4/29 email – news and updates



News and Updates

The 2011 Backspace Writers Conference is just one month away! We’re very excited about the program, and truly believe the 2011 conference will be our best event yet.

If you haven’t been to the conference website lately, you’ll definitely want to stop by – many terrific agents and editors have joined the faculty in recent weeks including Andrea Walker, Vice President and Editorial Director at Little Brown, who will be assisting  Jeff Kleinman with his Thursday evening “Buy This Book!” workshop. But don’t let her fancy title fool you – this workshop will be relaxed, informative, and fun. The cost is just $45, and it’s a great way to spend the evening. If you haven’t already signed up, there’s still time to register!

Nicholas Croce (The Croce Agency), Nicole Resciniti (The Seymour Agency), Jessica Regel (Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency), and Louise Fury and Emily Keyes (L. Perkins Agency) are just a few of the agents who have signed on recently to help with the May 26 Agent-Author Seminar small-group workshops. You can see the full list here.

Dan Conaway of Writers House, and Brittany Hamblin of Harper Collins will join author Susan Henderson (Up From the Blue, Harper Collins, September 2010) for a panel discussion on Friday about the unique challenges and rewards of writing and publishing literary fiction.

Other Friday conference program highlights include a workshop with Jeff Kleinman (Folio Literary Management) and his client, Elizabeth Letts (author of The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation, Ballantine Books August, 2011), on how to write a successful non-fiction proposal; a conversation with Scott Hoffman (Folio Literary Management) and Rachel Griffiths (Scholastic Press) on the agent-editor relationship and how books get sold; a workshop with New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry on how to make money with your writing, and much, much more.

And for those of you who have registered for the May 26 Agent-Author Seminar, workshop assignments are now posted to the conference website. Details below.

If you’d like to expand your conference experience by registering for an additional event, there’s still time!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email Backspace administrators Chris Graham or Karen Dionne. You may also telephone Chris at 732-267-6449.

See you in New York!


May 26 Agent-Author Seminar Workshop Assignments and Format

Your workshop assignments are now posted to the conference website. Every effort has been made to match your specified genre with attending agents’ preferences. However, we’re not perfect, so if you find an error, please let us know as soon as possible so we can fix it.

nyren-300x213 3The format for the query letter and opening pages workshops is the same:

In small groups of no more than 15 authors, two agents react to the author’s material as the author reads aloud as though they’d received it as a submission, stopping the reading when the material stops working for them, and then explaining why.

Authors should be prepared for honest, objective feedback. Naturally, if an agent loves the work, authors are welcome to submit their material at the agent’s invitation. But if suggestions for improvement are offered, as is most often the case, authors should not be discouraged. Because these are workshops and not pitch sessions, authors whose materials were not as well-received as they had hoped can apply the suggestions that resonate and submit to these same agents later, according to the agents’ regular querying process.

At the end of each small-group workshop, there will be an opportunity for general discussion and to ask questions. Additionally, the 15 minutes between program parts, and the half-hour-long afternoon mixer provide plenty of time for registrants to speak with all of our attending agents. There’s no need to be shy about approaching agents – remember, agents come to our conferences because they want to help writers, and because they’re looking for great projects!

What to Bring

Each registrant should bring 17 copies of their query letter and 17 copies of their opening two pages to their assigned workshops. We realize this number might seem excessive if your group currently has less than 15 authors assigned to it, but we’re still accepting registrations, and by the time of the seminar, your group’s size will increase.

QUERY LETTERS should be one page. For the purpose of this workshop, you may begin with the generic “Dear Agent.”

OPENING PAGES should include your genre and a one-sentence logline/description of the book at the top in order to give the reading context. Pages should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins. You may start the text at the top of the first page, rather than dropping down a number of lines to begin a chapter in standard manuscript format. Please staple each set of 2 pages together.

All materials should be in 12pt Times New Roman. Be sure to include your name, book title, genre, and contact information on BOTH your query letter and opening pages. Agents frequently bring their copies back to their offices for review, and they need to be able to get in touch with you if your project catches their interest.

May 26 Agent-Author Seminar Schedule

Agents: Jeff Kleinman, Lois Winston, Rebecca Strauss, Kathleen Ortiz, Meredith Barnes, Rachel Vogel, April Eberhardt, Roseanne Wells, Tamar Rydzinski, Kristin Nelson, Jessica Regel, Louise Fury, Emily Keyes, Nicole Resciniti, Nicholas Croce, and more to come!

7:30 to 8:30 – Check-in

8:30 to 9:15 – Agent Panel

9:30: to 10:15 – Agent Panel

10:30 to 12:00 – Query Letter Workshops

12:00 to 1:30 – Lunch (on your own)

1:30 to 3:30 – Opening Pages Workshops

3:30 to 4:00 – Mixer

4:00 to 5:00 – Agent Panel

“Buy This Book!” Workshop

Thursday evening 7 – 9 p.m.

JeffKleinman“Buy This Book!” – a role-playing workshop with Jeff Kleinman from Folio Literary and Andrea Walker, Vice President and Editorial Director of Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Little, Brown.

Participants are assigned roles in a publishing house; then “sell” their manuscripts to the Editorial Board.  Fast-paced, fun, and educational, this workshop will not only explain how publishing works, but more importantly will force attendees to view their work dispassionately, from the eyes of an editor (or agent). Participants must complete a single-page “tip sheet” on site for review and discussion.

7:00 to 9:00 – Please note: this workshop costs $45, and is not included in the conference registration fee. Want to sign up? CLICK HERE.

Questions? Email Backspace administrators Chris Graham or Karen Dionne. You may also telephone Chris at 732-267-6449.

May 28 Donald Maass “Writing the Breakout Novel” workshop

maassbookImagine 8 hours of instruction with uber-agent Donald Maass, author of the book that many authors have used as a guide to take their writing to the next level! This is definitely the can’t-miss portion of the 2011 Backspace Writers Conference.

This intensive, hands-on workshop for advanced fiction writers teaches the techniques that make any story feel big.  For writers who want to take their fiction to the next level, this workshop shows them how.

If you haven’t yet registered, there’s still time to add what promises to be an amazing and inspiring day to your conference experience.

The workshop will begin at 8:30 and end at 5:30. There will be an hour for lunch (on your own), and a short break in the morning and the afternoon with light refreshments. Check-in that morning begins at 8.

Participants should bring a WIP and writing materials.

This day-long “Writing the Breakout Novel” workshop is truly a unique opportunity. If you haven’t registered, there’s still time to do so. And don’t forget to tell all your writer friends – we have plenty of room!

Copies of Maass’s books will be available for purchase at the conference on Friday and Saturday. Maass will also sign copies of his books at the Friday afternoon group booksigning and evening cocktail reception.

May 27 Conference Program

conference-websie-8 2

Agents: Kristin Nelson, Suzie Townsend, Scott Hoffman, April Eberhardt, Diana Fox, Jeff Kleinman, Dan Conaway

Editors: Rachel Griffiths (Scholastic), Brittany Hamblin (Harper Collins)

Authors: Keith Cronin, Karen Dionne, Barb Ferrer, Susan Henderson, Sara J. Henry, A. S. King, Adrienne Kress, Elizabeth Letts, Jonathan Maberry, Jael McHenry, Kelly Simmons, and Dennis Tafoya

9:00 – 10:00

Track One: Women’s Fiction Panel: Kelly Simmons, Jael McHenry, Keith Cronin

Track Two: Children’s, Young Adult Fiction Panel: A.S. King, Barb Ferrar, Jonathan Maberry, Adrienne Kress

10:00 – 11:00

Track One: Literary Fiction Panel: Susan Henderson, Dan Conaway, Brittany Hamblin

Track Two: Social Media Workshop: Don Lafferty


11:00 – 12:00

Track One: Thriller/Mystery panel: Dennis Tafoya, Jonathan Maberry, Sara J. Henry, Lois Winston (Karen Dionne, moderator)

Track Two: “Tales from the Trenches: Fiction vs. Non-Fiction” – panel: Kristin Nelson, Jeff Kleinman (A.S. King, moderator)


12:00 – 1:30 Lunch (on your own)

1:30 – 2:30

Track One: “Selling the Book: The Agent-Editor Relationship” – panel: Scott Hoffman, Rachel Griffiths

Track Two: “Building Your Non-Fiction Proposal” – workshop: Jeff Kleinman, Elizabeth Letts


2:30 – 3:30

Track One: “Contracts 101″ – panel: Diana Fox, Kristin Nelson, Scott Hoffman, Suzie Townsend

Track Two: “How to Make Money Writing” – workshop: Jonathan Maberry


3:30 – 4:30

Track One: “Publishing Alternatives” – workshop: April Eberhardt

Track Two: “Understanding the Editorial Mind: How to Have a Creative, Problem-Free Relationship with an Editor and Freelance Editor” – workshop: Jerry Gross


4:30 – 5:30

Both Tracks: Keynote Address: Jonathan Maberry

kilt-300x223Immediately following Friday’s conference program, registrants are invited to attend an author booksigning and cocktail reception, including hors d’oeuvres and an open bar!