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Exploring the Chicago and Detroit Writer's Workshop

Hi everyone! I hope you're staying safe, masking up, and having some manner of fun this summer. Anywho, over the past couple of months, I've attended two writing workshops across this plague loving country. As the title suggests, they were supposed to take place in Chicago and Detroit. Shocking, I know. A nice twist about this year's conferences was that they were online and done by zoom meetings, meaning that we had a chance to attend all the lectures and seminars. Previously, the conferences would have taken place in a large hotel and split into four blocks of three on a Saturday. At least the Detroit one did. This was my first year attending the one in Chicago, so I can't be certain what those folks in that windy city do.

For any of you who haven't attended a workshop and are a writer or aspiring author, I'd highly recommend going. They offer excellent tips and information on not just writing better, but also on how to engage with social media and how to market your book. These tips work for both self-published and traditionally published authors. Just make sure that if you do self-publish, you get an editor. Seriously, you'd be surprised how many self-published books get sent to Amazon without even a basic look over. On top of those useful bits of intel, they also had a panel of agents where you could ask questions. A seminar that I believe to be the most helpful went over what to do and not to do when writing a query letter. For those who don't know, query letters are vital to get an agent who will help you get your book out to publishers. It is possible to go the traditionally published path without an agent, but it's a lot more challenging. Also, no agent will ask for money. If someone does, they're not a legitimate agent.

If you do attend a workshop, ensure that you do get an agent pitch (that is, assuming you have a book to be pitched). While you can get an agent through Query Tracker, Manuscript Wishlist, or the agency's website, it's nice to establish a personal connection, even a small one, so that the agent will better remember you. Make sure that your novel is complete, have a polished elevator pitch, and feel free to ask questions. With being able to pitch your book in person, the workshops also held a query letter critique and a critique of your novel's first ten pages. For people who don't want to pay the little extra money, both the Chicago and Detroit workshops had a writer's got talent panel where you could submit the first page of your book for it to be read over and critiqued by a group of agents. Even if your submission doesn't get read, the seminar is an invaluable asset if you struggle with writing the opening page.

While these two workshops were held online because of the Coronavirus, most are in person, giving you an excellent avenue to meet with and interact with fellow writers. Atop of that, the workshops have useful resources to learn and gather more information, and email or handout notes and other materials to better keep organized. In these two workshops and others, there are seminars for all types of writers, be you a non-fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, horror, romance, or children's picture book author.

I look forward to attending more of them. If anyone reading this has been to a writing workshop and would like to discuss all manner of writing and other creative topics, let me know! If you haven't been to one and are interested, again, I recommend going. If you do, I hope to see you at the Michigan Writer's Workshop in Detroit next year. Or at another one, if I go to multiple. I hope all of you stay safe and have a good Summer.

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