The Toronto Writing Workshop: August 20, 2016

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.17.43 PMThe Toronto Writing Workshop is now finished. Thank you to all who attended. If you are interested in attending the next area event, email us at writingdayworkshops [at] gmail.com and say you want to be alerted about the next Toronto workshop when a date is finalized. Meanwhile, Writing Day Workshops is planning almost 20 different writing conferences in 2017 in cities all around the United States. See the full list of events here.

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Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The Toronto Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, August 20, 2016.

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

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop at the Marriott Toronto Airport [updated venue]. 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.

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This year’s agent faculty so far includes:

  • [NEW ADDITION] Veronica Park (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Ali McDonald (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Marisa Corvisiero (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Stacey Donaghy (Donaghy Literary)
  • acquiring editor Ellie Sipila (Common Deer Press)
  • literary agent Moe Ferrara (BookEnds, Inc.)
  • literary agent Rachel Letofsky (The Cooke Agency)
  • literary agent Olga Filina (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Sue Miller (Donaghy Literary)
  • literary agent Chris Bucci (The McDermid Agency)
  • literary agent Cassandra Rodgers (The Rights Factory)
  • and possibly more to be announced soon.

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 more than 110 writing conferences and events over the past ten years.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS

[updated venue] 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, August 20, 2016, at the Marriott Toronto Airport, 901 Dixon Rd, Toronto, ON M9W 1J5, Canada (416)674-9400.

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WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

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 – 1:15: 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.)

2:30 – 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 AN AGENT!

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 3.56.46 PM.pngVeronica Park is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She likes young adult fiction (especially dark & edgy or diverse), new adult fiction, adult romance (all subgenres), middle grade, graphic novels (MG & YA), and nonfiction focusing on current events or controversial issues. She tends not to represent science fiction and fantasy manuscripts. Learn more about Veronica here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.00.55 AM.pngStacey Donaghy is a literary agent and the founder of Donaghy Literary. She was formerly a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. In fiction, Stacey is looking for: romantic suspense, contemporary romance, thrillers, and diverse stories that highlight different cultures or LGBTQ subject matter, as well as young adult and middle grade with quirky and memorable characters. Learn more about Stacey here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 10.30.39 AM.pngAli McDonald is a literary agent with 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 with debut authors. Learn more about Ali here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 9.39.26 AM.pngMarisa A. Corvisiero [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is the founder of Corvisiero Literary. She is seeking contemporary romance, thriller, adventure, paranormal / urban fantasy, science fiction, combinations of the genres listed, middle grade (fantasy, adventure, science fiction), picture books (special stories that deliver a subtle, non-didactic message; illustrations not needed), self-help, science nonfiction, and business books. She especially enjoys Christmas, time travel, and space science fiction themed stories. Learn more about Marisa here.

moe-5-15Moe Ferrara is a literary agent with BookEnds Literary. Moe is interested in science fiction and fantasy for all age groups (no picture books). She loves a bit (or a lot!) of romance in her fiction, so the right contemporary or historical romance will spark her interest. She’s LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket. At this time she’s not looking for nonfiction, women’s fiction, or cozy mysteries. Learn more about Moe here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 9.17.59 AM.pngOlga Filina is an associate agent with The Rights Factory. She is seeking: business, commercial contemporary, crime, historical, lifestyle, memoir, middle grade, mystery, romance, thriller, and young adult. While Olga will read anything that may set her book clubs on fire, she gravitates toward the genres listed above as well as stories with memorable characters. Learn more about Olga here.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 10.19.08 AM.pngEllie Sipila is the publisher of Common Deer Press, an small publishing house based in Canada. Common Deer Press is looking for books that are different and unique in any genre. That said, she stays away from acquiring erotica, chick lit, and romance in general. She is not especially fond of “kissing books,” as her kids call them. She admits to a certain soft spot for middle grade fiction, thought her tastes are quite broad. Literary fiction is the press’s specialty. She will consider just about anything as long as the writing is superb. Learn more about Ellie here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 1.14.35 PM.pngRachel Letofsky is a literary agent with The Cooke Agency. Rachel is actively seeking: ground-breaking and heart-breaking middle grade and YA titles in all genres. She is drawn to works with a whimsical nature or a grounded, gritty edge in equal measure, though in either instance, unforgettable characters and original concepts are a must. She also has a natural soft-spot for exquisite literary fiction. In nonfiction, Rachel is looking for narrative-driven memoirs, and anything quirky and life affirming. Learn more about Rachel here.

bucci-literary-agent-278x300.pngChris Bucci is a literary agent, director, and full partner at The McDermid Agency. He is seeking: literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. For nonfiction, he seeks popular science, sports, popular culture, politics, essays, and history. Chris is not the agent for picture books, poetry, erotica, or inspirational fiction. Learn more about Chris Bucci here.

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, as well as 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 2015-08-12 at 10.30.00 AMSue Miller is a literary agent with Donaghy Literary Group. She is seeking new, diverse voices in young adult (all genres), literary fiction, upmarket and commercial fiction (including fantasy), and character-driven romance (all subgenres). Learn more about Sue here.

Monica Pacheco is a literary agent withe The McDermid Agency. Unfortunately, she had to cancel on the event.

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

$189 CAD / $149 USD — EARLY BIRD registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2016 TWW and access to all workshops, all day.

Add $37 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 testimonials from writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events:

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.01.32 PM“I signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.05.52 PM“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 1.31.47 PM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Add $87 CAD / $69 USD — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from instructor Chuck Sambuchino. (This rate is a special event value for Toronto 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 Toronto workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION

Because of limited space at the venue of the Marriott Toronto Airport, the workshop can only allow 125 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 TWW 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 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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Thank you for your interest in the Toronto Writing Workshop.

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Veronica Park of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 3.56.46 PM.pngVeronica Park is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary.

She is also an author, journalist and marketing consultant with more than ten years of experience writing and editing for publication. She graduated with a BA in print journalism with an emphasis in linguistics and business marketing from Brigham Young University and went on to expand her writing skills as a broadcast journalist and independent film producer, before running away with her husband to work on cruise ships in the Caribbean as a port lecturer and luxury goods marketing specialist. In publishing, she has finally found an arena that requires her entire assortment of professional skills, while allowing her to read and write every single day.

Favorite Categories/Genres:

— Young adult and new adult: Anything with a unique voice, but particularly romantic and/or LGBT at the moment In particular, she loves: Dark, edgy YA/NA that deals with real issues (such as: feminism in any era, racial and/or cultural identity, LGBT as a matter-of-fact, niche club memberships, social ethics, etc.), romances that make you laugh out loud and deeply love–or love to hate–some of the characters, gender swapping and/or seriously twisted fairytale retelling.

— Adult romance (all sub genres). Preferably, romances should be realistic (none of that “love at first sight” malarkey, or zero-mutual-respect fauxmance. Lust at first sight…is realistic, let’s be honest.) Pro feminist and pro consent, pro gender role swapping. Bonus points for princesses rescuing knights–i.e. modern day heroines that inspire teenage girls to be more badass.

— Nonfiction regarding current events and controversial issues.

— Middle grade. In MG, you’ll get her attention quickly with graphic novels, high concept ideas, or diversity.

What she does not want:

Veronica is not currently crazy about: SF/F, children’s picture books, poetry or screenplay/regular play–unless it’s a rock opera about Conan O’Brian’s hair, in which case YES. No erotica at this time, please, unless it’s also loosely based on Conan O’Brian.

Themes to avoid: controlling boyfriends (unless your story is clearly anti), werewolves, vampires or zombies (unless you’ve somehow found a new spin I haven’t seen), Mary Sue heroines (look it up), edge for the sake of edge, or characters who do things for reasons which psychology can’t explain.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ali McDonald of The Rights Factory

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 10.30.39 AM.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.

After ten years in the service industry, Ali McDonald decided to make use of her BA in English Literature & Linguistics (Glendon College, York University). She enrolled in the Ryerson University publishing program and applied to The Rights Factory. In the year that followed, Ali graduated from agency assistant to editorial associate to associate agent. That was 2009.

In the wild, Ali can be seen typically reading a book (kidlit, of course), watching guilty pleasure TV, or the rare cameo at the family-run restaurant. She lives with her husband and in-laws in Toronto’s east end.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Ellie Sipila of Common Deer Press

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 10.19.08 AM.pngEllie Sipila is the publisher of Common Deer Press, an small publishing house based in Canada.

Common Deer Press is looking for books that are different and unique in any genre. That said, she stays away from acquiring erotica, chick lit, and romance in general. She is not especially fond of “kissing books,” as her kids call them. She admits to a certain soft spot for middle grade fiction, thought her tastes are quite broad. Literary fiction is the press’s specialty. She will consider just about anything as long as the writing is superb.

Though she will consider just about anything, Ellie is especially drawn to works that are unique. What does that mean, exactly? I’m glad you asked. Basically, to Ellie the genre is of no real consequence as long as the writing is superb and the author’s voice is new and different. For example, she loves books that are both dark and funny where the characters are lifelike, flawed, doomed, loveable in an irritating way, and sometimes even buffoonic. Ellie’s background is in editing, book design, and book production—she sees books as both items of entertainment and works of art. She loves a challenge and invites you to pitch not only your novel manuscripts but also your manuscripts with experimental formats (example: novel/comic book hybrid, interconnected short story collections, etc.).

Ellie Sipila attended Ryerson University for substantive, stylistic, and copy editing, and has since earned a specialization in editing books intended for young readers (picture books to young adult). She continued her studies with courses in book design and digital and print book production, which means she has her foot in just about every door open to book nerds. She is a published author herself with two traditionally published novels and several pieces of short fiction published in various literary magazines.

For the past several years, Ellie has operated Move to the Write, a small company at which she offers her services in editing, design, and production on a freelance basis. More can be found about Move to the Write by visiting http://www.movetothewrite.com.

After some time working in houses such as Fitzhenry and Whiteside and BookFish Books, Ellie has opened the doors to Common Deer Press. Here, she is living her dream of acquiring really great manuscripts and walking them through the entire publishing process. She especially enjoys working with debut authors and sharing with them the excitement of taking their first manuscript to press.

Ellie is a member of the Editors’ Association of Canada and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys meeting authors face-to-face and looks forward to hearing all about your wonderful book.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.00.55 AM.pngStacey Donaghy is a literary agent and the founder of Donaghy Literary.

Stacey was previously an agent with the Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York. She loves discovering new voices and works with writers to build long-term careers. Her client projects have sold to Publishing Houses such as HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group USA, Sourcebooks, Kensington, Curiosity Quills Press and others. Stacey represents NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon best-selling authors, as well as authors who have been nominated or have won awards for various works.

In fiction, Stacey is looking for: romantic suspense, contemporary romance, thriller and diverse stories that highlight different cultures or LGBTQ subject matter, as well as young adult and middle grade with quirky and memorable characters.

She is not interested in receiving, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, paranormal, supernatural, historical or literary fiction.  No picture books, non-fiction,  textbooks, self-help, screenplays, Christian fiction or cookbooks.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary

moe-5-15Moe Ferrara is a literary agent with BookEnds Literary.

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 as a literary agent and the subsidiary rights director. Find her on Twitter.

Moe is interested in: science fiction and fantasy for all age groups (no picture books). She loves a bit (or a lot!) of romance in her fiction, so the right contemporary or historical romance will spark her interest. She’s LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket! At this time she’s not looking for nonfiction, women’s fiction, or cozy mysteries.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary

Corvisiero[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Marisa A. Corvisiero is the founder of Corvisiero Literary.

Marisa seeks creative stories with developed plots and rich characters with unique voices. She is seeking:

  • contemporary romance
  • thriller
  • adventure
  • paranormal / urban fantasy
  • science fiction
  • combinations of the genres listed above
  • middle grade (fantasy, adventure, science fiction)
  • picture books (special stories that deliver a subtle, non-didactic message; illustrations not needed)
  • She especially enjoys Christmas, time travel, and space science fiction themed stories.
  • self-help
  • science nonfiction
  • business books (including titles for kids)

Marisa A. Corvisiero is the founder of the Corvisiero Literary Agency and our Senior Literary Agent. During the few years prior to starting her own agency, Marisa worked with the L. Perkins Agency, where she learned invaluable lessons and made a name for herself in the industry. She is also a Literary Consultant, Speaker, Author and an Attorney practicing law with a focus on Corporate Law and Estate Planning in New York City.

Ms. Corvisiero is also the founder of The Corvisiero Law Practice, P.C. Since the law firm’s inception, it has achieved incredible success and growth, and continues on its high-speed trajectory towards excellence. The firm now provides assistance in a number of practice areas as a comprehensive package of legal services for existing and new clients.

Ms. Corvisiero has held positions in several law firms and companies since 1995 in different capacities. In such positions, she has attained the knowledge and experience necessary to properly and dynamically represent her clients. These stellar firms and companies include Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP, a top global law firm; Windels, Marx, Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, a white shoe boutique law firm; and Avaya, Inc., a fortune 500 telecommunications company among several distinguished others.

Ms. Corvisiero received her Bachelors in Business Administration in International Business and Marketing from Hofstra University in 1995, where she was the President of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity Chapter, and the President of the Pre Law Society during her last year. Ms. Corvisiero received her Juris Doctorate from Pace University School of Law in 2000, and earned Pace University School of Law’s prestigious International Law Certificate for her studies in International Law. During her legal studies, she held several Board positions on the Student Bar Association, where she was also the Treasurer of the Environmental Law Society, the Chair of the Social Committee, and the Co-Editor of the Pace University School of Law Year Book in 1999 and 2000.

Ms. Corvisiero is licensed to practice in New York State, and has been in good standing for the duration of her admission to the Bar. She belongs to the New York City Bar Association, New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

She is fluent in Italian and Spanish, and has some working knowledge of Portuguese and Japanese.