Becoming a Debut Novelist: The Journey From Agent Queries to Book Launch

Rooms 427-429, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 4
Thursday, March 9, 2023
9:00 am to 10:15 am


The path from finishing a book draft to launching a debut novel into the world is thrilling and exciting, but it is also long and full of twists and turns. This panel of debut novelists—with publication dates in 2023 and 2024—will discuss all aspects of this journey, including finding an agent, selling the book, working with an editor, and navigating marketing and publicity. The aim of the panel is to be transparent and to provide helpful advice for all debut novelists to come.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_Event_Outline.pdf



Laura Spence-Ash’s debut novel, Beyond That, the Sea, is forthcoming from Celadon Books in March 2023. Her fiction has appeared in One Story, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere; her critical essays and book reviews appear regularly in the Ploughshares blog.

Vanessa Chan is the Malaysian author of The Storm We Made, a novel, and The Ugliest Babies in the World, a story collection—both forthcoming from Marysue Rucci Books / Scribner. Her novel will be published in eighteen languages worldwide. She lives in Brooklyn.

Jinwoo Chong is the author of the novel Flux, coming March 2023 from Melville House. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Florida Review, and Salamander. He is an editorial assistant at One Story.

Jamila Minnicks won the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for her novel Moonrise over New Jessup, which was published Algonquin Books. Her work is also found, or forthcoming, in Catapult, CRAFT, Blackbird, The Write Launch, and elsewhere.

John Manuel Arias is a queer, Costa Rican-American writer. He is a Canto Mundo fellow and alumnus of the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop. His work has been published in PANK, The Rumpus, and F(r)iction. He has lived in Washington, DC, Brooklyn, and in San José, Costa Rica, with his grandmother and four ghosts.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center