Schedule: 2023 Workshop

 All times listed below are
Central Time.



FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2023:

9:30 – 10:30: Querying Agents: What to Do, and What NOT to Do, taught by Dani Segelbaum. The query letter is the ultimate tool for writers seeking publication. It is your sales letter that attempts to persuade an editor or agent to request a full manuscript or proposal. This is your first chance to present your book. What information do you need, and where do you start? 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. The goal? A requested manuscript or proposal. By the end of this presentation, you’ll have the tools in your toolbox to write the most polished one-page letter that will make your book shine.

10:45 – 11:45: How to Handle the Publisher Rollercoaster. Writers have to learn to deal with rejection. You have to find a way to believe in yourself, even if others don’t. So what can a writer do to manage the ups and downs? How should you handle rejection and stay motivated? How do you find the strength to believe in yourself when your career is slow to blossom? How do you know what needs to be edited or not and how do you know when to move on? Author Shelli Johannes will address these questions and inspire you to keep going, even when things get tough.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: 10 Questions You Can Use to Bust Writers Block, taught by E.J. Wenstrom. 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. During this talk you will learn how creative thought functions and what causes writer’s block; insights into how to reduce and break through writer’s block; and specific examples of questions that can help a writer break through a block and tap into creative flow again.

2:45 – 3:45: Visual Thinking for Picture Book Writers, taught by Maria Vicente. The best picture books make equal use of words and art to tell a story. Even if you’re not an illustrator, it’s important to master the art of visual thinking if you want to be a successful picture book author. 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, taught by Erica Bauman. A crucial part for many authors on their publishing journey is finding an agent. But what, exactly, does an agent do? What should authors consider when deciding representation? 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.

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9:30 – 10:30: Memoir Writing: Finding Your Own Voice on the Page, written by Denise McConduit. Memoir is always a healthy genre, and there are numerous memoirs written, but finding your authentic voice while writing one can be tricky. The most difficult part is finding the voice of your true self, not the illusion of yourself that can cloud your vision. Also, what are the kernels of wisdom that can be harvested when writing your life story? How do you know what stories and happenings should be left out of the book vs. those that should be kept in? These and other questions will be answered.

10:45 – 11:45: Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers: How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Bank Account, taught by Paul S. Levine, Esq. Examine the four major ways authors make money from traditional book publishing. This session, taught by a literary agent and attorney, will explain advances, royalties, subsidiary rights, and much more. 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. 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 TWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Understanding Hook and Theme, taught by Shirin Leos. Are you just about ready to send your book out into the world? Before you do, get an inside scoop on how best to arm yourself. 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. With real-life examples, concrete tips, and interactive exercises, this fun class will get your ready to be impactful and effective the next time somebody asks: What is your book about?

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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 10 classes happening June 2-3, 2023 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 10 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. “Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing,” taught by literary agent Leonicka Valcius at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  2. “Voice — and How to Hone Yours,” taught by literary agent Kaitlyn Katsoupis at the 2022 San Diego Writing Workshop.
  3. “Nail Your Opening — How to Fix First Chapter Mistakes,” taught by literary agent Lesley Sabga at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  4. “Improve Your Fiction – How to Master Self-Editing and Revision,” taught by literary agent Elizabeth Kracht at the 2022 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.
  5. “From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Any Kind of Fiction,” taught by literary agent Laurel Symonds at the 2022 Florida Writing Workshop.
  6. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest,” with literary agents at the 2022 Minnesota Writing Workshop. (If you enjoy this amazing agent panel, we sell a bundle of these First Pages agent panel recordings here.)
  7. “Ask an Agent Anything: Open Agent Q&A Panel,” with literary agents at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  8. “Extreme Research For Your Story (If You Dare!),” taught by literary agent Sera Rivers at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.
  9. “Social Media Promotion Secrets for Authors,” taught by author Erik Deckers at the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.
  10. “The Power in Choosing Your Dream of Writing,” taught by author Brittany Thurman at the 2022 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.