Conference Activities

The conference on November 5-6, 2021 consists of SEVEN parts and you may participate in one, some, or all of these events based on your interests, goals, and budget:

  1. Saturday Manuscript Sample Critiques
  2. Saturday Pitches
  3. Friday Query Letter Critiques
  4. Friday Workshop: 
  5. Friday Editor Q&A Panel
  6. Saturday Agent Q&A Panel
  7. Virtual Pre-Conference Edit (DEADLINE August 4)

Except for the Pre-Conference Edits, which occur via email exchanges, all activities will be in-person at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel on November 5-6, 2021. Click here for the pricing of each activity

NOTE: If you won’t be able to travel to the hotel due to COVID-19 or another reason, do NOT select the conference all-activities package deal or any of the individual activities except the Virtual Pre-Conference Edit, Saturday Manuscript Sample Critiques, Saturday Pitches, and Friday Query Letter Critiques–these will be the only activities you can do without being present at the hotel. After you register, please reply to the confirmation email ASAP and alert Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein that you will not be present at the hotel for the event. Any agents/editors you selected for critique and/or pitch meetings will contact you by phone. If you registered for the query letter critique and/or pitch meetings, please send your query letters to George by November 1 so he can provide them to the agents and/or editors prior to their call with you. If you registered for one or more manuscript critiques, click here for submission details; George will send their file(s) to you prior to November 6 so you can prepare for your call from them.

1. Manuscript Sample Critiques

One-on-one manuscript sample critique sessions on the morning and early afternoon of Saturday, November 6, in the privacy of a hotel meeting room, where the acquisitions editor(s) and/or agent(s) you’ve selected will share their evaluation and discuss your project for about 15 minutes. A day or two before the critique meetings, you will receive the editor/agent’s written summary of comments and any notes they made on your work (they won’t do line-editing, but they shouldn’t have to; that’s why we’re offering the Pre-Conference Edit ahead of time–see activity #7 below–so you can make sure your work is free of errors and other content problems before you submit it). By the end of the session, you might be asked to submit additional pages or your full manuscript for consideration.

You can register for up to two of these sessions through the system and reply to the confirmation email you’ll receive to ask Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein to add a third such critique at a discounted price.

If you select this activity, you will need to submit the first 19 pages of your novel/memoir plus a 1-page query letter and 1-page synopsis; your query letter and a 20-page nonfiction book proposal; or a query letter and your entire picture book by October 4, 2021. NOTE: if there are waitlists for editors/agents, some will be shorter than others–use the link at the bottom of any webpage to contact Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein about who has the shortest waitlists among those who are a good fit for you and your work.

After the final manuscript critiques are discussed on Saturday afternoon, all 16 editors and agents will select one or two participants to receive a Best Manuscript Sample certificate, to be awarded at the ceremony that concludes the conference.

2. Pitches

For the pitch sessions on the afternoon of Saturday, November 6, in the privacy of a hotel meeting room, you will bring a one-page query letter and discuss your project for about 10 minutes with an editor/agent of your choice, talk about your writing and your publishing ambitions, and ask the editor/agent for reactions to your query and the description of your book. If the guest is interested, you will be asked to send sample pages or even the whole manuscript for consideration. You will NOT submit anything in advance.

You can register for up to two of these sessions through the system and reply to the confirmation email you’ll receive to ask Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein to add a third pitch at a discounted price.

Unlike most other conferences, you will bring your query letter to the pitch session on Saturday afternoon for the editor/agent for review immediately prior to your session. The query letter does the hard work of introducing your manuscript concept and yourself to the agent/editor, allowing you to build on that foundation in a natural conversation, with no recitation of a memorized spiel. To help you succeed in your pitch session(s), you can also register to get your query letter critiqued on Friday, November 5 (see activity #3 below) by two editors/agents who you will NOT be meeting with on Saturday, to give you a chance to improve your query letter ahead of time without hurting your chances with your choice picks.

If you also want 1-2 manuscript sample critiques (see activity #1 above), pitching will give you the chance to introduce other editors and/or agents to your work. Do NOT choose the same individual for manuscript critiquing AND pitching. It’s much wiser to increase your chances by meeting with as many individuals as you can who are seeking your genre/topic.

NOTE: if there are waitlists for editors/agents, some will be shorter than others–use the link at the bottom of any webpage to contact Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein about who has the shortest waitlists among those who are a good fit for you and your work.

If you’ve alerted George in advance that you can’t travel and need the agent/editor(s) to call you, be sure to send him your query letter file for each of them by November 1, 2021 so he can provide it to them prior to their call to you. This will be a strictly verbal exchange–you won’t receive any comments from them in writing. If you are also registered for the Friday query letter critique, you can send George a replacement query letter(s) by 11:59 pm on November 5 for your pitch call(s) the next day.

After the final pitches are discussed on Saturday afternoon, all 16 editors and agents will select one or two participants to receive a Best Pitch certificate, to be awarded at the ceremony that concludes the conference.

3. Query Letter Critiques

Writing a great manuscript is only part of the challenge on the road to publication. You also need to write a “bulletproof” query letter–one that won’t be rejected for errors of commission or omission–because agents and editors are not likely to ask for your manuscript if they aren’t impressed by your query. Therefore, we offer the “Query Letter Critique” on the afternoon of Friday, November 5.

The Query Letter Critique is the rare chance to share your query letter with publishing professionals for completely objective feedback. A pair of agents/editors will be randomly assigned to participants with the assurance that the pair assigned to you will not include anyone you’re meeting with on Saturday, if applicable. Their role in this activity is not to accept or reject; rather, their goal is to help you improve your work so you can shine on Saturday and/or in all future queries. But, who knows? If you submit a great query letter at this Friday Query Letter Critique session, one or both of the editors/agents might ask to see your work too! It happens at every one of our conferences.

You do NOT have to register for the Saturday pitch in order to register for the Friday query letter critique–maybe you want to just try out a query letter with some talented industry professionals and get their feedback with no pressure or stress, or maybe you want to improve your letter for future queries. These are excellent reasons to take advantage of this unique chance to get important feedback about a submission that is usually just a “yes” or “no” proposition. In fact, since we introduced the query letter critique in 2013, most of our guest editors and agents have reported it was their favorite activity and considered it a must-do for all participants who are serious about getting their best work out there.

You will NOT submit anything in advance as was necessary during the COVID-related virtual conferences. Instead, you will bring 3 copies of your query letter to the Westin on November 5, 2021 so the 2 agents/editors can review it before your meeting with that pair of individuals (the third copy is for you to take notes).

If you’ve alerted Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein in advance that you can’t travel and need the agent/editor(s) to call you, be sure to send him your query letter file for them by November 1, 2021 so he can provide it to them prior to their call to you. This will be a strictly verbal exchange–you won’t receive any comments from them in writing. If you are also registered for the Saturday pitch(es), you can send George a replacement query letter(s) by 11:59 pm on November 5 for your pitch call(s) the next day.

In either case, the agents/editors will read your query letter ahead of their meeting/call with you and give you advice about how to make your query letter more polished and professional so you’ll do your best on Saturday and/or provide guidance you can use on query letters long after the conference is over. At the November 2020 conference, nearly 70% of Best Pitch awards by an agent or editor went to those who participated in the Query Letter Critique, so this activity really does improve your chances to shine!

You can register for one of these sessions and then add a second query letter critique by contacting Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at awconference@gmail.com.

4. Friday Workshop: “How Authors Go from Fingers on Keyboard to Dollars in Their Bank Accounts: Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers” with entertainment attorney and literary agent Paul Levine, Esq.

On Friday, November 5, after the query letter critiques, attorney and agent Paul Levine, Esq. will present a new workshop. Paul has practiced entertainment law for almost 40 years, specializing in the representation of writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, authors, photographers, galleries, publishers, developers, production companies and theatre companies in the fields of motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, live stage, recorded music, concerts, the visual arts, publishing, and advertising. In 1998, he opened the Paul S. Levine Literary Agency, specializing in the representation of book authors and the sale of motion picture and television rights in and to books. Since starting his literary agency, Paul has sold over 150 adult, young adult, and children’s fiction and non-fiction books to at least 50 different publishers and has had many books developed as movies-for-television, television series, and feature films.

Whenever he gives lectures to writers, he finds that they have very little idea of how they can go from working away on their keyboards at night and on weekends to actually quitting their day jobs.

During his workshop, Paul is going to discuss all the ways in which authors make money from publishers, and also ways publishers try not to pay, or try to postpone paying for as long as possible, those monies that authors are owed. He will also answer your many legal questions that are bound to come up whenever writers have the chance to talk to lawyers.

5. Friday Editor Q&A Panel

On Friday, November 5, before the query letter critiques, acquisitions editors who represent Henry Holt, Flatiron, New World Library, the University of South Carolina Press, and others answer your questions about the craft and business of writing from the publishers’ perspective, including how they work with authors, the current state of the publishing industry, the different roles within publishing firms, creative control and collaboration, and whatever else you want to ask about.

6. Saturday Agent Q&A Panel

On Saturday, November 6, before the manuscript critiques, participate in a candid, freewheeling discussion with all participating literary agents, who will educate you about their changing roles and the expanding responsibilities of the author, with advice about working with agents and expectations about marketing one’s work. Also get answers to your questions concerning everything from queries and contracts to publicity and social media.

7. Pre-Conference Edit

To help you prepare for your conference Manuscript Critique–or simply get feedback on the start of your book to guide its development–the Pre-Conference Edit enables you to select a professional freelance editor who will content- and line-edit the first 19 pages of your book, a 1-page synopsis, and a 1-page query letter (for fiction and memoir), a 1-page query letter and 20-page book proposal (for nonfiction), or a 1-page query letter and the full text of a picture book (illustrations optional). These edits will be done almost two months before the submission due date for the Manuscript Sample Critiques, to give you time to correct, rework, and otherwise improve what you submit for feedback to the agent(s) and/or acquisitions editor(s) you select. Even if you’re not interested in a Manuscript Sample Critique, though, the freelance editor can improve your query letter and synopsis and spot issues in your manuscript that will help you develop the rest of your book and make it more saleable.

The Pre-Conference Edit will improve your chances with the agents and acquisitions editors and also give you crucial guidance about changes you need to make in the rest of your manuscript. At past conferences, more than 60% of all awards–for Best Manuscript Sample and Best Pitch–have gone to writers who participated in the Pre-Conference Edit.

You can register for one of these sessions through the system and then add a second or third pre-conference edit at a discounted price by contacting Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at awconference@gmail.com.

When you register, you can select one, some, or all of these activities. We offer a Conference All-Activities Package, which includes two manuscript critiques, two pitches, and all of the other activities, with a $175 discount because the two Q&A panels and the Pre-Conference Edit are free when you select this option until August 4. After that date, you can still save $100 by choosing the same Package deal but without Pre-Conference Edit option.

 

***

Bonuses (free and available to anyone who purchases two or more of the Conference activities above):

Prior to his 4 p.m. workshop on Friday, November 5, Paul Levine will give two briefer educational talks on the legal aspects of turning books into movies and how to get out of a bad publishing contract.

On Friday evening, from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., the mixer is back! We invite Conference participants purchasing for two or more activities to gather in a private room at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel for informal conversations with the editors, agents, and your peers. All the editors and agents will attend this mixer, and singer-pianist and AWC member Mike Shaw will create the perfect atmosphere for convivial networking.

On Saturday, November 6, while the morning critiques are held, we will feature talks by book cover designer and former filmmaker Lynne Hansen (“How to Work with a Book Cover Artist to Get the Cover You Deserve”) and her husband, four-time Bram Stoker Award nominee, Jeff Strand (“Surviving the Writing Life, Part One”). During the afternoon pitches, Lynne will return with “How NOT to Make a Movie in 30 Days” and Jeff will present “Surviving the Writing Life, Part Two.”

Lynne Hansen is a horror artist who specializes in book covers. She loves creating art that tells a story and that helps connect publishers, authors and readers. Her art has appeared on the cover of the legendary Weird Tales Magazine, and her clients include Cemetery Dance Publications, Thunderstorm Books and Raw Dog Screaming Press. She has illustrated works by New York Times bestselling authors including Jonathan Maberry, George Romero, and Christopher Golden. Her art has been commissioned and collected throughout the United States and overseas. Art-Haus Gallery in Atlanta will be hosting her solo art show “Lyrical Nightmares: The Art of Lynne Hansen.” For more information, visit LynneHansenArt.com.

Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author (he lost to Stephen King twice!) of over fifty books. Though he primarily writes horror/thriller with a lot of humor, he’s also written a few young adult novels, a romantic comedy, and a bit of smut. Several of his books are in development as motion pictures, sometimes with him writing the screenplay. He has emceed plenty of awards banquets, most recently the Independent Audiobook Awards. To be at the conference, he’ll have to drive all the way from another part of Atlanta. His website is www.JeffStrand.com.

To close out the Atlanta Writers Conference on Saturday afternoon, we will offer prize giveaways, including critiques, pitches, and other activities for the next conference and lifetime membership in the Atlanta Writers Club. And then our award ceremony will commence, with all 16 editors and agents announcing awards for Best Manuscript Sample and Best Pitch. Many participants who were awarded one or more of these certificates later received book deals from editors or representation contracts from agents. See who shines on November 6th–it might be your name our guests call!

All bonus activities are free for anyone purchasing at least two of the following activities: the manuscript critique, pitch, query letter critique, workshop, editor Q&A panel, agent Q&A panel, and/or pre-conference edit. 

Our Policy on Sexual Harassment

The Atlanta Writers Conference staff, Atlanta Writers Club (AWC) volunteers, and the presenters at its conferences are committed to helping provide safe, inspiring, informative events. The Atlanta Writers Club will not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind on the part of attendees, presenters, or anyone connected to any event sponsored by the AWC. We urge anyone who experiences or observes a problem to notify Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein (awconference@gmail.com) immediately. We appreciate your cooperation.

Our Photo Policy

Atlanta Writers Conference volunteers will be taking photos during the conference to share on social media and use on the conference website to advertise the event and celebrate the participants and our guests. By registering for this conference, you are giving us permission to use your image for these purposes.

Questions?

Please contact Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at awconference@gmail.com.



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