Since you’ll be in workshop sessions most of the day, you’ll want to wear something comfortable. 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, you may want to bring some 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. Be sure to pack comfortable shoes. You might want to bring tennis shoes to walk the beautiful BSU campus.
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. Our MWW merchandise table has nice portfolios for sale. While it’s not required, you may bring a laptop/notebook computer if you wish. (Ball State is a wireless campus).
Of course, if you plan to attend the “Tech” intensive sessions with Roxane Gay or Jane Friedman on Thursday, or 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 25, between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. to pick up your welcome packet and nametag. Our Welcome Center and Registration Table are located in the Conservatory as you enter the Alumni Center. Parking is free at the Alumni Center (including handicapped-accessible). Parking lots are immediately north of the Center behind Schuemann Football Stadium. Look for Midwest Writers committee members wearing MWW denim shirts. 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 a special session, Social Media with Jane Friedman 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 by Lou Harry, 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?
If you’re selling books on consignment, take them to the MWW Bookstore after you register. Our Bookstore opens Thursday morning at 8:15 a.m. Please have the books you bring priced. There is an established commission rate of 20%. You must pick up any remaining books before the workshop ends. Books left after the workshop ends will not be returned.
The MWW Bookstore accepts VISA and MasterCard payments. Books about writing and by faculty authors and participants will be available.
We also have a MWW merchandise table with sweatshirts, portfolios, totes, and mugs. (Note: the merchandise table accepts cash or check payments only.)
How can I get the most help with my writing?
Getting feedback from other writers can be very helpful. You are welcome to bring a few pages of your writing (3-5 pages/or beginning chapter). These may be handed out informally if you meet someone on your own. Or we have a place set up in the library to put your pages and come back for your comments. Please attach a few blank pages for feedback.
What about meals?
We provide coffee and pastries in the mornings, and light refreshments (cookies/chips) 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 buffet lunch and evening meal, 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 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, please check the posted schedule in the Conservatory by the Registration Table. 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; #mww13)! Our FB 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. (To join: click the Groups icon at the bottom of your Facebook page, then search “Midwest Writers Workshop.”)Back to Top