Schedule of Activities

Note: all activities take place at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel on October 25-26, 2019, with the exception of the Pre-conference Edits, which will be managed entirely online (from June to the end of August 2019).

Friday, October 25, 2019

11:30-4:00 p.m. Check in outside the College Park Ballroom on the second floor of the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel conference area.

12:30-1:30 p.m. Editors Q&A Panel with all eight editors from publishing firms in the College Park Ballroom.

1:45-4:00 p.m. Query Letter Critique: In the second-floor meeting rooms, panels of one editor and one agent (assigned to participants at random, but no overlaps with any Saturday meetings) offer critiques and suggestions during sessions of about ten minutes to improve participants’ query letters so they’ll shine when they pitch their chosen agent(s)/editor(s) one-on-one on Saturday and/or have a sterling query letter to use thereafter. Past guest agents and editors have called this a “must do” activity, and often cite it as the most helpful and informative educational session offered by any conference anywhere. Nearly 40% of Best Pitch award winners at the May 2019 conference participated in the Query Letter Critique activity. Meanwhile, K.J. Howe gives two free, interactive talks with Q&A in the College Park Ballroom: “Leveraging Your Career Via Conferences” and “Networking: How to Connect with Authors, Agents, Editors, and Others Who Can Support Your Dream.”

4:00-6:00 p.m. “The Top 3 Aspects of Craft Where Writers Struggle the Most” Workshop: ThrillerFest Executive Director and award-winning author K.J. Howe presents this two-hour workshop, during which you will learn about world-building, pacing, and voice, which are relevant for all novelists and creative nonfiction writers.

6:00-8:30 p.m. Free time to improve your query letter for Saturday–if you did the query letter critique–and to dine in the hotel or elsewhere.

8:30-11:30 p.m. Free social mixer in a private meeting room for Conference participants only. No RSVP necessary. Join our guests for casual chats about books and the people who write them, sell them, publish them, and buy them. As part of their conference obligations, the sixteen editors and agents are compelled to participate.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Check in outside the College Park Ballroom on the second floor of the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel conference area.

9:00-10:00 a.m. Agents Q&A Panel with all eight literary agents in the College Park Ballroom.

10:15 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Manuscript critique meetings: One-on-one meetings for about 15 minutes each between the editors/agents and those who submitted their work for critique by the September 24 deadline, in the second-floor meeting rooms. Meanwhile, author, produced screenwriter, and award-winning producer Paul Sinor will provide two 75-minute talks in the College Park Ballroom: “Screenplay Characters for Novelists, or How to Build a Character in 3 Words or Less” and “Writing About the Drama of Trauma.”

1:00-2:15 p.m. Lunch on your own.

2:30-5:30 p.m. Pitch meetings: Participants pitch an editor/agent one-on-one for about ten minutes each, in the second-floor meeting rooms. In parallel, award-winning author Brian Panowich will do two 75-minute presentations in the College Park Ballroom on “Breaking the Rules of Grammar in Writing” and “How to Spot and Avoid Those Who Prey on Writers.”

5:30-6:30 p.m. Prize giveaways and award ceremony in the College Park Ballroom with each editor/agent presenting certificates to participants for the best manuscript sample submitted for critique and for the best pitch, and giveaway drawings for prizes such as a free manuscript critique at the next Atlanta Writers Conference.


Please contact George Weinstein at

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