Instructor: Celia Johnson
Date & Time: Saturdays, July 21 & 28 | 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Location: Anywhere! (Online)
Level: Open
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member $85 | Nonmember $150
Registration Closes: July 16

A writer’s journey often feels like a choose-your-own-adventure novel, particularly once you venture beyond the manuscript. Crafting a query letter. Developing a proposal. Building a platform. Reaching out to agents and editors. There are all sorts of potential pitfalls at each step. But if you understand the agents’ and editors’ perspectives—or, in other words, the business side of buying a book—it’s much easier to navigate the publishing realm.

This two-part workshop is designed for both fiction and nonfiction writers who have a finished manuscript. It will give a basic overview of the industry and help attendees strategize outreach for their manuscripts. The workshop will pay special attention to drafting and redrafting query letters and zeroing in on the best agents and editors to reach out to in the industry.

+ PLEASE SUBMIT Please draft a query letter of no more than one-page for your manuscript and email it as an attachment to with the subject line “JOHNSON MS” by 9:00 a.m. on July 12. (Word docs are preferred, but PDFs are also acceptable) Don’t worry too much about getting it right this time around. Your query will serve as a jumping off point, and you will revise between workshops.

+ IN THE END Attendees will leave this workshop with a solid draft of a query letter and a game plan for their own project, whether it’s a finished manuscript or one that’s well underway.

PLEASE NOTE: This workshop will occur online, using the video meeting platform Zoom, which means students may participate from the comfort of their own homes (or anywhere with a reliable, fast internet connection). Upon registration, students will be emailed a link that they may click to enter the first session on July 21, as well as a link for the July 28 session. Students will not be required to create a Zoom account to participate, however it will be necessary to download the software, and students are strongly advised to do so in advance of the workshop. On Thursday, July 19 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, MWPA’s Hannah Perry will offer a one-hour remote test session, at which time students may download the software, enter a test session to familiarize themselves with the experience, and ask any questions they may have about participating. Students are STRONGLY encouraged to participate in the test session, and those who do not are responsible for setup and installation on their own.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: a reliable, fast internet connection (broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE), speakers & a microphone (built-in or USB plug-in), and a webcam (built-in or USB plug-in). Full details on supported Operating Systems, internet browsers, and more can be found here: If you would like to test your internet connection and your computer’s compatibility with Zoom, click here for instructions:

Celia-150x150 copyCelia Johnson is the Creative Director of Slice Literary, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between emerging writers and the professional publishing realm. Among other endeavors, Slice Literary publishes Slice magazine and hosts the annual Slice Literary Writers’ Conference. Celia worked as an acquisitions editor at major publishing houses in New York for almost a decade before moving to Maine. Her projects included fiction and nonfiction by bestselling and award-winning authors. Johnson is also an author and her most recent book is Odd Type Writers: The Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors (Perigee/Penguin). Her articles have appeared in Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, and the Huffington Post, among others.

All MWPA workshops require advanced registration. We accept registration by phone, mail, and online via PayPal. We cannot guarantee registration in the final 24-hours before a workshop, and can rarely accommodate day-of registration.

If you need to withdraw from a class after registering for any reason, please email or call the MWPA immediately. You may be eligible for a partial refund or credit, depending on how far in advance you cancel.

For any questions regarding this workshop, please contact Hannah Perry at

Call 207-228-8263 and register with your VISA or MasterCard.

If you prefer to pay by mail, please print this registration form (downloadable PDF) and mail it to the MWPA with a check or credit card information.


The MWPA is proud to offer one full scholarship to this workshop for members-only. Scholarships are awarded on a combination of need and merit. Application Due in the MWPA office on July 9 at 9:00 a.m.

Registration in any MWPA workshop, program, or event constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.