Since you’ll be in workshop sessions most of the day, you’ll want to wear something comfortable. Be sure to pack comfortable shoes as we’re now in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, with sessions on two floors. However, because we have agents and editors in attendance, you may want to adopt a “dress casual” policy. Dressing professionally for your agent appointment will help you present yourself at your best. You may also want to bring a sweater as some of the classrooms may be cool. The building’s air conditioning system is located off-site so we are UNABLE to adjust the temperature for individual rooms. (We also have a selection of MWW sweatshirts for sale at our merchandise table!) You may dress up for the banquet if you like but it isn’t required.
What should I bring?
An important advantage to attending a workshop, besides all the knowledge that is available, is an opportunity to meet people who can help further your career. MWW encourages networking and building friendships with other writers. If you have business cards, bring some to include on our resource networking table and to exchange with individuals with whom you have made a special connection. You will receive a list of all participants and their contact information in your welcome packet. As far as packing, bring what you would normally take on vacation, including a swimsuit if your hotel has a pool.
To help manage the quantity of information presented in the sessions, we will provide a spiral-bound book of notes to each participant registered for Part II. You’ll need pen/pencil and perhaps an extra notebook. While it’s not required, you may bring a laptop/notebook computer if you wish. (Ball State is a wireless campus).
If you are interested in tutorial sessions for social media, you will for sure want to have your laptop/notebook with you.
If you bring your cell phone, be sure that you put it on vibrate mode or turn it off during ALL sessions.
What should I do when I arrive?
If you are in Part I, plan to arrive on Thursday, July 20, between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. to pick up your welcome packet and nametag. Our Welcome Center and Registration Table are located on the second floor of the Pittenger Student Center. Parking is available in the parking garage to the north of the Student Center (including handicapped-accessible). Look for Midwest Writers committee members wearing green shirts with the MWW logo. We’ll have coffee available and you can begin meeting other participants. An introductory welcome session begins at 8:30 a.m. and the Intensive Sessions start at 9:00 a.m.
- If you are in Part II, arrive and pick up your materials between at 3:45 or after. We have three special sessions (Conference 101, Pitching 101, Query Letters 101) from 3:45-5 pm. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m, we will introduce our Part II faculty, listen to a welcome presentation, and then mingle and enjoy a nice spread of finger foods and a cash bar. We may even have a few surprises!
- If you are attending both Part I and II, you only need to sign in at the registration Table once.
What if I have my own books to bring?
Books about writing and by faculty authors will be on sale at the MWW-BSU Bookstore. The Bookstore opens at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, July 20 and accepts VISA and MasterCard payments. We also have a MWW merchandise table with sweatshirts, totes, and mugs.
- Limit the number of books you bring to 10, although, if your 10 books sell out, you may replenish your supply.
- Price your books at a round number (if possible), for example, $10, $15, $20.
- When you check in, we will give you an inventory control slip to fill out and insert into each of your books. It will list the book title, author, selling price, and a number — 1 through 10.
- You must pick up your books by 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. At that time, we will give you a receipt for the check to be mailed to you within two weeks for the amount of money your books earned, minus MWW’s 10% commission.
The Consignment Bookstore opens Thursday morning at noon. There is an established commission rate of 10%. You must pick up any remaining books before the workshop ends. Books left after the workshop ends will not be returned.
What about meals?
We provide coffee in the mornings and during the afternoons. If you need something more substantial to begin your morning, many of the local motels include breakfast. Part I participants receive a buffet lunch with their registration fee. Participation in Part II includes Friday lunch and Saturday evening awards banquet. If you have any dietary restrictions, email the director: firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I paid for a Manuscript Evaluation?
If you paid the $35 fee for your manuscript to be evaluated by one of our Manuscript Evaluation Team, you are entitled to a 15-minute one-on-one discussion of your work with the Team Member you selected. Please include your name, address, phone and email on top left of your submitted double-spaced manuscript. All discussion sessions between participants and the Manuscript Evaluation Team Member are Friday and Saturday during workshop hours. The Manuscript Team Members will schedule their one-on-one discussions and you can check the list for your name/time at the Registration Table when you arrive.
How to I prepare for my Agent Pitch Session?
If you signed up for a 3-minute pitch session on your registration form, before the conference, a MWW Agent Assistant will communicate with you via email to schedule pitches. Each agent will meet with individuals who pre-registered. Please come prepared.
Before the conference, it helps to do a little homework. Agents are impressed when a writer knows something about their agency and the writers it represents. At minimum, know whether the agent represents your kind of book. Don’t pitch your adult thriller to an agent who handles only children’s books. Know where your project falls in the marketplace. If it’s fiction, is it a romance, a mystery, mainstream? Can you compare it to another published author’s work? If it’s nonfiction, who is the audience? What types of publishers are likely to buy it?
Authors must know about similar books that have been published and why theirs will be different. What category does it fall into, who are the readers and how will it fit into the market?
Prepare a three-minute pitch where you boil your project down to three to five sentences. Practice that pitch until you can deliver it smoothly. The whole point of the pitch session is to get your writing read. You’re not there to chat, make a new friend or list the problems you’re having with your writing but to convince the agent to give it a look.
For fiction, divide the pitch into three points: the setup, hook and resolution. For nonfiction, the title should convey the main concept of the book. Explain what the book is about, why you are qualified to write it, who will read it and what you can do to promote it.
Agents and editors are not usually willing or able to carry your manuscript home with them, but if they are interested, they may take a brief written summary. Don’t expect an agent or editor to read your synopsis while you wait. Sell the agent on you as a writer and then the book you’re doing. It is much more helpful to convince the agent of your talent, vision, commitment and ability and then hopefully about the book itself. In a short meeting, if the agents are interested, they will usually follow up on the phone later and get into the book stuff.
What is the R. Karl Largent Writing Award?
Midwest Writers Workshop established the R. Karl Largent Memorial Fund and renamed its top writing award after long-time and popular committee member R. Karl Largent. The Manny Writing Contest’s top winner will receive a $200 cash award, made possible through Robin Vincent Publishers and MWW. The award has been named the R. Karl Largent Writing Award. It honors Largent, who died in 2003. He attended a MWW session in the 1980s and eventually became a full-time writer and teacher. He had more than 25 novels published and had taught more than 3,000 writing hopefuls since 1990. Karl was one of the most popular of all MWW instructors and writers-in-residence. His thorough and helpful critiques of student works stamped him as a favorite of aspiring writers along with his easy-going, friendly personality. “No one can possibly replace Karl,” said Jama Bigger, MWW director, “but we remember him and perpetuate his legacy through this writing award.”
What if I still have questions?
If you have questions, contact our Registrar, Jama Bigger, 765-282-1055 or e-mail email@example.com
MWW also has a social networking presence on Facebook and Twitter (@MidwestWriters and @jamabigger; #mww17)! Our Facebook Group connects you with other writers, authors, previous faculty, MWW alumni, and many previous participants. Maybe you have a question about pitching to agents, or manuscript submissions, or the facility. Maybe you’re looking to share a motel room or a ride to Muncie. Post a question on our Discussion Board or write a comment on our Wall.