The 2019 Florida Writing Workshop: June 8, 2019 in Tampa

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2016 and 2018 events in Tampa, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Florida Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Tampa, FL on June 8, 2019.

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 (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Florida Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Hotel Alba Tampa (formerly the Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore). 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 & editor faculty so far includes:

  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Weronika Janczuk (D4E0 Literary)
  • literary agent Saritza Hernandez (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Caroline George (CYLE Literary)
  • literary agent Cricket Freeman (The August Agency)
  • literary agent Sharon Belcastro (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Nalini Akolekar (Spencerhill Associates)
  • literary agent Nicole Resciniti (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Amanda Leuck (Spencerhill Associates)
  • literary agent Marlene Stringer (The Stringer Agency)
  • literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson (Corvisiero Agency)
  • and probably 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 Kimiko Nakamura of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from local writing groups.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, June 8, 2019 — at the Hotel Alba Tampa (the hotel was renamed to the Alba on June 1, 2019; previously it was the Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore), 5303 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609. (813)289-1950.

Want to book a room? The hotel absolutely has guest rooms available for both June 7 and June 8. But because of the property name change on June 4, booking it can be confusing. Sorry. The surefire way to get a guest room at the event venue is to call the hotel directly during business hours (930-500 EST) at 813-289-1950. When you get the automated message, choose to talk with SALES, not reservations. Choose to talk with Sales & Catering, and you will get a live person on the line, and explain to them that you are attending the 2019 Florida Writing Workshop on June 8, and was told to call this number to book guest room nights. The sales representatives should be able to handle you from there. If you experience any issues with this plan, please let us know. Thanks.

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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. Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing — Which One is Right for You in 2019? (Westshore Main) This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing (e-publishing).

2. Writing for Young Adult and Middle Grade Audiences (Westshore East). In this class, you’ll learn who your audience is, hear about the “musts” of YA and MG fiction, review publication trends, and discover the pitfalls to avoid when crafting a novel for the middle grade and young adult worlds.

3. Mastering the Art of Dialogue (Westshore West). This presentation will help writers learn how to format their dialogue, how to find your characters’ voices, how to make it sound natural, and how to avoid five big mistakes that writers often make.

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

1. The Writer’s Journey (Westshore West). This is an open Q&A session with best-selling author Don Bruns, who can answer any questions you have about the publishing process and what it’s like to make a living as a writer.

2. How to Get a Literary Agent (Westshore Main). This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. Time Management For Writers (Westshore East). Are you easily distracted? Is procrastination your superpower? If you need help to keep you on track to meet those looming deadlines, this is the workshop for you. It will give you hands-on practical methods for avoiding distraction while racking up that word count. Your Swag Bag of tools will include proven tricks and techniques for starting to write and then maintaining focus on your work

(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 (Westshore Main). 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.  How to Sell a Nonfiction Book (Westshore East). This session is completely devoted to nonfiction book proposals.

3. You CAN Publish a Picture Book (Westshore West). 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. The Agent/Author Relationship (Westshore Main).  This workshop, taught by a literary agent, details the happenings from The Call all the way to going on submission.

2. How to Write and Sell Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Westshore East). This presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night.

3. Writing Romance 101: Finding Your Way to Your Own Happily Ever After (Westshore West). In this workshop, a literary agent will talk about everything from basic terminology to plotting (and pantsing!) strategies to building your readership from the ground up.

(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. Worldbuilding for Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers (Westshore West). Understand how to build a setting from the ground up, taking every aspect of culture into consideration. The workshop can help with revision for those who have already written a story and want to improve their worldbuilding.

2. Social Media and Personal Branding (Westshore East). Learn how blogging can establish your reputation, Facebook and Twitter can find new readers, web analytics measures your success, and how to bring it all together into one package.

3. From A to Z: Strategies for Plotting, Pacing and Structure (Westshore Main). In this class, a literary agent will begin with a detailed introduction to the three-act screenwriting structure that lends itself to theoretical preparation for novel-writing and outlining, and then identify different tools for plot consideration, outlining, as well as writing that permit novelists to plot and pace their work tightly.


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

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.



Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.29.46 AM.pngKaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She is seeking upper middle grade, young adult, new adult romance, fantasy works (yes, that very much includes urban!) and time travel, romance (erotic elements OK), historical fiction (anything other than Henry VIII, Shakespeare, American Civil War, Greek gods/myths), contemporary (can grab her attention only if the concept is unique and well executed, LGBT welcome in all noted genres. Learn more about Kaitlyn here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 1.56.58 PM.pngWeronika Janczuk [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with D4E0 Literary. “I am not, and have never been, a single-genre reader. I am eager only for the best-told stories, building out a list of talented novelists and writers in many genres.” She is seeking: young adult, fantasy & sci-fi, literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance crime, mystery & thrillers. memoir and nonfiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.). Learn more about Weronika here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 3.00.24 PM.pngCaroline George is a literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite. She is a generalist, and seeks many genres of fiction, including: picture books, middle grade contemporary, middle grade sci-fi/fantasy, YA contemporary, YA sci-fi/fantasy, historical, women’s, mystery, thriller, romance, adult science fiction and fantasy, Christian/inspirational fiction, horror literary fiction, and mainstream fiction. Regarding nonfiction, she likes memoir, inspirational, self-help, and socially relevant titles. Learn more about Caroline George.

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 4.51.55 PM.pngCricket Freeman is a literary agent with The August Agency. She is seeking: Her fiction interests include mainstream fiction, literary fiction, and crime/mystery/thriller (including historicals), and fiction with an international flavor. Her nonfiction interests include narrative nonfiction, memoir, history, biography, business, true crime (including historicals), pop culture, arts & entertainment, political & social sciences, academic works, media & current events (seasoned journalists receive special attention here), and nonfiction with an international flavor. Learn more about Cricket here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 2.56.06 AM.pngMarlene Stringer is a literary agent and the founder of Stringer Literary Agency. She will be at the Tampa event. She represents mystery, thriller, contemporary and urban fantasy, science fiction, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, young adult / teen, and women’s fiction. She also represents select nonfiction, including parenting, history, music, sports and popular science. “If your manuscript falls between categories, or you are not sure of the category, pitch and we’ll let you know if we’d like to take a look.” Note that she does not represent picture books, plays, short stories, poetry, academic, or memoir. Learn more about Marlene here.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.55.01 PM.pngSharon Belcastro is the founder of the Belcastro Agency. She is seeking cozy mysteries, thriller, suspense fiction, mystery with romantic elements, romance (both contemporary and suspenseful), and young adult fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and action/adventure). “We look for a unique voice and a strong protagonist full of attitude. We like dark and intense but we won’t turn away something that’s a little on the lighter side. We enjoy a touch of humor, and we would never turn away something sexy.” Learn more about Sharon here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 2.56.33 PM.pngNicole Resciniti [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a senior literary agent with The Seymour Agency. She is seeking: happily-ever-after romances, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, YA, and inspirational novels. Currently on her specific wishlist: high concept middle grade, any kind of romance, and really fresh voices in YA. Learn more about Nicole here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.26.15 AM.pngAmanda Leuck is a literary agent with Spencerhill Associates. She is seeking: strong, character-driven stories, written with an unforgettable voice. She’s looking for literary and commercial YA, new adult fiction, urban fantasy, and romance in all genres, including edgy romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal with a fresh twist. Learn more about Amanda here.

126a6eaa16ef1d4b5ef0e677c1965ca7Saritza Hernandez is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary, and is representing the entire agency and their genres. She will be at the Tampa event. Her personal tastes lean toward erotica (all kinds), but she is open to hearing pitches for all her co-agents in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, romance, thrillers, adventure, paranormal, young adult, middle grade, picture books, historical romance, new adult (both romance and non-romance), and graphic novels. In nonfiction, she can take pitches for parenting, education, self-improvement, science, and business. Learn more about Saritza here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 1.51.28 PM.pngNalini Akolekar is a literary agent with Spencerhill Associates. Nalini currently represents several best-selling authors, and has placed books with a wide range of publishers, from the Big Five to Amazon, Harlequin, indies and E-first. She specializes in romance and women’s fiction in the adult market, but she also loves thrillers. Please note that her agency does not represent children’s books. Learn more about Nalini here.

        More 2019 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. You can pitch as many agents & editors as like you wish.

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.)



$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2019 FWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 2018, 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, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four 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 2017 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 2017 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 2018 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 2017 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 2016 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 Brian Klems, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Florida 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 double-spaced 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:

  • Mystery, thriller, suspense, and crime: Faculty member Don Bruns, a published author of thriller/mystery, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, humorous fiction, mystery, fantasy, memoir, business nonfiction: Faculty member Erik Deckers, a published author and freelance editor, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Southern fiction, literary fiction, mainstream/upmarket fiction, women’s fiction: Faculty member Lorna Hollifield, a published Southern fiction author, will get your work in advance and critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story. She will then meet with you for 10 minutes at the event to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Young adult: Faculty member Kelly Coon, a published young adult fiction author will get your work in advance, critique 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.
  • Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 4.24.45 PM.pngMiddle grade, science fiction, fantasy: Faculty member Frankie Mallis will get you work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, and pass along written critique notes. Frankie is a veteran freelance editor, and her work was formerly represented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Unlike other editors at the workshop, Frankie will not be present at the 2019 Florida event. Instead of meeting with her for 10 minutes at the event, she will be doing 10-minute Skype/phone calls for any critiques, and also passing along written notes via email.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura 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 Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Florida workshop specifically.


Because of limited space at the Hotel Alba Tampa (formerly the Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore), the workshop can only allow 200 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 FWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kimiko plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Florida 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]. 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 work.)

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