Webinar: Workshops and Resources to Meet Your 2020 Submission Goals

This year, we’re hosting a series of free webinars: FINDING THE RIGHT WORKSHOP FOR YOUR 2020 CREATIVE GOALS. This week, Program Director Alison Green Myers will share workshops and resources that will help you meet your revision and submission goals in 2020.

If submission is a goal for you in 2020, perhaps you’re thinking about submitting to an editor, an agent, an art director, or all of the above. How do you know when your manuscript is ready to submit?

Start by thinking of your answers to the following questions:

  • Where are you in your project? Have you written part of a draft? A complete draft? An outline and a few pages?
    • If you’ve written a complete draft, are you revising? Are you editing? Are you “letting it rest”?
  • Have you already received some feedback on your draft?
    • If you have an agent, have you shown it to your agent?
    • Your writing bff?
    • Your critique group?

The answers to these questions will help frame up how we at the Highlights Foundation can help you in our courses. Take a look at the three categories covered during our revision and submission webinar today:

  • Revision Skills
  • Query and Submission Guidance
  • Self-care

Revision Skills
If you are still cleaning up your first or fiftieth draft, our Revision workshops might be a good match. Why? Because you want to submit a project that is as polished as you can get it on your own.

At Filling the Writers Toolbox with Emma Dryden she will walk your novel or picture book manuscript through the paces, examining each component of your completed draft, and outlining your TO DO list for revision. Emma provides plenty of strategies for tackling your big-picture revision: Voice, World Building, Character, Description. There are multiple opportunities for critiques from Emma and her faculty. She’ll be joined by visiting editor Tiffany Liao, and visiting agent Linda Camacho, and teaching assistants Meera Trehan and Lisa Cinelli.

Also we have our Revision Retreat, which for the first time in its long history with the Highlights Foundation will take place both online and in person. Broken into 4 parts, this intense revision workshop not only offers strategies for revision, but time on campus to get to work. Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson take the lead on this course.

New this year, is our online workshop An Introduction to Line Editing with Jennifer Gennari. (Look for all of our online-only workshops to jump onto our website later this month.) As with Writers Toolbox and Revision Retreat, this course looks at your completed draft. An Introduction to Line Editing looks line-by-line at the style of a manuscript to find consistency, and places where writing can be tightened or elevated.

Another set of workshops that look at completed novels, and places to tighten and elevate, would be our Whole Novel Workshops. While strategies for revision will be discussed at these workshops, they won’t be taught in the way that they are at Writers Toolbox, Revision Retreat, and Intro to Line Editing. Instead, at the Whole Novel Workshops, you will receive a “whole novel” critique, and then have dedicated time to work on your revisions under the guidance of your faculty mentors.

The Whole Novel Workshops are application-based classes. We can take 20 total students into our general MG and YA Whole Novel Workshop, and 16 total students into our Writing the Unreal Whole Novel programs. (8 students in the spring, and 8 students in the fall.)

All of our workshops have some component of feedback, whether given to part or all of your work-in-progress. If you write picture books, most of our workshops offer feedback on the whole manuscript, with some suggestions for revisions and edits. If you write novels, many of our workshops look at openings of the novel, the first chapter, the first ten pages. Some of our workshops look at the first 20 or 25 pages. Some at the first 50 pages. But the Whole Novel Workshop is the only program that looks at the entire novel.

Query and Submission Guidance
If you’ve already received feedback on your project, and tackled revisions, you might think, “This book is ready to submit to an editor or agent!” Now what?

When it comes to queries and submissions, the research you do is key. Get your submission into the right hands by doing some research up front. You can find editors and agents by:

  • Researching who is already publishing and representing work out there like what you’ve created.
  • Researching who isn’t already publishing and representing work out there like what you’ve created, but is eager to!
  • Spending time in the library, bookstore, online,… reading the acknowledgements of the books you like. Often an author will include their agent and/or editor in the list of acknowledgements.
  • Visit SCBWI’s THE BOOK. SCBWI updates this listing yearly with terrific information about publishers, including market surveys on book, magazine, and religious publishers.
  • Visit a workshop or conference to meet an editor or agent in person.
  • Search in the Manuscript Wish List database by keywords and genres. You can also follow along with the Manuscript Wish List database by using #MSWL.
  • Look up agents on QueryTracker, which gives insight into response times from various agents.
  • If available to you, view Publishers Marketplace as a resource to find editors and agents.
  • Don’t forget to ask a librarian! Children’s book librarians might not know the name of the agent or editor associated with a book, but if you say, “I’m writing a nonfiction picture book about a little-known female fighter pilot” the librarian would show you to other nonfiction picture books about little-known heroes and sheroes. Then you can do your research and find the publisher, editor, and agent.

Some of our workshops are well suited for those looking to query and/or submit to editors and agents.

Newly remodeled as an online offering, the Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know is a ten-unit course that covers–or perhaps uncovers–the many genres and markets of children’s publishing, as well as how to write, revise, submit, and publish books. This course begins February 17 and is targeted towards beginners to the field of children’s books. It can be taken whether you have a finished manuscript or not. It can be taken if you’ve published outside of children’s books, or not. It can be taken if you’ve self-published, or not. In addition to video lecture, and live Q & A sessions, there is also live session on March 23 on how to craft your query letter for submission, with an opportunity for feedback on the query letter itself.

Another online course, launching this fall, is called I’ve Finished My Manuscript, Now What? This five-part course talks about writing a query letter, researching agents, what to expect from an agent/author relationship, and tips for crafting a successful submission to an agent. (Look for all of our online-only workshops to jump onto our website later this month.)

Also new this year is From Premise To Pitch: Get Submission Ready With Two Seasoned Agents. You’ll meet with two agents and an editor to look at your synopsis, novel components, and pitch to be sure that your submission is ready to go. There are four hands-on sessions during the course to prepare materials, and receive feedback.

In addition to these workshops, we have publishing professionals, agents, editors, publishers, art directors, visiting most of our workshops. At the various workshops, you will have time to meet our publishing guest, ask them questions, and in some cases, receive feedback specific to your work-in-progress. You can find out who our visiting editors, agents, and art directors are by taking a look at our detailed workshop descriptions.

This is something we take into consideration in EVERY SINGLE RETREAT. We feed your mind and body with good things so that while you are learning about revision techniques or the craft of poetry, you can also take a hike in the woods, or take a nap in your cabin. You can recharge with fellow creators.

With that in mind, one opportunity that isn’t a “workshop” but an “Unworkshop” is the ultimate in creator self-care. These build-your-own retreats are perfect for those trying to meet a deadline, or for anyone who needs uninterrupted writing time. Our Unworkshops are popular because you, as the book creator, drive your schedule. We offer you three delicious meals a day, unlimited snacks, private accommodations, and room to create.

Need more help to choose?
If you’re still undecided, you can visit our Upcoming Workshops for detailed descriptions, faculty bios, and information about our extensive scholarship program. Our website has a new filtering feature where you can filter by genre, subject, career level, and more.

You can also contact one of our Ambassadors to get individual help in finding your perfect workshop: Cat Galeano, Rona Shirdan, Alex Villasante, or program assistant Jo Lloyd. They will work with you one-to-one to find the perfect course for you to help accomplish your 2020 goals. What’s more, they can assist with information about the Highlights Foundation experience, and with details about our scholarship program.

Download a pdf outlining the 2020 revision and submission resources and workshops.

Posted on: February 6, 2020