After successful events in 2016 and 2017, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Alabama Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Birmingham, AL on Friday, March 8, 2019.
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 (150 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Alabama Writing Workshop!
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Birmingham (near the Birmingham Zoo). 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 faculty includes the following:
- literary agent Caroline George (C.Y.L.E. Literary Elite)
- literary agent Nikki Terpilowski (Holloway Literary)
- literary agent Alexis Sattler (HSG Agency)
- literary agent Weronika Janczuk (D4E0 Literary)
- literary agent Sandra O’Donnell (RO Literary)
- literary agent Moe Ferrara (BookEnds Literary)
- literary agent Hannah Whatley (C.Y.L.E. Literary Elite)
- literary agent Susan Velazquez (JABberwocky Literary)
- editor Mike Parker (Wordcrafts Press)
- and possibly 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 Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops, with help from the Alabama Writers Conclave.
THIS YEAR’S PRESENTER/INSTRUCTOR
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com. His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community. Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in April 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, March 8, 2019: Embassy Suites by Hilton Birmingham, 2300 Woodcrest Pl, Birmingham, AL 35209. (205)879-7400.
WORKSHOP SCHEDULE & INSTRUCTORS (MARCH 8, 2019)
9 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.
9:30 – 10:30: “A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2019.” This workshop is quick & easy overview of the publishing industry today, and how it’s changing. The speech is designed to educate writers and help them understand what publishing options exist for them today and why it’s an exciting time to be a writer.
10:30 – 11:45: “Tips on How to Write Like the Pros.” This workshop is a thorough crash course concerning craft, style and voice. We’ll discuss nuts & bolts tips for sentence construction like how to avoid passive tense, how to use vivid language, how to self-edit your own work, how to make your characters memorable, the art of compelling dialogue, and much more.
11:45 – 1:15: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance on the block.
1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Page One Critique-Fest.” 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 our 4 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.)
2:50 – 4:00: “25 Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book.” Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to submit to agents properly, how to find the best self-publishing service for your need, what social media channels you should be on already, how to launch your book right, how to draft a compelling query/pitch and synopsis, how to find other writers who can help you, and much more.
4:00 – 5:00: “25 Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book.” After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know — such as how to promote yourself, how to keep your career going with multiple books, how you cross between the words of self-publishing and traditional publishing (i.e., use them both) to make the most money, how to build a readership, and much more.
All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.
PITCH AN AGENT!
Caroline George is a literary agent with C.Y.L.E. Literary Elite. She is a generalist, and seeks many genres of fiction, including: picture books, middle grade contemporary, middle grade sci-fi/fantasy, YA contemporary, YA sci-fi/fantasy, historical, women’s, mystery, thriller, romance, adult science fiction and fantasy, Christian/inspirational fiction, horror literary fiction, and mainstream fiction. Regarding nonfiction, she likes memoir, inspirational, self-help, and socially relevant titles. Learn more about Caroline here.
Nikki Terpilowski is a literary agent and founder of Holloway Literary. She seeks Southern fiction, historical fiction, young adult, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, romance (contemporary, historical and romantic suspense), cozy mysteries, science fiction (including Afrofuturist fiction), and African-American fiction of all types. For nonfiction, she seeks books related to mindfulness, healthy eating (Paleo, gluten-free, etc.), regional/ethnic/fusion cookbooks, foodie subjects, travel, alternative simple living, i.e. homesteading, minimalism, etc, interesting self-help (personal and professional), military experiences, Civil War, and Southern living. Learn more about Nikki here.
Weronika Janczuk is a literary agent with D4E0 Literary. “I am not, and have never been, a single-genre reader. I am eager only for the best-told stories, building out a list of talented novelists and writers in many genres.” She is seeking: young adult, fantasy & sci-fi, literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance crime, mystery & thrillers. memoir and nonfiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.). Learn more about Weronika here.
Alexis Sattler is a literary agent with HSG Agency. Alexis reads across genre with a particular eye toward literary fiction, contemporary family sagas, science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, mysteries, and historical fiction. She is also open to idea-driven nonfiction in the spaces of science, technology, history, politics, cultural criticism, and narrative journalism. An avid armchair traveler, she looks for works that explore unique clashes of culture and believes deeply in the power of world-building. Learn more about Alexis here.
Moe Ferrara is a literary agent with BookEnds Literary Agency. Moe is interested in books for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers in most genres–especially science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and light horror. The right contemporary or paranormal romance (sans-vampires of course) will spark her interest. Learn more about Moe here.
Sandra O’Donnell, Ph.D. is a literary agent & founding partner of RO Literary. In fiction, she’s looking for stories with compelling characters that jump off the page — historical fiction, courtroom dramas, upmarket fiction and historically-based conspiracy thrillers that keep her up all night. For nonfiction, she seeks narrative nonfiction, memoir, cultural studies, popular culture, history, and religion/spiritual. Learn more about Sandra here.
Hannah Whatley is a literary agent with C.Y.L.E. Literary Elite. She is seeking: poetry collections, children’s (picture books, early readers, chapter books), young adult (fantasy, contemporary, romance), literary fiction, and nonfiction on wellness and self-development. Looking for diversity of characters in fiction. (Please do not send her individual poems.) She is open to both secular/general and Christian submissions. Learn more about Hannah here.
Mike Parker is the publisher and acquiring editor for Wordcrafts Press. Mike is actively seeking adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction in the following genres: contemporary, literary, historical, Biblical, fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, horror, sweet romance, mystery, and thriller. Mike seeks nonfiction in the following categories: pop culture, technology, sports, memoir, history, inspirational, and faith-based. Mike is actively seeking stage plays in any genre, but is particularly interested in scripts offering strong roles for females. Learn more about Mike here.
Susan Velazquez is a literary agent with JABberwocky Literary Agency. Susan is looking for fantasy, science fiction (preferably speculative/near-future), literary/upmarket fiction, narrative non-fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and YA. Learn more about Susan here.
More 2019 agents may be added.
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.)
$169 — EARLY BIRD registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2019 AWW and access to all workshops, all day.
Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents 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.)
“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh
“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos
“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park
“After taking pitches at the Alabama Writing
Workshop, I met Erin Hollis at a pitch session, and
she is now my newest client.” – agent Julie Gwinn
Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Chuck Sambuchino, who previously taught at this Alabama workshop. (This rate is a special event value for Alabama 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:
- Young adult, middle grade, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy: Faculty member Allison Mackey, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. Allison has written multiple children’s stories on a contract basis with Tiny Readers Publishing in Houston, and she has authored several nonfiction/educational books for young ESL readers in Norway. Learn more about her here.
- Memoir, young adult, historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, Southern fiction: Faculty member Chandra Sparks Splond, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. Chandra is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger. Her YA novel Make It Work was named Alabama’s Great Read 2017, Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Learn more at her website.
- Southern fiction, literary fiction, mainstream/upmarket fiction, women’s fiction: Faculty member Lorna Hollifield, a published Southern fiction author, will get your work in advance and edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story. Lorna is the author of the upmarket Southern fiction novel, Tobacco Sun, and is represented by Kimberly Whalen of Whalen Literary. She is a former officer with the South Carolina Writers Association. Unlike some other critiquers listed here, Lorna will not be at the Birmingham event to meet with writers personally. Instead, she will be available for 10-minute Skype meetings (along with an e-mailed written critique) for each attendee submission. Learn more about Lorna at her website.
- Children’s picture books: Faculty member Shannon Anderson, a published children’s picture book author, will get your picture book in advance and critique the work. 1,000 words, maximum; submissions can include illustrations or not. Shannon is an award-winning children’s book author, teacher, and national speaker. As the Regional Advisor for the Indiana Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she loves to help aspiring and published authors on the path to publication. Unlike some other critiquers listed here, Shannon will not be at the Birmingham event to meet with writers personally. Instead, she will be available for 10-minute Skype meetings (along with an e-mailed written critique) for each attendee submission. You can learn more about her at her website.
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@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 Kerrie plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Alabama workshop specifically.
Because of limited space at the venue of Embassy Suites by Hilton Birmingham, the workshop can only allow 150 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 Kerrie Flanagan via email: WDWfaculty@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 AWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kerrie plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Alabama workshop specifically.
Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason, 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 are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your letter.)