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Block 6 [clear filter]
Saturday, April 4

10:15am EDT

6A: Query Clinic: Live Feedback on Query Letters
Limited Capacity full

***Important: Please read this description carefully before signing up, and bring all necessary materials to the session.***

Most agencies receive at least a hundred query letters each week, yet respond positively to a very select few. Do you know the secrets to writing a winning query? Do you want to know the most common reasons for rejection? In this session, two agents will give direct feedback on audience query letters and use them as examples to discuss both effective and ineffective strategies for getting an agent or editor interested in your work. The goal will be to make your query letters as powerful as possible. If you want your query letter considered, please bring a ONE-PAGE hard copy to the session. Query letters will be chosen at random by a volunteer and put on an overhead projector. After your query letter is read by the agents and the audience, the agents will discuss it, troubleshoot, and offer advice that is both specific to your project and general enough for the rest of the audience to benefit. Given the volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee that your query letter will be read. The point is not to get through as many queries as possible, but to thoughtfully evaluate your ideas and offer concrete suggestions from which all will benefit.

avatar for Sorche Fairbank

Sorche Fairbank

Literary Agent, Fairbank Literary
A small, selective agency and member of AAR, the Author's Guild, the Agents Round Table, PEN, and Grub Street's Literary Advisory Council, Fairbank Literary Representation is happily in its seventeenth year. Clients range from first-time authors to international best-sellers, prize... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Boylston Room - Mezzanine Level

10:15am EDT

6E: To Whom Are You Telling Your Tale? Race & the Question of Readership
Limited Capacity seats available

In some writing workshops, writers are told not to worry about their audience, but to focus on their craft. And yet, in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness & the Literary Imagination, Toni Morrison exposes issues of race that underlie the question, To whom are you telling your tale? “For reasons that should not need explanation here, until very recently, and regardless of the race of the author, the readers of virtually all of American fiction have been positioned as white,” Morrison writes. The implication here is that white writers don’t think about readers of color; in contrast, writers of color are aware their work will be read and judged by white readers even if some, as Morrison did, feel they are writing primarily to their community.

How are writers to navigate the question of readership in America’s rapidly shifting demographics? Can or should one write for a specific audience? How are these questions related to four fundamental questions of any narration, either in fiction or nonfiction: Who is the narrator? To whom is the narrator telling their tale? When is the narrator telling their tale? Why is the narrator telling their tale? This session explores aesthetic choices that often go unexamined to help writers discover how considering their intended reader can be liberating, rather than restrictive. For writers of color, this may entail a deeper freedom to own their own voice and material; for white writers, this may mean expanding their vision and material.

avatar for David Mura

David Mura

David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, and playwright. His newest book is A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity & Narrative Craft in Writing.A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Hancock Room - Mezzanine Level

10:15am EDT

6J: How to Be a Great Publishing Partner: The Author’s Job as Industry Insiders See It
Limited Capacity filling up

Congratulations! You’ve put in the work, have written an amazing book, and found a wonderful publisher. Most aspiring authors dealing with the challenges of the craft and finding an agent haven’t thought beyond this point-- and yet there is still a lot of work to do. In a no-holds-barred, lively conversation, literary agent Stéphanie Abou and acclaimed author Christopher Castellani will informally walk through the dos and don’ts of life after a book deal, to help make you the best partner to your publishing team.

Examples of Possible Topics (with questions and real life situations to illustrate):
*What is your agent's role after selling your book? What exactly do they do?
*What does your editor do (besides edit), and how can you partner with them effectively?
*What are the most effective ways to communicate with your agent, editor, and your publishing team?
*Publicity is key, but what does that (holistically) mean?
*I'm struggling to complete a non-fiction work sold on proposal, or struggling to make revisions. What should I do?
*Tips on what NOT to do

avatar for Stephanie Abou

Stephanie Abou

Literary Agent, Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents
Stéphanie Abou is an agent with Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents. Originally from Paris, where she completed a Master’s in Comparative Literature at the Sorbonne, she decided to make a career out of her passion for literature after an internship at Farrar, Straus and Giroux in... Read More →
avatar for Christopher Castellani

Christopher Castellani

Christopher Castellani's fourth novel, Leading Men, is forthcoming from Viking in February 2019. He is also the author of The Art of Perspective, a collection of essays on point of view in fiction, and three other novels. Christopher works as artistic director of GrubStreet, was a... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6K: Essentials of Structure
Limited Capacity seats available

Every story needs structure, a framework on which to build drama and emotional connection. While the right structure can certainly help pull a reader through a story, it can also help push a frustrated writer through a difficult draft. In this seminar, we’ll discuss-- supplemented with exercises and examples-- how structures from classic to experimental can organize an author's thoughts into an effective fiction or non-fiction piece.

avatar for Adam Stumacher

Adam Stumacher

Fiction & Nonfiction Writer
Adam Stumacher‘s fiction has appeared in Granta, Narrative, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, TriQuarterly, and others, was anthologized in Best New American Voices, and won a Nelson Algren Award and the Raymond Carver Short Story Award. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Charles River Room - 4th Floor

10:15am EDT

6L: A Nice Problem to Have: A Guide to Types of Publishers and How to Choose Between Them
Limited Capacity seats available

Description coming!

avatar for Jonah Straus

Jonah Straus

Literary Agent, Straus Literary
Jonah Straus is founder of Straus Literary, a boutique literary agency based in San Francisco with an office in New York. He specializes in literary fiction, journalism, history, narrative nonfiction, and the culinary arts.Jonah got his start in publishing in the warehouse of Atrium... Read More →

Saturday April 4, 2020 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Beacon Hill Room - 4th Floor