How to Lose an Agent in 10 Steps

John Cusick

John Cusick

Toeing the fine line between being charmingly persistent and annoyingly invasive can be tough to do, especially if you don’t really know where that line is.  To make it all a little tougher, each agent probably has a different definition and those definitions may change depending on who called before you did.

However, there are some behaviors that agents complain about among themselves.

Join New York literary agent John Cusick to learn how to avoid these mistakes at all costs. Kristi Tuck Austin will moderate the discussion about the ins and outs of building a strong relationship with your agent and how to make sure your book makes it to the top of the slush pile. (more…)

New This Year at the JRW Conference: RVA ♥ Writers!



This year we’ll be sharing a portion of our conference with all of Richmond—and sharing Richmond with our conference goers. Saturday afternoon and evening hours are set aside for some of our speakers to give open presentations at various RVA locations. A rider board will be available at the conference for attendees who need transportation. (more…)

Conference Fever: JRWCon 2014 Ultimate Playlist

Music makes everything better. Learning, working, socializing, healing—everything goes more smoothly with the right song. Why should the James River Writers Conference be any different? We’ve put together a playlist to help you get ready for the conference and you can listen to the JRWCon 2014 playlist on Spotify here:

Track 1: Madness (Muse)

You write because you can’t not write, and we get that. Spending a weekend with people who share this peculiar sort of madness will make you feel sane again (results may vary).

Track 2: A Little Less Conversation (Elvis Presley)

Start off the weekend with our Friday hands-on Master Classes taught by top-notch Page1-3writing instructors and publishing professionals. For example, if you find that your writing needs a little less conversation and a little more action, Sheri Reynolds’s class on pacing can help you with that. (more…)

Conference Fever: Meet our Conference Committee

The James River Writers Conference Committee starts working in January to make sure all the details are in place by October. They do it for one reason: They love the conference. We asked our committee members to share their favorite part of the James River Writers Conference.

Lana Krumwiede

Lana Krumwiede


“Attending a writers conference was the first time I felt like a ‘real’ writer. The same thing happens every year—the conference is an affirming statement to myself that says, ‘This is who you are.’ I want every conference-goer to feel that way!”

Emyl Jenkins Award Accepting Nominations

Emyl Jenkins 1941-2010








To honor the memory of Emyl Jenkins, who died in 2010, James River Writers presents an award to an organization or person who, as Emyl did, inspires a love of writing and writing education in Virginia.

An advocate for writers and their readers, Emyl had a knack for connecting both people and organizations. She shared her time and expertise with everyone she encountered. She encouraged writers at all levels, especially fledglings trying to get those first words down on the page. Her generous spirit and her enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone she touched, and her actions widened the circle of writing encouragement.

Award Details

Any Virginia individual or organization is eligible, except for members of the JRW board of directors or the advisory board.

Master Class with Literary Agent John Cusick

On August 29th, JRW will host a Master Class featuring Greenhouse Literary Agent John Cusick.  During the three hour class, Standing Out: Catching and Keeping an Agent, John will work with a small group of participants to identify key strategies to attracting the attention of the right agent and developing a successful relationship.

Registration for the Master Class will be capped at no more than twelve participants, as Mr. Cusick will work directly with each attending writer to hone their query letter and discuss their first two pages.  These items will need to be submitted in advance as double-spaced, 12pt font Microsoft Word documents.  Master Class attendees should be prepared to have their query letter and first pages shared with and critiqued by other class members. (more…)

June Writing Show: Put Your Characters on the Couch: Psychoanalyze Your Fiction

Writing Show Logo

Does your protagonist have multiple personalities when you only meant for them to have one? Is your novel full of cardboard cutouts being yanked around by a plot? Perhaps your villain is merely neurotic but you were trying for a sociopath. No matter your genre, your understanding of the human psyche is crucial to writing compelling fiction. Learn the art of writing authentic, complex characters that come alive for your reader with authors Jon Sealy and Cleve Lamison and psychoanalyst Ted Petrocci.

June 26, 2014 6:30-8:30 p.m., with complimentary hors d’oeuvres The Broadberry, 2729 W. Broad St., Richmond Ample parking available in the Children’s Museum parking lot across the street, on street, and in the lot adjacent to the Broadberry $10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students




Learning To See: A Master Class for Writers in the Art and Practice of Looking

Award-winning authors Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown offer a shared presentation on writing and art: how art informs and inspires the writer, and how learning to “see” shapes and enriches writing. Participants will see how these two writers learn from the world of visual art. Short writing exercises and shared reading of those exercises will follow the presentations.

Friday, April 25, 2014
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., with an hour break for lunch, not included

St. John’s Church Parish Hall
2401 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Ample free on-street parking is available

$60 for JRW members
$100 for non-members


May Writing Show: Book Trailers 101: Find the Hook for your Book

Whether you are traditionally published, self-published or waiting to be published, a book trailer can bring your book to life using the same channels as established authors and publishers. But what kind of book trailer? What are the pros and cons of each type? And should you do it yourself or call the experts?

The producers at Fraga Studios will give you the information you need to navigate this powerful marketing tool and reach your intended audience in a new way.

Writing Show Logo

Book Trailers 101: Find the Hook for Your Book
Thursday, May 29, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m., with complimentary hors d’oeuvres
The Broadberry, 2729 W. Broad St., Richmond
Ample parking available in the Children’s Museum parking lot across the street, on street, and in the lot adjacent to the Broadberry

$10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students