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 (Novi) 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.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Detroit – 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 agent and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Justin Brouckaert (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Claire Harris (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Rachel Beck (Liza Dawson Associates)
  • literary agent Carrie Howland (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Linda S. Glaz (Linda S. Glaz Literary)
  • literary agent Jon Michael Darga (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • 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 WDWconference@gmail.com.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 29, 2023 — at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Detroit – Novi.

(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 YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 29, 2023):

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. The Paths to Publishing. Understand the differences between traditional publishing and author-owned publishing (aka self-publishing). Be able to make a decision on which path is best for you and your book. Feel excited to take the next steps and move your project forward.

2. Wrangling With Plot: How to Pace Your Story. This session will lead you on a step-by-step course for plotting a storyline that balances the need for fresh ideas against the need for meeting reader expectations. The focus of this session will be on pacing your novel in a way that quickly engages an audience.

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

1. Overcoming Failure—How to Keep Striving for “Yes” in the Face of a Hundred “Nos.” In this talk, you’ll hear stories of accomplished people who have weathered terrible defeats, and you’ll come to see that “failure” is not the opposite of “success” but is actually the pathway to it. As an agent once said, it only takes one “Yes” for your manuscript to become a book. You’ll leave this talk with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the process of getting to that Yes.

2. The Agent-Author Relationship. Getting a literary agent to represent your work is a big step, but it’s only the beginning. What happens after an agent says yes? How do you work together to plan a writing career? What if your first book doesn’t sell? How to communicate difficult concerns to your agent? All these questions, and more, will be addressed in this important class.

(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. 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. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online cheaply and easily.

(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. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. In this class, attendees will understand the basics of query letters, synopses, the difference of pitching fiction vs. nonfiction, agent submission pet peeves, and more.

2. 10 Things I’ve Learned by Editing 1,000 Manuscripts (and What Writers Can Take Away from My Experience). 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. In this seminar, we will discuss developmental vs. line- or copy-editing, what dev editors consider when editing and exercises that can help you dev-edit yourself.

SESSIONS END: 5:00

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.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

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.

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.

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 the Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2023 MWW on our event calendar.

That event is the 2023 Online Florida Writing Workshop, May 12-13, 2023, 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 FWW agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online May 2023 FWW. (That said, if you want to formally register for the FWW and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a 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 FWW (May 12-13). At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and purchase meeting time.

* * * * *

* * * * *

        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.)

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PRICING:

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

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Detroit – Novi), 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: WDWconference@gmail.com. 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.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rachel Beck of Liza Dawson Associates

Rachel Beck, literary agent, joined Liza Dawson Associates in 2020 after working at a boutique literary agency for 4 years. She has been in the publishing industry since 2009 and worked at Harlequin editing romance novels for nearly 6 years before transitioning her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for authors. She lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two young sons, and an endlessly entertaining cat.

What Rachel is looking for:

Rachel believes that the right book can change or heal a life, and she wants to find those. But she’s also interested in lighter fiction that helps you escape or simply makes you laugh after a tough day. Or nonfiction that teaches you something about an obscure topic, thus opening up a new world. More specifically, she’s looking for:

Upmarket/book club women’s fiction—Think of authors such as Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Amy Hatvany, Liane Moriarty, and Diane Chamberlain, who explore sensitive, controversial, or morally gray areas in a complex, sympathetic way. Material that reminds us how difficult it is to be a modern woman, but also how rich and rewarding. Books that explore motherhood, fertility issues, addiction, sexism or sexual assault, and messy family dynamics are good examples—but with a fresh eye that brings something new to the conversations.

Light-hearted millennial fiction or contemporary romance—Authors like Kristan Higgins and Sophie Kinsella. A beach read, but with plenty of heart that might make you go from laughing to crying in an instant. Books that address the struggles of your twenties and early thirties, such as dating woes, career fulfillment/advancement, deciding whether to have kids or not, social media pressures, etc.

Domestic suspense—Character-driven, psychologically intense reads. This genre is saturated at the moment, so she’s very picky and will only entertain something that feels fresh from page one, with characters who are mind-blowingly insane or compelling or extreme or fascinating. Unlikeable characters are most welcome; she’d love to see a good classic antihero. Just give her characters and plots she won’t be able to stop thinking about. Please avoid clichéd plot-lines, twists for the sake of twists, predictable endings, or telling her that the story is the next Gone Girl or Girl on the Train.

Contemporary young adult—no fantasy, but apocalyptic, cyberpunk, etc., okay. She’s primarily drawn to heavy, issue-driven YA that goes after topics such as mental health, sexual assault, eating disorders, abuse, trauma, suicide, LGBTQ issues, dealing with death/grief, etc. She loves YA authors such as Courtney Summers, Amber Smith, Jennifer Niven, John Green, Ann Brashares, Kathleen Glasgow, Robin Talley and Jandy Nelson. She would love to find a book about a trans character going through the experience, or a book that highlights the importance of a movement, much like The Hate U Give did—perhaps for the MeToo movement or mass shootings.

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

Anything featuring odd, eccentric, quirky or perhaps on-the-spectrum characters, treated authentically and with compassion (think Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, The Rosie Project)

Anything exploring complex sibling relationships, particularly sisters

Anything set in the South, particularly New Orleans/the Cajun region of southern Louisiana

Retellings of classics such as A Tale of Two Cities, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, As I Lay Dying, The Old Man and the Sea, The Tell-Tale Heart

Please do NOT send her: middle grade, picture books, epic/high fantasy, erotic romance, short stories, or poetry.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Claire Harris of P.S. Literary Agency

Claire Harris is a literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency

Claire (she/her) is a literary agent with a passion for a wide range of fiction and nonfiction for adults. After graduating from UT Austin, she worked at a mid-sized agency before joining the PSLA team. Claire seeks projects with unique voices, interesting writing styles, and compelling characters. She enjoys the creative process of working with creators and collaborating closely with them throughout all stages of their careers, and she has represented everything from debuts to NYT bestsellers. Having grown up in Wisconsin, she has a soft spot for stories set in the Midwest.

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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Linda S. Glaz of Linda S. Glaz Literary Agency

Linda S. Glaz is a literary agent with the Linda S. Glaz Literary Agency, serving the Christian and General Markets.

My goal as an agent is to connect authors to those publishers seeking inspirational or clean reads, whether that be in the Christian or general market.

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.

About Linda: Well, it’s not a secret. I worked for the most amazing literary agency for the last thirteen years, but after the announcement of its closure in August of 2022, and with the encouragement of my ex-bosses, I made the decision to form the Linda S. Glaz Literary Agency. With a huge GULP and overall peace about the decision, I began to put the pieces into place. It’s beyond exciting when a debut author receives an offer for publication, and I’m always thrilled to be part of that moment. I hope to help launch more careers as I move forward.

And now, I wake up every single morning pinching myself to be sure I really have this amazing career. I love helping authors realize their dreams! I also teach nationally to help writers attain new levels of success in their craft, so watch for me at a conference near you. Or better yet, invite me to share at your conference on an array of topics from Are You Writing What You’re Called to Write? to Deep Deep POV, and more cutting-edge topics to help authors take their work to the next level. I would love it if you considered being part of this journey with me.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carrie Howland of Howland Literary

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.

Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and magazines. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and is an active member of the Junior League. Her passions include music, pop culture, and the Midwest. 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.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Justin Brouckaert of Aevitas Creative Management

Justin Brouckaert is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.

Justin is a Metro Detroit native who holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Carolina, where he was a James Dickey Fellow. As an agent, he 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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jon Michael Darga of Aevitas Creative Management

Jon Michael Darga is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.

Jon represents titles across a diverse range of genres, including, most recently, the biography Vivian Maier Developed by Ann Marks, the cookbook Cookies: The New Classics by Jesse Szewczyk (named a Best Cookbook of 2021 by the New York Times), the photography book Portrait of an Artist by Hugo Huerta Marin, and the New York Times bestselling oral history of “Grey’s Anatomy” How to Save a Life by Lynette Rice.

Darga graduated from the University of Michigan with Honors with a BA in English and Creative Writing, and later attended the Columbia University publishing program. Before coming to Aevitas, he was an editor at Crown, a division within Penguin Random House, where he worked on several bestsellers and award winners.

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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kat Kerr of Donald Maass Literary

Kat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Kat joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities. She is actively seeking to grow her client list and is particularly hungry for magical realism, literary leaning speculative and science fiction, women’s fiction, YA works with a lot of heart, and narrative nonfiction with something to say.

Submission Interests:

Literary and Upmarket Fiction:

Kat is drawn to strong, character-driven works with rich, literary prose. She loves books that make her think and have a strong emotional pull.

Contemporary
Women’s Fiction
Multicultural Lit
Speculative
Magical Realism
Family Sagas
YA

Favorite Books: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, About a Boy by Nick Hornby, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Leavers by Lisa Ko, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, anything by Amy Tan

Commercial Fiction:

For the commercial market, Kat is looking for high concept, voice-driven works with a close POV and well-developed, distinct characters.

Select Science Fiction and Fantasy
Women’s Fiction and Rom-Coms
YA (all genres)

Favorite Books: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow, Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce, I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

Nonfiction:

Narrative nonfiction and journalistic non-fiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty
Select biographies and memoirs

Do NOT send:

– Plots/themes centering around unresolved trauma
– Previously published or self-published works
– MG, Chapter books, picture books
– Novellas, short stories, or poetry collections
– Military/war stories
– Westerns

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2023 MWW

If you are coming to the 2023 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 a previous year’s instructors, 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.