The 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop: July 22, 2017

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter a successful 2016 event in Nashville, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Nashville, TN on July 22, 2017.

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 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, July 22, 2017, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Nashville South Cool Springs. 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 faculty so far includes:

  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Vicki Selvaggio (De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Lauren MacLeod (The Strothman Agency)
  • literary agent Kimberly Brower (Brower Literary & Management)
  • editor Mike Parker (Wordcrafts Press)
  • literary agent Elizabeth Copps (Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.)
  • literary agent Beth Phelan (The Bent Agency)
  • literary agent Greg Daniel (Daniel Literary Group)
  • literary agent Julie Gwinn (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Michael Caligaris (Holloway Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Cate Hart (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary)
  • agent assistant Lesley Sabga (The Seymour Agency)
  • 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.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, July 22, 2017 — at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Nashville South Cool Springs, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin, TN, 37067. (615)515-5151.

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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.

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

1. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (Birch Room). This workshop examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing / e-publishing.

2. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Azalea & Iris rooms combined). This session will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

3. The Art and Craft of Memoir (Hickory and Maple rooms combined). In this session, you’ll learn how to turn your life experience into a compelling narrative that readers will love.

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

1. The Art of Voice: How to Make Your Writing Come to Life (Azalea & Iris rooms combined). This class will address what writers should be doing before they submit their work.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Birch Room). This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. How to Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right (Hickory and Maple rooms combined). A successful self-published author shares the secrets of how to do it right. .

(What you see here 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 (Birch 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.
2.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips (Hickory and Maple rooms combined). If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book (Azalea & Iris rooms combined). In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction (Azalea & Iris rooms combined). This class will discuss the genres of science fiction and fantasy — i.e., how to write and sell speculative fiction.

2. Revision and Self-Editing: How to Tighten Your Work Before You Submit (Birch Room). This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers.

3. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform (Hickory and Maple rooms combined). This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online.

(What you see here 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

1. What Happens After an Agent Offers Representation? (Azalea & Iris rooms combined) Getting an agent is an incredible feat, but this is only the beginning. While your focus may be on getting an agent, this workshop will provide you the landscape on what happens next.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Birch Room). Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and find success.

3. How to Write & Pitch Romance in Today’s Market (Hickory and Maple rooms combined). This session will address important topics and tips for writers of romance.


At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s Barnes & Noble station for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.



Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 10.48.06 PM.pngCate Hart is a literary agent at Corvisiero Literary. Cate seeks unique stories with well-crafted plots and unforgettable characters with a strong voice. Her favorite genre is historical, whether it’s middle grade or YA, adult romance or something even spicier. The time periods she loves most are Elizabethan England, the American and French Revolutions, the Victorian Era and the Gilded Age. She loves Scottish and French History. If it’s steampunk, clockpunk, or candlepunk, she wants it. Her first love will always be young adult. She will consider any YA subgenre, but is looking especially for fantasy and magical realism. For middle grade, she is looking for fantasy, adventure and Mystery with a humorous or heart-warming voice and a unique concept. For adult fiction, she is only accepting historical romance. Cate will also consider select LGBTQ and erotica. For nonfiction, Cate will consider select histories and biographies. She is looking for secret histories and little known facts and events. She enjoys reading about the everyday heroes of the American and French Revolutions, something more beyond the tactics of war. Learn more about Cate here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AMVicki Selvaggio [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. She is currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, and adult fiction. Vicki is especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. “I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.” Learn more about Vicki here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 1.34.12 PM.pngKimberly Brower [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Brower Literary & Management. She is interested in commercial and upmarket fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction, psychological thrillers, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and young adult (all genres). However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong character arcs. Learn more about Kimberly here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 8.06.30 PM.pngBeth Phelan [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. She represents middle grade, young adult, and select adult fiction (including contemporary romance and suspense/thrillers), as well as the occasional cookbook or pop culture/humor project. She is drawn to voice and emotional resonance in young adult contemporary, surprising new worlds in YA and MG fantasy, and strong literary voices in middle grade, plus savvy and evocative writing for adult genres. She is particularly fond of stories with smart humor and a touch of the bittersweet, and prefers suspense/thrillers that are female-driven. Learn more about Beth here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 3.29.31 PM.pngElizabeth Copps [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc., and she is actively building her client list. She is seeking: In fiction, action/adventure, commercial, family saga, historical, horror, humor, LGBTQ, literary, middle grade, mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, and young adult. In nonfiction, she seeks humor, pop culture, and travel. Learn more about Elizabeth here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 1.11.39 PM.pngLaura Crockett is a literary agent representing TriadaUS Literary. She will be taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as other agents at the agency — in the following genres: young adult, adult historical fiction, middle grade, mystery/crime, women’s fiction, and nonfiction projects. She is actively building her list of clients and is looking forward to talking with and meeting debut writers. Learn more about Laura here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 1.21.24 PM.pngLauren MacLeod is a literary agent with The Strothman Agency. She is seeking young adult & middle grade in every subgenre. On the middle grade side, she loves manuscripts with funny characters or humorous situations. On the YA side, she will never stop looking for the next Perks of Being a Wallflower or Jellicoe Road. On the nonfiction side, Lauren looks for all captivating narrative nonfiction, and is particularly interested in food writing, science, pop culture and history. Her dream nonfiction project would be a feminist history of the United States. Learn more about Lauren here.

Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 10.15.56 PM.pngMike Parker is the publisher and acquiring editor for WordCrafts Press. WordCrafts publishes fiction, nonfiction and stage plays for both the Christian and general markets. Mike is actively seeking adult and young adult fiction in the following genres: contemporary, literary, historical, Biblical, fantasy, paranormal, horror, sweet romance, mystery and thriller. Mike is actively seeking nonfiction titles in the following categories: pop culture, technology, sports, memoir, history, and inspirational. 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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 4.15.59 PM.pngGreg Daniel is a literary agent and the founder of Daniel Literary Group, a literary agency representing quality nonfiction books for adults. His authors are recognized and published across a variety of categories including narrative nonfiction, religion/spirituality, business, pop culture, practical advice, social issues, and biography/memoir. Learn more about Daniel here.

screen-shot-2014-09-26-at-12-34-10-amAlice Speilburg [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent at Speilburg Literary. In nonfiction, she’s looking for authors with established platforms who are writing books in the following categories: biography, food, gender issues, health, history, literary journalism, music, pop culture, relationships, science, travel. In fiction, she’s currently looking for character-driven novels that fall under the following genres: historical fiction, mainstream, literary, mystery, science fiction, thriller/suspense, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Alice here.

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 10.27.21 PMJulie Gwinn [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an agent with The Seymour Agency, and was formerly an editor with many years of publishing experience. Her primary areas of interest include Christian and inspirational fiction and nonfiction, women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), new adult, Southern fiction, literary fiction, as well as young adult novels. Learn more about Julie here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 4.09.19 PM.pngMichael Caligaris is a literary agent with Holloway Literary Agency. His interests are as follows: literary Fiction, autobiographical fiction (i.e., So Long, See You Tomorrow; A River Runs Through It; Sylvia), short story collections or connected stories as a novel (i.e., Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Strout, Junot Diaz), LGBTQ lit, novels that are set in the Midwest or could be considered Americana, crime fiction, mystery/noir (i.e., Walter Mosley, Kate Atkinson, Lou Berney), dystopian fiction, civil unrest/political uprising/ war novels, memoir, New Journalism and/or long-form journalism, essay collections (on art, race, mental health, music, etc.), satirical/humor writing, and environmental writing. Learn more about Michael here.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.43.20 PM.pngLesley Sabga [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency. She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents. She wants to hear pitches for happily-ever-after romance, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, young adult with a fresh voice (both contemporary and sci-fi/fantasy), science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, picture books (especially author-illustrators), cookbooks, middle grade (all kinds), narrative nonfiction, and memoir. Learn more about Lesley here.

Mark Gottlieb is a literary agent with Trident Media Group. Unfortunately, he had to cancel on the 2017 event.

        More 2017 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.)



$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2017 TWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 10, 2016, registration is now OPEN.

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 some testimonials from 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 2016-12-13 at 12.20.11 AM.pngI signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.56 AM.png“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.00 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.09 AM.png“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 Chuck Sambuchino, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Tennessee 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 $79 — 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:

  • [NEW ADDITION] Memoir: Faculty member Heather Ebert, a published memoir writer, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Young adult / middle grade / chapter books [SOLD OUT OF CRITIQUE MEETINGS]: Faculty member Madeline Smoot, a children’s book editor, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. No picture books, please.
  • Women’s fiction / literary fiction / mainstream & upmarket fiction [SOLD OUT OF CRITIQUE MEETINGS]: Faculty member Ricki Schultz, a published women’s fiction author and professional freelance editor, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Adult science fiction and fantasy: Faculty member C.J. Redwine, a published author of speculative fiction, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Contemporary romance / romantic suspense / inspirational romance: Faculty member Kim Law, a published author of contemporary romance, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. (No historicals or paranormal please.)

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email:, 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 Tennessee workshop specifically.


Because of limited space at the venue, 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 Jessica Bell via email: 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 TWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Tennessee 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 and manuscript 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 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop.