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!


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

This year’s faculty includes the following:

  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Stephanie Winter (P.S. Literary)
  • [NEW ADDITION] editor Nita Pronovost Simon & Schuster Canada)
  • literary agent Cecilia Lyra (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Carly Watters (P.S. Literary)
  • editor Kirsten Marion (Common Deer Press)
  • literary agent Ali McDonald (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Léonicka Valcius (Transatlantic Literary)
  • literary agent Lindsay Leggett (The Rights Factory)
  • literary agent Lauren Scovel (Laura Gross Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Weronika Janczuk (D4E0 Literary)
  • literary agent Olga Filina (The Rights Factory)
  • and possibly 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 Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops, with help from local writing groups.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, August 17, 2019: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel downtown (updated venue), 123 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9, Canada.

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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. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (Birchwood Ballroom). This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing / e-publishing.

2. The Road to Love is Paved With Conflict: Notes on Romance Writing (Linden room).  When the book is destined to end with a happily-ever-after, the journey becomes the reward. How can romance writers effectively build conflict and tension into the love story while still keeping the readers invested in the couple?

3. Inspiration as an Author (Cedar room). Join Cecilia Lyra’s class to learn practical tips on how writers can boost their inspiration levels—and improve their writing in the process.

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

1. Writing Killer Mysteries (Linden room). In this session, we will explore how character and setting help to capture your reader and further your plot, and how both contribute to the proper pacing that will make your book a page-turner.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Birchwood Ballroom). This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. Ask the Authors Anything (Cedar room). This panel is a chance to ask three published authors — a picture book author, a young adult author, and an adult sci-fi/fantasy author anything you want. Hear different perspectives on your questions. Come with questions!

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 (Birchwood Ballroom). 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 (Linden room). This session, taught by a literary agent, is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Perfecting Your Children’s Book (Cedar room). In this session, we’ll look at picture book elements including plot, character and text—in a very different light than for other genres.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. World-building Your Way to Success — Especially in Sci-Fi and Fantasy (Linden room). World-building is an essential part of any story, but most especially in science fiction and fantasy. How do you create believable worlds to immerse your readers?

2. Voice in a Manuscript (Birchwood Ballroom). In this lecture we’ll target common mishaps and approach creating strong narratives on three levels: dialogue, prose, and characters.

3. How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform (Cedar room). Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books.

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Birchwood Ballroom). 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.

2. Revision and Self Editing: Get Your Work Ready for an Agent (Linden room). You have some chapters, maybe even a first draft. You want to get an agent, but is your writing actually ready to be seen by one? This intensive workshop offers tips and tools to take your fiction writing to the next level.

3. Writing Standout Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction (Cedar room). We will discuss what makes YA and MG so appealing to all ages, including voice, genre blending, authentic diversity, standalone versus series, themes, and trends to get to the bottom of what makes a strong manuscript and how to stand out in this vibrant market.


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.



Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 1.47.25 PM.pngCarly Watters [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] 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 2019-07-08 at 7.12.03 PM.pngNita Pronovost [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is Vice President, Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster Canada. She will take pitches for: women’s commercial fiction (thrillers, generational sagas, domestic dramas), historical fiction, hard-hitting memoirs (usually female-led, hard-hitting emotional dramas about interesting lives lived), pop-culture nonfiction. Learn more about Nita and her publishing background here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 3.10.25 PM.pngErica Bauman [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Based in New York, Erica is currently focused on representing a wide range of authors across middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as some select narrative nonfiction projects. She is most interested in novels that straddle the line between literary and commercial, imaginative tales with a speculative twist, fearless storytellers that tackle big ideas and contemporary issues, and working with and supporting marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity. Learn more about Erica 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 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 [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] 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 10.57.17 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 2019-06-14 at 10.54.27 AM.pngStephanie Winter [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]  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.

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Lauren Scovel is a literary agent at Laura Gross Literary Agency. Her fiction specialties are: crime, GLBT, humor/satire, literary fiction, and multicultural. She will also consider commercial fiction, family saga, historical fiction, short story collections, thrillers/suspense. Her nonfiction specialties are cultural/social issues, current affairs, GLBT, investigative journalism, multicultural, narrative, politics, true crime, and women’s concerns. She will also consider: adventure/true story, history, humor, memoir, pets, and pop culture. Learn more about Lauren 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.

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 11.47.57 AMKirsten Marion is the publisher and acquiring editor at Common Deer Press. She is seeking children’s picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) as well as middle grade novels (both fiction and nonfiction). Learn more about Kristen 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.)


$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:

  • Adult science fiction and fantasy: Faculty member Rati Mehrotra, a children’s book editor who is teaching at the event, will get your work in advance, edit 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. (Please no rape, excessive gore, or homophobic, sexist, or racist content.)
  • Young adult, middle grade, literary fiction and adult fantasy: Faculty member Amanda Sun, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit 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.
  • Mystery, thriller, suspense, and crime: Faculty member Carolyn Arnold, a published author, will get your work in advance, edit 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.
  • Children’s picture books: Faculty member Joyce Grant, a published picture book author, will get your work in advance, critique your picture 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. Picture book submissions should be 1,000 words maximum, and can have illustrations or not.
  • Mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, memoir, short stories: Faculty member Eve Porinchak, a published author and former literary agent, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book and pass along written critique notes to you. Unlike the other critiquers at the 2019 TWW, Eve will not be at the event on Aug. 17. Instead she will be doing her critiques with attendees via phone or Skype, and will email her formal notes/critiques.
  • More options forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email:, 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.


Because of limited space at the venue of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel downtown (updated venue), 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: 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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