The 2023 Writers Conference of St. Louis: March 11, 2023

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After a successful 2019 event in St. Louis, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Writers Conference of St. Louis — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in St. Louis, MO on March 11, 2023.

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 (130 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writers Conference of St. Louis! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCSTL is an in-person event happening in St. Louis on March 11, 2023. We hope to see you there.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at the Doubletree by Hilton St. Louis 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 agent and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Cole Lanahan (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Kortney Price (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Bonnie Swanson (Purcell Literary)
  • and likely 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 Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops. E-mail him to register for the event at WritingDayWorkshops@gmail.com.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 11, 2023 — at the Doubletree by Hilton St. Louis Airport.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCSTL is an in-person event happening in St. Louis on March 11, 2023. See you there.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MARCH 11, 2023):

8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

9:30 – 10:30: “An Overview of 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 challenges with both, 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 and Query Letters.” 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 – 1:15: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance on the block.

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A First Pages 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 our 4 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.)

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2:50 – 3:50: “How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform.” Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online cheaply and easily.

4:00 – 5:00: “Ten Keys to Writing Success. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny. This is a general course that addresses commonsense things any writer can do to give their work the best shot at getting published, such as writing the best thing they can, stealing from themselves, and why writing for love and money is a good idea.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Cole Lanahan is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. Cole is actively looking for all genres of YA, all genres of adult romance, psychological suspense in the vein of The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, and thrillers in the vein of Verity by Colleen Hoover and I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. In nonfiction she is looking for humor, business, self-help, lifestyle, and arts and crafts books.

Aside from being a published author of eight novels, Cole holds a degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State. Her past experiences include lobbying the United States congress for better mental health initiatives, leading a multimillion-dollar mental health nonprofit, creating strategic corporate partnerships, and implementing large-scale marketing campaigns. When she’s not traveling, Cole lives with her husband, daughter, four dogs, and twenty chickens. Her personal interests include reading, quilting, and performing with her acoustic band.

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Kortney Price is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. Kortney graduated with a B.A. in English from Greenville University in 2014. Since then she has interned  with several prominent literary agencies and worked as an agency assistant and associate at several leading kid lit agencies. She found her home with Belcastro Agency in June of 2022 and is building up her list of wonderfully talented authors. Kortney specializes in books for children from picture books through young adult with an eye for all things dark and spooky to light and fluffy. She also works on titles in the adult romance space. To connect and learn more about Kortney, check out her  Twitter,  Pinterest, or  MSWL page. Kortney graduated with a B.A. in English from Greenville University in 2014. Since then she has interned  with several prominent literary agencies. “I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. Because of my experience working with children and adults with disabilities, I am especially excited for books featuring characters with uniquely special brains and bodies.”

She is seeking: For picture books, she seeks engaging stories that evoke movement or introduce young readers to new things such as music, animals, cooking, etc. (Such as Mix it Up by Herve Tullet). For middle grade books, she seeks adventure/survival, mystery, paranormal, science fiction, contemporary, magical realism or fantasy. For young adult novels, she seeks mystery, thriller, magical realism or fantasy, science fiction, historical, romance, contemporary. She also seeks nonfiction books of kids — “How to” books for kids (specifically: concepts or skills such as art, cooking, handiness, computers, wilderness skills, etc.). Also, she’s interested in books for girls (or boys!) featuring body image, body changes, lifestyle, stress management, mindfulness or health.

In adult fiction, Kortney is looking solely for romance (both adult and new adult).

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Bonnie Swanson is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency. Bonnie is twenty plus year elementary teacher. She shares her love of literature with her students and even tests out her own books on them. (And everyone thinks agents are tough!) Using her experience as a teacher, she has been a mentor for many authors through the WriteMentor program started by author Stuart White. Some of her mentees have gone on to publishing and best-selling success with their titles.

A short sample of her favorite authors are Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, S.A. Stovall, Suzanne Collins, Jen Mann, Danielle Paige, Christopher Paolini, Neal Schusterman, and Ally Condi. She’ll try just about anything, but romance is her true jam and the HEA (happily ever after) is a must! She is an active member of SCBWI and a co-rep for her local chapter. When she’s not teaching, reading, or spending time with her three kids & husband, she’s busy creating her own stories. You can also find her covered in fur and playing with her three cats Milo, Winter and, Mira—when they tell her to.

She is seeking: In young adult and new adult books, she seeks issue-driven stories, romance (anything but erotica), speculative fiction, magical realism, paranormal, rom-com, suspense, mystery. (If it’s not on this list and you think I’d like it, pitch it!) For adult fiction, she seeks romance, speculative fiction/suspense (think Dean Koontz), humor (combine all three and now we’re talking!). She is always open to LGBTQ, #ownvoices, and BIPOC. She is no longer seeking picture books.

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        More 2023 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.

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.)

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PRICING:

$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 WCSTL and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2022, 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 an be seen here.)

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“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

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“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

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“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

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“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 Writers Conference of St. Louis 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 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Some of the faculty may be attending the event to meet with you in person. Others will be doing their critiques virtually and doing calls/Zoom to discuss their thoughts. Options:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction (virtual critiques): Faculty member Tara Yilmaz, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Children’s picture books, middle grade, young adult, memoir, historical fiction, general fiction of almost any kind (virtual critiques): Faculty member Eve Porinchak, a former agent turned publishing coach, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. Children’s picture books should be 1,000 words maximum, and can or cannot have illustrations.
  • And more options to come.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems 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 credit card, PayPal, or check. Because Brian plans different conferences, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the St. Louis event specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Doubletree by Hilton St. Louis Airport), the workshop can only allow 140 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCSTL is an in-person event happening in St. Louis on March 11, 2023. See you there.)

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 Brian Klems via email: WritingDayWorkshops@gmail.com. Brian will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by credit card, PayPal, or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The WCSTL will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the St. Louis conference 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.)

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writers Conference of St. Louis.