Schedule: 2021 Workshop


9:30 – 10:30: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing, taught by Leonicka Valcius. Now more than ever, writers have options when it comes to publishing their work. And with imprints consolidating and advances trending down, self-publishing increasingly seems like an attractive path. In this introductory workshop, agent Léonicka Valcius of Transatlantic Agency breaks down the basics of self-publishing, traditional publishing, and how writers can navigate each to maximize their opportunities for success.

10:45 – 11:45: First Impressions: How to Hook an Agent or Editor with Your Opening Pages, taught by agent Amaryah Orenstein. You only get one chance to make a first impression. When it comes to your written work, this means that your opening pages are critical! Why? Well, if an agent or editor isn’t hooked by your submission immediately he or she will put it down and move on. It’s as simple as that. This seminar will show you how to capture a reader’s attention with your opening pages and how to avoid the weak openings that lead to instant rejection. We will discuss the most common pitfalls found in first sentences and first pages, including overused beginnings and clichés that can drag down a work. We will also examine the pros and cons of using a prologue as the opening chapter of your novel.

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: Crafting Successful Pitches for Twitter Pitch Events, taught by Charlotte Wenger. While cold submission query letters are still a worthwhile means to pitch agents, Twitter pitch contests have opened up a new and exciting avenue for writers to meet and pitch reps online. Learn more about different pitch contests — such as #pitmad and much more — and understand how to boil down your story into 1-2 dynamite sentences and get agent requests for your work through Twitter.

4:00 – 5:00: Keys to Getting a Literary Agent and Writing a Great Query, taught by Gordon Warnock. Taught by a literary agent and founding partner of Fuse Literary, this workshop demystifies the submission process, including where to find the right agent for your work, how to approach them, writing and formatting an effective query letter, pitching in person, what gets an agent’s attention, common mistakes, and more. Teacher Gordon Warnock’s clients include former Seattle Writing Workshop attendee Amber Cowie, whose debut novel, Rapid Falls, came out from Lake Union.