As a newbie to the author world, coming to the 2023 Philly Writing Workshop (WW) after I published a novel seemed like I was doing it backwards. In a way, it was because the seminars given were about marketing, pitching, dos and don’ts of publishing, etc.
The event was held on April 22nd (yes, I know this post was a little late) and to say I was nervous was an understatement. My imposter syndrome was kicking in. I kept thinking, was I even supposed to be here? Thankfully, those thoughts were quickly quieted after some networking and listening to the lectures. No, I was supposed to be there. It was okay that I was doing things in my own way and in my own time.
The schedule of the event was pretty self-explanatory. There were eight workshops in total in four different time slots, so two different lectures were going on at the same time. The workshops I attended were Beating your Media Fears, The Agent-Author Relationship, How to Sell a Non-fiction, and the Agent Q & A. I chose these because they obtained information that I felt could be interesting, insightful, or helpful as I continue my literary journey. I will expand upon these lectures in a following post, so be sure to check them out!
While these seminars were happening, people were pitching their books to agents and editors or getting a critique of their first ten pages of their manuscript. Though each of these cost extra (I talk price below), I think this was one of the best offers of the workshop.
Getting my first ten pages critiqued made me look at my novel through the eyes of the audience. Like all critiques, I had to take it, not as a personal attack, but as a way to grow in my writing. Some of the criticisms such as using layman’s terms in a fantasy, I ignored because I personally like when fantasy feels like it could be happening in today’s world with the current vernacular. However, most of what he criticized I took in, then expanded upon and used in order to make the novel a more cohesive and detailed book.
Just like for the seminars, I will be writing another post about making a successful pitch, what to prepare, etc. because when I looked it up, I wasn’t given any hints. When I got to the WW, many people were reading their queries. At first, this is what I also planned. Then I met this very nice couple who were asking about my book and asked if I wanted to pitch to them. They let me know which things to change. Their advice was very helpful. I was able to cut things out of my pitch and move other words around. The main piece of advice they gave me was to breathe and make your meeting count. Because of the time constraint, each pitch was only 10 minutes, so ask questions because this isn’t just an interview for you, you are interviewing them. After I pitched, the agent I spoke with wanted to hear more and gave me her information.
This experience was fantastic! I met some great people and learned a lot! Each person was excited about writing and loved to talk about it. It motivated me to keep writing regardless of the no's or the critics. There is a reason why there are so many books and genres out there!
The only downside to this event was the price. It is expensive, but if you attend the seminars with an open mind and take lots of notes, it is worth the price. You have to remember that you are getting valuable information from professionals in the industry. The base price was $199, while pitching an agent/editor was $29 per agent/editor, $69 for an in-depth critique of your one-page query letter, and the critique of the first ten pages of a manuscript was an extra $89. If you are on a tight budget like me, look ahead at their events calendar so that you can plan to save up. There are multiple writing workshop events held throughout the year in most major cities, so if you don’t live near Philly, don’t sweat it! There’ll be one near you!
To check out the specific workshop I attended: https://philadelphiawritingworkshop.com/
For more workshops, courses, and other resources, check out: http://www.writingdayworkshops.com/
As always, happy writing!