The 2020 Sacramento Writing Workshop: October 2, 2020

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After successful writers conferences in 2016 and 2019, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Sacramento Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Sacramento, CA on October 2, 2020.

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (125 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Sacramento Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Friday, October 2, 2019, at the Courtyard Sacramento Midtown. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s faculty includes the following:

  • literary agent Matt Wagner (Fresh Books, Inc.)
  • literary agent Jennifer Chen Tran (Bradford Literary)
  • more agents/editors forthcoming

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Kerrie Flanagan of Writing Day Workshops, with help from local writing groups.


9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, October 2, 2020: Courtyard Sacramento Midtown, 4422 Y St, Sacramento, CA 95817. (916)455-6800.

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9 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

9:30 – 10:30: “Write like a Pro — Tips on Making Your Prose Awesome,” taught by Avanti Centrae. Learn tips and tricks to hone your craft from an award-winning thriller author. Maximize tension to keep readers turning pages. Understand voice and use it to hook agents. Outline surprising plot twists that earn fantastic reviews and sell books.

10:30 – 11:45: “How to Write a Stellar Query.”  taught by Jennifer Chen Tran. In this session, a literary agent will explain the different parts of a query letter, query writing dos and don’ts, how to make your submission stand out, and much more. Attendees will also get to dissect and examine real successful query letters that worked in getting a writer their agent.

11:45 – 1:15: Lunch on your own. There are several restaurants within quick driving distance.

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 10.30.04 PM1:15 – 2:30: “Writers’ Got Talent: A Chapter One Critique-Fest.” In the vein of American Idol or America’s Got Talent, this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts.)

2:50 – 3:50: “Savvy Social Media — Understanding the First Steps of Self-Marketing, and Even a Few Advanced Ones, Too.” This workshop, taught by an editor with social media experience, focuses on becoming savvy on Twitter and other platforms, as well as which ones work best for marketing to different age groups. When is it best to make a video? How should you use Facebook to market? Can you have multiple Twitter accounts? Questions like these will be addressed. Learn how to make your posts & content more visible, so they can get shared and help you market yourself and sell books.

4:00 – 5:00: “So You Have an Agent or Book Deal — Now What?” Many writers seek to get an agent and book deal. But what happens after these steps? Hear how to effectively work with a literary agent, what to expect in the submission process, what it’s like to work with a publishing house editor, how to sell multiple books in your career, and much more.

All throughout the day: Agent & Editor Pitching.


Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 4.44.50 PMMatt Wagner is a literary agent and founder of Fresh Books, Inc. Matt mostly handles nonfiction. The only fiction he seeks is: strong police procedurals and thrillers. In nonfiction: “I’m looking for new and established authors writing narrative nonfiction, lifestyle and reference titles, including: popular science, technology, health, fitness, photography, design, computing, gadgets, social media, career development, education, business, leadership, personal finance, parenting, how-to, and humor. I’m always open to how-to and reference, or books from subject matter experts or teachers that might fit the ‘for Dummies’ or similar series. I also like humorous how-to, such as Michelle Waitzman’s Sex in a Tent or ‘irreference’ such as Roger Ma’s Zombie Combat Manual. I’m eager to see strong proposals from experienced teachers and presenters on technical subjects. I will also read anything about emerging technologies. I’m experienced in working with corporations and branded books, such as The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, by Eric Groves.” Learn more about Matt here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 9.27.25 PM.pngJennifer Chen Tran is an agent at Bradford Literary. Jennifer is very interested in diverse writers and #ownvoices from underrepresented/ marginalized communities, strong and conflicted characters who are not afraid to take emotional risks, stories about multi-generational conflict, war and post-war fiction, and writing with a developed sense of place. In nonfiction, she loves books that broaden her world view or shed new light on “big ideas.” In fiction, she wants women’s fiction (contemporary, upmarket, literary), select young adult (must have distinct voice), select middle grade, graphic novels and visually-driven projects. In nonfiction, she seeks narrative nonfiction (biography, current affairs, medical, investigative journalism, history, how-to, music, pop-culture, travel), cookbooks & culinary projects, lifestyle (home, design, beauty, fashion), business books (social entrepreneurship, female and/or minority-led businesses, and innovation), select memoir with an established platform, parenting, relationships and psychology, and mind/body/spirit. Learn more about Jennifer here.

(more agents forthcoming)


      More 2020 agents may be added soon.

These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.

(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)


$169 — EARLY BIRD registration pricing! This is the complete base price for registration to the 2020 SWW and access to all workshops, all day.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, a longtime editor for Writer’s Digest Books and a former speaker at the event. (This rate is a special event value for Sacramento Writing Workshop attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?

Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:

  • Mystery, thriller, suspense, crime: Faculty member Avanti Centrae, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • More critique options forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email:, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Sacramento workshop specifically.


Because of limited space at the venue of the Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Midtown, the workshop can only allow 125 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email: He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The SWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Sacramento workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your letter.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Sacramento Writing Workshop.

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