The 2015 Carolina Writing Workshops: Columbia, SC (April 17) and Charlotte, NC (April 18)

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 12.58.51 PMThe South Carolina Writing Workshop organization and the Homeric Writers Conference & Retreat (Writing Day Workshops) are excited to announce The 2015 Carolina Writing Workshops — two full-day “How to Get Published” writing events in the Carolinas. On Friday, April 17, there is an all-day event in Columbia; and on Saturday, April 18, there is a separate all-day event in Charlotte. (The one-day schedules are both the same. Writers should attend one event, not both.)

These writing events are a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch an agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Carolina Writing Workshops!

WHAT ARE THE WORKSHOPS?

These are special, separate-yet-identical one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshops on April 17 and April 18, 2015, with Friday’s event in Columbia, SC (The Convention Center) and Saturday’s event in Charlotte, NC (The SpringHill Suites Charlotte-Ballantyne). In other words, either workshop is 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.

The events are designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. The faculty is ever-growing, and we will have agent Sam Morgan (Jabberwocky Literary), agent Melissa Jeglinski (The Knight Agency), agent Diana Flegal (Hartline Literary), agent Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary), agent Robin Mizell (Robin Mizell Literary Representation), and editor Kristy Huddle (Comfort Publishing) onsite at events to give feedback and meet with writers, as well. You can ask any questions you like during the sessions, and get your specific concerns addressed.

By the end of either workshop, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. (Please note that the workshops are separate and identical — with both agents attending both 9-5 events. Writers will likely want to attend one workshop or the other, not both.) The SC workshop is being co-coordinated by the South Carolina Writing Workshop organization.

THIS YEAR’S PRESENTER/INSTRUCTOR

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 1.09.19 PMChuck Sambuchino (chucksambuchino.com, @chucksambuchino) of Writer’s Digest Books is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His authored books include Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript; Create Your Writer Platform, which was praised by Forbes.com; and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, which was optioned for film by Sony. He oversees one of the biggest blogs in publishing (the Guide to Literary Agents Blog) as well as one of the biggest Twitter accounts in publishing (@WritersDigest). He is a freelance editor who has seen dozens of his clients get agents and/or book deals, and he has presented at 120 writing conferences and events over the past ten years.

EVENTS — LOCATION & DETAILS

Friday, April 17, 2015 in Columbia, SC: The Columbia Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St, Columbia, SC 29201, Lexington Room 3B, (803)545-0001.

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Click on this image to see a map of where the Columbia event will be held.

Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Charlotte, NC: SpringHill Suites Charlotte-Ballantyne, 12325 Johnston Road, Charlotte, NC 28277. (704) 817-1500.

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Click here to see the Charlotte event location on a map.

 

WORKSHOP SCHEDULES (FOR BOTH APRIL 17 and APRIL 18, 2015)

9:00 – 9:30: Check-in and registration.

9:30 – 10:30: “Your Publishing Options Today.” This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing (e-publishing). We will examine the upsides of both routes, the downsides, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist.

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 1.02.12 PM10:30 – 11:45: “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Queries & Pitching.” 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 walking distance.

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter 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 attending agents and editors commenting on what they liked or did not like 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.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.07.06 AM2:30 – 3:45: “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Author Platform & Social Media Explained.” A writer’s platform is as important as ever now. Visibility and ability to self-market are mandatory these days for writers of nonfiction and self-published works. Furthermore, fiction writers want a platform to sell more books, meet readers, and increase their value. This speech teaches writers the basics of what a platform is and why it is necessary. Then we delve into the building blocks of what can constitute a platform, from media appearances and speaking engagements to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more.

3:45 – 5:00: “How to Get Published: 10 Professional Writing Practices That You Need to Know NOW to Find Success as a Writer.” This final speech is a general presentation examining good writing practices that all editors appreciate—whether writing for books, magazines, newspapers or online. It discusses how to not put all your eggs in one writing basket, how to steal ideas from yourself to generate more stories and books, how to avoid the two most common reasons agents reject you, and much more.

All day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AN AGENT!

RobinMizellRobin Mizell is the founder of her own agency, Robin Mizell Literary Representation. She maintains a small client list to give each of her clients maximum attention. She will be taking pitches for literary fiction, mainstream (upmarket) fiction, young adult novels, prescriptive nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture and science nonfiction. Learn more about Robin here. She will be part of both the Charlotte and Columbia events.

cherry_weiner-bio-picCherry Weiner is the founder of her own agency, Cherry Weiner Literary Agency. She represents many types of novels, including fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, mystery/crime, romance, women’s fiction, and horror novels. Learn more about Cherry here. She will be part of both the Charlotte and Columbia events.

Screen shot 2014-12-04 at 7.11.56 PMSam Morgan is a literary agent at Jabberwocky Literary Agency in New York. He specializes in fantasy and science fiction novels, though he is willing to look at general fiction (mainstream / literary) that doesn’t it take itself too seriously (like Thank You For Smoking or This is Where I Leave You). He is a fan of books that can make him laugh or that feature sarcasm. He also seeks diverse books (race, religion, sexuality). He will be part of both the Charlotte and Columbia events. Learn more about Sam here.

melissa_jeglinskiMelissa Jeglinski [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS FOR HER NC APPEARANCE] is a literary agent at The Knight Agency and lives in North Carolina. She will be taking pitches for romance (contemporary, category, historical, inspirational) young adult novels, middle grade novels, women’s fiction and mystery novels. Learn more about Melissa here. She will be part of both the Charlotte and Columbia events, and will be taking part in the Charlotte event. (Note that Melissa was previously scheduled to attend Columbia, as well, but had to cancel that event.)

DianaDiana Flegal [SOLD OUT FOR SC, BUT STILL HAS SPACES LEFT FOR NC ON SATURDAY] is a literary agent with Hartline Literary. She represents romance novels, women’s fiction, young adult novels, middle grade novels, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, and the occasional mystery/crime. She has a passion for Christian/inspirational books — both debut inspirational novels as well as inspirational nonfiction from platform-heavy authors. Learn more about Diana here. She will be part of both the Charlotte and Columbia events.

Screen shot 2014-12-17 at 9.58.07 AMKristy Huddle is the Director of Acquisitions and Author Relations for Comfort Publishing. She is seeking: “We are interested in Young Adult stories in fiction or nonfiction. We seek both Christian/Inspirational as well as non-Christian titles. But primarily we are looking for nonfiction books with a compelling story. We are also looking for authors who have already begun to build their public following (or platform) in order to increase initial interest in the book upon release. Willingness to participate in social media promotion, blog tours, public appearances/interviews and book signings are a must. We do publish some fiction, but the existence of a platform in our fiction authors is all the more important.” Learn more about Kristy here. She will be part of the Charlotte event only.

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

(Please note that all pricing and details are identical for writers who wish to attend the Columbia event on April 17 or the Charlotte event on April 18. The events are virtually identical in schedule and faculty. Only the location is different. When you register, you will be asked which workshop you want to sign up for.)

$129 — base price for registration to one event and access to all workshops, all day. This will be the final price for base registration.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with one of the literary agents or editors. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get agent feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited. If any agents have sold out of either workshop, we will list that info near their headshot above.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for two meeting slots at twice the price to give themselves a longer consultation/pitch, or to meet multiple individuals.

Add $59 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Chuck Sambuchino. (This rate is a special event value for Carolina Writing Workshop attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the critique, because if you are meeting with an agent/editor 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? Once a query critique is ordered and paid for, the letter will be edited within 14 days once sent. That said, attendees who sign up and send their query letter to Chuck within four days of the event are guaranteed to receive their edit the day before the workshop happens, so they can use the edits to better their in-person event pitch.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@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 Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Carolinas workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

There is limited space at both events (80 in Columbia and 70 in Charlotte). 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, if either workshop is sold out. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked in a location, then yes, we still have room at both events, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com. (Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Carolinas workshop specifically.) 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 CWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event.

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.)

 

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Thank you for your interest in the Carolina Writing Workshops.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Diana Flegal of Hartline Literary

Diana[UPDATE: DIANA IS SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS FOR SC ON FRIDAY; HOWEVER, SHE STILL HAS ROOM IN NC ON SATURDAY TO MEET WITH WRITERS.]

Diana Flegal is a literary agent with Hartline Literary. She will be taking pitches at both the Columbia and Charlotte workshops.

She represents romance novels, women’s fiction, young adult novels, middle grade novels, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, and the occasional mystery/crime. She has a passion for Christian/inspirational books — both debut inspirational novels as well as inspirational nonfiction from platform-heavy authors.

Diana held the position of Office and Editorial Assistant to Joyce Hart, CEO and founder of Hartline Literary Agency, 6 years before moving to Asheville, NC. She has been a Hartline agent for four years.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency

melissa_jeglinski[MARCH 21, 2015 UPDATE: MELISSA IS STILL ATTENDING THE CHARLOTTE EVENT, BUT HAD TO CANCEL FOR THE COLUMBIA EVENT. AS OF APRIL 15, SHE IS NOW SOLD OUT OF PITCHING APPOINTMENTS FOR NC.]

A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in English with a writing concentration, Melissa Jeglinski (The Knight Agency) began her career as an editor with Harlequin Enterprises. Looking to work with a variety of authors and genres, she joined The Knight Agency in 2008. She will be taking pitches at both the Columbia and Charlotte workshops.

With over two decades experience in the publishing industry, Melissa has fostered her clients to National prominence including a recent Newbery Honor. She is a member of RWA and AAR.

Melissa is currently seeking projects in the following areas:  Romance (contemporary, category, historical, inspirational) Young Adult, Middle Grade, Women’s Fiction and Mystery.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sam Morgan of Jabberwocky Literary

Screen shot 2014-12-04 at 7.11.56 PMSam Morgan is a literary agent at Jabberwocky Literary in New York. He will be taking pitches at both the Columbia and Charlotte workshops.

He specializes in fantasy and science fiction novels, though he is willing to look at general fiction (mainstream / literary) that doesn’t it take itself too seriously (like Thank You For Smoking or This is Where I Leave You). He is a fan of books that can make him laugh or that feature sarcasm. He also seeks diverse books.

In his own words: “Other people/shows/things that aren’t really known for writing books but can nevertheless inform you of the type of fiction I’m looking to represent: Dan Harmon, Joss Whedon, Deadpool, Edgar Wright, Steven Moffat, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Steve Martin, Judd Apatow, Key and Peele, Vince Gilligan, How I Met Your Mother, Aaron Sorkin, Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, Donald Glover, Harpo Marx, Mel Brooks, Esquire Magazine, Ogden Nash, Louis CK, Ferris Bueller (the character, not his day off), limericks, Texts From Last Night, Archer, Eastbound and Down, Friday Night Lights, and Weird Al.”

Sam is a native of Shelby, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Communications – Media Studies and Production. Before joining Jabberwocky in late 2012, Sam worked throughout New York City as a television critic, pizza guy, and several other glamorous positions. He’s an active nerd across all media from British television (Doctor Who and The Inbetweeners), to videogames (Skyrim and Nintendo), to SF and fantasy novels (Prattchett, Adams, Gaiman), to college basketball (Go Heels, Go America). Sam is also active in the New York comedy scene at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater and making his own little rinky-dink videos in his spare time. He is ridiculously handsome, gut-busting witty, and prone to hyperbole.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Robin Mizell of Robin Mizell Literary Representation

RobinMizellSince 2008, literary agent Robin Mizell has maintained a very small client list at her agency, so she can focus on and enjoy building the careers of a select group of gifted writers. Insatiable curiosity, reliable intuition, and the tendency to be both an early adopter and a contrarian is the improbable combination of traits that gives her a knack for literary matchmaking. Her clients and their publishers are located around the world. She will be taking pitches at both the Columbia and Charlotte workshops.

Robin possesses a BA in English literature. Prior to becoming an authors’ representative she accumulated a decade of publishing experience in the corporate and government sectors and as a freelance writer and copyeditor. She launched her blog Treated & Released as a means of business networking and to demonstrate to her clients the value of transparency. An avid monitor of media criticism, she often writes about social networking and publicity for authors.

She is seeking: literary fiction, mainstream/upmarket fiction and young adult fiction. In nonfiction, she seeks long-form narrative journalism, pop culture, prescriptive nonfiction (many categories), and neuroscience / psychology / sociology. (Please note that she does not accept middle grade fiction.)

Robin’s advice for writers has appeared in:

— LadiesWhoCritique.com
— Book Marketing Buzz Blog
Writer’s Guide to 2010 by Susan M. Tierney
The Writer magazine
Screenwriter’s & Playwright’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books)Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 11.05.53 AM

 

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2015 CWWs

If you are coming to either of the 2014 Carolina Writing Workshops, 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 this year’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.