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The San Miguel Publishing Retreat
And Day of the Dead Celebration

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

October 28-November 4, 2023


Register Now!

Join writing coach Judyth Hill and literary agent Katharine Sands for an in-depth week focusing on both craft and career. We’ll explore all aspects of your writing and book project, from powerful beginnings and plot to query letters and the business of publishing.

Our retreat takes place in the idyllic setting of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico,* just voted #1 City in the World by Travel & Leisure magazine. Housed in a lovely 18th century colonial villa, you’ll attend classes and roundtable discussions in an intimate setting, fine-tuning your writing and laying the groundwork to sell it.

Bring your manuscript, your ideas and your dreams and leave with a personalized plan for success, all while enjoying the cuisine and culture of Mexico during the mesmerizing festivities of Day of the Dead.

Ready Your Work for Agents, Editors, Publishers and Producers!

Working with Judyth Hill, master teacher and poet

We’ve written and re-written, but are we there yet? How, indeed, can you know when your book is ready to hit the BigTime? In our four sessions together, we will work with my ARE YOU REALLY FINISHED Checklist, and, no matter where you are starting from…we will get you to the finish line.

Part I: Plan the Work, and Work the Plan
Guided by our Checklist, we’ll go through all the nuts and bolts that comprise Done. This will be a time of describing your project, and your goals, asking questions and getting super clear about where you are on your journey to Ready.

Part II: First Responder on the Plot Scene
Even a memoir must be plotted, yup, even a collection of poems needs a captivating thread. What to tell and when, how to pace your story, find and follow your arc, engage your reader, and keep ‘em right in there. This is a function of plot, and we’ll look at the many juicy possibilities for your project: not rules: but Radar, ways to see the most compelling way to tell your story. And then…

Part III: Bring Us There: Location, Location, Location
Reader Drift is often caused by our not pulling them into Place, and locking that attention down by vivid, all-five-senses-on-deck descriptions. We’ll have fun, focused writing practices to get a grip on this skill.

Part IV: Dynamite Readings that Sell Your Book
You’ve given your book your best – now, let’s learn to perform it with verve and passion. Engage your audience, and bring YOUR unique style fully forward.

Learn more about Judyth here.

Working with Katharine Sands, literary agent and creator of Pitchcraft

Writers are welcome at many stages of creation and in many formats, whether developing and marketing material for print, digital or other media. During our time together, we’ll discover all the many ins and outs of the publishing universe.

Parts I: Getting Ready, Getting Read and Getting Readers
Literary agents are always on a treasure hunt. But few writers know what it takes to make agents yell at first glance: “Eureka, I’ve struck gold!” And a first glance is all that most writers will get before the agent moves on without ever reading further. In this class, Katharine shows you the best ways to showcase your writing as a bold, new entry into this category—and yourself as a potential author with an intriguing book poised to spring forth.

Part II: From First Writes to Last Rights
Delve into trends in publishing, expanding digital markets, and the actual business of books—and its quirks and processes and challenges. Tour the submissions and acquisitions process of getting-an-agent/submitting-to-editors, focusing on fundamental guiding principles behind all successful authors and the author-agent-editor relationship, including how to identify and develop your selling points and sales engines.

Parts III & IV: Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye
The best pitches give off sparks, create a moment, or pose a provocative question just to give a taste of the project. Learn what to do--and what not to do--when summarizing your book: How to get an agent from the get-go; start in a logical place, yet from a compelling perch; how to encapsulate in clear core points; ways to create coming attractions that whet the reader’s appetite for more—and how to avoid "Querial Killers": the easy-to-fix mistakes writers make. This class cuts through the mystery of getting an agent to want YOU, to read YOU, and to say YES to YOU.

Learn more about Katharine here.


Day 1

Bienvenidos! Arrive to San Miguel and our private villa. Settle in before a cocktail reception and dinner where we’ll get acquainted and discuss our plans for the week.


Plan the Work, and Work the Plan. Explore all the nuts and bolts that comprise a ready-to-sell manuscript. Afternoon guided walking tour of San Miguel, sampling churros and chocolate along the way. Roundtable discussion on First Pages. Free evening.


Getting Ready, Getting Read and Getting Readers. In-depth discussions on creating your own plan for success. Evening cocktail party at San Miguel's Mask Museum.


First Responder on the Plot Scene. Today we'll focus on What to tell and when, how to pace your story, find and follow your arc, and engage your reader. Afternoon roundtable: Build your Writing Platform. Free evening.


Bring Us There: Location, Location, Location! Fine-tune the details of your book with vivid, all-five-senses-on-deck descriptions. Afternoon roundtable: Ready Your Work for Agents, Editors, Publishers and Producers. Free evening.


Day of the Dead. Travel to a countryside cemetery to witness a traditional Day of the Dead feast. Then head to Dolores Hidalgo, famous for its pottery and ice cream. Lunch at Vicente's carnitas. Evening roundtable: Come with Your Questions.


Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye. Cut through the mystery of getting an agent to want YOU, to read YOU, and to say YES to YOU. Free lunch and afternoon to enjoy San Miguel. Farewell dinner at Quince.


After breakfast return to the airport or stay a few days and continue exploring San Miguel. Buen Viaje!

Two private 1/2 hour mentoring sessions will also be scheduled during the retreat.



$2200 per person, double occupancy
$300 Single supplement
$900 Bring a companion

Our San Miguel writing and publishing retreat includes seven nights deluxe accommodations - double occupancy, daily breakfast and lunch at the villa (except on Day 7), two dinners, classes, roundtables and all group activities. Also included are 1/2 hour private sessions with both Judyth and Katharine.

Not included: Airfare and transportation to and from the airport, but we'll be happy to help you with the arrangements.

A $1000 deposit is required to reserve your place in the San Miguel Publishing Retreat. Since the number of participants is limited, early reservations are recommended. Once your deposit is received, an email confirmation will be sent. The balance is due no later than 60 days before the retreat begins. If not received by that time, EAT-WRITE-TRAVEL reserves the right to treat the reservation as cancelled (please review our cancellation policy).


To get the most from your retreat experience, we offer the following add-ons:

Line-Editing & Personal Coaching: $95/ 25 pages of line-editing with a ½ hour meeting.

Crafting Your Most Compelling Structure & Sequence: $85/hour, submit 1 or 2 page synopsis.

Creating Vivid Characters, Vibrant Settings, Dynamic Description: $85/hour, submit one character and one setting description, and a list of your project’s 5 most important characters and settings.

Your Needs, Your Questions!: $95/hour, submit 5 questions with first 20 pages or synopsis.

Designing YOUR Unique Plan: $95/hour, submit first 20 pages or synopsis.


The San Miguel Publishing Retreat is limited to 12 students.

This same program is also offered in Castine, Maine: June 10-15.


Query Letter Consultation: $50, 1/2 hour

Marketing and Content Strategy Session: $85/hour, submit first 20 pages or synopsis.

Your Needs, Your Questions!: $95/hour, submit 5 questions with first 20 pages or synopsis.

Critique on Writing Strengths and Weaknesses: $95/hour, submit first 20 pages.

**Deadline for all synopsis and page submissions is September 30th.