The 2020 Kansas City Writing Workshop: March 28, 2020

screen-shot-2015-05-28-at-9-16-34-am.pngAfter successful one-day conferences in 2017 and 2019, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Kansas City Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference in Kansas City, on March 28, 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 (150 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Kansas City Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 28, 2020, at the Hampton Inn & Suites Kansas City Country Club Plaza. 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 faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Heather Cashman (Storm Literary)
  • literary agent Elizabeth Copps (Maria Carvainis Literary)
  • literary agent Savannah Brooks (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Reiko Davis (Defiore & Company)
  • literary agent Kortney Price (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Stephanie Hansen (Metamorphosis Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Jessica Schmeidler (Golden Wheat Literary)
  • and possibly more agents 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 the Kansas & Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, March 28, 2020, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Kansas City Plaza, 220 W 43rd St, Kansas City, MO 64111, (816) 756-1720.

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WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (MARCH 28, 2020)

9 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

9:30 – 10:30: “Let’s Talk Craft — Tips on Making Your Prose Awesome.” This workshop, taught by a literary agent, will help you understand what makes a manuscript tick. Learn tips on dialogue, plot, and character. Get inside information on how to improve the voice and craft of your work before you turn it in.

10:30 – 11:45: “Understanding Query Letters, and How to Get an Agent.” If you want to get an agent, you’ll need to understand how to research agents, how to write a good query letter, submission don’ts, finding the right match for you, what comprises an amazing pitch, and much more. In this speech, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to entice an agent, and write a solid query letter that gets requests.

11:45 – 1:15: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance. A map of places to eat will be passed out prior to the event.

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 10.30.04 PM1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest.” 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.)

2:50 – 3:50: “Savvy Social Media — Understanding the First Steps of Self-Marketing, and Even a Few Advanced Ones, Too.” This workshop, taught by an editor with social media experience, focuses on becoming savvy on Twitter and other platforms, as well as which ones work best for marketing to different age groups. When is it best to make a video? How should you use Facebook to market? Can you have multiple Twitter accounts? Questions like these will be addressed. Learn how to make your posts & content more visible, so they can get shared and help you market yourself and sell books.

4:00 – 5:00: “So You Have an Agent or Book Deal — Now What?” Many writers seek to get an agent and book deal. But what happens after these steps? Hear from literary agent Eric Smith on how to effectively work with a literary agent, what to expect in the submission process, what it’s like to work with a publishing house editor, how to sell multiple books in your career, and much more.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AN AGENT!

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 2.29.57 PM.pngHeather Cashman is a literary agent with Storm Literary. She is seeking: “I’ll take anything in the middle grade or young adult realm, especially if it has a high concept. For adult, I am interested in romance, women’s fiction, political thrillers (even ones without a romance), and small town romances.” Learn more about Heather and her bio here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 8.38.10 AMReiko Davis is a literary agent with DeFiore & Co. Reiko’s interests are varied, but she is particularly drawn to adult literary and upmarket/mainstream fiction, narrative nonfiction, and young adult and middle grade fiction. Above all, she wants to discover books that surprise and move her with their irresistible characters and language. She loves a strong narrative voice; smart, funny heroines; narrowly located settings (especially towns in the South and Midwest); family sagas; darkly suspenseful novels; and stories of remarkable friendships or that explore the often perilous terrain of human relationships. For children’s books, she is actively looking for young adult and middle grade fiction—whether it be contemporary, historical, fantasy, or simply a story with a timeless quality and vibrant characters. For nonfiction, she is most interested in cultural, social, and literary history; fascinating tours through niche subjects; narrative science; psychology; guides on creativity; and memoir. Learn more about Reiko here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.03.13 PMSavannah Brooks is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. “I represent memoir, adult literary/contemporary fiction, young adult contemporary fiction, and topic-driven and narrative nonfiction (books and essay collections).” Learn more about Savannah here.

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 12.53.16 PM.pngElizabeth Copps is a literary agent with Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc. “I represent a wide range of genres from middle grade and young adult, to adult contemporary + literary fiction, mystery, psychological thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, horror, and select nonfiction projects. I’m an equal fan of hilarious stories as well as dark, gritty and sinister reads.” Learn more about Elizabeth here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 11.47.38 PMKortney Price is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. Kortney specializes in books for children. This includes picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade and young adult works. In picture books, early readers, and chapter books, Kortney is drawn to fresh ideas, humor, and diverse representation. In middle grade, Kortney is desperately looking for adventure and survival stories, mysteries, science fiction, historical, fantasy and contemporary novels. Graphic novels are one of her favorite mediums. In young adult, Kortney is looking for her perfectly “dark and stormy” stories. Magical realism, psychological thrillers, steampunk, historical, paranormal and science fiction are favorites of hers. Outside of these, she loves sweet and humorous “geeky” or “artsy” romances. Learn more about Kortney here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 1.15.07 PMJessica Schmeidler is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary. She is seeking: general/mainstream fiction, mystery, romance, suspense/thriller, fantasy, science fiction, young adult and middle grade, religious nonfiction, children’s picture books, and Christian fiction. Golden Wheat Literary was founded in an effort to help connect Christian writers with the vast market of both Christian and secular publishers. To that end, the manuscripts that are accepted do not need to be overtly Christian, but must exist within the realities of Christian faith. If your manuscript’s elements can all be true without any part of God’s Word needing to step aside or be discounted, it is acceptable for submission/pitch. Learn more about Jessica here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 11.54.49 PM.pngStephanie Hansen is a literary agent with Metamorphosis Literary Agency. She represents predominately young adult science fiction & fantasy but has a secret addiction for adult thrillers. While these are her favorite, she also handles children’s picture books, middle grade, young adult science fiction & fantasy (diversity = a plus), adult literary fiction, and women’s fiction. She is actively building her client list. Learn more about Stephanie here.

 

More 2020 agents/editors will be added in the coming weeks.

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

$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2020 KCWW and access to all workshops, all day, on March 28, 2020. As of October 2019, event registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents 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, a former editor for Writer’s Digest Books and the Guide to Literary Agents. 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 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:

  • Forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email: writingdayworkshops@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 Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Kansas City workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Plaza hotel, the workshop can only allow 150 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. 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 KCWW 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 Kansas City workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason, 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 are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your letter.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Kansas City Writing Workshop.

 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Reiko Davis of DeFiore & Company

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 3.25.12 PM.pngReiko Davis is a literary agent with DeFiore & Co. in New York City.

Previously, she was an associate agent at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency for four years. She grew up in Kansas City, received her BA in Comparative Literature and Art History from Brown University, and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course.

Reiko’s interests are varied, but she is particularly drawn to adult literary and upmarket/mainstream fiction, narrative nonfiction, and young adult and middle grade fiction. Above all, she wants to discover books that surprise and move her with their irresistible characters and language.

She loves a strong narrative voice; smart, funny heroines; narrowly located settings (especially towns in the South and Midwest); family sagas; darkly suspenseful novels; and stories of remarkable friendships or that explore the often perilous terrain of human relationships.

For children’s books, she is actively looking for young adult and middle grade fiction—whether it be contemporary, historical, fantasy, or simply a story with a timeless quality and vibrant characters.

For nonfiction, she is most interested in cultural, social, and literary history; fascinating tours through niche subjects; narrative science; psychology; guides on creativity; and memoir.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Heather Cashman of Storm Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 2.29.54 PM.pngHeather Cashman is a literary agent with Storm Literary.

At the 2019 KC workshop, Heather is taking pitches, and also teaching on social media (marketing) basics.

She is seeking: “I’ll take anything in the middle grade or young adult realm, especially if it has a high concept. For adult, I am interested in romance, women’s fiction, political thrillers (even ones without a romance), and small town romances.”

After working as a professional editor for Cornerstones Literary US/UK and managing Pitch Wars and #PitMad, Heather used to assist Stacy Cantor-Abrams at Entangled Publishing. Because of her diverse background working for agents, editors, published authors, and mentoring, Heather also freelance edits. In her free time, she loves road trips, kayaking, hiking, and of course, writing novels–always with a speculative element from her days working as a biochemist.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 1.51.09 PM.pngJessica Schmeidler is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary.

She is seeking: general/mainstream fiction, mystery, romance, suspense/thriller, fantasy, science fiction, young adult and middle grade, religious nonfiction, children’s picture books, and Christian fiction.

Golden Wheat Literary was founded in an effort to help connect Christian writers with the vast market of both Christian and secular publishers. To that end, the manuscripts that are accepted do not need to be overtly Christian, but must exist within the realities of Christian faith. If your manuscript’s elements can all be true without any part of God’s Word needing to step aside or be discounted, it is acceptable for submission/pitch.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Elizabeth Copps of Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 12.53.16 PM.pngElizabeth Copps is a literary agent with Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.

“I migrated from Florida to start my career with Maria Carvainis Agency as an intern in 2010. In 2011 I signed on with the agency as a full-time assistant, and two years later I moved to Associate Agent.

“I represent a wide range of genres from middle grade and young adult, to adult contemporary + literary fiction, mystery, psychological thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, horror, and select nonfiction projects. I’m an equal fan of hilarious stories as well as dark, gritty and sinister reads.”

“For me, the very best books are timeless, thought provoking, and discussion spurring. I want to see characters who burst off the page and elicit some sort of emotional response in their readers. There are only so many settings and themes to expound on, but every single person is different which means there are limitless combinations of character traits a writer can play with. That’s pretty amazing. The King said it best regarding what it means to create a complex character: “Bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do―to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Savannah Brooks of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.03.06 PMSavannah Brooks is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Savannah joined the Jennifer De Chiara team after interning for a year and a half. She’s an MFA candidate at Hamline University focusing in creative nonfiction as well as an editor at Red Bird Chapbooks, a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center, and a reader for multiple literary magazines. Her own creative work has been publishing in Hobart, Lime Hawk, and Every Writer’s Resource, among others. When not immersed in the world of words, she can be found on her bike, at a dive bar, or lounging at one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. She lives in the most beautiful literary capital: Saint Paul.

She is looking for:

“Books and collections that intrigue and entrap. I’d love to bring more nonfiction into this world, especially topic-driven books/essays such as those written by the likes of Mary Roach, Leslie Jamison, Michelle McNamara, Malcolm Gladwell, and Bill Bryson—anything that keeps my curious mind engaged and wanting more. I’m also interested in memoir that will inspire generations to come. H is for Hawk is a personal favorite—and I’m a sucker for humor, so long as it’s doing more than just making me laugh—see: Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood.

“For fiction, I’m interested in contemporary and literary fiction — novels/stories that are relevant to culture and focus on themes and issues that impact our daily lives. I would love to hear more from marginalized voices, regardless of whether or not marginalization is a central theme. Main players I follow: Lesley Nneka Arimah, Celeste Ng, Anthony Doerr, and Jesmyn Ward.

“For YA (all genres), I’m especially interested in books that focus on friendship, conflicting identity, and the theme of truth. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an obvious but apt example that encapsulates all three. I’m also invested in representing the diverse world in which we live and would like to see that reflected in a cast of characters. Show me variations in race, sexuality, gender, dis/ability, and ethnicity without that difference being a point of contention, and I’ll be thrilled.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephanie Hansen of Metamorphosis Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 11.54.49 PM.pngStephanie Hansen is a literary agent with Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

She represents predominately young adult science fiction & fantasy but has a secret addiction for adult thrillers. While these are her favorite, she handles everything fiction from children’s picture books, middle grade, young adult science fiction & fantasy (diversity = a plus), adult literary fiction, and women’s fiction.

Stephanie received her Master’s in 2008, and she’s currently beefing it up with a Creative Writing Specialization. Previously an editor for Mind’s Eye Literary Magazine, she is actively looking for new authors. Twitter: @hansenwriter.