching online agents at the 2023 TWW (June 2-3). At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and purchase meeting time.

* * * * *

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        More 2023 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.)



$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 MWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2022, 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, 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 an 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 Brian Klems, one of the day’s 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 will either 1) get an in-person meeting at the workshop, if the faculty member is attending the live event, or 2) get a 10-minute phone call with the faculty member, and have notes passed along via email, if the critiquer is not attending the live event. Options:

  • Women’s, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, thriller, mystery (virtual): Faculty member Michelle McGill-Vargas, 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 10 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Young Adult Fiction: subgenres of contemporary,  romance, historical, dystopian, and magic/magical realism; no high fantasy (in-person critiques): Faculty member Kristin Bartley Lenz, an author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you in person at the Michigan workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Romance, all kinds (virtual critiques): Faculty member Anna Harrington, an 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.
  • Young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, children’s picture books (virtual critiques): Faculty member Shelli Johannes, an author and freelance editor, 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. If submitting a picture book, make the submission 1000 words maximum, and it can include illustrations (optional).
  • More critique options possible forthcoming

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email:, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by credit card, PayPal, or check. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Michigan workshop specifically.


Because of limited space at the venue (Holiday Inn Detroit-Northwest/Livonia), the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next MWW is an in-person event happening in the Detroit suburbs on April 29, 2023. See you there.)

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: Brian will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by credit card, 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 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]. 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 edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Michigan Writing Workshop.