The 2019 Toronto Writing Workshop: August 17, 2019

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.32.43 PM.pngAfter a successful launch in 2016, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2019 Toronto Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, August 17, 2019.

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 2019 Toronto Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop at the Marriott Toronto 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 Carly Watters (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Ali McDonald (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Paige Sisley (CookeMcDermid)
  • literary agent Léonicka Valcius (Transatlantic Literary)
  • literary agent Lindsay Leggett (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Nicole Bezanson (Metamorphosis Literary)
  • literary agent Cassandra Rodgers (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Weronika Janczuk (D4E0 Literary)
  • literary agent Olga Filina (The Rights Factory)
  • and many 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 Kimiko Nakamura of Writing Day Workshops, with help from local writing groups.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, August 17, 2019: Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, 525 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 2L2, Canada. (416)597-9200.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (AUG. 17, 2019):

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.

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

1. A Bird’s-eye View Publishing & Books in the Year 2019. This workshop examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing / e-publishing.

2. Fine-Tuning: How to Revise and Edit Your Work. In this workshop, find out how to polish your work until it’s ready for the exacting scrutiny of agents and publishers.

3. Ten Tips for Writing a Great Memoir. In this session, you’ll learn what sells (and why), and how you can get your memoir published.

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

1. Tips on How to Write Like the Pros. This session focuses on how to craft prose and sentences that pop off the page.

2. How to Write a Great Query Letter for Your Novel. This workshop is a thorough crash course in writing fiction query letters.

3. Getting More Out of Social Media: New Ways to Query and Pitch Your Book. With thousands of other authors in the same boat, how do you stand out? And how can an agent or reader who is looking for your type of book find you?

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest. 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.
   
2.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips. If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book. In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Knock ’em Dead: Tips on Writing Mystery, Thriller, and Crime. You have an idea for a crime novel that you think will be a winner. Now what? This class is designed to help you get from concept to published book.

2. Twenty Questions You Need Answered Before You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book. Before you publish your work or query an agent, there are plenty of things you need to know.

3. Writing Other Worlds — a Guide to Blending Setting, Plot, and Character in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Writers will learn how to build vibrant worlds, and how the details of setting can be used to add depth to characters and plots.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Twenty Questions You Need Answered After You Seek an Agent or Self-Publish Your Book. After you self-publish your work or get a traditional publishing book deal, there are plenty of things you need to know.

2. Find Success Writing Romance. In this session, bestselling author Rachael Herron will lead you through the steps of writing a romance novel that will satisfy both your creative drive and the genre reader’s expectation.

3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction. This session will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

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 2018-11-13 at 10.31.13 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 10.40.30 PM.pngAli McDonald is a literary agent at The Rights Factory. Now the lead agent specializing in children’s literature at The Rights Factory, Ali represents a select list of authors with projects ranging from novelty, board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels, to middle grade, young adult and new adult fiction & nonfiction. She enjoys working primarily with debut authors, but also has the distinguished pleasure of representing literary stars among her international clients. Learn more about Ali here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 1.56.58 PM.pngWeronika Janczuk is a literary agent with D4E0 Literary. “I am not, and have never been, a single-genre reader. I am eager only for the best-told stories, building out a list of talented novelists and writers in many genres.” She is seeking: young adult, fantasy & sci-fi, literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance crime, mystery & thrillers. memoir and nonfiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.). Learn more about Weronika here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.44.01 PM.pngPaige Sisley is a literary agent at CookeMcDermid. She is currently seeking well-written commercial fiction that both entertains and has something to say, and she is always on the lookout for nonfiction in the memoir, lifestyle, and health & wellness areas. Learn more about Paige Sisley here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.57.17 PM.pngLéonicka Valcius is a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency. “I am eager to work with people of color, including (but not limited to) trans people, disabled people, religious minorities, and queer folks. In adult and young adult fiction, I like fun commercial fiction, romance that ranges from sweet to steamy, otherworldly fantasy, and sweeping historical fiction. I do not represent mysteries or thrillers. In adult nonfiction, I like narrative nonfiction that explains complex issues through the lens of a personal story. I am also seeking books that straddle the self-help/lifestyle line (#selfcare #liveyourbestlife) and the self-help/business line (#productivityhack #riseandgrind). For middle grade and younger, I love humour, adventure, and make believe. I also enjoy stories about children navigating their changing relationships with family and friends. I strongly prefer books with at least one human character.” Learn more about Léonicka 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 2018-11-23 at 7.51.06 PM.pngNicole Bezanson is a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literary Agency. At the 2019 event, she will be taking pitches on behalf of both herself and all her co-agents at the agency. Personally, Nicole seeks #ownvoices, contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada. Also, Nicole is happy to hear pitches for acquiring co-agents for the following: romance in all age groups and genres, women’s fiction, contemporary stories in both adult and young adult, sports stories of any kind, any kind of young adult fiction, paranormal (romance or not), horror, general fiction, LGBTQ+, book club reads, adult science fiction and fantasy, and thrillers. Learn more about Nicole here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.42.13 PM.pngCassandra Rodgers is a literary agent with The Rights Factory. Cassandra has a diverse group of clients from across North America that ranges from debut authors to celebrities. Actively building her list, she is interested in adult literary and commercial women’s fiction. With a degree in history and political science from the University of Toronto, she does have a weakness for historical fiction. Nonfiction is another passion – particularly politics, history, science, and finance. Memoirs that can make her laugh, cry, or inspire her are always welcome. Learn more about Cassandra 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 2019 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

$236 CAD / $179 USD — EARLY BIRD registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2019 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.

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:

  • Forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Kimiko Nakamura via email: WDWcoordinator@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 Kimiko 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 Marriott Toronto 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 Kimiko Nakamura via email: WDWcoordinator@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 TWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Kimiko 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: Léonicka Valcius of Transatlantic Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.57.13 PM.pngLéonicka Valcius is a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency.

I am eager to work with people of color, including (but not limited to) trans people, disabled people, religious minorities, and queer folks.

“In adult and young adult fiction, I like fun commercial fiction, romance that ranges from sweet to steamy, otherworldly fantasy, and sweeping historical fiction. I do not represent mysteries or thrillers.

“In adult nonfiction, I like narrative nonfiction that explains complex issues through the lens of a personal story. I am also seeking books that straddle the self-help/lifestyle line (#selfcare #liveyourbestlife) and the self-help/business line (#productivityhack #riseandgrind).

“For middle grade and younger, I love humour, adventure, and make believe. I also enjoy stories about children navigating their changing relationships with family and friends. I strongly prefer books with at least one human character.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lindsay Leggett of The Rights Factory

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.53.04 PM.pngLindsay Leggett is a literary agent with The Rights Factory.

Lindsay grew up in the frozen wilds of Northern Ontario, and turned a love of reading and writing into a passion for editing. After working for a variety of authors and publishers, she found a home at 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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nicole Bezanson of Metamorphosis Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 7.50.56 PM.pngNicole Bea is a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literary Agency. At the 2019 event, she will be taking pitches on behalf of both herself and all her co-agents at the agency.

Personally, Nicole seeks #ownvoices, contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada.

Also, Nicole is happy to hear pitches for acquiring co-agents for the following:

  • romance in all age groups and genres
  • women’s fiction
  • contemporary stories in both adult and young adult
  • sports stories of any kind
  • Any kind of young adult fiction
  • paranormal (romance or not)
  • horror
  • general fiction
  • LGBTQ+
  • book club reads
  • adult science fiction and fantasy
  • thrillers

Nicole is a short story author & novelist who primarily focuses on contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of different educational programs. When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio, she can usually be found reading, avoiding domestic chores, & pursuing her new hobby of learning how to cook. She & her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of disabled cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attedance: Paige Sisley of CookeMcDermid

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.43.58 PM.pngPaige Sisley is a literary agent at CookeMcDermid.

She is currently seeking well-written commercial fiction that both entertains and has something to say, and she is always on the lookout for nonfiction in the memoir, lifestyle, and health & wellness areas.

In addition to developing her own list, Paige oversees CookeMcDermid clients’ film and TV rights and handles marketing and publicity for the agency. Previously, she was a rights assistant for Cooke International, an agency specializing in foreign rights management for a diverse group of publishing clients.

Paige has her Master of Arts from Ryerson University’s Literatures of Modernity program and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. A born and bred Torontonian, she loves a good adventure and has also lived in LA, New Zealand and Halifax.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cassandra Rodgers of The Rights Factory

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 8.09.26 PM.pngCassandra Rodgers is a literary agent with The Rights Factory.

Cassandra has a diverse group of clients from across North America that ranges from debut authors to celebrities. Actively building her list, she is interested in adult literary and commercial women’s fiction. With a degree in history and political science from the University of Toronto, she does have a weakness for historical fiction. Nonfiction is another passion – particularly politics, history, science, and finance. Memoirs that can make her laugh, cry, or inspire her are always welcome.

After a long career in finance, Cassandra Rodgers decided to pursue her love of literature by getting involved with running a literary festival. Organizing panels, looking after authors and managing promotions paved the way to her current career as an agent. She joined The Rights Factory in 2013, where she uses her discerning tastes and sharp business acumen in the service of her clients’ literary careers.

When not at her laptop and reading manuscripts, her time is directed to her two children, her friends, and infrequent visits to the gym. The stacks of books that have taken over her home indicate that reading is still a joy as well as a business. She lives in central Toronto.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Olga Filina of The Rights Factory

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.

After more than a decade as a sales manager and book buyer for both national and independent book store chains, Olga graduated Humber’s Creative Book Publishing Program and spent two years as a literary assistant at The Cooke Agency, until she found her perfect home (and family!) at TRF.

While Olga will read anything that may set her book clubs on fire, she gravitates towards commercial and historical fiction, great genre fiction in the area of romance and mystery, non fiction in the fields of business, wellness, lifestyle and memoir and young adult and middle grade novels with memorable characters.

In her spare time, Olga sits on library boards, organizes literary festivals and runs more book clubs than she can count.