After successful 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020 events in Alabama, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Alabama Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Birmingham, AL on March 10, 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 (130 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Alabama 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 AWW is an in-person event happening in Birmingham on March 10, 2023. See you there.)
WHAT IS IT?This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Friday, March 10, 2023, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Birmingham (by the 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 agent and editor faculty so far includes:
- literary agent Kat Kerr (Donald Maass Literary Agency)
- literary agent Carlie Webber (Fuse Literary)
- literary agent Erin Clyburn (Howland Literary)
- literary agent Michelle Jackson (Olswanger Literary)
- and possibly more to come
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, March 10, 2023: Marriott Birmingham | 3590 Grandview Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35243. (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 AWW is an in-person event happening in Birmingham on March 10, 2023. See you there.)
WORKSHOP SCHEDULE & INSTRUCTORS (MARCH 10, 2023)8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location. 9:30 – 10:30: How to Create and Strengthen the Opening Image of Your Book, taught by attending agent Michelle Jackson. In this interactive class, a literary agent instructor walks you through the opening images of books to help you learn how to create and strengthen the A-HA moments of your writing. In addition to her teaching, attendees will have time to work with other attendees to improve the opening images of your book in a workshop environment. 10:30 – 11:45: Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives. 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 First Page 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 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.) 2:45 – 3:45: 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. 4:00 – 5:00: Everything You Need to Know After You Get an Agent and Your Work is on Submission, taught by Kayla Brown. Ever wonder what happens after you land your agent? This course covers everything you need to know after you sign that contract. Writer Kayla Brown will discuss revisions, writing the proposal, and how to keep yourself occupied while your book is on submission with an agent. All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching. * * *
PITCH AN AGENT!Erin Clyburn is a literary agent with Howland Literary. Erin represents middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and adult fiction and nonfiction. In MG and YA, she is looking for horror, mystery, thriller, big-hearted contemporary, and grounded stories with magical or speculative elements. In adult fiction, she is most interested in upmarket and literary fiction, and she gravitates toward the dark and strange: horror, thriller, mystery, and grounded stories with speculative or magical elements. Send her your weirds. In nonfiction, she’s interested in intersectional perspectives and is looking for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and deep dives into topics including pop science, nature, food and culinary history, and sports and adventure. An Alabamian with Louisiana roots, Erin is particularly interested in Southern literary and upmarket fiction from diverse voices in the above genres.
Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Jackson is a Literary Associate with Olswanger Literary. An educator for over 20 years, Michelle is also a published author, writing professionally as Michelle Lindo-Rice for Mira and Harlequin Special Edition and Zoey Marie Jackson for Harlequin Love Inspired. She has earned educational degrees from New York University, SUNY at StonyBrook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University. “I look forward to bringing adult fiction and select non-fiction of new authors work out there, especially BIPOC and underrepresented authors. I am also a content editor and love developing and working with new authors to help them hone their craft. I am looking for stories with strong character arcs and hooks. Intriguing plot lines that keep me up at night until I get to the last page. Romances that make my heart swoon, thrillers that keep me guessing and heartwarming, uplifting tales. Stories about sister friends, mother-daughter relationships. Stories with themes of friendship, forgiveness, love and second chances. I have a soft spot for fellow educators who are writers and for stories featuring educators. I also am looking for those who want to write category romances – I also love Amish romances!” Fiction: Commercial, Historical, Humor, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Women’s Fiction. Sub-genres: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense. Nonfiction: Biography, True Crime, Self-Help, Relationships, Cookbooks, Narrative, Spirituality, select Memoirs.
Kat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019. She 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. In literary and upmarket fiction, she is drawn to strong, character-driven works with rich, literary prose. Within contemporary and literary fiction, she is seeking contemporary, women’s fiction, multicultural, speculative, magical realism, and family saga. She also accepts all genres and types of young adult. For commercial fiction, she enjoys select science fiction and fantasy, as well as women’s fiction and romantic comedies. In nonfiction, she seeks select memoir, as well as narrative nonfiction and journalistic nonfiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty. She does NOT want: No plots/themes centering around unresolved trauma; no previously published or self-published works; no middle grade, chapter books or picture books; no novellas, short stories, or poetry collections; no military/war stories; no Westerns.ADDED ONLINE PITCHING: To ensure that writers have a robust and diverse lineup of agents & editors to pitch, 2023 Alabama Writing Workshop attendees will have the ability to also pitch literary agents at the Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2023 AWW on our event calendar. That event is the 2023 Online Writing Workshop of San Francisco, April 14-15, 2023, which will have 30-40 agents taking one-on-one Zoom virtual pitches. This means that 2023 AWW attendees can have access to pitching all those online WWSF agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online April 2023 WWSF. (That said, if you want to formally register for the WWSF and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a discount for confirmed Alabama attendees.) If you are interested in this added pitching opportunity, the first step is to get formally registered for Alabama. Following the AWW one-day conference on March 10, 2023, we will be in touch with all AWW attendees and ask them if they want to partake in pitching online agents at the 2023 WWSF (April 14-15). At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and purchase meeting time.
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* * * * *More 2023 agents may be added at any time. 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.)
PRICING$169 — EARLY BIRD registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2023 AWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2022, registration is now open. E-mail Brian Klems at WDWconference@gmail.com to register. 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 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 met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.” – literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary “Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann] from the Michigan Writing Workshop!” – literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary “I signed author Stephanie Wright from the Seattle Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary “I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.” – literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary “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 instructor Brian Klems, 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.
- Young adult, middle grade, children’s picture books, adult romance (virtual critiques): Faculty member Gabrielle Prendergast, 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. If you are submitting a picture book, make the submission 1000 words maximum, and it can or cannot include illustrations.
- Women’s, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, thriller, mystery (virtual critiques): 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.
- Middle grade, young adult; adult fiction in the areas of low fantasy, literary fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and mainstream fiction (virtual critiques): Faculty member Joel Brigham, 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 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
- Women’s fiction, contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, young adult, and memoir (virtual critiques): Faculty member Kimiko Nakamura, a literary agent and writing coach, 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.
- More critique options forthcoming