The 2020 Florida Writing Workshop: May 16, 2020 in Tampa

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2016, 2018, and 2019 events in Tampa, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Florida Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Tampa, FL on May 16, 2020.

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 2020 Florida Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 16, 2020, 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:

  • literary agent Vicki Selvaggio (Storm Literary)
  • literary agent Lucienne Diver (The Knight Agency)
  • literary agent Michael L. Joy (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Sharon Belcastro (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Marlene Stringer (The Stringer Agency)
  • literary agent Amanda Leuck (Spencerhill Associates)
  • literary agent Beth Marshea (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Saritza Hernandez (Corvisiero Literary)
  • and 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.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 16, 2020 — at the Hotel Alba Tampa (the hotel was renamed to the Alba in 2019; previously it was the Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore), 5303 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609. (813)289-1950.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MAY 16, 2020):

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

CLASSES COMING SOON

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

CLASSES COMING SOON

(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.

CLASSES COMING SOON

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

CLASSES COMING SOON

(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

CLASSES COMING SOON

SESSIONS END: 5:00

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.

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PITCH AGENTS AND EDITORS:

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 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AMVicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary (formerly 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 2018-01-10 at 2.15.28 PMLucienne Diver is a literary agent with The Knight Agency. She is seeking: any commercial fiction field from young adult up, with an emphasis on strong characterization and stories which emotionally invest the reader. This includes sci-fi, fantasy, romance, romantica, suspense, mystery, thriller, crime, and any kind of young adult. Diverse voices welcome. Learn more about Lucienne here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 11.01.53 PMMichael L. Joy is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. In fiction, he seeks character-driven commercial fiction in mystery/crime/suspense/thriller (including graphic novel script format; stories that transcend genre and have the potential to attract a wider audience (aka: upmarket fiction); new perspectives – #OwnVoices, race, gender, LGBTQ, or sub-culture – different POVs, obstacles and outcomes. In nonfiction, he seeks authors with good platform writing art, music, pop-culture or sub-culture topics, including positive mental and physical health for artist; true crime; and business self-help (ow to survive and keep positive while starting a business, running a business or working a high-pressure job). Learn more about Micheal here.

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 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 2017-11-07 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.

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.16.13 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Literary. She is seeking literary fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy, science fiction, young adult sci-fi and fantasy, and crime novels. Diverse voices are encouraged and welcome to pitch. Learn more about Beth 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.

 

 

 

 

        More 2020 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.)

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PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2020 FWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 2019, 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 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 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:

  • Middle grade and young adult (all kinds). Also adult fiction the following categories: near-future/dystopian sci-fi, urban fantasy, contemporary, historical, women’s fiction, romance, mystery, thriller, suspense (no hard science fiction or epic fantasy, please): Faculty member Jennifer Johnson-Blalock, a former literary agent, will get your work in advance, critique 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.
  • Mainstream fiction, literary fiction, romance, women’s fiction, mystery, thriller: Faculty member Anne Clermont, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • More critique options forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email: WDWcoordinator@gmail.com, 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.

REGISTRATION:

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: WDWcoordinator@gmail.com. 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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Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Agency

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.16.13 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency.

At the 2018 workshop, she will be taking pitches from attendees, and also teaching a speech on writing science fiction and fantasy.

Ladderbird is a boutique literary agency. Beth has a long love of literature, which started as part of a family of bookworms. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She became determined to find a way to merge her business passion and her love of literature, which she did as an agent. Beth is passionate about writing that pushes genres and boundaries and challenges the reader to accept a new point of view.

She is seeking:

literary fiction​: “We love literary fiction, particularly if it has an unusual setting or involves a deep look into problems with social constructs, gender roles, wealth disparity or racial tensions (particularly written by minority writers from any group). Literary is a genre where we really need to see beautiful, well thought out writing that lets us dive into ourselves and discover something new. We’re not especially limited in what we’ll look at, but it should be new; I don’t need another book about the difficulties of addiction.”

women’s fiction​: “We’d love to see a women’s adventure story that is smart, sharp, funny and page-turning!​​ Something like Stephanie Plum meets Indian Jones. In women’s fiction, we want strong characters, not people who are falling about over a breakup. We want women that inspirational and clever, not characters that need saving.”

fantasy​: “We are specifically looking for non-European centric fantasy. We would especially love to see fantasy that draws its inspiration from African, Indian, or Japanese culture. We like accessible fantasy that can reach a broad audience, I’m not interested in epics. Fantasies that are submitted to Ladderbird should be plot driven with strong well developed characters. We’d love to see something fun, magical and​ fast paced. I am especially draw to fantasy that is folkloric and draws inspiration from the old tales of the region of their focus.”

science fiction: “We would love to see quick, exciting, fun adventures. We prefer sci-fi that is closer to speculative fiction than deep sci-fi. They can involve space, but should not be space operas or epics. ​We love sci-fi that shows how technology impacts the world, especially in a positive way. We are especially interested in acquiring works have a utopic rather than dystopic environment, but we’ll look at both. We’re looking for the next Nnedi Okorafor!”

crime​ novels: “We’re looking for crime novels that have a strong setting, foreign or regional. We want fabulously developed characters that are interesting and relatable. We do not want police procedurals (no Law & Order!). We like the focus to come from the perspective of the criminal and offer insight into the illicit side of life while still being quick and fun, especially the ‘accidental’ criminal.”

young adult sci-fi & fantasy: “We are looking for YA sci-fi/fantasy that conforms to the same requirements as our adult sci-fi and fantasy but has a younger protagonists. YA should be able to reach both younger readers and adults. The themes should be universal and easily accessible for all readers.”

Ladderbird is NOT seeking:

mainstream/commercial fiction​
horror
thriller
historical fiction
young adult contemporary
middle grade
picture books​

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 2.15.25 PMLucienne Diver is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

She is seeking: any commercial fiction field from young adult up, with an emphasis on strong characterization and stories which emotionally invest the reader. This includes sci-fi, fantasy, romance, romantica, suspense, mystery, thriller, crime, and any kind of young adult. Diverse voices welcome.

Lucienne joined TKA in 2008, after spending fifteen years at New York City’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency. With her sharp eye and gift for spotting original new voices, Lucienne is one of the most well-respected agents in the industry. A lifelong book addict, she graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Potsdam with dual majors in English/writing and anthropology. She thus came well-equipped for her work as an agent.

Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of more than forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, romantica, suspense and young adult. Her authors have been honored with the RITA, National Readers’ Choice, Hugo, and Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Awards, and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A publishing veteran, Lucienne has superb industry knowledge, numerous editor relationships, and a keen understanding of the foreign rights market. She is a member of the Association of Authors Representatives, RWA, MWA and SFWA.

 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 2.56.06 AM.pngMarlene Stringer is a literary agent and the founder of Stringer Literary Agency. She is a member of the AAR, The Authors Guild, RWA, MWA, ITW, and SCBWI.

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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kaitlyn Johnson of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 11.29.46 AM.pngKaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary.

At the 2018 Tampa workshop, she will be taking pitches as well as teaching a speech on self-editing and revision.

After receiving a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, Kaitlyn refused to leave the concept of nightly homework behind. As well as being an apprentice agent for Corvisiero Literary Agency, she is also a freelance editor at her own company, K. Johnson Editorial, and has worked as a copyeditor for academic publisher codeMantra, a YA editor for Accent Press, and a Conference Assistant for GrubStreet, Boston. She has written various articles for Writer’s Digest and has had a flash fiction story published in the anthology A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed.

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 (as well as characters questioning their sexuality) welcome in all above genres

Kaitlyn is NOT accepting:

– Nonfiction
– Chapter or picture books
– Horror, thriller/suspense
– Novellas, poetry, or short story collections
– Storylines heavily dependent on religious motives/events/themes

Her favorite authors/books include the following: Cornelia Funke (Inkheart series); Michael Buckley (Undertow series); John Green (more Looking for Alaska, less An Abundance of Katherines); Gayle Forman (Just One Year and Just One Day); Lois Lowry (The Giver series); Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins). Her favorite TV shows are Doctor Who, Buffy, Supernatural, Firefly — basically the nerdier the fandom the better.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amanda Leuck of Spencerhill Associates

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 11.15.11 AMAmanda 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.

About Amanda: Amanda Leuck started her career  in various facets of the media, including work on a TV talk show, at a fashion magazine, as a print journalist, and as an on-air traffic reporter. After graduating from New York University, Amanda went on to study literacy and literature at the post-graduate level. It was then that she developed a passion for the publishing industry. Amanda started at Spencerhill Associates as an editorial assistant, and was promoted to agent in August 2014. Her Twitter handle is @MandiLeone.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Saritza Hernandez of Corvisiero Literary

126a6eaa16ef1d4b5ef0e677c1965ca7Saritza Hernandez is the Sr. Literary Agent at the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

At the 2018 workshop, she will be taking pitches and also teaching the workshop “Querying and Pitching Literary Agents.”

Saritza is representing the entire agency and their genres. 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.

About Saritza personally: She is known as the first literary agent to represent authors in the digital publishing landscape. While continuing to seek traditional publishers for her authors, Saritza is the leading literary agent in digital publishing deals. An avid coffee-drinker with a Kindle book obsession, she enjoys a steaming cup of strong Cuban coffee every morning while reading an erotic contemporary romance or action-packed science fiction adventure. A strong advocate of the GLBT community, she enjoys fresh voices in Young Adult and New Adult genre fiction.