Schedule: 2023 Michigan Workshop

(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.)



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

9:30 – 10:30: Session 1

1. Everything You Need to Know About Query Letters and Pitching Agents, taught by Brian Klems. This class examines how to write an awesome query letter that gets agent attention and requests to see more of your writing. We 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! taught by Linda Glaz. The first page of your book is so important, as it determines whether agents and editors (and readers) will want to read on. 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.

10:45 – 11:50: Session 2

1. Publishing Law 101, taught by Jacqui Lipton. 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, taught by Kristin Bartley Lenz. 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.

11:50 – 1:15: Lunch on Your Own

You have 85 minutes on your own to break and eat.

1:15 – 2:30: Session 3

1. “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. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2. The Nonfiction Book Proposal, taught by Justin Brouckaert. It’s part creative brainstorm, part writing sample, part business pitch. It has its own structure and even its own language—“proposal-ese.” The people reading it have seen hundreds, often thousands, and no two are exactly the same. This presentation by literary agent Justin Brouckaert will help demystify the nonfiction book proposal, addressing key questions—Who needs to write one, and why? What exactly are editors and agents looking for? How should a proposal be adjusted depending on genre? What if you don’t have a huge platform? What is platform, anyway?—while walking you through the components necessary to create a thorough and successful book proposal.

2:45 – 3:45: Session 4

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, taught by Cyle Young. 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.

4:00 – 5:00: Session 5

1. What to Expect From a Literary Agent, taught by Justin Brouckaert. 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, taught by Kristin Bartley Lenz. 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.

5:00: The Day is Over

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We will actually send attendees extra FREE pre-recorded classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s classes to enjoy live and in person, we will also send you 5 more free recorded classes on the side, from amazing instructors. In the week leading up to your in-person conference, we will send all confirmed attendees these classes below, some of which will aid in your pitching efforts:

  1. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an In-Person Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber.
  2. “Tips on Pitching Literary Agents & Editors at an Online Event,” taught by literary agent Carlie Webber.
  3. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the online 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  4. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the online 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  5. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the online 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.