Schedule: 2021 Michigan 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.)



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: Writing a NY Times Bestselling Novel, taught by Julie Gwinn. This session covers a list of things to do (like establish mood and create conflict) and things to avoid (like weasel words and purple prose) on your journey to becoming a bestselling author.

10:45 – 11:45: Voice in a Manuscript, taught by Stephanie Winter. One of the most important skills for a writer to have is the ability to craft clear and strong voices in a manuscript. Sounding inauthentic or unrealistic can be the difference between a pass or an offer of representation. 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: The Changing Role of the Author, taught by agents Courtney Miller-Callihan and Ben Miller-Callihan. 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. We’ll discuss author “brand” and how to start building your presence online even before your first book is released, as well as which social media platforms may be especially useful for book promotion, and how to market your work effectively rather than aggressively.

2:45 – 3:45: How to Think Like a Developmental Editor (and Write Well), taught by Shirin Leos. A professional writer is a professional rewriter, so the adage goes. In the publishing industry, the first edit—long before line- or copy-editing come into play—is called the developmental or “dev” edit. It aims to shape the book; to challenge and thus cement its structure; and ultimately to deliver a more competitive product. 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.

4:00 – 5:00: How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform, taught by Eric Smith. 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.


9:30 – 10:30: How to Write a Great Query Letter to an Agent, taught by Nikki Terpilowski. Ever wonder what makes an agent read a query letter and be immediately hooked? 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? taught by agents Courtney Miller-Callihan and Ben Miller-Callihan. 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. 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.)

2:45 – 3:45: 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.

4:00 – 5:00: Ten Keys to Writing Success, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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. This is a general course that addresses commonsense things any writer can do to give their work the best shot at getting published, such as writing the best thing they can, stealing from themselves, and why writing for love and money is a good idea.