The 2020 Toronto Writing Workshop: August 8, 2020

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.32.43 PM.pngAfter successful conferences in 2016 and 2019, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Toronto Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, August 8, 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 (175 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Toronto Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel downtown. 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 includes the following:

  • literary agent Kimberly Brower (Brower Literary)
  • literary agent Stephany Evans (Pande Literary)
  • literary agent Moe Ferrara (BookEnds Literary)
  • literary agent Carly Watters (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Lindsay Leggett (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Stephanie Winter (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Cecilia Lyra (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Olga Filina (The Rights Factory)
  • more agent faculty forthcoming

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 help from local writing groups.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, August 8, 2020: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel downtown, 123 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9, Canada. The event does have a block of rooms at a slightly reduced rate. Book your room online here while rooms last.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (AUG. 8, 2020):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. We will soon have a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions and presenter bios. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. The full schedule is available to see here.

Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

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

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

CLASSES COMING SOON

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

CLASSES COMING SOON

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

CLASSES COMING SOON

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

CLASSES COMING SOON

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

CLASSES COMING SOON

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

————-

PITCH AN AGENT!

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 10.54.27 AM.pngStephanie Winter is an associate agent at P.S. Literary. Her experiences of living and traveling in and around Europe have left her eagerly devouring upmarket, fantasy, and nonfiction genres that make new worlds and perspectives come alive. Stephanie particularly appreciates strong characters who bend stereotypes, genders, and more. Stephanie is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. Within fiction, she’s actively seeking diverse and inclusive representation in Upmarket, Commercial, Historical, and Women’s Fiction, in addition to urban and magical fantasies, cozy mysteries, dramatic comedies, light romances, and genre-bending narratives. Within non-fiction, she’s interested in Humor, Pop Culture, Pop Psychology, Memoir, cultural or event-based History, select Dessert Cookbooks, LGBTQ+ narratives, and essay collections. Learn more about Stephanie here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 4.08.41 PMKimberly Brower is a literary agent and the founder of Brower Literary. She is interested in: commercial and upmarket fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction (specifically books that involve complex relationships, ones with moral ambiguity plots is a plus), women’s fiction and romance. However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong character arcs. She also can never say no to an epic love story. Learn more about Kimberly here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 11.05.35 AMStephany Evans is a literary agent at Pande Literary. For more than twenty-five years, Stephany has represented nonfiction writers in the areas of health and wellness, spirituality, lifestyle, food and drink, and sustainability, running and fitness, memoir and narrative nonfiction. She also represents a range of women’s fiction, from literary to upmarket commercial, to romance, as well as crime fiction (mysteries, thrillers), and the occasional literary or commercial novel not aimed at a female market. She is looking for fine, accomplished writing, whether the work is by a first time or established author. She loves to be told a great story! Learn more about Stephany here.

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 6.29.45 PM.pngMoe Ferrara is a literary agent at BookEnds Literary. Moe is interested in fictional works for all ages, including picture books, middle-grade, young adults, and adult readers. Her favorite genres include contemporary, fantasy, historical, horror, magical realism, re-tellings, romance, science fiction and anything LGBTQIA-centric. She’s particularly keen to find books with pain-in-the-ass heroines, dark and creepy settings with lyrical voices, and books with well-thought out twists and turns. Sci-fi should be easily accessible and horror should not make her need to keep the lights on! Send her your LGBT+ books that are about more than just a coming out story. Her list tends to skew towards children’s fiction, but she is on the hunt for select authors in the above adult genres as well. Overall, though, she loves being surprised by books she never knew she wanted—so if it seems like a fit, pitch her! Moe is also open to select narrative nonfiction titles dealing with LGBT+ history, theatre (including biographies or theatrical analysis such as Horowitz’s Sondheim on Music), and music theory. Learn more about Moe here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 3.39.24 PM.pngCecilia Lyra is a literary agent with The Rights Factory. Cecilia is actively seeking literary and commercial adult book club fiction that feature diverse, layered characters and unexpected plot twists. Women’s fiction is her favorite genre. Cecilia is also looking for unique and compelling narrative nonfiction and memoirs such as the works of Esther Perel, Roxane Gay and Tara Westover. She is particularly passionate about representing under- or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation. Learn more about Cecilia here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 1.47.25 PM.pngCarly Watters is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Carly is currently acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. In terms of fiction, she is seeking women’s fiction, upmarket adult, commercial adult, domestic suspense, literary mystery & thrillers, historical, contemporary romance, and smart book club fiction. In terms of nonfiction, she is looking for pop science, business, psychology, cookbooks, unique memoirs, lifestyle (health, wellness, relationships, parenting), narrative, and platform-based nonfiction (must have demonstrable expertise and a quantifiable market). Learn more about Carly here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.53.35 PM.pngLindsay Leggett is a literary agent with The Rights Factory. Lindsay is focused on young adult, middle grade, and children’s books with unique, engaging, and diverse world’s and unforgettable characters. Within these kidlit realms, she would like to see horror, thriller, magical realism, fantasy, science fiction, LGBTTQIA+, #ownvoices. Learn more about Lindsay here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 6.07.35 PMOlga Filina is a literary agent with The Rights Factory. She is seeking: For fiction, she seeks commercial, contemporary, historical, crime, middle grade, young adult, romance, mystery, and thriller. For nonfiction, she seeks business, lifestyle, and memoir. She especially enjoys books that will set her book clubs or fire, and YA/MG with memorable characters. Learn more about Olga here.

        More 2020 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.)

PRICING

$245 CAD / $189 USD — EARLY BIRD registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2020 TWW and access to all workshops, all day.

Add $38 CAD / $29 USD — 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 $29USD/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are some 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 2018-11-05 at 12.59.36 PM“I signed an author from the Toronto Writing Workshop. I
requested her manuscript during a pitch session, read it overnight,
and loved it so much that I offered representation the next day!”

– literary agent Rachel Letofsky of CookeMcDermid Literary Management

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 $91 CAD / $69 USD — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, one of the workshop’s former instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Toronto 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?

Add $117 CAD / $89 USD — 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:

  • Young adult, middle grade: Faculty member Danielle Younge-Ullman, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Thriller, crime, mystery, suspense: Faculty member Barbra Leslie, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Romance (anything except inspirational), women’s fiction: Faculty member Vicki Essex, a published romance author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Science fiction and fantasy: Faculty member J.M. Frey, a published romance author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • More critique options forthcoming

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino 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 either PayPal or check. Because Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Toronto workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel downtown, the workshop can only allow 175 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. He 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 TWW 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 Toronto 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 PayPal or U.S. dollar check]. 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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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 6.29.45 PM.pngMoe Ferrara is a literary agent at BookEnds Literary.

Moe is interested in fictional works for all ages, including picture books, middle-grade, young adults, and adult readers. Her favorite genres include contemporary, fantasy, historical, horror, magical realism, re-tellings, romance, science fiction and anything LGBTQIA-centric.

She’s particularly keen to find books with pain-in-the-ass heroines, dark and creepy settings with lyrical voices, and books with well-thought out twists and turns. Sci-fi should be easily accessible and horror should not make her need to keep the lights on! Send her your LGBT+ books that are about more than just a coming out story. Her list tends to skew towards children’s fiction, but she is on the hunt for select authors in the above adult genres as well. Overall, though, she loves being surprised by books she never knew she wanted—so if it seems like a fit, pitch her!

Moe is also open to select narrative nonfiction titles dealing with LGBT+ history, theatre (including biographies or theatrical analysis such as Horowitz’s Sondheim on Music), and music theory.

She is not a good fit for upmarket/literary fiction, cozy mysteries, true crime, women’s fiction, high fantasy, hard sci-fi, or inspirational romances.

Becoming a literary agent was fitting for the girl who, as a small child, begged her dad to buy her a book simply because “it has a hard cover.” Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, and instead tackled Tom Clancy or her mom’s romance novels. Though her career path zigzagged a bit—she attended college as a music major, earned a JD from Pace Law School, then worked various jobs throughout the publishing industry—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent.

A Pennsylvania native, she is mum of a rambunctious corgi who is a master at stealing treats and running agility courses. When not reading, Moe can most often be found in a pit orchestra, playing violin for her favorite musicals. She is also an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin’s Creed or Destiny release.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 4.08.41 PMKimberly Brower is a literary agent and the founder of Brower Literary.

She is interested in: commercial and upmarket fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction (specifically books that involve complex relationships, ones with moral ambiguity plots is a plus), women’s fiction and romance. However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong character arcs. She also can never say no to an epic love story.

Kimberly fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of seven (Super Special editions were her favorites) and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. She holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge and received her JD from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. After spending a decade in the business world, it was kismet that she found herself in publishing.

She takes great pride in her client list, from the debut authors to #1 NYT bestsellers, and likes to consider them all her favorite authors. She previously worked for over two years at a boutique literary agency before starting her own. After spending 14 years in California, she is thrilled to be back on the east coast. When not providing individual attention to her clients, Kimberly manages all of the day-to-day operations of the agency. This includes overseaing the management of the foreign, audio and all other subsidiary rights for all the authors in the agency.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cecilia Lyra of The Rights Factory

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 3.39.20 PM.pngCecilia Lyra is a literary agent with The Rights Factory.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Banking and Financial Law from Boston University and is completing a graduate certificate in publishing. In 2016, she bid adieu to her life as lawyer and professor of law to become a writer and literary agent. She blames this heretical career move on her nine-year-old-self, who was bitten by the reading bug and began to dream of the day when she would work with books.

Cecilia is actively seeking literary and commercial adult Book Club fiction that feature diverse, layered characters and unexpected plot twists. She adores writers such as Curtis Sittenfeld, Liane Moriarty and Elin Hilderbrand. As a feminist, Cecilia loathes the term women’s fiction—it’s just fiction—but, for the purposes of clarity, that is her favorite genre. Cecilia is also looking for unique and compelling narrative nonfiction and memoirs such as the works of Esther Perel, Roxane Gay and Tara Westover. She is particularly passionate about representing under- or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation.

When she isn’t devouring novels—or dessert—Cecilia can be found drinking wine, writing her own novels, and snuggling with Babaganoush, her adorable English bulldog. Do not send her a manuscript where the dog dies—Cecilia can’t handle it. Cecilia does not accept submissions for children’s books, middle-grade, YA, or fantasy.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephany Evans of Pande Literary

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 11.05.35 AMStephany Evans is a literary agent at Pande Literary.

Stephany put a toe in the publishing waters at Simon & Schuster Audio when audio publishing was just beginning to be “a thing.”

Now, for more than twenty-five years, Stephany has represented nonfiction writers in the areas of health and wellness, spirituality, lifestyle, food and drink, and sustainability, running and fitness, memoir and narrative nonfiction. She also represents a range of women’s fiction, from literary to upmarket commercial, to romance, as well as crime fiction (mysteries, thrillers), and the occasional literary or commercial novel not aimed at a female market. She is looking for fine, accomplished writing, whether the work is by a first time or established author.

She loves to be told a great story!

Stephany is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR), the RWA, the MWA and the Agents Round Table (ART). She has served as ghostwriter on seven published books in the categories of memoir and spirituality.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephanie Winter of P.S. Literary

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 10.54.27 AM.pngStephanie Winter is an associate agent at P.S. Literary.

She first joined the agency as an intern before becoming the agency’s relations assistant. Stephanie is a dedicated bookseller who holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in English Literature and a M.A. in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London.

Her experiences of living and traveling in and around Europe have left her eagerly devouring upmarket, fantasy, and nonfiction genres that make new worlds and perspectives come alive. Stephanie particularly appreciates strong characters who bend stereotypes, genders, and more.

Stephanie is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. Within fiction, she’s actively seeking diverse and inclusive representation in Upmarket, Commercial, Historical, and Women’s Fiction, in addition to urban and magical fantasies, cozy mysteries, dramatic comedies, light romances, and genre-bending narratives. Within non-fiction, she’s interested in Humor, Pop Culture, Pop Psychology, Memoir, cultural or event-based History, select Dessert Cookbooks, LGBTQ+ narratives, and essay collections.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carly Watters of P.S. Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 1.47.25 PM.pngCarly Watters is a literary agent with P.S. Literary.

Carly is currently acquiring both fiction and nonfiction. In terms of fiction, she is seeking women’s fiction, upmarket adult, commercial adult, domestic suspense, literary mystery & thrillers, historical, contemporary romance, and smart book club fiction. In terms of nonfiction, she is looking for pop science, business, psychology, cookbooks, unique memoirs, lifestyle (health, wellness, relationships, parenting), narrative, and platform-based nonfiction (must have demonstrable expertise and a quantifiable market).

Carly began her publishing career in London at the Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency. She has a BA in English Literature from Queen’s University and a MA in Publishing Studies from City University London. Since joining PSLA in 2010 Carly has had great success launching new authors domestically and abroad. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents at PSLA. Representing debuts and bestsellers, Carly is drawn to: emotional, well-paced fiction, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in; and platform-driven nonfiction.

Carly is actively looking for: For fiction, she seeks literary, upmarket and commercial fiction, world Literature, smart Women’s Fiction and Book Club books, Literary Thrillers, LGBT; and nonfiction in the Health, Wellness, Cookbook, Narrative, Lifestyle, Memoir, Humor, Pop Science, Pop Psychology and Business categories.