The 2015 Portland Writing Workshop: Feb. 20, 2015

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 10.29.46 PMThe 2015 Portland Writing Workshop is now over, and it was a wonderful success. If you are interested in future PWW writing events, email coordinator Jessica Bell at writingdayworkshops [at] gmail.com and ask to be alerted when other events come together. Meanwhile, if you live elsewhere in the country, you can see other Writing Day Workshop dates and locations here.

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The staff behind the organization and instruction of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop are excited to announce The Portland Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event just outside Portland, OR on February 20, 2015.

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 (100 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Portland Writing Workshop!

(If you live closer to Seattle than Portland, note that there is also a nearly identical workshop in Seattle in Feb. 2015.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, at the Radisson Hotel Portland Airport. 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 ever-growing faculty so far includes literary agent Sandra Bishop (Transatlantic Agency), literary agent Mary C. Moore (Kimberley Cameron & Associates), literary agent Natasha Kern (Natasha Kern Literary Agency), editor Lisa Whipkey (REUTS Publishing), agency representative Jodi Dahlke (Fuse Literary), agency representative Cait Spivey (Corvisiero Literary), and editor Adam O’Connor Rodriguez (Hawthorne Books).

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey.

THIS YEAR’S PRESENTER/INSTRUCTOR

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 1.09.19 PMChuck Sambuchino (chucksambuchino.com, @chucksambuchino) of Writer’s Digest Books is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His authored books include Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript; Create Your Writer Platform, which was praised by Forbes.com; and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, which was optioned for film by Sony. He oversees one of the biggest blogs in publishing (the Guide to Literary Agents Blog) as well as one of the biggest Twitter accounts in publishing (@WritersDigest). He is a freelance editor who has seen dozens of his clients get agents and/or book deals, and he has presented at 120 writing conferences and events over the past ten years.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, at the Radisson Hotel Portland Airport, 6233 North East 78th Court, Portland, OR 97218, (503) 251-2000.

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Click on this image to see a map of where the workshop location is on a map.

 

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (FEB. 20, 2015)

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

9:30 – 10:30: “Your Publishing Options Today.” This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing (e-publishing). We will examine the upsides of both routes, the downsides, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist.

10:30 – 11:45: “Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Queries & Pitching.” This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

11:45 – 1: 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 – 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.)

2:30 – 3:45: “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Author Platform & Social Media Explained.” A writer’s platform is as important as ever now. Visibility and ability to self-market are mandatory these days for writers of nonfiction and self-published works. Furthermore, fiction writers want a platform to sell more books, meet readers, and increase their value. This speech teaches writers the basics of what a platform is and why it is necessary. Then we delve into the building blocks of what can constitute a platform, from media appearances and speaking engagements to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more.

3:45 – 5:00: “How to Get Published: 10 Professional Writing Practices That You Need to Know NOW to Find Success as a Writer.” This final speech is a general presentation examining good writing practices that all editors appreciate—whether writing for books, magazines, newspapers or online. It discusses how to not put all your eggs in one writing basket, how to steal ideas from yourself to generate more stories and books, how to avoid the two most common reasons agents reject you, and much more.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

PITCH AGENTS & EDITORS! (We will continue to add to the faculty)

Sandra-Bishop-2014smrSandra Bishop is an agent at Transatlantic Literary. Sandra represents a broad spectrum of both fiction genres and nonfiction categories, and is happy to meet with writers of any kind of book. She will be giving feedback at the “Writers’ Got Talent” panel in the afternoon, as well. Learn more about Sandra here.

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 5.04.21 PMMary C. Moore is a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates. She is seeking literary fiction and commercial fiction (unusual fantasy, grounded science-fiction, and atypical romance). Strong female characters and unique cultures especially catch her eye. Although she will not consider most non-fiction, stories about any kind of dance or native and pagan cultures may interest her. Learn more about Mary here.

Natasha ACFW1Natasha Kern is a literary agent and the founder of Natasha Kern Literary Agency. She is seeking In fiction, she is seeking women’s fiction, inspirational fiction, contemporary single title novels, romantic suspense, contemporary and historical romances, and multicultural fiction. She seeks historical novels from any country or time period; contemporary fiction (literary / mainstream fiction), including novels with romance or suspense elements; and multicultural fiction. She also represents inspirational fiction in a broad range of genres including: suspense and mysteries, historicals, romance, and contemporary novels. “We do not represent horror, true crime, erotica, children’s books, short stories or novellas, poetry, screenplays.” In nonfiction, she is seeking: narrative nonfiction; memoirs; health and medicine; inspirational and religious books; psychology, relationship and self-help; parenting; as well as trade nonfiction written by prominent authorities in their fields. Learn more about Natasha here.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 2.33.07 PMKisa Whipkey is the editorial director of REUTS Publishing, a small publishing house. She is seeking fantasy (especially the dark variety or that contains a psychological element), brilliantly written contemporary fiction, new twists on old YA themes (i.e. male MC, innovative paranormal romance, non-sparkly vampires, etc.), sci-fi, dystopian, fairy tale retellings, and epic/high fantasy (a la Kristen Cashore’s Graceling and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass). Learn more about Kisa here.

Screen shot 2014-12-15 at 7.56.27 PMJodi Dahlke is taking pitches on behalf of Fuse Literary. She will be taking pitches for women’s fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, historical fiction, and literary fiction — and she is interested in mystery, fantasy, and occasionally romance approaches to any of the genres listed so far. In addition, Jodi will be taking pitches for picture books, middle grade books and young adult novels. Jodi is an agency assistant with Fuse Literary and is taking pitches on behalf of full-time Fuse agents Jen Karsbeak and Sara Sciuto, who are both building their list.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.49.22 PMCait Spivey is taking pitches on behalf of Corvisiero Literary. She wants to hear pitches for picture books, middle grade, young adult, new adult fiction, romance, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, erotica, LGBTQ books, magical realism, historical romance, and graphic novels. For nonfiction, pitch her histories and out-of-the-box and high concept spiritual, self-improvement, parenting, science, and business books. Cait is an agency assistant with Corvisiero Literary and is taking pitches on behalf of the agency’s full-time acquiring agents; she is eager to find her agency some new clients.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 11.39.53 AMAdam O’Connor Rodriguez is an editor with Hawthorne Books. Adam is interested in hearing pitches of anything book-length and narrative: novels, memoir, short story collections. In terms of novels, he is a generalist, but does not seek sci-fi/fantasy or romance; other genres are welcome. Learn more about Adam here.

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

$129 — base price for registration to the PWW and access to all workshops, all day.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our agents/editors in attendance. Between the members of the faculty, they take pitches for virtually all areas of fiction and nonfiction.

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.

Add $59 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Chuck Sambuchino. (This rate is a special event value for Portland 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?

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell 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 Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Portland workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Radisson Hotel Portland Airport, the workshop can only allow 100 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: 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 PWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Portland 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 Portland Writing Workshop.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sandra Bishop of Transatlantic Agency

Sandra-Bishop-2014smrPrior to joining Transatlantic Agency in 2014, Sandra Bishop had agented since 2008 with MacGregor Literary, where she was named Vice President in 2012.

Sandra represents both fiction and nonfiction authors who write across a variety of categories – from serious narrative to inspirational romance. Among her most noted books are HANDS FREE MAMA by Rachel Macy Stafford; GUNNY’S RULES by R. Lee. Ermey; 100 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU TO YOUR KIDS by Jay K. Payleitner; THE MEASURE OF KATIE CALLAWAY by Serena B. Miller; THE PECULIARS by Maureen Doyle McQuerry; and SWEETHAVEN SUMMER by Courtney Walsh.

At the Portland Writing Workshop, she will take pitches on behalf of herself and her agency for virtually any fiction or nonfiction book.

Sandra is passionate about helping authors develop winning book ideas that will succeed commercially, and believes strongly that a book proposal is essentially an author’s business plan for their book. She works closely with an author’s editor, publicist, and marketing team, and enjoys helping her support her authors in their efforts to market their books. Having served in the U.S. Marines for six years following school, Sandra is well acquainted with excellence, courage, commitment, and honor – all virtues that she continues to strive for today in her life and her work.

Sandra works from her office in Portland, Oregon where she and fellow TLA agent Fiona Kenshole enjoy plotting the takeover of the Pacific Northwest literary community from new lunch spots all over town.

Sandra is always open to submissions as referred by her current clients, and periodically, announces submission openings on Transatlantic’s social media platforms.

Twitter: @bishopspdx

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Adam O’Connor Rodriguez of Hawthorne Books

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 11.39.53 AMAdam O’Connor Rodriguez is a writer and editor (Hawthorne Books) based in Portland, Oregon. His fiction, poetry, and interviews appear widely. A graduate of Eastern Washington University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, he has served in editorial leadership roles for various literary journals and now works as Senior Editor of Hawthorne Books. Recent projects include Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead by Frank Meeink and Jody M. Roy, Aftermath by Oregon Book Award winner Scott Nadelson, and A Very Minor Prophet by James Bernard Frost.

Adam is interested in hearing pitches of anything book-length and narrative: novels, memoir, short story collections. In terms of novels, he is a generalist, but does not seek sci-fi/fantasy or romance; other genres are welcome.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2015 PWW

If you are coming to the 2015 Portland Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from this year’s instructor, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:

  • Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
  • Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
  • Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
  • Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
  • Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates

mary-moore-250Mary C. Moore started her career in publishing as a writer. She graduated from Mills College with an MFA in Creative Writing. After freelancing for two years as an editor and writer in non-literary sectors, she began with Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

She began reading the agency slushpile with the desire to learn more about the literary publishing business for her own writing. During the internship she discovered a passion for assisting others to develop their stories and helping books reach readers. She especially loves developmental editing. Now she balances three jobs: author, editor, and agent, and finds that the experience in each helps and supports the other.

She appreciates literary fiction in the style of Herman Hesse, Jane Austen, or John Steinbeck. Some of her favorites are wild and fun stories with depth like A.C. Weisbecker’s Cosmic Banditos or Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

She also loves a good commercial book. Commercially she is looking for unusual fantasy, grounded science-fiction, and atypical romance. Strong female characters and unique cultures especially catch her eye.

Although she will not consider most nonfiction, stories about any kind of dance or native and pagan cultures may interest her.

Above all, she is looking for writing that sweeps her away. Find her on Twitter.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Natasha Kern of Natasha Kern Literary Agency

Natasha ACFW1Natasha Kern, founder of Natasha Kern Literary Agency, represents both fiction and nonfiction books. She represents many best-selling authors in a wide range of genres and subjects.

The agency represents books that provide entertainment, inspiration and information as well as promoting healthy and positive individuals, organizations, and communities. It is our purpose to provide abundance and success for writers through expertise in the publishing field derived from many years of experience.

In fiction, she is seeking: “We specialize in women’s fiction: including inspirational fiction, contemporary single title novels, romantic suspense, contemporary and historical romances, and multicultural fiction. We are currently most actively seeking to represent: Historical novels from any country or time period; contemporary fiction, including novels with romance or suspense elements; and multicultural fiction.  We are also seeking inspirational fiction in a broad range of genres including: suspense and mysteries, historicals, romance, and contemporary novels.

“We do not represent horror, true crime, erotica, children’s books, short stories or novellas, poetry, screenplays.”

In nonfiction, she is seeking: “narrative nonfiction; memoirs; health and medicine; inspirational and religious books; psychology, relationship and self-help; parenting; as well as trade nonfiction written by prominent authorities in their fields.

“We do not represent: technical, photography or art/craft books, cookbooks, travel, or sports books.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary

Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 1.04.52 AM[2015 UPDATE: IN EARLY FEB. 2015, SCOTT HAD TO CANCEL HIS APPEARANCE AT THE PWW. APOLOGIES FOR THIS.]

Literary agent Scott Eagan opened Greyhaus Literary Agency in 2003 with three goals in mind:

  • To remain a small agency focusing only on Romance and Women’s Fiction
  • To provide educational opportunities for writers in these genres and to make efforts to enhance the romance and women’s fiction genres.
  • To assist with increasing communications between the professional publishing community and the writers.

ABOUT SCOTT EAGAN

Scott draws on his extensive background in education, writing and literature to assist the writers at Greyhaus. He has a BA in English/Literature, a MA in Creative Writing and a MA in Literacy.

Scott is also a writer (done mostly as a hobby) and is an active member of the Romance Writers of America.

Outside of his work at the agency, he continues teaching writing on a part-time basis, works as a stay at home dad and continues to be active in community work including assisting the University of Puget Sound Alumni Program.

Scott is also a USA Swimming Official so you can frequently find him on the deck of a pool. If not there, you can frequently find him flexing his theater muscles in local community theatre productions. If you are ever in the area, make sure to visit a show