Schedule: 2021 Workshop



9:30 – 10:30: “Getting Published in Today’s World: 10 Tips to Make You the Writer Agents and Publishers Want,” taught by Brian Klems. If you want to land an agent and a book deal in today’s market, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just write a great book (though that’s a good start). In this session, former Writer’s Digest editor Brian A. Klems discusses the challenges writers face in publishing today and offers up 10 practical tips to help you break through the barriers and find success.

10:45 – 11:45: “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform,” taught by Chuck Sambuchino. 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.

11:45 – 1:15: Lunch break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them,” taught by Kaitlyn Johnson. When writing, there are clear red flags that outline the newbies versus the pros. In this session, literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson calls these out and how you can avoid them in your own works. Get ready to take notes and dig deep into your pages to bring out your inner pro.

2:45 – 3:45: “Crafting a Compelling Logline and Pitch,” taught by Eve Porinchak. You only have one shot to hook an agent, and the key is crafting both a compelling logline and pitch. In this workshop, critically acclaimed Simon & Schuster author (and former literary agent) Eve Porinchak guides you in creating your one-sentence logline and query pitch. In addition to using these essential pieces in your query letter, your logline and pitch will also be used throughout the life of your book for marketing and publicity purposes. So, it is important to get these just right.

4:00 – 5:00: “The Perfect Plot,” taught by Eve Porinchak. Crafting a strong plot is a science. And every effective story ever told – whether in the form of a children’s picture book, or a massive adult novel – must contain a handful of essential plot beats. In this workshop, writers will understand these essential plot beats that you will need to map out a cohesive and captivating story.


9:30 – 10:30: “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 lecture we’ll target common mishaps and approach creating strong narratives on three levels: dialogue, prose, and characters.

10:45 – 11:45: “Crafting the Query Letter,” taught by Jill Marr. You’ve finished your novel or completed your nonfiction proposal. Now it’s time to start pitching your project. So what do you do next? In this workshop taught by a literary agent, we will discuss the dreaded query letter, and how to write one that will get the attention of an agent or editor. What are the turn-ons and turn-offs? How do they make the judgment calls? With real-life examples of queries that do and don’t work, you will learn how you can refine your own query letter.

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 CWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers,” taught by Elizabeth Kracht. Over the course of her career as a literary agent, Elizabeth noticed that many manuscripts being rejected suffered similar, easy-to-solve problems. As a result, she began keeping a list of these problems, hoping to one day share this feedback with writers struggling to understand rejections. Based on her newly released The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript, this workshop will cover more than 50 points for consideration before submitting to an agent, editor, or indie publisher, such as how to sharpen dialogue and prose, improving characterization, complicating plot, and much more.

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Classes are recorded (and this is amazing news)! With an in-person conference, attendees would miss snippets of classes because they leave the classroom to pitch, or make a phone call, or anything else. But the 5 classes happening Nov. 12-13, 2021 are all recorded, which means we will send the days’ recording following the event. You can watch classes as many times as you want during the next six months. This is an exciting new element that we couldn’t include before. Also, we will be sending out all handouts for all classes to attendees in advance.

Lastly, having this new technology allows us WDW faculty members to pre-record sessions, too—meaning we will actually send attendees many extra FREE classes as part of their attendance. In addition to getting the weekend’s 5 classes sent to you to watch over and over again, we will also send you at least 10 more FREE classes on the side:

  1. “This is Going to Be Harsh: 10 Things that Writers Need to Know About Writing and Publishing”–a class taught by agent Cecelia Lyra, with blunt tips and advice for aspiring writers.
  2. “An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today”—a class on understanding the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, taught by Chuck Sambuchino, former editor of the Guide to Literary Agents.
  3. “Self-Publishing: Top 10 Ways to Get it Right,” taught by author Marion Thomas. This class helps those interested in self-publishing books avoid potential pitfalls and mistakes.
  4. “Pursuing a Small Press Publisher for your Book,” taught by publisher Emily Victorson. If you don’t query agents but instead submit directly to publishers, know what you’re getting into.
  5. How to Think Like a Developmental Editor (and Write Well),” taught by editor Shirin Leos. Good writing is rewriting. Learn how to effectively self-edit your own work.
  6. “7 Touchpoints of Marketing for Authors,” by author E.J. Wenstrom. Sell more copies of your books, and build your presence online.
  7. “Writer’s Got Talent” – a Page 1 Critique Fest (San Diego). In this class, watch writers submit their anonymous manuscript first pages to agents, and hear agent praise and criticism of the work.
  8. “The Dos and Don’ts in Science Fiction & Fantasy World Building,” taught by agent Eric Smith. If you’re writing speculative fiction, this class will help you immensely in creating your world.
  9. “Picture Books: From Opening Line to Published Manuscript,” taught by author Reem Faruqi. This session is a great overview on how to write picture books for children, taught by a published author.
  10. How to Write Young Adult and Middle Grade that Sells,” taught by Jessica Burkhart. Writing novels for kids is so small feat. Get tips and advice with this class.
  11. “Romance 101,” taught by author Vicki Essex. This class is an intensive on writing romance novels, taught by a published author.
  12. “How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” taught by Brian Klems—a class specifically designed for writers of nonfiction who want to craft an awesome proposal and entice an agent/editor.