For the November 5-6, 2021 Atlanta Writers Conference, the editors and agents below have provided, in their own words, the genres they are seeking to acquire (in the case of acquisition editors) or represent (in the case of literary agents)–and they often identify specific genres they are not seeking as well, to decrease ambiguity. Please pay attention to these details to avoid wasting your time and money! In addition to reading this information, you also should review their agency/publisher websites, do an Internet search on them–their manuscript wish lists, Twitter/Instagram feeds, 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.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the continued rise of COVID cases, especially in the Southeast, some of our guest agents and editors have elected to participate virtually via Zoom in all events rather than risk exposure during travel to and from our conference. For each guest below, we have indicated whether they will be in-person at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel or virtual.
At every conference, a few participants are disappointed because they paid to get a critique from, 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. Again, don’t be like those people! Read the agents and editors’ bios carefully, research them, and select accordingly. Also, if you want one or two manuscript critique(s) and pitch(es) (and add a third critique and/or pitch after your registration by contacting Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at email@example.com) 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, because they both serve 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 they will indicate on their written critique whether they’re interested in receiving your partial or full manuscript.
What if you have two different book projects? It’s still a risk to pitch the same agent or editor you’re getting a critique from (just as it’s a risk to get two critiques or two pitches with the same person), because if this person is interested in the first book project, they 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 some likelihood they 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 you can choose accordingly. That record of open spots is always up-to-date.
What if you have a self-published book you want to pitch and/or for which you want to get a sample critiqued? If agents and editors are open considering a previously self-published work, you will see this noted in their bios below. Be aware that most industry professionals prefer to only consider never-published manuscripts so they don’t have to deal with copyright issue, previous marketing, and other problems that already-released books present.
ALSO NOTE: At the bottom of each editor/agent bio, we indicate if manuscript critique and/or pitch spots are full and waitlists are available. 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 email and will pay for the activity at that time. If you want to put your name on any waitlists, you must register for those just like any other activity–please go to the Registration page and use the Cvent system link provided there to do so.
If you can’t travel to the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel due to COVID-19 or another reason, you can make arrangements with Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in a Zoom online meeting with the guest agents and editors you select for manuscript critiques and/or pitches as well as the randomly assigned agents/editors for the query letter critique activity.
See the bios below for complete details about the editors and agents and what they are seeking to acquire (for editors) or represent (for agents). If spots are full for all the editors and agents who are a good fit for you and your work, contact Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at email@example.com to request recommendations about which ones have the shortest waitlists.
Richard Brown, PhD is the director of the University of South Carolina Press. Prior to arriving at South Carolina in 2017 he served for nearly seventeen years as the director of Georgetown University Press. Earlier in his career he spent nine years in religion publishing, and four years as an editor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, a research institute studying the presidency and international affairs. He also worked for three years at Creative Loafing, Atlanta’s alternative newspaper.
He served on the board of the Association of University Presses for five years, including one year as president in 2010-2011. He also served on the executive committee of the Association of American Publishers/Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division, as well as the advisory board of the journal and ebook aggregator Project MUSE, and as president of the Washington Book Publishers. From 2012-2017, Richard served as board member and treasurer (2014-17) of the Theological Book Network, a nonprofit that has facilitated the donation of over two million books to libraries in the developing world, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently on the board of South Carolina Humanities.
Richard holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. He also holds a Master of Theological Studies (with honors) from Emory University, an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville, and an AB in English from UNC-Chapel Hill. His writings have appeared in The Washington Post, The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Commonweal magazine, and many other publications.
Richard is seeking the following nonfiction categories:
- Memoir and biography (with an emphasis on the African American and Indigenous experience)
- Southern history
- Revolutionary War
- Civil War
- Civil rights and social justice
- African American studies
- LGBTQ+ in the American South
- Health and wellness in the American South
- South Carolina: history, food, music, people, law, arts, geography, environment, mountains, coast
- Communication and rhetoric
The University of South Carolina Press no longer considers queries or manuscripts in the following categories: fiction, children’s books, or poetry.
Richard will consider previously self-published work as well as unpublished manuscripts.
Richard’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Erin Clyburn joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as Associate Literary Agent in 2019 after an apprenticeship with a boutique literary agency. She has worked as a copy editor and recipe editor in the magazine industry and was general manager and director of collection development for Turtleback Books. She received her BA in English Literature from Mississippi State University and her MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University.
Erin is looking for middle grade and young adult (YA) fiction and adult fiction and nonfiction.
In middle grade, Erin is looking for the following:
- Creepy and scary stories
- Contemporary fiction with big hearts, humor, and unforgettable voices
- Mystery, especially with scavenger hunt or puzzle-solving elements
- Grounded stories with magical or speculative elements.
In YA, Erin is looking for the following:
- Dark contemporary
- Queer and BIPOC rom-coms
- Magical realism
- Grounded stories with magical or speculative elements
- Lush, literary stories
In adult fiction, Erin is looking for the following:
- Upmarket and book club fiction with great hooks and writing that leans literary
- Sharp women’s fiction
- Domestic and psychological thrillers, especially by BIPOC authors
- Humorous and satirical novels, with ensemble casts or stellar protagonists
- Horror of all stripes, especially horror plus other genres, like mystery horror or romantic horror
- Multigenerational family sagas (I would love one by a BIPOC author set in the South)
- Grounded stories with magical or speculative elements
- Southern Gothic
In nonfiction, Erin is looking for the following:
- Narrative nonfiction or memoir about sports or adventure
- Science- or culture-focused memoirs and narrative nonfiction
- Pop science
- High-interest nonfiction, particularly histories and stories about fascinating people and issues that haven’t been told before
- Cookbooks and culinary histories
She is NOT the best fit for picture books; chapter books; children’s nonfiction; romance; Westerns; fantasy or science fiction (except in very grounded cases that are basically our world with a magical/weird twist); political, crime, or military thrillers; and short stories.
Erin can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Erin’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Sam Farkas, Agent & Foreign Rights Associate, Jill Grinberg Literary Management – Virtual
Sam Farkas grew up in South Jersey and attended the College of William & Mary, where she received her B.A. in History and English. Upon graduation, she moved to New York to intern with Maria B. Campbell Associates, where she discovered her love for collaborating with agents and publishers around the world. She worked in the subsidiary rights department at Penguin before she joined the JGLM team in 2018. She handles foreign rights for all JGLM authors while gradually building her own client list.
In Adult fiction, Sam is looking for the following:
- Upmarket fiction of all stripes
- Fast-paced, high-concept speculative thrillers that make her heart race
- Lyrical and immersive fantasy
- Single-title romance that simmers
She is open to Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction of all genres, and she has a special fondness for thoughtful contemporary, often with a speculative twist; historical with modern sensibilities; fantasy with morally gray protagonists and complicated character dynamics; and the very strange and the very funny.
Sam will also consider select picture books.
She is not the right agent for political or legal thrillers, police procedurals, epic fantasy, cozy mysteries, Christian fiction, satire, erotica, or paranormal romance.
Sam can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Sam’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Lori Galvin represents a wide range of esteemed authors both commercial and literary including: Cambria Brockman, Sara Goudarzi, Hannah Kirshner, Mei Li, Irene Li, Wanda M. Morris, and Kwame Onwuachi. Aevitas’s robust film and tv department has placed Lori’s client’s projects with Netflix, A24, and top producers. Prior to joining Aevitas, she was a book editor at Houghton Mifflin and America’s Test Kitchen. She also survived a stint co-running a bed and breakfast in coastal Maine.
She is drawn to books with a strong voice, characters that emotionally resonate, a propulsive plot, an insider’s view to a culture or industry, setting that acts as character, dual timelines that impart a sense of time travel, themes of social justice, an eye for social satire, a high concept that sticks the landing. And typically, not all of those at once!
Lori is currently looking for the following:
- Book club fiction of all kinds
- Literary fiction with commercial appeal such as Such a Fun Age by Kiley Ried, Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman, Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, and When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
- Retellings of classics and historical fiction that resonate with today’s world
- Sophisticated thrillers and suspense as well as contemporary noir, gothic fiction, and mystery/horror crossovers: P.J. Vernon’s Bath Haus, Mark Edward’s The House Guest, The Hunger by Alma Katsu.
For nonfiction, she is seeking:
- True crime
- Investigative journalism
- Literary memoir
- Food writing
- Platform-driven illustrated books such as cookbooks
Lori is NOT looking for science fiction, poetry, and children’s books.
She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Lori’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Rebecca Gyllenhaal is an assistant editor at Quirk Books, a small, independent publisher in Philadelphia that’s known for its strikingly unconventional titles, gorgeous packaging, and small but mighty list size. Some of the greatest hits include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. Previously, she worked in marketing and publicity at Jessica Kingsley Publishers and read for The Adroit Journal. She writes when she has the time–which is rarely–and has attended Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Rittenhouse Writers’ Group.
Rebecca is on the lookout for high-concept commercial nonfiction and fiction for adults. In adult nonfiction, her bread and butter is pop history, but she is also interested in pop culture-driven projects and gift books with an off-the-wall sensibility. She is looking for humor and is seeking any project that can capture that particular darkly absurd millennial sensibility. Any project driven by cultural obsession and/or affection is likely to catch her eye. Some of her personal obsessions include cults, conspiracy theories, bizarre subcultures, weird history, folklore, hauntings, and all things strange, macabre, and obscure.
In adult fiction, she is looking for the following:
- Concept-driven novels, especially in the genres of mystery, psychological or domestic thriller, and horror (Bonus points if it features an unusual setting and/or loads of atmosphere.)
- Her greatest love is Gothic fiction, especially when it deliberately plays with the tropes.
- Loose retellings interest her: for example, a haunted house story with a twist or a modern update on Northanger Abbey or The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- She loves novels that meditate on new technologies, the gig economy, and late-stage capitalism.
- She is also open to genre-adjacent fiction with a literary bent.
All fiction must have a beating heart, a strong voice, a tight plot, and a fresh, grabby hook.
Rebecca will consider previously self-published work.
If she is interested in acquiring a manuscript, she enjoys working directly with the author. But she would definitely keep the door open if they want to seek an agent first instead.
Rebecca’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Shannon Hassan is an agent at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency representing authors of accessible literary and commercial fiction, middle grade fiction, and young adult fiction. She is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose.
MG and YA fiction wish-list:
- Heartfelt contemporary stories
- Humorous and quirky characters
- Magical twists
- Diverse perspectives and #OwnVoices stories
- Thrillers and mysteries
- Fresh takes on history
Adult fiction wish-list:
- “Book Club” reads that hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial
- Literary and upmarket suspense novels that are not espionage-based
- Stories of the American West
- Multicultural stories
- Immigrant stories
- Historical fiction of all stripes, especially if offering a new perspective, or even a genre twist.
Shannon can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Shannon’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Georgia A. Hughes is editorial director at New World Library, where she acquires and edits nonfiction books. Prior to joining New World Library, Georgia worked as a bookseller, at HarperCollins and as a freelance editor. Recent acquisitions include The Power of Daily Practice by Eric Maisel, Let It Be Easy by Susie Moore, The Language Your Body Speaks by Ellen Meredith, School of Awake by Kidada Jones, Permission Granted by Regina Louise, Manage Your Menopause Naturally by Maryon Stewart, and Growing Big Dreams by Robert Moss. New World Library, publisher of the bestselling The Power of Now and other award-winning books, strives to publish books that help readers change their lives and the world, and aims for diversity and inclusion.
Georgia is seeking the following nonfiction categories:
- Memoirs with a message
- Health, including alternative health
- Pets and animals
- Personal growth
- New thought/New Age
- Nature spirituality
- Sustainable business
- Eco psychology
- Writing and creativity
She is not seeking fiction or poetry.
Georgia can work directly with authors or with agents.
She is happy to consider self-published works.
Georgia’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Andrew Ibis is Publisher of C&R Press and Steel Toe Books. He is CEO of Litbreaker, a literary ad network. He is an editor at Fjords Review and consults with authors, presses, conferences, and universities. He serves on the board of several writing/book-related startups. He’s published in Flock, The Hollins Critic, Quiet Lunch, At Large, Terminus, Bridge 8, and Pank. He has an MFA from Hollins University and BA from the University of Pennsylvania. Andrew splits time between North Carolina and NYC.
Andrew is primarily looking for well-polished literary fiction and memoir, though he is also interested in the right high-concept and character-driven upmarket genre work.
He also looks for poetry that is inventive but stayed, evocative with a strong sense of pathos for existence.
He enjoys work from a broad spectrum of people and backgrounds and encourages all types and identities, all submerged voices to submit.
He is NOT seeking commercial or genre fiction, textbooks, navel-gazing nonfiction, and highly derivative poetry.
Andrew will consider previously published work (self-published or otherwise) on a strict case-by-case basis.
If he is interested in a participant’s manuscript, he will work directly with the author.
Andrew’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full but waitlists are available.
Sydney Jeon is an assistant editor at Flatiron Books. Originally from Los Angeles and a graduate of UCLA, she previously worked in ebooks.
Sydney is building a list of literary and upmarket fiction. She is drawn to writing that is visceral, vulnerable, and poignant, and is passionate about stories from and about women of color and marginalized voices.
Specifically, she is seeking the following fiction genres:
- Contemporary literary and upmarket fiction
- Literary fiction that plays with genre tropes
- Multigenerational families
- Complex female relationships (especially sisters and friends/rivals)
Sydney does NOT acquire science fiction, fantasy, horror, or mysteries/thrillers.
If Sydney is interested in a participant’s manuscript, she would refer the author to an agent.
She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Sydney’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Julia Kardon was born and raised in New York City. Her first job in publishing, while in high school, was shelving fiction at the Strand Bookstore. She received degrees in Comparative Literature, as well as in Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Chicago. Julia joined HG Literary in 2018 after building a list at Mary Evans Inc and handling foreign rights. Prior to that, she assisted at Sterling Lord Literistic, a job she attained after an unpaid internship both there and at the Wylie Agency. Her clients include New York Times bestsellers Brit Bennett and Etaf Rum, Barnes & Noble Discover picks John Freeman Gill, K-Ming Chang and Leah Franqui, Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow Melissa Rivero, Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, and others.
Julia is interested primarily in the following:
- Literary fiction
- Upmarket fiction
- Stories grappling with racial, religious, sexual or national identity
- Narrative nonfiction
- Some history
She does NOT represent thrillers, any children’s literature or books about spirituality or Christianity.
Julia can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Julia’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full but waitlists are available.
Ruby Rose Lee is an Associate Editor at Henry Holt and Company, where she acquires literary fiction and narrative nonfiction that fuses character profiles with a deeper examination of topics such as gender, race, class, and identity. Her forthcoming titles include debut novels Good Intentions by Kasim Ali, Please Report Your Bug Here by Josh Riedel, The Feminist Guide to Getting Ahead by Isabel Kaplan, Dykette by Jenny Fran Davis, and The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza. She graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures and English Literature.
She is particularly drawn to the following:
- Coming-of-age stories
- Novels that shine a light on underrepresented perspectives and/or overlooked histories
- Intergenerational family sagas
- Speculative literary fiction
- Subversive, genre-bending memoirs
- Fresh nonfiction takes on millennial pop culture
- Humorous essays
She does NOT acquire self-help, science fiction, horror, or women’s fiction.
If Ruby is interested in a participant’s manuscript, she would refer the author to an agent.
She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
NOTE: Ruby will be doing virtual meetings with participants.
Ruby’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Paul Levine “wears two hats”–he is a lawyer (www.paulslevine.com) and a literary agent (www.paulslevinelit.com). He has practiced entertainment law for almost 40 years, specializing in the representation of writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, authors, photographers, galleries, publishers, developers, production companies and theatre companies in the fields of motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, live stage, recorded music, concerts, the visual arts, publishing, and advertising.
In 1998, he opened the Paul S. Levine Literary Agency, specializing in the representation of book authors and the sale of motion picture and television rights in and to books. Since starting his literary agency, Paul has sold over 150 adult, young adult, and children’s fiction and non-fiction books to at least 50 different publishers and has had many books developed as movies-for-television, television series, and feature films.
Paul represents both fiction and nonfiction book authors, screenwriters, television writers, and writer/producers. He also represents various “other” types of clients in other fields of entertainment: interactive/multimedia, infomercials, radio, literary and talent agencies and management companies, recorded music, and the visual arts.
The fiction he represents includes the following:
- Upmarket/Book club
- Women’s fiction
- “Soap opera” in the vein of Danielle Steele or Jackie Collins
- Family sagas
- Science fiction
- Picture books
- Middle grade
- Young adult
- Graphic novels
- Comic books
Paul also specializes in those books that lend themselves to adaptation as a feature film or movie-for-television.
He is NOT seeking fantasy, horror, and Westerns.
The nonfiction he represents tends to be commercial:
- Women’s issues
- Pop culture
- New age
For both fiction and nonfiction books, his biggest successes have been with authors who originally self-publish their books, sell a significant number of copies, and then wish to have their books republished by a major publishing house.
For the film screen, he represents a wide range of scripts, from romantic comedies to thrillers to historical epics. In television, he mainly represents writers and producers of true life-story movies-for-television, as well as the subjects of those docudramas. He also represents writers and writer-producers of network and non-network series television, both dramas and comedies, as well as reality shows, game shows, talk shows and the like.
Paul will consider self-published books if the author has sold at least 7,500 copies.
Paul’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Maeve is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She cut her teeth in publishing at publishing houses like Scholastic and Insight Editions representing foreign and subsidiary rights before joining Ladderbird in 2019 to represent commercial genre fiction and graphic novels for all ages. She reads widely across all genres and is particularly looking for queer and POC authors revising genre tropes in commercial fiction.
Maeve is currently seeking the following in the following fiction genres for middle grade, young adult, and adult, and for graphic novels:
- Science fiction and fantasy, particularly: Space opera, space opera in non-space settings, fantasy/sci-fi genre blending, Weird West not from cis male perspectives, high-aesthetic fantasy
- Horror, particularly: closed-environment settings, fun horror, women-focused narratives and explorations of trauma and fear outside the cis white male perspective, friendly monsters, non-western ghost stories
- Contemporary: romcom especially centering BIPOC/queer/disabled/fat protagonists, fun high stakes grounded in overblown life events, immigrants and children of immigrant main characters
- Romance: BIPOC/queer/disabled/fat protagonists, supernatural and fantasy worlds, touch of murder/mystery, enemies to lovers, lovers to enemies, sci-fi/fantasy/historical all okay, friendly (and sexy?) monsters
- Historical: narratives critically examining colonialism, perspectives outside the west, hopeful stories, stories grounded in local myths and urban legends
- Mystery: cozy mysteries for the millennial reader, queer/BIPOC takes on witchy stories, obsessively intimate detective/villain pairs, stories that don’t glamorize police or military tactics and brutality
She has a strong like of the following in fiction:
- Adventure/Heist/Mystery stories with strong ensemble casts
- Rich and subtle world building in sci-fi/fantasy
- Normalized trans and non-binary existence in worldbuilding
- Silk punk, Asian attitudes, mythology retellings from outside the Western lens
- Sexy, dark, magical horror
- Queer romance with high stakes
- F/F romance, friendship, and intersectional girl gangs against the world
- Mystery elements
- Hopeful, indomitable characters
For nonfiction, Maeve is only looking for the following:
- Kid-lit nonfiction, particularly biographies of marginalized historical figures, historical stories outside of the US, STEM topics
- Select nonfiction picture books
Maeve has a strong dislike of the following:
- Adult nonfiction
- Sexual assault as an element of plot or worldbuilding
- Genre fiction that perpetuates the racist, colonial, imperialistic, sexist, ableist tropes of the past
- Non-intersectional representation; no victories at the expense of another group
- Low stakes, excessive realism
- Superheroes and aliens
Maeve will consider previously self-published works only for graphic novels (if your GN was on Tapas or Webtoon or privately hosted, etc), especially if you had strong sales.
Maeve’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
A Texas native, Leah moved to the East Coast to pursue her dream of working in publishing. She graduated with her B.A. in English and History from Rosemont College and is currently pursuing her M.A. in Publishing with an Editorial Concentration at her alma mater. Leah gained her experience through interning for an online literary arts journal, through various mentorships with industry professionals, and through years of research on the industry’s methods, trends, and issues. Leah became a agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency in October 2019. She spends her time enjoying the company of fictional characters more than people. When not in the company of fictional characters, Leah hangs out with friends and family and catches up on movies and TV shows she is always behind on.
The fiction genres Leah is currently looking for in adult and young adult (YA) are as follows:
- Science fiction
She does NOT represent nonfiction/memoir.
Leah will only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Leah’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Rebecca Scherer began her publishing career at JRA in 2010 while earning a BA in English Literature, Political Science, and German from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter. Immediately upon graduating, she was offered the unique opportunity to work within each department at the agency to gain a deep understanding of the business before going on to become an agent. A lifelong New Yorker with a true head for numbers, Rebecca bridges her taste in literature with her business acumen to comprehensively advocate for her authors.
She represents commercial fiction across genres, with particular interest in the following:
- Women’s fiction
- Book club fiction
- Upmarket/literary-leaning fiction
Rebecca will only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Rebecca’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Please contact George Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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