The 2020 Boston Writing Workshop: October 3, 2020

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2018, and 2019 events in Boston, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Boston Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Boston, MA on October 3, 2020.

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 2020 Boston Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, October 3, 2020, at the Hynes Convention Center (Prudential Center / Back Bay area). 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 Charlotte Wenger (Prospect Agency)
  • literary agent Lauren Scovel (Laura Gross Literary)
  • literary agent Beth Marshea (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Lori Galvin (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • more agent and editor faculty coming soon.

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 Kimiko Nakamura of Writing Day Workshops, with volunteer help from the New England SCBWI.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, October 3, 2020 — at the Hynes Convention Center (Prudential Center / Back Bay area), 900 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02115. (617)954-2000.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (OCT. 3, 2020):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. We will soon have a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions and presenter bios. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change.

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

CLASSES TBA

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

CLASSES TBA

(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.)

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 (Fairfax room). 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.

CLASSES TBA

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

Classes TBA

(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.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

Classes TBA

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will 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:

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 6.38.29 PMCharlotte Wenger is a literary agent with Prospect Agency. She is seeking: “I’m interested in working with authors and illustrators of children’s books—board books through YA, but especially picture books—as well as adult nonfiction, particularly biographies and memoirs.” As an agent, I enjoy the editorial work and the relationship building; so I love attending conferences and leading workshops. I’ve mentored Simmons MFA students and also serve on the national advisory board of the Mazza Museum, the world’s largest collection of original children’s book art, in Findlay, Ohio. Learn more about Charlotte here.

Screen Shot 2019-01-05 at 3.25.23 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency. She is seeking literary fiction, women’s fiction, adult fantasy (specifically looking for non-European centric fantasy), adult science fiction (quick, exciting, fun adventures), crime novels, and YA sci-fi & fantasy. Beth is not seeking horror, middle grade, picture books, or historical fiction. Learn more about Beth here.

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 1.27.23 PM.pngLori Galvin is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Prior to joining ACM, she was a book editor with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and America’s Test Kitchen. She represents literary fiction, commercial fiction, speculative fiction, thrillers, and some young adult. On the nonfiction side, she represents memoir, self-help, lifestyle, and cookbooks. Learn more about Lori here.

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Lauren Scovel is a literary agent at Laura Gross Literary Agency. Her fiction specialties are: GLBT, literary fiction, and multicultural. She will also consider humor/satire, family saga, and short story collections. Her nonfiction specialties are cultural/social issues, current affairs, GLBT, investigative journalism, multicultural, narrative, politics, true crime, and women’s concerns. She will also consider: adventure/true story, history, humor, memoir, pets, and pop culture. Learn more about Lauren here.

 

        More 2020 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 2020 BWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 2019, 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 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 Boston 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:

  • Critique options forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email: WDWcoordinator@gmail.com, and she will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Boston workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Hynes Convention Center), the 2020 BWW can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

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 Kimiko Nakamura via email: WDWcoordinator@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The BWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Boston 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.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Boston Writing Workshop.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lori Galvin of Aevitas Creative Management

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 1.27.23 PM.pngLori Galvin is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.

Prior to joining ACM, she was a book editor with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and America’s Test Kitchen.

She represents literary fiction, commercial fiction, speculative fiction, thrillers, and some young adult. On the nonfiction side, she represents memoir, self-help, lifestyle, and cookbooks.

Her clients include Kwame Onwuachi’s for his memoir Notes from a Young Black Chef (Knopf), which has been optioned for film by A24; Hannah Kirshner’s travel memoir Foreign Woman Works in Sake Bar (Viking, ’20), and Cambria Brockman’s debut thriller Tell Me Everything (Ballantine), which has been optioned by Netflix.

 

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Agency

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.16.13 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency.

Ladderbird is a boutique literary agency. Beth has a long love of literature, which started as part of a family of bookworms. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She became determined to find a way to merge her business passion and her love of literature, which she did as an agent. Beth is passionate about writing that pushes genres and boundaries and challenges the reader to accept a new point of view.

She is seeking:

literary fiction​: “We love literary fiction, particularly if it has an unusual setting or involves a deep look into problems with social constructs, gender roles, wealth disparity or racial tensions (particularly written by minority writers from any group). Literary is a genre where we really need to see beautiful, well thought out writing that lets us dive into ourselves and discover something new. We’re not especially limited in what we’ll look at, but it should be new; I don’t need another book about the difficulties of addiction.”

women’s fiction​: “We’d love to see a women’s adventure story that is smart, sharp, funny and page-turning!​​ Something like Stephanie Plum meets Indian Jones. In women’s fiction, we want strong characters, not people who are falling about over a breakup. We want women that inspirational and clever, not characters that need saving.”

fantasy​: “We are specifically looking for non-European centric fantasy. We would especially love to see fantasy that draws its inspiration from African, Indian, or Japanese culture. We like accessible fantasy that can reach a broad audience, I’m not interested in epics. Fantasies that are submitted to Ladderbird should be plot driven with strong well developed characters. We’d love to see something fun, magical and​ fast paced. I am especially draw to fantasy that is folkloric and draws inspiration from the old tales of the region of their focus.”

science fiction: “We would love to see quick, exciting, fun adventures. We prefer sci-fi that is closer to speculative fiction than deep sci-fi. They can involve space, but should not be space operas or epics. ​We love sci-fi that shows how technology impacts the world, especially in a positive way. We are especially interested in acquiring works have a utopic rather than dystopic environment, but we’ll look at both. We’re looking for the next Nnedi Okorafor!”

crime​ novels: “We’re looking for crime novels that have a strong setting, foreign or regional. We want fabulously developed characters that are interesting and relatable. We do not want police procedurals (no Law & Order!). We like the focus to come from the perspective of the criminal and offer insight into the illicit side of life while still being quick and fun, especially the ‘accidental’ criminal.”

young adult sci-fi & fantasy: “We are looking for YA sci-fi/fantasy that conforms to the same requirements as our adult sci-fi and fantasy but has a younger protagonists. YA should be able to reach both younger readers and adults. The themes should be universal and easily accessible for all readers.”

Ladderbird is NOT seeking:

mainstream/commercial fiction​
horror
thriller
historical fiction
young adult contemporary
middle grade
picture books​

 

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Lauren Scovel of Laura Gross Literary

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Lauren Scovel is a literary agent Laura Gross Literary Agency.

“I grew up outside of Seattle and graduated summa cum laude from Emerson College with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing as well as Theatre Studies. I began my publishing career as an editorial intern at Aevitas Creative Management (formerly Zachary Shuster Harmsworth). My editorial work can be seen at The Millions. I also worked as an indie bookseller for several years.”

She is especially interested in fiction and nonfiction involving social justice, political issues, and other timely and underrepresented stories. “I’m specifically interested in fiction and nonfiction stories that effortlessly depict a diverse cast of characters and perspectives.”

Her fiction specialties are: GLBT, literary fiction, and multicultural. She will also consider humor/satire, family saga, and short story collections. Her nonfiction specialties are cultural/social issues, current affairs, GLBT, investigative journalism, multicultural, narrative, politics, true crime, and women’s concerns. She will also consider: adventure/true story, history, humor, memoir, pets, and pop culture.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Charlotte Wenger of Prospect Agency

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 6.38.29 PMCharlotte Wenger is a literary agent with Prospect Agency.

She is seeking: “I’m interested in working with authors and illustrators of children’s books—board books through YA, but especially picture books—as well as adult nonfiction, particularly biographies and memoirs.”

Born and raised in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Charlotte grew up with a bookish, editorial mind but was first drawn to publishing work in college. She then worked for a publishing services company in Philadelphia until shipping up to Boston to earn her MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons. After gaining editorial, sales, and agency experience, she became an associate editor for Page Street Kids, where she loved working with debut talent and building relationships with authors and illustrators. She brings the same mindset to agenting, valuing the developmental and relational work that goes into creating successful stories and fostering long-lasting collaborations.

Although my parents didn’t intentionally name me after Charlotte A. Cavatica, as a child, I imagined that my white semicircle headboard transformed into a spider’s web at night. From a young age, I was aware of the impact of words and a well-crafted story. Now I’m delighted to work with clients to weave book webs that leave their mark on readers.

I honed my love of stories by getting a BA in English and theatre from Eastern Mennonite University. After graduating, I worked as a project manager and editor for Scribe, a Philadelphia-based publishing services company, for three years. To follow my passion for books and children, I moved to Boston to earn a master’s in Children’s Literature from Simmons College (now University). I interned at Charlesbridge (editorial) and Candlewick (sales), and after grad school, I interned with literary agent Rubin Pfeffer for a year. Prior to joining Prospect Agency, I was an associate editor for just over two years with Page Street Kids, where I acquired and edited more than twenty picture books and grew relationships with authors, illustrators, agents, and other editors.

As an agent, I enjoy the editorial work and the relationship building; so I love attending conferences and leading workshops. I’ve mentored Simmons MFA students and also serve on the national advisory board of the Mazza Museum, the world’s largest collection of original children’s book art, in Findlay, Ohio.

 

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2020 BWW

If you are coming to the 2020 Boston 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 event’s instructor, 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.