The editors and agents below have provided the genres they are seeking to acquire or represent, in their own words, and often identify specific genres they are not seeking, to decrease ambiguity. In addition to reading this information, you also should review their agency/publisher websites, do an Internet search for interviews with them and/or what other agents, editors, and authors have written about them, and make sure you’re a good fit with their tastes and attitudes.
Every conference, a few participants are disappointed because they paid to get a critique from, and/or make a pitch to, an agent or editor who isn’t interested in their genre. This occurs because the participants did not read these descriptions–don’t be like those people! Read the agents and editors’ bios carefully, research them, and select accordingly. Also, if you want a manuscript critique and a pitch (or two of one/both) be sure you select a different agent/editor for each activity. Don’t waste your money by seeing the same person for a manuscript critique as well as a pitch, since they both serve the same purpose: to introduce the agent or editor to you and your work. With the manuscript critique, you get the added value of receiving that individual’s feedback about your writing; it doesn’t make sense to also pitch that individual about the same book, because you can ask at the end of your critique whether that person is interested.
What if you have two different book projects? It’s still a risk to pitch the same agent or editor from whom you’re getting a critique (or getting two critiques or two pitches with the same person), because if this person is interested in the first book project, she or he will want to focus on that one with you rather than tackle two projects simultaneously. If that person is not interested in the first one, there’s a likelihood she or he won’t be interested in the second one either. So, as you’re reading the descriptions below, please consider as many individuals as possible rather than setting your sights on just one. During the registration process, you will see who has spots remaining for each activity and can choose accordingly. That record of open spots is updated every time someone registers. For your convenience, however, we’ve included a summary of openings below as of the date indicated.
There is no charge for waitlist spots, so there is no risk in registering for one; if a spot opens for you due to another participant’s cancellation, you will be informed by e-mail and will pay for the activity at that time.
See the bios below for complete details about the editors and agents and what they are seeking to acquire or represent, respectively.
As of 4/21/17, the manuscript critique activity is closed–all participants have submitted their work. For the pitches, all agent and editor spots are full, but waitlist queues for most are short (i.e., 4 or fewer in queue). Use the contact e-mail link near the bottom of the page if you’d like to inquire about the waitlist size of the individuals who are the best fit for you and your work. For the query letter critique activity, a short waitlist exists as well.
Laura Apperson, St. Martin’s Press – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Michael Braff, Del Rey Books – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Nicole Fischer, William Morrow/Avon Romance – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Melissa Jeglinski, The Knight Agency – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Nicole Nyhan, Grove Atlantic – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Diana Pho, Tor Books – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Quressa Robinson, D4EO Literary Agency – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Rayhané Sanders, Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents – pitch spots full (long waitlist)
Alexander Slater, Trident Media Group – pitch spots full (long waitlist)
Amy Stapp, Forge and Tor Teen – pitch spots full (short waitlist)
Monika Woods, Curtis Brown Ltd. – pitch spots full (long waitlist)
Laura Apperson, Assistant Editor, St. Martin’s Press at Macmillan Publishers
In fiction, Laura is looking to acquire: YA contemporary, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She is NOT looking for science fiction, fantasy, or children’s books.
In nonfiction, Laura is looking to acquire: adult narrative nonfiction, health/lifestyle, and memoir.
If she wants to acquire a manuscript, she will refer the author to an agent.
Mike edits and is seeking to acquire commercial science fiction and fantasy for Del Rey Books/Penguin Random House, including the following subgenres: action-adventure sci-fi, sci-fi thriller, military sci-fi, space opera, hard sci-fi, epic fantasy, grimdark, sword and sorcery, and dark fantasy.
Mike can also publish thrillers and speculative fiction on their parent (Ballantine) list.
He is NOT currently looking for urban fantasy, graphic novels, or horror.
If Mike wants to acquire a manuscript, he would refer the author to an agent.
Nicole acquires commercial and genre fiction, with a focus on romance and mysteries/thrillers. She is looking for fresh, diverse voices across all subgenres of romance—and even the occasional romantic, funny women’s fiction novel (or what was once known as “chick lit”). She is especially interested in city-set contemporary romances, romantic comedies, romantic suspense, and historical romance. Nicole is drawn to funny, sassy voices and strong female characters.
When it comes to mysteries, Nicole enjoys everything from psychological suspense to police procedurals, serial killers to espionage thrillers, but not cozy mysteries. Domestic suspense is hit-or-miss for her, but she will definitely consider a fast-paced, engaging submission with a unique concept. She is especially looking for a thriller series featuring a female detective or FBI agent.
Due to the constraints of her imprint, she cannot acquire children’s, middle grade (MG), or young adult (YA). She is NOT seeking sci-fi/fantasy, nonfiction, literary fiction, poetry, or graphic novels.
Nicole does work with self-agented authors on the romance side, but prefers to involve an agent in the process. If she is interested in a participant’s manuscript, she will refer them to an agent or two who might be a good fit for their project. In certain situations, she may invite an author to submit directly to her via the Avon Romance website.
In fiction genres, Melissa is looking for romance (contemporary, historical, category, inspirational), mystery (cozy, thriller, procedural, historical), historical fiction, and women’s fiction.
She also is actively seeking Middle Grade adventure, mystery, historical, and magical realism. While she does represent some Young Adult projects, she is only actively seeking books in that age range if there is a mystery or a historical setting.
She does NOT represent science fiction or fantasy for any age range, nor does she represent nonfiction, memoirs, or poetry.
Natalie’s specialties are children’s literature (picture book, chapter book, middle grade, young adult), romance (contemporary and historical), cozy mystery/crime, upmarket women’s/general fiction and select children’s nonfiction. Her interests include historical, multi-cultural, diversity, magical realism, science fiction, fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, middle grade with heart, and short-texted, emotionally resonant, quirky or character-driven picture books.
She is NOT looking for: inspirational novels, memoir, romantic suspense, adult thrillers, poetry, screenplays, or adult sci-fi/fantasy.
Nicole Nyhan, Assistant Editor, Grove Atlantic
Nicole is interested in acquiring adult fiction including the following:
Literary fiction, contemporary drama, speculative fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and horror. She has a soft spot for experimental and unconventional narratives.
In narrative nonfiction, she is seeking to acquire:
History, social science, biography, popular science, psychology/neuroscience, creative nonfiction, literary criticism, political science, and technology.
She also is interested in graphic novels and poetry, although Grove tends not to publish those genres.
The genres she typically does NOT seek out include:
Self help, commercial fiction, children’s books/YA, memoir (with rare exceptions), promotional works/tie-ins, crafts/hobbies, health/fitness, or sports.
If Nicole wants to acquire a project, she can work directly with the author or give them a few agents’ names if they prefer to have one. It’s not required they have an agent.
Diana is seeking the following:
Near-future and high-concept science fiction for adult or young adult: Transhumanism, virtual realities, time travel, the multiverse, climate dystopias (or utopias!), cyberpunk, afrofuturism, space adventure, military sci-fi.
Fantasy for adult or young adult: Alternate history, dark fantasy, military fantasy, high fantasy, contemporary fantasy, modern-day “punk” fantasy, fairy-tale subversive retellings.
Submission qualities that she’s always interested in: LGBTQA+, non-Western/ non-European settings, protagonists from underrepresented backgrounds.
What she’s NOT currently looking for: Picture books, middle-grade, romance, romance suspense, horror, epic fantasy, space opera, steampunk.
For acquisitions, she’d like to work directly with the author, but if they are in the final stages of securing representation, that is okay with her, too.
Quressa is a literary agent and former editorial assistant at Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press and is looking for:
Science Fiction and Fantasy (including speculative fiction/magical realism)
Upmarket and Commercial Women’s Fiction
Contemporary Young Adult (YA)
Sci-Fi/Fantasy YA Crossover
Genre Bending, i.e., epic fantasy romance or upmarket fantasy
Nonfiction: celebrity, pop culture, pop science
She is particularly interested in OwnVoices (Indigenous, African/African American, Asian, Latino/a/x, Muslim and other religious minorities, people with disabilities*, Multiracial/Multicultural, LGBTQ, etc) and Inclusive Narratives.
*She subscribes to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, she subscribes to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.
Rayhané Sanders attended NYU and began her publishing career at Newsweek Magazine. She then moved to book publishing, working first for Penguin’s Dutton and Gotham Books and then for William Morris Endeavor, where she worked with New York Times bestselling authors and recipients of such honors as the PEN/Hemingway Award, PEN/New England Award, Guggenheim and Wallace Stegner Fellowships, and National Endowment for the Arts grants, among others. Rayhané began to represent authors at WSK Management, where she worked with a slew of bestselling authors and added a New York Times bestseller and winners of, among others, the Hopwood Award, Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, Oregon Book Award, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and Foreword IndieFab Award to her client list.
She represents and is on the lookout for literary and historical fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, narrative nonfiction, and select memoir. She likes projects that are voice-centered, include specific cultural settings or cross-cultural themes, and illuminate a corner of our world or society too often neglected. She also loves lyrical writing and has a soft spot for literary fabulist fiction.
Since 2010, Alex has been a very successful agent representing, among other genres, the company’s middle grade and young adult authors in many licensing arrangements in the global marketplace for translation and in the English language in the U.K., having placed books with publishers in dozens of countries. Alex was Trident’s representative at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy, as well as the broader-based London and Frankfurt book fairs. His experience in representing fiction in these areas showed him what elements in stories work well, and how to maximize the value of what an author has created.
Alex is currently seeking all middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. He also is seeking adult thrillers, science fiction, and literary fiction.
He is NOT seeking romance or picture books.
Amy acquires mystery, suspense, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. She is actively seeking gritty suspense, mature Young Adult, character-driven historical fiction, and smart romance.
In particular, she is looking for psychological thrillers, domestic suspense, historical fiction (especially early 20th century), stories set in the American South or with an international element (with a special fondness for Paris). Particularly interested in complex, unexpected characters.
In addition, here is her “manuscript wishlist”: http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/amy-stapp/. Find her on Twitter at @AmyStappNY.
She is NOT looking for: science fiction/fantasy, paranormal, military, political, or ancient history.
If she wants to acquire a manuscript, she would refer the author to an agent.
Monika Woods began her publishing career working for Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group after graduating from the Columbia Publishing Course and has been a literary agent for InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature. Her fiction interests include literary, upmarket women’s, mainstream/general, book club, crossover, and the following genres: historical, horror (especially literary horror), mystery, science fiction (mostly on the grounded side), suspense (especially domestic and psychological), and thriller. In nonfiction, she is seeking compelling work in the categories of food, popular culture, science, and current affairs.
Some of her dream projects include historical fiction about feminists, the Roma, and Maxim Lieber; darkly suspenseful stories (both true and made-up) with unreliable narrators; anything about Poland and its history; and, above all, novels written in a singular voice, as well as nonfiction that is creatively critical.
She does NOT represent children’s, middle grade, young adult, crime novels, fantasy, romance, erotica, paranormal, or westerns.
Please contact George Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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