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Querying Your Memoir: Finding the Agent or Publisher Who’s Right For You

October 18, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event


Querying isn’t a lottery, it’s a process. Get out of the slush pile and onto the shelf.

How do you even start querying? Where are these magic lists of literary agents and publishers? Learn the key points of a query letter, what makes powerful opening pages, and where to find (legit!) agents and publishers right for your work. We’ll cover interpreting agent websites, social media, and actual sales to find out what they REALLY want, how to increase your chances by querying in “waves,” and back-door paths to connect with agents and publishers and interest them in your work.

We’ll look at what your query MUST have to catch an agent, editor, or publisher’s eye (it’s not your social media numbers!) and how to position your book in the market. Allison live-edit a couple of participant queries to show you how to transform good to great. We’ll also cover common querying mistakes, and how to recognize “schmagents,” scams, and vanity publishers. Allison will tell you what agents can’t, with frank, funny, and fast-paced tips to get you out of the slush pile and onto the shelf.

In this webinar, you will:

  • LEARN the basic elements of a query letter
  • DISCOVER how to find the right comps (hint–look at the actual shelf you’ll be on!)
  • UNDERSTAND how to present a platform that’s NOT dependent on social media
  • FIND OUT what agents and publishers want–even when it’s not what they’re asking for
  • DEVELOP a query process in “waves” to use early rejections as helpful data
  • KNOW the key details to share about their own book in a query

This webinar is ideal for:

  • Writers who’d like their query to immediately capture attention and engage agents, editors and publishers
  • Writers beginning their query process
  • Writers frustrated with form rejections
  • Novelists and memoirists unsure how to describe their book in pitches and queries
  • Nonfiction writers and memoirists getting rejections for “not enough platform” or “we don’t see an audience”
  • Creative Writing students and MFA graduates from programs with strong craft workshops and no publishing education
  • Early-career book coaches who want to better guide their author clients in the querying process.

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔


Allison K Williams Headshot

ALLISON K WILLIAMS is the author of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book. She has edited and coached writers to publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, and St. Martin’s Press as well as hybrid and independent presses. She’s guided essayists and humorists to publication in media including the New Yorker, Time, the Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Refinery29, Hippocampus, the Belladonna and TED Talks. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with weekly blogs on craft and the writing life.

As a memoirist, essayist, and travel journalist, Allison has written craft, culture and comedy for National Public Radio, CBC-Canada, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Kenyon Review Online, the Prairie Schooner blog, the Drum and Travelers’ Tales and Flash Nonfiction Funny.

Allison holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and spent 20 years as a circus aerialist and acrobat before writing and editing full-time.


Questions? Please email


October 18, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
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Zoom Meeting


Allison K Williams
Sharla Yates