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.
The 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.
“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.