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 Bob DiForio (D4E0 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 possibly more to come.

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Chuck Sambuchino 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 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. Querypalooza! This interactive workshop will teach query letter dos and don’ts.

2. Demystifying Contracts: How to Get in Bed with a Publisher Without Losing Your Shirt. In this hour-long workshop, we’ll cover pitfalls to avoid when signing a publishing contract.

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

1. Publishing A to Z. In this session, a literary agent will give a quick yet important overview of everything to expect in the publishing process.

2. Creating Compelling Characters. This session will explain how to create characters that agents, editors, and (most importantly) readers connect with.

(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. Be Brief, Bright, and BOLD! How to Create Epic Picture Books That Sell. In this workshop, you will learn how to create, pitch, and publish compelling picture books that will delight audiences for years to come.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. What to Do Before You Query. This session addresses everything to worry about before you ever reach out to an agent (or publisher).

2. Like I Care: Five Elements That Create Unforgettable Fiction.

(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. Is the First Page All that Matters? In this workshop we’ll talk about the pitfalls that writers run into in the first page of their novel, but we’ll continue on to creating a full manuscript that will grab the attention of agents and editors.

2. Author Branding and Marketing. In this workshop we’ll discuss the best ways to create your author brand, help you stay consistent, even if you’ve written different types of books, and marketing best practices to get your books out in front of your future readers. 

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.

————-

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 2019-12-05 at 2.05.52 PMBob Diforio is a literary agent and founder of D4E0 Literary Agency. In fiction, he is seeking: mystery, thriller, crime, mainstream/upmarket fiction, literary fiction, and women’s fiction. He is a nonfiction generalist who seeks good ideas by writers with good platforms. He also represents some memoir. His nonfiction areas of interest include, but are not limited to: business, finance, health, sports, current affairs, relationships, cooking, reference, self-help, and humor. Learn more about Bob 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 2020-01-18 at 9.55.15 PMKaitlyn 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. Amanda is currently seeking strong, character-driven stories with an unforgettable voice. She’s looking for literary and commercial YA, select adult sci-fi and fantasy, and romance in all genres, including edgy romantic suspense, contemporary, and paranormal with a fresh twist. Learn more about Amanda here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 2.39.57 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Literary. She is seeking mainstream/commercial fiction, family sagas, literary fiction, women’s fiction, RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. For young adult, she seeks contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, and fantasy. Beth is also starting to acquire a very select list of middle grade and picture books. Learn more about Beth here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 2.29.20 PM.pngSaritza Hernandez is the VP and a Sr. Literary Agent at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. While Saritza’s personal tastes lean toward romance (all kinds), she is currently acquiring commercial fiction in all categories from middle grade to adult as well as graphic novels from diverse voices. In nonfiction, she’s actively looking for narrative nonfiction, health/body/spirit, and cooking books. In addition to taking pitches for herself, Saritza is also representing the entire agency and their genres. 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.)

———

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.
  • Children’s picture books, middle grade (all kinds), young adult (all kinds), literary fiction, mainstream fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, true crime, nonfiction: Faculty member Eve Porinchak, 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. Pictures books should be 1,000 words, maximum, and can or cannot include illustrations.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, general fiction, short stories, historical fiction, adult science fiction, adult fantasy, and memoir: Faculty member Lorin Oberweger, a professional editor, 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.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com, and he 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 Chuck 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 Chuck Sambuchino via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com. He 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 Chuck 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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