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 about parking?
Parking permits will need to be purchased at the workshop for Thursday and Friday (parking will be free on Saturday). Ball State’s Parking Services will set up a table in the Student Center, in the hallway near the south entrance, to sell permits. The table will be open from 7:45 am to 9:15 am on Thursday and Friday. The table will also be open from 2:30 to 3:30 pm on Thursday. Permits cost $5 per day. Look for MWW interns wearing RED t-shirts with #MWW17, who will be stationed in parking lots around the Student Center to help you find which lots to park in and direct you to the table to get your permit. You can pay for your permit, put it on your car, and then head up to the second floor to the Midwest Writers Workshop registration table.
If you are unable to arrive during the times the Parking Services table is open, there are metered spaces to park in both the garage behind the Student Center and the garage on McKinley Avenue. Those spaces also cost $5 per day.
The Student Center is handicapped-accessible. Maps of the Student Center floor plans are included on the “RESOURCES” page under the “EXTRAS” tab on our website.
What about meals?
- Morning: coffee, pastries, fruit
- Lunch: box lunch
- Dinner: ON YOUR OWN***
- Evening reception/opening for Part II: Cash Bar/cheeses/fruits/chicken tenders, etc.
- Morning: coffee, pastries, fruit
- Lunch: taco bar
- Dinner: ON YOUR OWN***
- Evening Autograph Party: Cash Bar / snacks
- Morning: coffee, pastries, fruit
- Lunch: ON YOUR OWN***
- Dinner: cash bar/banquet
At the workshop, please see one of the catering staff as they have your food set aside in the kitchen.
STUDENT CENTER: Hours of Operation:
Student Center Tally Food Court: Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. / Saturday and Sunday – Closed
Student Center Tally Starbucks: Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. / Saturday (July 22rd Only) – 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. / Sunday – Closed
***Planning for Meals on Your Own
Some suggestions/recommendations for dining (Thursday & Friday dinners, Saturday lunch):
In the Village (head east on University Avenue from the Student Center):
Subway, Pita Pit, Jimmy John’s, Hot Box Pizza, Scotty’s Brewhouse*, Two Cats Café*, Greek’s Pizzeria*
If you’re comfortable driving (your parking permit will still be valid when you return):
Head south on McKinley to Jackson street and turn right (west):
On Jackson, Wendy’s
On Tillotson (turn left from Jackson):
McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks (Gold Card rewards can be redeemed here and the menu is larger than at the Student Center), Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant*
If you’d prefer to stay in the Student Center, there is a delivery option:
Tranzind Delivery service offers delivery from several restaurants. Visit tranzinddelivery.com or download the app for your smartphone (Apple or Android only). To get delivery to the Student Center, you will need to use the address 2000 W University Ave Muncie, IN 47306 and in the delivery directions include the information that you are in the Ball State Student Center. Select a location to meet the driver and include that in your directions. Please note that the estimated wait times of 45 minutes to an hour are fairly accurate so you should place your order early. You will be able to track your delivery on the website or via the app.
*It may be difficult to get and consume your meal in the allotted time for lunch or dinner at these locations.
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 in the Browsing Lounge (the middle area of the second floor). 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. in the Ballroom and the Intensive Sessions start at 9:00 a.m.
If you are in Part II, arrive and pick up your materials at 3:45 p.m. or after. We have three special sessions from 3:45-5:00 p.m.: Conference 101 (for all newcomers!), Pitching 101 (to help you practice your pitch to agents), and Query Letters 101. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., we will introduce our Part II faculty, listen to a welcome presentation by Jane Friedman, mingle and enjoy a nice spread of finger foods and a cash bar, and then have a networking time where you can “find your tribe.”
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 sell?
MWW provides a book consignment table for our published attendees. After you register, if you’re selling books on consignment, bring them to the Consignment Bookstore (located in the 2nd floor Music Lounge, beside the Registration Table). The MWW Consignment Bookstore is separate from MWW-BSU operated Bookstore.
- 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 10 a.m.
You must pick up any remaining books before the workshop ends. Books left after the workshop ends will not be returned.
Consignment Bookstore Hours:
- Thursday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 4-5 p.m.
- Friday, 8-10 a.m., 12-2 p.m.
- Saturday, 8-11 a.m., 1:30-3 p.m.
The MWW Bookstore accepts VISA and MasterCard payments. We will also have our MWW merchandise table with sweatshirts and mugs.
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. The MWW community encourages networking and building friendships with other writers. If you have business cards, bring some for The Hub table (Terrace Lounge) 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.
To help manage the quantity of information presented in the sessions, we provide a wirebound 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/iPad computer if you wish. (Ball State is a wireless campus.)
Of course, if you signed up for help with Scrivener or the tutorial sessions for social media, you will want to have your laptop with you.
If you bring your cell phone, be sure that you put it on vibrate mode during ALL sessions. But keep tweeting!
How can I get the most help with my writing?
Getting feedback from other writers can be very helpful and we have various opportunities for you to share your work. We’re promoting the Two-Page Share (manuscript form: double space, 12 point).
- Find Your Tribe – Thursday evening
- During your free time or when you decide to skip a session. “Show me your two-pages and I’ll show you mine.”
- Message in a Bottle – Friday evening. Look for the Message in a Bottle display in the Terrace Lounge, put your name on a ticket, and wah lah, you’re in the drawing for a chance to read your Two-Page Share!
What is the “Find Your Tribe” on Thursday evening?
- Welcome / Introduction of faculty
- Keynote: Jane Friedman
- Plan to stay after the formalities and introductions to renew friendships, create new ones, and have the chance to read and hear something from the labors of the past year.
Find Your Tribe
To cap off the opening festivities Thursday evening, we invite you to meet and get to know your “tribe.” From 8:00 until 9:00 (or thereabouts), participants will have the opportunity to gather with their fellow attendees who write in the same genre. This is a great way to connect to people you may benefit from knowing during the rest of the weekend, and possibly beyond.
Based on the first genre you specified on your registration, we have assigned each writer to a group. By the way, if you go to the group you are assigned to, you may end up creating sub-genres within it. But if you decide another group is a better fit, you have our blessing to go there. (Groups are maximum 30)
Your facilitator will guide your group through the next step. Our facilitators are writers like you, and they’re going to have you go around and say who you are. Some of our groups are larger and others are smaller. Every group will start one way. Each person in the room (who wants to) will give their name, where they are from, and a quick sentence about what they are writing.
At this point, if your group is too large and/or the sub categories of your genre are very clear, the facilitator may elect to divide the tribe into smaller groups and possibly name someone to guide that conversation. Basically, there may be sub groups formed.
When the actual group you end up with is formed, then you all decide what happens next. Some possible topics to have an open discussion about: 1) writing in your genre; 2) marketing/finding an agent; 3) what you hope to get out of MWW conference; 4) something else the majority finds helpful.
As a group, some of you may read pages you have brought (two double spaced pages maximum for this). Not every group is going to read pages, so please don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to read. However, we have a session called MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (Friday night in Cardinal Hall after the autograph signing) that is specifically for reading your pages, so you might get to read there, depending on how many people participate.
No one will “have” to speak or read who doesn’t want to. If you aren’t into speaking at any group at all, you are welcome to come and just sit and listen. You will learn something about the other writers attending MWW this year. Plus, you may decide to connect later, one-on-one. We think that’s just fine.
We fully believe that part of the benefit of MWW is the relationships we form. We can’t wait to see what connections are made this year. So whatever you do, don’t miss Find Your Tribe 2017!
Purposes of the “Find Your Tribe” activity:
- An icebreaker so you meet more people more quickly.
- Perhaps share contact information so you have meal companions at “dinner in your own” time.
- Have someone to discuss the sessions you are in together, and/or share notes from those you are unable to attend.
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. All discussion sessions between participants and the Manuscript Evaluation Team Member are Friday and Saturday during workshop hours (Authors: Room 310A; Agents: Room 303; Editors: Room 302). The Manuscript Team Members will schedule their one-on-one discussions, which were emailed to you in a Google Doc, or check the list for your name/time at the Registration Table when you arrive.
How do I prepare for my Agent/Editor Pitch Session?
If you signed up for a three-minute pitch session on your registration form, you should have received an email from an agent assistant about the day/time of your appointment (Agents: Room 303; Editors: Room 302). 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. Is it 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 (plan to attend our Pitching 101!). 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 usually will follow up on the phone later and get into the book stuff.
Six interns will be working as assistants to the agents. Before the conference, they will communicate with you to schedule pitches, and during the conference, they’ll keep time and make sure things run smoothly. If you sign up to pitch, you will receive an email from one of these interns.
How do I prepare for my Query Letter Critique?
We have a Query Critique Team, similar to our Manuscript Evaluation Team. If you paid the additional fee of $35 for a 10-minute one-on-one consultation (Authors: Room 310A; Agents: Room 303; Editors: Room 302). You received an email with a Google doc with the time.
What will the Social Media Tutors offer?
Because MWW is committed to helping you become a published writer, we talk a lot about social media. That’s because changes in the publishing industry have forced writers to become “author-preneurs”—marketers, promoters, social media experts, and much more. At MWW, we know how time-consuming and confusing these tasks can be, and so we offer a free, tutoring center called the Social Media Lab (Room 304), staffed by Ball State students and graduates.
Those who registered for a session (on Friday or Saturday) will learn both the “how” and “why” of social media: for example, how to start a blog, or for the more advanced, how to increase the readership of your blog, as well as why you should use social media as a writer.
Using Twitter to Share Your “Notes” at MWW17
If one of us says something quotable, share it on Twitter. Use the hashtag #mww17. Use tags and hashtags so that others on Twitter can find it! Also, subscribe to this list and start following the MWW faculty and staff:
Faculty–The Writers #mystery #thriller #YA #fiction
- John Gilstrap @JohnGilstrap
- Jess Lourey @jesslourey
- Becky Albertalli @beckyalbertalli
- Angie Thomas @acthomasbooks
- Mike Mullin @Mike_Mullin
- Mardi Jo Link @mardilink
- Ruth McNally Barshaw @ruthexpress
- Nina Sadowsky @sadowsky_nina
- Matthew Clemens @chucktwain
- Amy E. Reichert @aereichert
- Melissa Marino @MelissaWrites2
- Ashley Ford @iSmashFizzle
- Bronwen Dickey @BronwenDickey
- Dee✿Romito @writeforapples
- Brenda Drake @brendadrake
- Rena Olsen @originallyrena
Faculty–The Agents #AskAgent #pubtip #query
- Roseanne Wells @RivetingRosie
- Jessica Sinsheimer @jsinsheim
- Monica Odom @modomodom
- Brooks Sherman @byobrooks
- Jennifer Laughran @literaticat
- Eric Smith @ericsmithrocks
Faculty–The Editors/ Publishing Professionals #pubtip #query #amediting #amwriting
- Terri Bischoff @TerriBischoff
- Lauren Smulski @LaurenES
- Jessica Strawser @jessicastrawser
- Jane Friedman @JaneFriedman
- Dana Kaye @Dana_Kaye
- Carol Topp @CarolTopp
MWW Committee and Staff
- Jama Kehoe Bigger @jamabigger
- KelseyTimmerman @KelseyTimmerman
- Summer Heacock @Fizzygrrl
- Cathy Duling Shouse @cathyshouse
- Maye Ralston @MayeRalston
- Jeffrey O Pearson @JeffreyOPearson
- Kelly O’Dell Stanley @kellyostanley
- Janis Thornton @JanisThornton
- Gail Werner @gailwerner
- Shelly Gage @shelly_gage
MWW Agent Assistants
- Sarah Hollowell @sarahhollowell
- Tynan Drake @DrakeTynan
- Charlie Cain @EntropyLikeIDo
- Kristen Parks @kris10parks13
- Amber Haynes @amberhaynes1623
- Matt Swain @coffeecuppoetry
- Abby Hoops @alhoops12
MWW Social Media Tutors
What is “Buttonhole the Experts”?
Buttonhole the Experts is our fun activity, and this year we have TWO sessions, one Friday morning and one Saturday morning. We have 30+ tables in Cardinal Hall with an “expert” (our faculty members and others!) at each one. Seven participants sit at each table and chat informally with the expert for about 20 minutes. Then at the ring of a bell, it’s like musical chairs. The seven at each table rise and head to another table of interest for another 20-minute chat. This process is repeated three times. In other words, everyone learns much about the various genres/topics from our experts.
What is the R. Karl Largent Writing Award?
Midwest Writers Workshop established the R. Karl Largent Memorial Fund and renamed its top writing award in honor of long-time and popular committee member R. Karl Largent, who died in 2003. The Manny Writing Contest’s top winner will receive a $200 cash award, made possible through Robin Vincent Publishers and MWW.
The Manny Awards have become a tradition at Midwest Writers Workshop. The contest offers cash awards and is designed to recognize works in progress in four categories: short fiction, novel, poetry and nonfiction. You may enter one category only. You must be present when awards are presented at Saturday’s banquet.
What if I still have questions?
If you have questions, contact MWW Director, Jama Bigger, at 765-282-1055 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BE A PART OF MWW FAMILY!
- FACEBOOK: Midwest Writers Workshop FAN page
- or Facebook Group
- TWITTER: follow MWW
- MWW Director
- Use hashtag #mmw17
Connect with other writers, authors, previous faculty, MWW alumni, and many 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: type “Midwest Writers Workshop” into the search line.)