We love to hear from literary agents who are interested in joining our faculty! Below you’ll find answers to most questions about our online conference format.
If you have questions not covered here, or if you’d like to lead an upcoming session, feel free to contact conference organizers Christopher Graham or Karen Dionne at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also telephone Chris at 732-267-6449.
1. How much time will each session require?
The query letter workshops scheduled for Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 P.M. EST take approximately 2 hours, while the opening pages workshops on Wednesday afternoons (also at 2:00 P.M. EST) run about 3. Agents can log into the online Q&A at their convenience to answer questions throughout the week. Plan on around 6 or 7 hours total for each weekly session. Agent participation runs Thursday-Friday. Agents are welcome to sign up for multiple weeks.
2. Will I be compensated?
Yes. Contact Karen Dionne at email@example.com for details.
3. Will there be any prep work or follow-up?
No. During the workshops, agents react to students’ query letters and opening 2 pages spontaneously. Once the week is over, your teaching responsibilities are finished.
4. I’ve participated in Backspace’s query letter and opening pages workshops in New York. How will the online workshops function?
Both the query letter and opening 2 pages workshops are conducted via conference call. Each workshop will have a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 students and 2 agents. Participants receive materials in advance so everyone can follow along either on screen or in hard copy as the students read their pages aloud.
Agents will not review the materials before the workshops; instead, as in our real-world workshops, agents react to the materials as they are read aloud as if they had received them as a submission, stopping the reading when the material stops working for them, and then kindly explaining why. Students are then invited to resume reading, and the process continues until each student has read their entire query letter or opening 2 pages.
The conference call will be recorded. If a student is unable to attend the live session, one of the agents’ interns or assistants will read the student’s materials for them so the student can listen to the discussion later.
5. Are students grouped according to genre?
Yes. Each session is given a genre focus. Agents are thus presented with work that potentially interests them in a genre with which they’re familiar, while students benefit from hearing the agents’ comment on materials that are similar to theirs.
Genres include (but are not limited to) literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, upmarket fiction, science-fiction & fantasy, mystery, cozy mystery, thriller, romance, and young adult, as well as memoir and nonfiction. If you have an idea for a workshop genre focus we aren’t currently offering, we’d love to hear it! (Steampunk? Urban fantasy? New Adult?)
6. Am I required to log into the discussion forum every day for the Thursday-Friday interactive panel discussion and Q&A?
No. While students will be posting questions throughout the week, the 4 agents may log in and out to answer questions as frequently as their work schedules allow. Individual agents are not expected to answer every question; however, we do ask that every question receives at least one response.
Questions? Contact conference organizers Christopher Graham or Karen Dionne at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also telephone Chris at 732-267-6449.