The conference on May 6-7, 2022 consists of SEVEN parts and you may participate in one, some, or all of these events based on your interests, goals, and budget:
- Saturday Manuscript Sample Critiques (SUBMISSION DEADLINE April 4)
- Saturday Pitches (SUBMISSION DEADLINE May 2)
- Friday Query Letter Critiques (SUBMISSION DEADLINE May 2)
- Friday Workshop
Friday Editor Q&A Panel
Saturday Agent Q&A Panel
- Pre-Conference Edit (SUBMISSION DEADLINE February 11)
Except for the Pre-Conference Edits, which will occur via email exchanges, all activities will be in-person at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel on May 6-7, 202w. For those agent and editors who will be participating virtually due to COVID concerns, their participation will be online via Zoom.
If you want to register for one or more of the activities above where a submission deadline is indicated, click here for submission details.
NOTE: If you won’t be able to travel to the hotel due to COVID-19 or another reason, you will still be able to participate during the in-person activities via Zoom. When you register, please check the virtual attendance option. Any agents/editors you selected for critique and/or pitch meetings will interact with you via Zoom. 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 Zoom call with you. George will send their file(s) to you prior to November 6 so you can prepare for your Zoom call from them.
We’re going to have a conference on May 6-7, 2022 that is safe, first and foremost, as well as educational and beneficial for all concerned.
To that end, we are requiring all guests (agents, editors, and speakers), volunteers, and attendees to provide proof of full vaccination (a scan or photo of your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or the actual paper record) or proof of a negative COVID test that was issued a maximum of 3 days before the conference. When you check in on May 6th and/or 7th at our registration table, you’ll need to present this information to our volunteers. No exceptions will be allowed. If you arrive at the conference without this proof, you will not be admitted. While masking will be optional–subject to change based on the latest COVID variant–it is recommended that all individuals wear a mask while engaging in conference activities.
If you don’t want to abide by these public health measures, please select the virtual option when you register so you can participate online throughout the conference.
1. Manuscript Sample Critiques (submission deadline April 4)
One-on-one manuscript sample critique sessions on the morning and early afternoon of Saturday, May 7, 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 (or, if you selected Leticia Gomez and want her critique of a screenplay or TV script, submit a 1-page query letter and the first 20 pages of your script) by April 4, 2022. 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.
The agent(s) and/or editor(s) you select will return their feedback–including an indication of whether they want you to send a full or partial manuscript for further consideration–a day or two before the Saturday manuscript sample critique sessions so you will have time to prepare questions prior to your meeting.
After the final manuscript critiques are discussed on Saturday afternoon, all 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 (submission deadline May 2 with resubmit by May 6 at 10 pm Eastern)
To prepare for the pitch sessions on the afternoon of Saturday, May 7, in the privacy of a hotel meeting room, you will send Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein your query letter file for each agent/editor you select by May 2, 2022 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 also register for the Friday query letter critique, you can send George a replacement query letter(s) by 10 pm Eastern on May 6 for your pitch meeting(s) the next day. During the pitch session, you will discuss your project for about 10 minutes with the 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 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, the editor/agent will have reviewed your query letter 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, May 6 (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.
After the final pitches are discussed on Saturday afternoon, all 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 (submission deadline May 2)
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, May 6.
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 individuals 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 all 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 send Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein your query letter file for the agents/editors assigned to you by May 2, 2022 so they can review it and determine their recommendations and feedback prior to their meeting with you on May 6. This will be a strictly verbal exchange–you won’t receive any comments from them in writing, so be sure to take notes.
If you are also registered for the Saturday pitch(es), you can send George a replacement query letter(s) by 10 pm Eastern on May 6 for your pitch meeting(s) the next day.
In either case, the agents/editors will read your query letter ahead of their meeting/Zoom 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 our recent conferences, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Friday Workshop: “Working with Book Publishing Professionals at Every Stage of the Process” with acquisitions editor and former literary agent Jenny Chen
On Friday, May 6, after the query letter critiques, acquisitions editor and former literary agent Jenny Chen will present a new in-person workshop (which will also be live via Zoom for the virtual participants who registered for it). Jenny is a senior editor at Ballantine Books/Random House. Previously, she worked at Crooked Lane Books, Simon & Schuster, Berkley, and Writers House Literary Agency. She has had the privilege of working with numerous New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.
Whenever she wants writers to better understand the publishing business and the unique role each professional fills in literary agencies and publishing houses. During her workshop, she will focus on what she wants every writer to know about working with an agent and with a publisher, including what you should prepare in advance and how you can get the most out of those professional relationships.
5. Friday Editor Q&A Panel
On Friday, May 6, before the query letter critiques, acquisitions editors who represent Gallery/Simon & Schuster, Ballantine/Penguin Random House, Tor/Macmillan, Little Brown/Hachette, Woodhall 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, timelines for getting books into print, creative control and collaboration, and whatever else you want to ask about. Some of our guests will be in-person and others will be projected onscreen via a Zoom link, but you will be able to interact with all of them.
6. Saturday Agent Q&A Panel
On Saturday, May 7, 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. Some of our guests will be in-person and others will be projected onscreen via a Zoom link, but you will be able to interact with all of them.
7. Pre-Conference Edit (submission deadline February 11)
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 email@example.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 February 11. 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 her 4 p.m. workshop on Friday, May 6, Jenny Chen will give two briefer educational talks on “Writing Compelling Characters” and “Writing Vivid Settings.”
On Friday evening, from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., we will hold our mixer with musical entertainment and a cash bar. 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 who are not averse to close interactions during this time of COVID. Singer-pianist and AWC member Mike Shaw will create the perfect atmosphere for convivial networking.
On Saturday, May 7, while the morning critiques are held, we will feature live in-person talks by two-time Maggie Award-winning author Nicki Salcedo: “How to Enjoy Editing” and “Overcoming Impostor Syndrome (How building your confidence will change the way you write).”
In the afternoon, while the pitch meetings are ongoing, critically acclaimed, Amazon-bestselling author Emily Carpenter–who landed her first agent through the Atlanta Writers Conference–will present two topics: “The Author’s Act Two: Navigating a Creative Pivot” and “Outrun, Outlast: Surviving in the Publishing Industry.”
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 editors and agents–in-person and via Zoom–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 May 7th–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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Please contact Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at email@example.com.