Schedule: 2020 Workshop

(IMPORTANT JUNE 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 CWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on the new date of September 12, 2020. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, and online conferences we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about the (new date) Sept. 12 CWW Online Conference here and what everything means.)



Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with the sessions below. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2020 (new date)

9:30 – 10:30: How to Write a Damn Good Query Letter, taught by Eric Smith. In this session, literary agent Eric Smith will teach you the no-nonsense approach to writing a query letter that works. Learn what to include in your pitch, what to cut, and how to give voice and flavor in a small amount of words. At the end of this class, you will have inside information on how to entice an agent or editor to request more material from you.

10:45 – 11:45: How to Keep the Readers Turning Pages, taught by Jori Hanna. No matter what genre you’re writing, if you’re telling a story, suspense will play a key part. By learning what aspects help carry suspense throughout the story, fiction, nonfiction, and anything else will be much more entertaining and enjoyable if aspects of suspense are included. This class, taught by a literary agent, goes over the main elements of suspense and how to apply them to whatever genre you write.

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: Why Isn’t my Book a Best Seller? taught by Liz Pelletier. Every editor is looking for the next bestseller. You know this, so you’ve studied and practiced your craft; you’ve put your all into your storytelling, and yet you still can’t seem to hit that mark. In justified frustration, you ask yourself time and time again, “Why isn’t my book a bestseller? What are those bestselling authors doing that I’m not?” In this workshop, we will go over the six main reasons a book isn’t a bestseller and how to fix it. By the end of the class, you’ll know what you might have been missing all along, and you’ll have the tools you need to write your next book like a bestseller!

4:00 – 5:00: Social Media for Authors, taught by Lesley Sabga. Social media’s purpose is connecting you with the right people. It’s not a place to sell; it’s a place to connect. (Because once you connect, then you will sell without trying.) One of the main reasons social media doesn’t work for many authors is that they don’t understand how to best use social media. In his class, you will learn how to identify your readers and mingle with them on their social media channels of choice. We will talk about what to post online, how to engage new readers, and the differences between social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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 12 more FREE classes on the side:

  1. “An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today”—a class on understanding the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, by Chuck Sambuchino
  2. “10 Query Letter Tips”—a class to help your submission chances, by Chuck Sambuchino
  3. “15 Tips on How to Write Like the Pros”—a class on craft and voice, by Brian Klems
  4. “Working with a Literary Agent”—a class on having a great relationship, by agent Kortney Price
  5. “The Ins and Outs of Perfecting Voice in Your Writing,” taught by author Christina Kaye.
  6. “Ask an Agent Anything Panel (Michigan Writing Workshop)”—hear writers ask questions and agents give blunt feedback
  7. “How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” by Brian Klems—a class specifically designed for writers of nonfiction who want to craft an awesome proposal
  8. “You Have an Agent Offer or Book Contract — Now What?”—a class explaining what happens after you sign with a rep, by agent Carlie Webber
  9. “Pitch, Please”—a class on pitching to agents successfully, by Ben Miller-Callihan and Courtney Miller-Callihan
  10. “Making Social Media Work For You”—a class on promoting yourself and your book via social media, by agent Kenzi Nevins
  11. “Talking Elevator Pitches, Twitter Pitches, and Query Letters”—a class on understanding the various ways to pitch your book to agents, by agent Heather Cashman
  12. “Elevating Your Work: How to Create Great Children’s Picture Books”—a class on writing picture books for kids, by author Gabrielle Pendergrast