The 2023 Tennessee Writing Workshop: June 2-3, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021 events in Tennessee, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Tennessee Writing Workshop — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on June 2-3, 2023. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

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 online “seats” at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Tennessee Writing Workshop!

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 TWW is an Online Conference, on June 2-3. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on June 2-3, 2023. In other words, it’s two days 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. And even though this is the “Tennessee” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually. Our WDW writers conferences have helped dozens of writers find literary agent representation — see our growing list of success stories here.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents online to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s 2023 TWW agent & editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Jaidree Braddix (Park & Fine)
  • literary agent Shari Maurer (The Stringer Agency)
  • literary agent Lauren Scovel (Laura Gross Literary)
  • literary agent Reiko Davis (DeFiore & Company)
  • literary agent Dani Segelbaum (Carol Mann Literary)
  • literary agent Kristy Cambron (Gardner Literary)
  • literary agent Ramona Pina (BookEnds Literary)
  • literary agent Kayla Cichello (Upstart Crow)
  • literary agent Maria Alcantara (Arthouse Literary)
  • literary agent Kiele Raymond (Thompson Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Lily Dolan (United Talent Agency)
  • literary agent Lindsay Flanagan (Tobias Agency)
  • literary agent Michelle Jackson (Olswanger Literary)
  • literary agent Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Rebecca Eskilden (Writers House)
  • literary agent Shannon Snow (Creative Media Agency)
  • literary agent Claire Harris (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Darlene Chan (Linda Chester Associates)
  • literary agent Shauna Turnmire (Arthouse Literary)
  • literary agent Rick Lewis (Martin Literary Management)
  • literary agent Kelly Peterson (Rees Literary)
  • literary agent Leonicka Valcius (Transatlantic Agency)
  • literary agent Adrian Shirk (Drift(less) Literary)
  • literary agent Maria Vicente (PS Literary)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • literary agent Gordon Warnock (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Renée C. Fountain (Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary)
  • literary agent Erin Clyburn (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Regina Bernard-Carreno (Ladderbird Literary)
  • editor Gabbi Calabrese​​ (Sourcebooks)
  • literary agent Paul Levine (Paul Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Eva Scalzo (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Justin Brouckaert (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Jared Johnson (Olswanger Literary)
  • and more agents 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 Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops. Contact him at WDWconference@gmail.com to register.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 TWW is an Online Conference, on June 2-3. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (JUNE 2-3, 2023):

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.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: Querying Agents: What to Do, and What NOT to Do. A literary agent instructor will cover the ultimate “Do’s and Don’ts” of writing the perfect query letter to get you noticed by publishers and agents.

10:45 – 11:45: How to Handle the Publisher Rollercoaster. Writers have to learn to deal with rejection. So what can a writer do to manage the ups and downs? How do you find the strength to believe in yourself when your career is slow to blossom?

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: 10 Questions You Can Use to Bust Writers Block. Writer’s block happens, but with these questions, you can turn it into an opportunity instead of a setback, This presentation will prepare writers to knock out writers block and uncover fresh ideas for their stories.

2:45 – 3:45: Visual Thinking for Picture Book Writers. This session challenges us to think critically about the role of art in picture book manuscripts and gives writers tools to make a more successful submission to agents & editors. 

4:00 – 5:00: Behind the Author/Agent Relationship. From querying and “the call,” to submission and planning for the future, this talk will help authors consider what qualities in an agent they’re looking for and how to navigate this working relationship.

* * * * *

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: Memoir Writing: Finding Your Own Voice on the Page. Memoir is always a healthy genre, and there are numerous memoirs written, but finding your authentic voice while writing one can be tricky. Learn how to find and hone yours.

10:45 – 11:45: Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account. Examine the four major ways authors make money from traditional book publishing. If you’re curious how money works in the publishing process, this class is for you.

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.

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from TWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Understanding Hook and Theme. Are you just about ready to send your book out into the world? Learn why everyone needs an elevator pitch (a very brief verbal summation of their novel), how to prepare yours, how to fashion it around your hook and theme, and critically, how to lose the plot.

 

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

(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.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Justin Brouckaert is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.  Justin is interested in literary fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, and select illustrated and prescriptive works. In fiction, he is most interested in novels that are driven by flawed, magnetic characters; novels with innovate structures; novels that engage with the wide world of sports; and novels that are set in the Midwest. In nonfiction, he is most interested in memoirs that offer access to exclusive places and experiences, as well as reported narratives that shed light on under-represented people and communities. Learn more about Justin here.

Darlene Chan is a literary agent with Linda Chester Literary Agency. Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC, women’s fiction, literary fiction, chick lit/rom-com, crime fiction, pop culture, narrative nonfiction, and nonfiction books on film and the entertainment industry. She’s not seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, family saga, children’s/YA or screenplays that have been turned into novels. Learn more about Darlene here.

Gabbi Calabrese currently serves as an editorial assistant for Sourcebooks, where she works on books for kids of all ages. She is seeking: “I am interested in picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction of all genres except historical fiction, as well as adult romance, thrillers, and horror. I would love to see work in the YA/adult crossover space as well as graphic novel pitches. I am particularly interested in books by marginalized voices.” Learn more about Gabbi here.

Léonicka Valcius is a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency.  Areas of interest: “I am eager to work with people of color, including (but not limited to) trans people, disabled people, religious minorities, and queer folks. In adult fiction and young adult fiction, I like books I can read on a beach vacation — fun commercial fiction, romance that ranges from sweet to steamy, otherworldly fantasy, and sweeping historical fiction. In middle grade and younger, I love humur, adventure, and make believe. I also enjoy stories about children navigating their changing relationships with family and friends. As the founder of #DiverseCanLit and the first Chair of the Board of the Festival of Literary Diversity, serving readers and writers of color is the core of Léonicka’s career. Learn more about Léonicka here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Maria Alcantara is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary Agency. Maria is looking for New Adult upmarket fiction, either character-driven or plot-driven. She loves to cozy up with a good mystery full of complicated characters and page-turning plot twists. If these novels are contemporary with Millennial leads then that’s even better. Maria is also looking for women’s contemporary or commercial romance and horror with inclusive voices of Latinos and the LGBTQ community. Maria loves reading stories of marginalized voices in modern-day settings that are relatable and swoonworthy. She also loves reading whirlwind escapist stories à la Emily in Paris. Learn more about Maria here.

Jared Johnson is a literary agent with Olswanger Literary. “My fiction is also a bit all over the place. I have a strong interest in speculative fiction, especially when those stories don’t feel the need to explain the “why” of the speculative elements. I also love mystery and thriller with main characters who simply find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m also hoping to add some thought-provoking upmarket horror to my list. I am also a huge fan of genre-bending stories that have upmarket or literary elements to the writing.” In Nonfiction he seeks: “My list is fairly broad at the moment.  I am looking for narrative-driven books. I am drawn to popular cultural topics (music, fashion, biography, science, history) with an academic approach. I especially love projects that engage with current social issues, ones that address the origins of cultural values, especially in matters of race, gender and sexuality, religion, and language” Learn more about Jared here.

Dani Segelbaum is a literary with the Carol Mann Agency. Dani joined the agency in 2021 as a literary agent and subrights manager. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks. In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and nonfiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices. Learn more about Dani here.

Michelle Jackson is a Literary Associate with Olswanger Literary. Michelle is seeking to work with adult fiction authors in the following genres: Commercial, Historical, Humor, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction. Sub-genres: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense. She is also on the lookout for narrative nonfiction, biographies, self-help/spirituality and memoirs. Learn more about Michelle and her interests here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 3.10.25 PM.pngErica Bauman is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Erica is currently focused on representing a wide range of authors across middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as some select narrative nonfiction projects. She is most interested in novels that straddle the line between literary and commercial, imaginative tales with a speculative twist, fearless storytellers that tackle big ideas and contemporary issues, and working with and supporting marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity. “In adult, I gravitate towards stories that have a commercial premise and beautiful writing. I love voice-driven, witty romcoms, historical novels (especially mysteries), and light SFF and magical realism. I’m on the lookout for books starring nerds, and stories that make me laugh. Across all age ranges and genres, I’m eager to support and work with marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity.” Learn more about Erica here.

Kiele Raymond is a senior literary agent with Thompson Literary Agency.  She is seeking: bold new voices in literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. Her list includes critically acclaimed and award winning writers such as Lee Matalone, Tana Wojczuk, Ari Braverman, Peace Adzo Medie, Nichole Perkins, Destiny O. Birdsong, and Candice Wuehle. Learn more about Kiele Raymond here.

Shannon Snow is a literary agent with Creative Media Agency. In adult fiction, she seeks: All romance fiction (including paranormal or magical realism) and all its sub-genres; Contemporary romance that can be cute, steamy, etc.; Historical romance (I have a warm fondness for medieval, and historicals set in ancient times/place such as Rome, Greece, or Egypt; Thrillers; Psychological; Speculative Fiction (especially with a touch, or a lot, of romance); Fantasy (A touch of romance is great!); Soft to Medium Fantasy stories a la David Eddings, or Margaret Weiss/Tracy Hickman
Mythological stories or retellings; Science FictionSpace Operas are a favorite but I love it all; Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic (Is the world ending? Let me see!); Horror (think more eerie/creepy rather than monsters). She also seeks many types and genres of young adult fiction. Learn more about Shannon here.

Kelly Peterson is a literary agent with Rees Literary. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies. In Middle Grade, she’s looking for: Fantasy and sci-fi; Contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. In YA, she’s looking for: Genres from contemporary, to high fantasy, to sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!) and historical all the way back to rom-coms. In Adult, Kelly represents: Romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. Learn more about Kelly here.

Renee C. Fountain is a literary agent, publishing industry veteran, a reviewer for Kirkus and New York Journal of Books, and a book scout for The CW Network. She is the president of Gandolfo, Henlin and Fountain Literary. Renee is looking for all types of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction. She prefers: thrillers, horror/dark fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, humor, science fiction, pop culture, memoirs, and narrative/commercial. Learn more about Renee here.

Regina Bernard-Carreno is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. She is currently open to: Middle Grade and Young Adult graphic novels that are fun and interesting and actively looking for these types of projects that deal specifically with coming of age experiences. Rom Com graphic novels in Young Adult are also welcome. She is open to limited picture book projects by BIPOC author-illustrators only. Please do not send her any rhyming manuscripts. She would really like to see picture books that deal with diverse cultures, people, and experiences. While not open to YA prose/novels, she would like to see MG or YA novels in prose from BIPOC creators that deal with international issues and cultures. In adult fiction: She is only looking for historical projects that deal with Caribbean and American slaves and their narratives.​ She would also accept a BIPOC rom-com a la Terry McMillan. In nonfiction, she loves a solid book about wellness (think herbs and aromatherapy), cookbooks that have a fresh take and a solid platform. She also loves work around social justice issues and matters that are contemporary and where the author has some agency around solutions and critical ideas about how a particular social injustice could be examined and possibly rehabilitated. Learn more about Regina here.

Lily Dolin represents clients in both fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she is drawn to dark and offbeat humor, gripping narratives, strong commercial hooks, and nuanced female perspectives. For nonfiction, she is looking for short story collections and memoirs that are funny, outrageous, shocking, emotional, or all of the above. She also enjoys true crime and pop culture. Wishlist: Upmarket, book club fiction, dark fiction, literary fiction, true crime, memoir, essay collections, select mystery. The next Mona Awad or Alexandra Kleeman! She is not looking for historical fiction or thrillers. Learn more about Lily here.

Claire Harris is a literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency. Claire is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction projects for adults. She’s actively seeking projects that shine a spotlight on people, places, and events that are often overlooked or not given the attention they deserve. In fiction, she’s looking for adult rom coms, contemporary fiction, psychological thrillers, select horror, and cozy mysteries—all for millennial audiences, specifically. Claire is happiest when reading manuscripts with unexpected endings or new twists on classic genre tropes. For nonfiction, Claire is seeking a range of projects, including lifestyle guides, pop culture celebrations, pop psychology, cultural criticism, humor, true crime, essay collections, and illustrated books for adults. Learn more about Claire here.

Leticia Gomez is the editorial director for Kensington Books and Dafina. Leticia is the Editorial Director for Dafina Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., which focuses on high-quality fiction and nonfiction that centers on race, identity, and its impact on our experiences. Dafina’s carefully curated list is a home for dynamic stories that innovate and amplify voices too long ignored through books that entertain, challenge, and inspire. Launched in 2000 as the first African-American imprint, Dafina has led the market for more than twenty years in highlighting voices of color. Leticia is actively seeking to acquire multicultural fiction and nonfiction of all genres, including literary fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery, and narrative nonfiction of all genres with a focus on authors of color (BIPOC) hailing from all walks of life, as well as specific nonfiction projects for marginalized communities. In addition to her role at Kensington, Leticia is a prominent literary/film/television agent who specializes in bringing culturally diverse voices to the forefront. Savvy Literary is now an industry leader specializing in Self-help, Narrative Nonfiction, Memoir, True Crime, Spiritual/Inspirational, Political/Current Affairs, Suspense/Thriller, Family Drama, and the Young Adult market. Championing the work of minority writers continues to be a top priority for the agency. Learn more about Leticia here.

Rick Lewis is a literary agent at Martin Literary Management. Rick represents authors of Graphic Novels with Illustrators (he grew up reading and loving them) as well as speculative fiction titles in the Adult and YA categories, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magical realism. Rick is looking for novels that feature complex, realistic characters in highly imaginative worlds. Give him genuine emotions and meaningful struggles, but also at least a touch of science, magic, or the supernatural that captures the imagination while illuminating the real world. Learn more about Rick here.

Adrian Shirk is an agent at Drift(less) Literary. She is seeking: I represent long-form literary fiction (novels, novellas, autofiction, or linked short stories) and first person-driven narrative nonfiction (memoir, essay collections, reportage, special areas of research where the author is present in the text, e.g. not objective or scholarly). I also consider self-help or how-to books on subjects in which the author has had a significant amount of personal or professional experience. I’m especially interested in working with under-represented voices and stories, especially women and nonbinary folks, working class authors (or authors with working class backgrounds), LGBTQ+, and writers of color. I occasionally consider some genre (horror) or speculative fiction (sci-fi), but only if the stories and themes are somewhat socially-engaged (think, Octavia Butler, Ursula Leguin, Margaret Atwood). Learn more about Adrian here.

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. Learn more about Erin here.

Lauren Scovel is a literary agent with Laura Gross Literary Agency. “I am looking to amplify underrepresented stories and voices, and am especially interested in both fiction and narrative nonfiction with a timely, distinctive story and a diverse cast of characters.” In fiction, Lauren represents: Commercial, LGBTQ, Literary. In nonfiction, Lauren represents: History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture, True Crime. Learn more about Lauren here.

Ramona Pina is an associate agent at BookEnds Literary. She is interested in carving a space for and elevating underrepresented voices. Fantasy, magical realism, sci-fi, paranormal romance, horror, and a spin-off of villain retellings are her favorite genres. In YA and Adult fantasy, give her a character-driven, and fast-paced adventure that disrupts societal norms! She’s also hoping to see more Sci-Fi that focuses more on fiction and less on technology while still showcasing how to build a better world. If you have a SF/F that is slightly different from this, she’s open to being pleasantly surprised. Learn more about Ramona here.

Gordon Warnock is a literary agent and Partner with Fuse Literary. In nonfiction: Gordon seeks large-platform projects in which the book represents something bigger than the book itself, of which you are the expert, the one best fit to bring it to the page. He enjoys Memoir and Biography, Food, Graphic and Illustrated Nonfiction, Essays on Social Issues, Pop-Science, Pop/Punk/Geek Culture, Self-Help, Historical Narrative, Humor, How-To, Business and Career. In fiction: High-Concept Suspense, Book Club Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction,  Verse Novels for YA and MG, and Graphic Novels for Adults, Young Adult, and Middle Grade. Learn more about Gordon here.

Shari Maurer is a literary agent with The Stringer Literary Agency. ​In fiction, she seeks: Picture Books, Middle Grade (Contemporary, Historical, Literary and Mystery), and Young Adult (Contemporary, Historical, Literary, Mystery). In nonfiction, she seeks Juvenile (YA and Middle Grade), Memoir, Narrative, Parenting, and Popular Science. Learn more about Shari and the books she is seeking here.

Rebecca Eskilden is a literary agent with Writers House. “I am actively growing my list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Across the board, I’m looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives. In middle grade, I’m mainly looking for contemporary books that make kids feel seen. Mostly I want to see fresh, engaging voices, particularly narratives with a sense of humor and a strong emotional core. For YA, I’m looking for some darker themes and twisty, gripping stories — give me your ambitious “unlikable” girls (ugh – I’ll like them). Separately, I’m looking for funny, slow-burn YA rom coms. I’m looking for a more limited variety of adult books. I’d love to have my inbox full of contemporary rom coms. I’m also looking for sagas about families and/or friends, of any age or topic, and I’m looking for 20-something coming-of-age stories. Regardless of whether you recognize your book in this MSWL, if you think we’ll be a good fit, feel free to pitch me!” Learn more about Rebecca here.

Jaidree Braddix is a Literary Agent with Park & Fine Literary & Media. Jaidree represents a broad range of nonfiction authors who are changing the ways we think about, talk about, and move through the world we live in. Her clients are Guinness World Record-holding athletes, activists who are challenging societal standards and institutions, trailblazers who have created globally trending wellness movements, and acclaimed thought leaders in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, business, and organizational behavior. Specializing in platform-driven nonfiction, Jaidree is committed to helping authors turn their assets—be they courageous ideas, academic studies, foundations for social good, popular podcasts, transformative programs, or online communities—into compelling proposals and noteworthy books. Learn more about Jaidree here.

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary. In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance novels (all subgenres except inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy novels. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction. She is interested in submissions from diverse authors. Learn more about Eva here, as well as her specific interests and what is seeking from writers.

Kayla Cichello is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary. Kayla brings nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing to her agent position. She is open to all kid lit — picture books through young adult, as well as illustrators, and is searching for those voices that make her laugh and keep the pages turning. Some of her clients include author Ana Otaru, author of the upcoming MASQUERADE FOR GRANDPA (Atheneum/S&S, 2023) and author/illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of SUMMER OF THE TREE ARMY (Sleeping Bear, 2021). Learn more about Kayla here.

Maria Vicente is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency. Maria represents bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults. Her favorite books to work on show readers something new about the real world or invite them into new worlds they never want to leave. Maria is acquiring fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. She is looking for: literary fiction and upmarket speculative fiction (fantasy, magical realism, horror); young adult novels; middle grade novels; illustrated picture books; illustrated graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and graphic nonfiction; and narrative nonfiction for kids, teens, or adult readers about culture, arts and entertainment, history, and science topics. She welcomes and encourages submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled creators. Learn more about Maria here.

Kristy Cambron is a literary agent with Gardner Literary. In fiction, she seeks: Fiction for the CBA (Christian market) or clean fiction for general market — contemporary women’s fiction (especially BIPOC and diverse voices), romance (closed-door), rom-com, suspense and romantic suspense, historical and historical romance, YA and YA fantasy (including steampunk and fairy tale retellings with a unique approach; YA requires a strong platform). In nonfiction, she seeks: CBA (Christian market) all Christian living topics; Bible studies (adult and teen girls); gift books and devotionals (with a strong platform); select general market projects on hearth/home living, travel, art/faith topics (with a strong platform). Learn more about Kristy here.

Reiko Davis is a literary agent with DeFiore & Company. Reiko’s interests are varied, but on the adult side she’s primarily seeking literary and book club fiction. She loves historical, contemporary, or multigenerational novels both in the U.S. and internationally; family sagas; voice-driven coming-of-age stories; the occasional rom-com; and fierce, compassionately written works that grapple with identity and belonging and portray diverse lived experiences. She’d love to connect with promising writers of short fiction who are at work on a debut story collection and/or novel. She also represents select narrative non-fiction projects that explore social justice, issues of race and gender, and the history and experiences of women and people of color. She consumes a lot of true crime in her free time so is open to seeing projects in the vein of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. On the children’s side, Reiko is actively looking for middle grade fiction and nonfiction. Learn more about Reiko here.

Shauna Turnmire is a literary agent at Arthouse Literary Agency. Shauna is looking for New Adult fiction, YA Fantasy, and historical fiction – including a particular interest in books that give a glimpse into the Holocaust experience. Shauna is often drawn to stories that are a little strange, and especially ones that use speculative or fantastic elements in beautiful, original ways. Across the board, she’s looking for an inclusive cast of characters, across gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and mental health spectrums. Shauna is also looking for contemporary or commercial romance. Shauna is intrigued by historical fiction, preferably centered around the Holocaust and the French Revolution. She would love to see anything centered around Irish or Celtic history and lore/mythology. Learn more about Shauna here.

Lindsay Flanagan of Tobias Literary Agency is an agent assistant, editor, and author living in Utah. As of 2023, she is now taking on her own clients. She’s looking for adult work only in fantasy (all categories), mystery, thriller, romance, women’s fiction, upmarket, and maybe even a thriller. Her dream acquisition would have been The Night Circus. She likes work that has hints of magic and a bit of darkness. She is open to all voices and is seeking a diverse list of authors to represent with a particular interest in seeing work from Indigenous creators. Lindsay is also happy to take pitches on behalf of co-agent Jacqui Lipton. Jacqui is head of the Adult Department, although she selectively represents children’s books, particularly middle grade and young adult novels and nonfiction. Jacqui is open to pretty much anything but has a soft spot for genre fiction (mystery/thriller, romance, selective science fiction). Jacqui is not the best fit for high fantasy (think Game of Thrones) or books with animal protagonists. Jacqui is open to unique takes on nonfiction but is not seeking memoir currently. Learn more about Lindsay and Jacqui here.

 

 

        More 2023 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.)

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PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 TWW and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10+ additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of late 2022, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors 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. There is no limit. 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.

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“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 Chuck Sambuchino, one of the workshop’s former 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 $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 a phone/Zoom critique meeting with the faculty member. Options:

  • Young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, children’s picture books: Faculty member Shelli Johannes, an author and freelance editor, 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 submitting a picture book, make the submission 1000 words maximum, and it can include illustrations (optional).
  • Women’s fiction, contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, young adult, and memoir: 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 possibly forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Tennessee workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 TWW is an Online Conference, on June 2-3. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

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 Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. 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 Brian 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 at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal or CC refund]. 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 started edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Tennessee Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Claire Harris of P.S. Literary Agency

Claire Harris is a literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency

Claire (she/her) is a literary agent with a passion for a wide range of fiction and nonfiction for adults. After graduating from UT Austin, she worked at a mid-sized agency before joining the PSLA team. Claire seeks projects with unique voices, interesting writing styles, and compelling characters. She enjoys the creative process of working with creators and collaborating closely with them throughout all stages of their careers, and she has represented everything from debuts to NYT bestsellers. Having grown up in Wisconsin, she has a soft spot for stories set in the Midwest.

Claire is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction projects for adults. She’s actively seeking projects that shine a spotlight on people, places, and events that are often overlooked or not given the attention they deserve. In fiction, she’s looking for adult rom coms, contemporary fiction, psychological thrillers, select horror, and cozy mysteries—all for millennial audiences, specifically. Claire is happiest when reading manuscripts with unexpected endings or new twists on classic genre tropes. For nonfiction, Claire is seeking a range of projects, including lifestyle guides, pop culture celebrations, pop psychology, cultural criticism, humor, true crime, essay collections, and illustrated books for adults.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lindsay Flanagan of Tobias Literary Agency

Lindsay Flanagan of Tobias Literary Agency is an agent assistant, editor, and author living in Utah. As of 2023, she is now taking on her own clients.

Lindsay earned her Master of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing and has spent the last decade reading, writing, and editing–basically, living her dream. Her debut novel, a young adult fantasy titled ANNAGREY AND THE CONSTELLATION, comes out in August 2023.

She’s personally looking for adult work only in fantasy (all categories), mystery, thriller, romance, women’s fiction, upmarket, and maybe even a thriller. Her dream acquisition would have been The Night Circus. She likes work that has hints of magic and a bit of darkness. She is open to all voices and is seeking a diverse list of authors to represent with a particular interest in seeing work from Indigenous creators.

Lindsay is also happy to take pitches on behalf of co-agent Jacqui Lipton. Jacqui is a Senior Agent at the Tobias Literary Agency and head of the Adult Department, although she selectively represents children’s books, particularly middle grade and young adult novels and nonfiction. Jacqui is open to pretty much anything but has a soft spot for genre fiction (mystery/thriller, romance, selective science fiction). Jacqui is not the best fit for high fantasy (think Game of Thrones) or books with animal protagonists. Jacqui is open to unique takes on nonfiction but is not seeking memoir currently.

Jacqui holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, is the author of Law and Authors: A Legal Handbook for Writers (UC Press, 2020) and Our Data, Ourselves: A Personal Guide to Digital Privacy (UC Press, 2022).

 

 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Erin Clyburn of Howland Literary

Erin Clyburn is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

Prior to joining Howland Literary, Erin was an associate agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She was the general manager and director of collection development for Turtleback Books, a distributor of books to the school and library market, and she has over a decade of experience in magazine publishing, having worked for brands including Food & Wine, Cooking Light, People, and Entertainment Weekly. She received her BA in English Literature from Mississippi State University and her MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her partner, Michael, and four unruly rabbits.

She is seeking: 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. A more in-depth wishlist can be found on her website.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jaidree Braddix of Fine Literary & Media

Jaidree Braddix is a Literary Agent with Park & Fine Literary & Media.

Jaidree represents a broad range of nonfiction authors who are changing the ways we think about, talk about, and move through the world we live in. Her clients are Guinness World Record-holding athletes, activists who are challenging societal standards and institutions, trailblazers who have created globally trending wellness movements, and acclaimed thought leaders in the fields of psychology, neuroscience, business, and organizational behavior. Specializing in platform-driven nonfiction, Jaidree is committed to helping authors turn their assets—be they courageous ideas, academic studies, foundations for social good, popular podcasts, transformative programs, or online communities—into compelling proposals and noteworthy books.

Following a couple years as a legal assistant, Jaidree got her start in publishing as a publicist at a small press, where her list included cookbooks, health and diet, memoir, lifestyle, business, personal development, and more. She was most recently an associate agent at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Jaidree holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University. She lives in Manhattan, surrounded by an ever-increasing number of house plants that were all deeply necessary purchases at the time.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Shari Maurer of The Stringer Literary Agency

Shari Maurer is a literary agent with The Stringer Literary Agency.

Shari graduated from Duke University with a degree in English, and later studied Dramatic Writing at NYU. Following a stint at The Children’s Television Workshop on international productions of Sesame Street, she published both novels and nonfiction, and worked as a writer and editor. Shari has also written Parenting & Lifestyle columns for several websites. A mother of three, she lives in New York with her husband. 

​In fiction, she seeks: Picture Books, Middle Grade (Contemporary, Historical, Literary and Mystery), and Young Adult (Contemporary, Historical, Literary, Mystery). In nonfiction, she seeks Juvenile (YA and Middle Grade), Memoir, Narrative, Parenting, and Popular Science.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lauren Scovel of Laura Gross Literary Agency

Lauren Scovel is a literary agent with Laura Gross Literary Agency.

“I grew up outside of Seattle and graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing as well as Theatre Studies. I began my publishing career as an editorial intern at Aevitas Creative Management (formerly Zachary Shuster Harmsworth). My editorial work can be seen at The Millions and Pangyrus. I also worked as an indie bookseller for several years.

“I am looking to amplify underrepresented stories and voices, and am especially interested in both fiction and narrative nonfiction with a timely, distinctive story and a diverse cast of characters.”

In fiction, Lauren represents: Commercial, LGBTQ, Literary.

In nonfiction, Lauren represents: History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture, True Crime.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2023 TWW

If you are coming to the (online) 2023 Tennessee Writing Workshop, 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 one of a previous year’s instructors, 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.