For the May 6-7, 2022 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: Some of our guest agents and editors have elected to participate virtually via Zoom in all events rather than risk COVID 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 you register by contacting Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 a chance 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 indicate on your registration that you want the virtual option, to participate via Zoom in any 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.
Lisa Abellera, Literary Agent, Kimberley Cameron & Associates – In-person at hotel
Lisa joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates in 2013 with a background in management, marketing, and finance. She earned her BA in Strategic Management from Dominican University and MFA in Writing from University of San Francisco.
Lisa is seeking:
- Upmarket fiction
- Women’s fiction
- Romance, if this is an element or sub-genre*
- Historical fiction
- Science fiction
- Fantasy except paranormal (no vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.)
- All Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction genres
- Middle Grade nonfiction
* This means she is looking for stories where romance is not the primary genre. An example is romantic suspense, which is considered a sub-genre of both the mystery genre and the romance genre. Lisa is also looking for genre fiction with romance, like an epic fantasy or historical mystery with romantic elements. In other words, stories with romance that is not the primary driving force of the story or main characters.
Lisa enjoys stories with high personal stakes, characters with deep inner lives, lush world-building, and fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships. She would love to see stories by #ownvoices authors and writers from marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds.
She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Lisa’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Jenny Chen, Senior Editor, Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House – In-person at hotel
Jenny Chen (she/her) is a senior editor at Ballantine Books acquiring mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. Particularly, she’s looking for twisted stories about home with a lot of heart (think “mother knows best” and other loving sentiments at their extreme), obsession, and intimate or domestic relationships (lovers, parent/child, siblings, etc.) with nuanced villains. Previously, Jenny worked at Simon & Schuster, Berkley, Writers House Literary Agency, and most recently at Crooked Lane Books, where she had the privilege to work with New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling mystery authors.
In fiction, Jenny is seeking the following:
- Mysteries, thrillers, suspense and crime: kidnappings/missing people, domestic, psychological, small-town secrets, family dynamics, obsessive feelings in intimate relationships, locked room, gothic, serial killers
- Book club fiction (commercial/upmarket/crossover, contemporary and historical): immigrant stories, American dream, diaspora
She is NOT interested in: religious, military, government, espionage, tech, and/or action/adventure globe-trotting stories.
Jenny can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
If she is interested in acquiring writers’ manuscripts, she will refer them to an agent.
Jenny’s manuscript critique spots and pitch are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Natalie Edwards, Literary Agent, Trellis Literary Management – In-person at hotel
Natalie Edwards (she/her) joined Trellis Literary in November 2021. Natalie grew up in Pasadena, CA and earned her B.A. in English from Bowdoin College.
She is looking to represent adult titles, both fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she is seeking literary and upmarket titles, both historical and contemporary. In nonfiction, she is seeking narrative nonfiction and hybrid memoirs that combine personal stories with research/reportage. Across fiction and nonfiction, she is looking for queer stories, diaspora narratives, hidden histories, workplace satires/sendups of #girlbosses, and anything that offers biting social commentary and disrupts conventional wisdom.
Natalie is not seeking ungrounded science fiction, high fantasy, graphic horror, prescriptive nonfiction, self-help, mass-market thrillers or romance, spirituality, erotica, picture books/middle grade/young adult, or poetry.
She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Natalie’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Zabé Ellor, Associate Literary Agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency – In-person at hotel
Zabé Ellor (he/him) joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in August 2018, after previously interning at the agency and at Inklings Literary and serving as a Publications Assistant at IOP Publishing. He graduated from Cornell University in 2016 with a dual degree in biology and English. An avid reader and writer, his non-literary interests include running, travel, and finding the perfect dim sum in his home city of Washington D. C.
In children’s books, he is looking for funny picture books with excellent wordplay (no sweet or serious titles). He is seeking middle grade and young adult fiction in all sub-categories.
In adult fiction, Zabé primarily represents science fiction and fantasy, but he is open to thriller, mystery, and commercial fiction titles.
He wants to see high-concept pitches that immediately highlight what new aspect the writers bring to a category and comp titles that are current and fresh. He loves stories with a strong, trope-y romance and a clear voice.
He is open to considering previously self-published work only if it has sold over 20,000 copies (not free giveaway copies).
Zabé’s manuscript critique spots and pitch are full, but he has open waitlist spots.
Annalise Errico, Agent, Ladderbird Literary Agency – Virtual on Zoom
Annalise is a graduate of Lesley University where she earned a B.A. in Creative writing with a double minor in Literature and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is excited about uplifting stories by authors with marginalized voices and intersectional identities, ultimately making room for the diverse voices that have long since been ignored and suppressed in the literary world and beyond. When she isn’t agenting, Annalise spends an excessive amount of time snuggling with her cat, Mittens, and writing romance novels that are more swoony than strictly necessary. While she defers to queer fiction, she is also interested in seeing projects with straight, cis-gender protagonists in the following genres.
In adult fiction, Annalise is seeking:
Annalise wants character-driven fiction that has enough plot movement to keep the reader invested (no character studies, please!). She likes books that use alternative formats (like Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid) and question the boundaries of typical contemporary fiction. Books with social commentary about queer/BIPOC characters finding their way in life— think Luster and Such a Fun Age—are also a good fit for Annalise. She loves books that focus in on fictional celebrities or reflect upon fame such as The Comeback by Ella Berman and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Books with happy endings are a plus. Annalise also wants fiction featuring change as a thematic focal point with unabashed self-love and romance, like Claire Christian’s It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake. She is open to historical fiction, as well. She’d especially love to see queer/BIPOC historical fiction (think a queer A League of Extraordinary Women or Cat Sebastian).
Annalise is always intrigued by complex who-dun-its. She is looking for thrillers that feature a mystery of some kind. A queer/BIPOC Agatha Christie is her dream mystery/thriller. Annalise also is looking for queer/BIPOC thrillers that function as social commentary such as Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching and queer/BIPOC historical mysteries like Nekesa Afia’s Dead Dead Girls. She loves novels with interesting formats such as compilations of files and articles (think Night Film by Marisha Pessl). It is hard to sell Annalise on thrillers that feature violence against women as their main plot. She is not a good fit for supernatural, ungrounded thrillers; thrillers that border too close to horror; gore-heavy thrillers; or thrillers that use the “bury your gays” and/or “fridging” trope. She is not looking for medical or apocalyptic thrillers.
Romance is Annalise’s genre of choice. She’d especially love to receive romance novels that center on queer and BIPOC protagonists and love interests, such as Talia Hibbert’s Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Annalise wants to see queer/BIPOC baking rom-coms; queer/BIPOC holiday romances; books that tackle the intersection of romance and mental health like The Charm Offensive (the topic of fame is a plus!); and anything that’s warm and cozy. Romances about bisexual women sit particularly close to Annalise’s heart. HEAs or HFNs are a must (per rules of the genre, and Annalise’s adoration). Her favorite tropes are enemies-to-lovers; serious-and-sunshine; and second-chance romance. She does not accept erotica or romances featuring unhealthy or abusive relationships to any degree.
In new adult fiction:
Annalise wants New Adult romance and contemporary fiction that focuses on found family and a during- or post-college bildungsroman plot. She would especially like to see fiction set immediately post-college that follows the queer/BIPOC protagonist’s trials and tribulations in the “real world” or warm and nerdy new adult like Fangirl. It is hard to sell Annalise on a new adult book that doesn’t feature romance in some facet. For any genre mentioned in this profile, Annalise would love to see in a New Adult space.
In young adult fiction:
Annalise is focusing on representing YA manuscripts that sit squarely in the upper-YA/new adult crossover space. This means that character ages should reflect the manuscript’s content. The ideal character ages for this space are approximately 17 to 21.
Annalise wants YA historical fiction that focuses in on a lost perspective such as Stacey Lee’s The Downstairs Girl. While it doesn’t have to be a foremost plot, she wants romance in her historical novels. As with all things, having a queer component is going to make work more appealing.
Annalise will accept YA graphic novels by author/illustrators (only) who focus in on marginalized experiences (whether in a realistic or fantastical world). She wants sweet graphic novels like The Tea Dragon Society by K. O’Neill or emotionally resonant ones like On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden. Graphic novel submissions may sit firmly in the YA space.
Annalise wants upper YA/new adult low-key fantasies that don’t break the mental bank, like The House in the Cerulean Sea. She also loves grounded, perhaps supernatural, fantasies dosed with romance such as The Ex Hex. She loves the idea of a cottagecore fantasy. While the cozier the better, she is also looking for fantasies that are firmly historical and grounded like The Last Magician or These Violent Delights. She would also love a dark academia fantasy like Vicious, but if Eli and Victor fell in love. Witchy fantasies that focus on queer women of color (think When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey) are also a good fit for Annalise. She is not a good fit for dragon/creature, fae, or epic fantasy of any kind.
She is looking for mysteries and thrillers that have elements of YA contemporary such as bildungsroman plots and romance (especially LGBTQIA+) but doesn’t stray too far into high-school drama (think A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson or Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson). Like Adult mysteries/thrillers, she does not want anything that ventures too far into horror. She would like to see any of the aforementioned adult mystery/thriller concepts in a YA-appropriate setting.
Annalise is looking for quirky and offbeat books that focus in on ride-or-die women-centric friendships. She also wants queer, BIPOC rom-coms like I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver that have found family elements and are shamelessly romantic. She loves romances that feature large families that are realistic and honest (think Morgan Matson). An ideal contemporary for Annalise would be set during the MC’s senior year of high school/first year of college. She does not want stereotypical high-school drama (no mean girls, please!) or tropes like cheating, nor does she want YA Romeo and Juliet retellings in any way, shape, or form.
Annalise would love to see more queer, BIPOC representation across the board, especially in romances that give Happily Ever Afters to complex and palpable characters.
In nonfiction, she is seeking:
Annalise is looking for narrative nonfiction centering in on women’s stories and queer stories, such as: true crime with a feminist lens (think We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper); memoirs that focus on identity and intersectionality (think Know My Name by Chanel Miller) or alternative formatting (think In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado); and research-heavy historical narratives about queer or feminist icons (think Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon). Annalise does not want medical or war-time memoirs.
What she is NOT looking for:
- Picture Books
- Middle Grade
- Literary Fiction
- Science Fiction
- Apocalyptic/pandemic-related Fiction
She can only consider unpublished work.
Annalise’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Tara Gilbert, Associate Literary Agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency – Virtual on Zoom
Tara Gilbert is an Associate Literary Agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency and has been in publishing since 2017. She interned with publishers and agencies before becoming an agent in 2019. Her clients include Lee Mandelo, S.T. Gibson, CG Drews, and several others.
Tara is looking for prose and graphic novels in upper middle-grade, young adult, and adult fiction as well as some non-fiction. She is always looking for stories by traditionally underrepresented creators: POC, LGBTQ+/QUILTBAG, neurodiverse, body diverse, and disabled creators are highly encouraged to select her. Tara is particularly drawn to light fantasy and speculative fiction, romance, horror, and contemporaries, but is also seeking other genres per the following.
Middle-Grade (ages 9-13):
- Open to most genres in upper middle-grade books.
- Funny, heartfelt stories—best friends stories, family stories, and anything that will make me laugh and cry
- Books with a literary bent
Young Adult (ages 14-19):
- Open to most genres in young adult—anything from light-hearted comedy to really dark, gory stuff, although sci-fi is her least favorite YA category.
- She tends to love authors with a literary bent to their prose unless it’s romance or a funny contemporary.
- Dark speculative fiction with a literary bent is her favorite.
- Funny, heartfelt RomComs, and dramatic, emotional romances.
- Upmarket fiction and some literary fiction, especially if they contain magical elements.
- She loves historical fiction, but she would prefer to see historicals about and from underrepresented communities (LGBTQ+, POC, neurodiverse).
- Fantasy and sci-fi, but it needs to be very grounded and accessible.
- Note that she doesn’t enjoy heavy world-building or dense books.
In adult fiction, she does NOT want:
- Anything set in space or with aliens
- Anything over 120K
- Political/military/crime thriller novels (especially in adult categories)
- Romances with cops or military men
- Time travel
- Mermaids, vampires, werewolves, zombies.
- Romances based on musicians or actors (I get so many of these)
- Picture books and chapter books
- Plots revolving around cheating/infidelity, suicide, rape, or abuse
- Memoirs or biographies
- Novellas, short story collections, poetry collections/verse, or screenplays
She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Tara’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Leticia Gomez, Founder, CEO, and Agent, Savvy Literary Services – In-person at hotel
Leticia Gomez is a literary agent and the CEO & Founder of Savvy Literary Services. She specializes in bringing culturally diverse voices (BIPOC AUTHORS) to the forefront. Thus far in her career as a literary agent she has placed close to 200 books with independent and mainstream traditional publishers.
In January of 2007, she launched Savvy Literary, becoming one of a highly select group of agencies in the world that specializes in the Latino book market and offers literary representation in English and Spanish. Since its inception, the agency’s prime directive has been to professionally, diligently, and tirelessly represent Latino and other ethnic minority writers since oftentimes they are misrepresented or worse yet not represented at all in the publishing and film/television industry.
Although Savvy Literary has evolved through the years and is now an industry leader by also specializing in Self-Help across all genres, Narrative Nonfiction, Memoir, Suspense/Thriller, and the Young Adult market, championing the work of minority authors continues to be a top priority for the agency. In partnership with Ascendant Group, one of the leading branding and marketing firms in the nation, Leticia offers an even greater level of support to aspiring authors. As president of the company’s entertainment division, she has distinguished herself as a literary/film/television agent who can communicate effectively with the authors she is representing. She has helped her clients secure deals with the largest publishers in the world. In addition, she has seen several of her projects successfully optioned for TV and film rights. She is now truly excited to spearhead her very own Hispanic book imprint Café con Leche Books (www.cafeconlechebooks.com).
At the present time, Savvy Literary Services is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish in the following genres:
- Upmarket Women’s Fiction
- Young Adult
- Middle Grade
- History/Politics/Current Affairs
- True Crime
Leticia is also seeking screenplays and TV scripts in the same genres listed above.
Savvy Literary Services is NOT interested in representing projects in the following genres: children’s picture books, horror, erotica, poetry, short story collections, and graphic novels.
Leticia prefers to represent projects that have not been previously published by the author in any format.
Leticia’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Molly Gregory, Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster – In-person at hotel
Molly Gregory has been with the Gallery team since 2016, following a features internship at Cosmopolitan Magazine. Recent highlights on her list include the instant New York Times bestsellers Christmas in Peachtree Bluff and Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey, To Sir, With Love by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, and Shipped by Angie Hockman, which was a 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards nominee, a January 2021 LibraryReads Pick, and an Amazon Best of the Month pick. Other names on her list include New York Times bestselling authors Karen Hawkins, Judith McNaught, Melodie Winawer, Rachel Ryan, and Caitlin Mullen. Molly prides herself on developing projects with her authors, as she did with her first major nonfiction acquisition, Karamo by Queer Eye star Karamo Brown, and Wear the Damn Mask by social media star Izzy the Frenchie. She particularly enjoys projects with a pop culture focus and cosmopolitan themes or suburban settings, as well as novels that explore complicated relationships between women, social issues, feminism, dysfunctional families, and good people behaving badly (or bad people behaving terribly). When not reading or editing, you can find Molly cooking up a storm, taking in a yoga class, or hunting down New York’s best cup of coffee.
She is currently acquiring fiction in the following genres:
- Women’s fiction (both commercial and upmarket)
- Romantic comedies (single POV only)
- Literary fiction with commercial appeal
- Domestic suspense
- Psychological thriller
- Essay collections
In nonfiction, Molly is seeking the following:
- Narrative nonfiction
She is NOT seeking to acquire mysteries, political thrillers, crime, military novels, contemporary romance, and self-help.
She will consider self-published work so long as the writers of a previously published book would be open to serious revisions (if necessary), a new cover and/or title if required, etc. She would prefer previously unpublished works but would not say no to an author who self-published!
If Molly is seriously interested in acquiring an author’s manuscript, she would likely work directly with them and then connect them with an agent later down the line.
Molly’s manuscript critique spots and pitch are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Jeff Herman, Founder and Agent, The Jeff Herman Agency, LLC – In-person at hotel
Jeff Herman opened his literary agency in the mid-1980s while in his mid-20s. He has made over one-thousand book deals, including many bestsellers. His own books include JEFF HERMAN’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHERS, EDITORS & LITERARY AGENTS (more than 500,000 copies sold), and WRITE THE PERFECT BOOK PROPOSAL (coauthored with Deborah Herman). He has presented hundreds of workshops about writing and publishing and has been interviewed for dozens of publications and programs.
Jeff represents ALL areas of adult nonfiction—from memoir, creative nonfiction, and spirituality/religious-themed books to cooking, diet, sports, journalism, and business.
He is open to considering self-published works.
Jeff’s manuscript critique spots are full, but a waitlist is available. He has open pitch spots.
Sam Hiyate, Founder, CEO, and Agent, The Rights Factory – In-person at hotel
Sam Hiyate worked at the literary magazines Blood & Aphorisms and The Quarterly in the ‘90s. He ran the edgy micropublisher, Gutter Press, from 1993 to 2002, as publisher, and launched the literary division of The Lavin Agency in 2003, building a client list and completing his first deals. He’s keen to discover and help new writers prepare their works for market, and to help them build lasting careers with their talent. Sam is also the host of the podcast “Agent Provocateur,” giving a behind-the-scenes view into publishing and agenting.
The projects Sam is seeking for The Rights Factory include the following:
- Literary novels
- Commercial fiction across genres, subgenres, and cross-genres
- Graphic novels
- Narrative nonfiction
- Health and lifestyle
He looks for works with distinct and compelling voices, and he loves humor.
Sam can only consider unpublished manuscripts.
Sam’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but he has open waitlist spots.
Lisa Diane Kastner, Founder and Executive Editor, Running Wild, LLC & RIZE Press – In-person at hotel
Lisa is a publisher and an author with a book coming out in October 2022 under the pen name Kali Metis. While fulfilling an amazing corporate career, she began Running Wild, LLC, which consists of Running Wild Press—where they publish great stories that don’t fit neatly in a box—and RIZE Press, where they publish great genre stories written by people of color and other underrepresented groups.
Running Wild has been honored with two best of 2019 and two best of 2020 books according to Kirkus Reviews as well as several starred reviews and additional acclaim. Lisa was named to Yahoo Finance’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021 and nominated to FORBES NEXT 1000, a list of American self-funded entrepreneurs who continue to strive during the challenging times of COVID. She was named to New York Weekly’s Top Ten Females to Watch in 2021 and LA Wire’s Top 10 Businesses to Watch in 2021 and was featured in the August/September 2021 edition of FORBES.
She has taught at Pennwriters Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, been a speaker at a TEDx Conference, and won several awards.
Running Wild Press typically publishes the following:
- Cross-genre fiction (mash ups of literary, dark fiction, thriller, mystery, a taste of romance but not a full-on romance, science fiction, magical realism, young adult, historical fiction, memoir, and/or creative nonfiction)
- Dark fiction (typically horror or horror with flavors of other fiction like literary or thriller or mystery or sci fi)
Running Wild Press also publishes short story and novella anthologies each year.
RIZE Press publishes genre stories written by people of color and other underrepresented groups in basically the same genres as Running Wild Press but not as cross-genre mashups:
- Young adult
- Women’s fiction
- Dark fiction/horror
- Magical realism
- Historical fiction
- Science fiction
- Magical realism
Lisa will consider previously self-published work and unpublished manuscripts with the caveat that if the work was previously self-published, the author must be willing to work with an editor on revisions…just like any other writer.
If she is interested in acquiring a manuscript, she can work directly with the author or through an author’s representative.
Lisa’s manuscript critique spots and pitch are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Natalie Kimber, Literary Agent, The Rights Factory – In-person at hotel
Natalie Kimber started her career in publishing as an assistant to Muriel Nellis at Literary and Creative Artists Inc., and later worked under Dr. Carole Sargent at Georgetown University’s Booklab, where she developed academic and trade book proposals, fiction titles, and edited books for New Academia Publishing. She graduated from Georgetown in 2010 with a BA in Liberal Studies with a focus in Theology and Latin and is a Caux Scholar. She subsequently founded the Sun Rae Agency, with a view to represent authors with provocative, inspiring books that challenge and change the literary landscape.
Nat joined The Rights Factory in 2014 as the agency’s first New York City-based agent. She is inspired by bringing experimental, risky, and thoughtful new literature into the world of traditional publishing. She appreciates authors who have a vision incorporated into their writing, from exploring history untold to re-telling timeless tales with a twist, Nat looks for writers who unveil meaningful new ways to see the world and ourselves in it. Her passion is helping authors share their vision and talent with a grateful audience and guiding the process that manifests a vision into book form is her raison d’etre.
Natalie Kimber is seeking middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction in the following genres:
- Commercial fiction
- Graphic novels
- Historical fiction
- Science fiction
- Upmarket/Book club
- Women’s fiction
- Family sagas
In nonfiction, Nat is seeking the following:
- Creative Nonfiction
- Pop Culture
Natalie’s manuscript critique spots and pitch are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
David LeGere, CEO and Publisher, Woodhall Press – Virtual on Zoom
David LeGere is a publishing professional with over fourteen years of experience in the US, specializing in the trade nonfiction, fiction, gift, and outdoor markets. He has worked with a vast network of industry professionals and published hundreds of titles, ranging from recent celebrated nonfiction like Fast Funny Women, a hilarious collection of nonfiction essays edited by Gina Barreca with notable contributors like “Judge Judy” Sheindlin, Susan Shapiro, and Fay Weldon, to award-winning fiction like The Astronaut’s Son, Foreword Indie Award winner and CT Book Prize finalist by Tom Seigel. Dave has published three titles that have won the National Outdoor Book Award (2016, 2018, and 2020), and he is the CEO and Publisher of Woodhall Press. A graduate of Fairfield University’s MFA program, he is also a dedicated English professor and writer.
Woodhall Press publishes a wide range of titles/categories, but Dave is actively seeking the following:
- Science fiction
- Young Adult
- Memoirs that are themed around specific subjects
Dave will consider previously self-published work.
If he is interested in publishing a participant’s manuscript, then Woodhall Press would work directly with the author.
David’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but he has open waitlist spots.
Dorian Maffei, Agent, Kimberley Cameron & Associates – In-person at hotel
While Dorian Maffei appreciates most fiction that blends genre lines, she is especially interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, women’s fiction with a fantastical bent, unique voices, contemporary novels with a little mystery (without being in the mystery genre), horror and suspense, and innovative storytelling that sometimes veers on the weird. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page and explores the peculiar within the mundane. She is always open to submissions with diverse experiences and characters, and welcomes underrepresented and marginalized voices. She hopes to find work that features these experiences as the norm.
She is looking for Young Adult and Adult works of fiction in the following genres:
- Science Fiction
- Upmarket/Book Club
- Women’s Fiction
To get a better feel for the types of books she loves to read, please visit her Manuscript Wish List page: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/dorian-maffei/
Dorian is NOT looking for nonfiction, political/military/government thrillers, or picture books,
She can only consider unpublished work.
Dorian’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Beth Marshea, Owner and Lead Agent, Ladderbird Literary Agency – Virtual via Zoom
Beth Marshea is the owner of Ladderbird Literary Agency; she is also a member of the AALA. She has a BA in Literature and a master’s in business administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Beth’s taste and client list reflect her eclectic sensibilities and her willingness to push beyond “normal”. Her client’s include Catherine Adel West, author of SAVING RUBY KING and forthcoming BECOMING SARA KING, V. Castro, author of QUEEN OF THE CICADAS, QUEEN OF FILTH, forthcoming THE GENERATIONAL CURSE OF LA LLORONA and more, B.L. Radley author of forthcoming STRICTLY NO HEROICS, Martin Padgett, author the of A NIGHT AT THE SWEET GUM HEAD and forthcoming PRIVATE MATTERS, Nneka Okona author of SELF-CARE FOR GRIEF and the forthcoming LITTLE BOOK OF SELF-CARE and many more.
In fiction on the Adult and Young Adult side, Beth represents the following:
- Literary fiction
- Commercial/Book club
- Science Fiction
She is always looking for works by authors from diverse and historically marginalized backgrounds that center the actual lived experience rather than just the trauma of marginalization.
She is currently especially interested in finding a thriller or mystery centered around a community that is not straight white and suburban, especially if the motivation for the mystery/murder/death is NOT motivated by phobia of the group. In speculative fiction across the board, she loves to see stories based on all kinds of folklore, especially if the folklore is new to her.
In Middle Grade fiction, Beth is looking for contemporary stories that have fun, compelling characters dealing with real problems that middle school kids face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. She’s also interested in fantasy that explores similar themes. Books she’s loved are Lalani and the Distant Sea, Wonder, Pet, and Lily and Dunkin. As in Adult fiction, she is looking for work that brings something new to the table and centers the experience of folks who have not had their stories told.
In Picture Books, she’s dying to find books with really cute hooks like The Day the Crayons Quit, or nice messaging like Not Quite a Narwhal. She’d love to find a book that brings parents and kids together with language simple enough for a young child to read but engrossing enough for an adult to enjoy. She is NOT the best fit for children’s picture books on grief, divorce, or other important but sad events (she saves that for the Adult side).
In Nonfiction, Beth is ALWAYS looking for hidden histories, especially strong narratives that enlighten some aspect of modern life through the telling of the historical. She’d love to find more Young Adult biographies or hidden histories that can get teens interested in activism/politics. She is always interested in pop culture, cultural phenomena, issue-driven books, and books that offer new ways to look at spiritualism, witchcraft, and paganism. Beth is NOT a good fit for any books centered around the Judeo-Christian religions.
She does NOT consider work that has been previously published either through self-publishing or small presses.
Beth’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Chantelle Aimée Osman, Editor, Agora Books (an imprint of Polis Books) – Virtual on Zoom
Chantelle Aimée Osman (she/her) is the editor of Agora Books, an award-winning imprint focusing on socially and culturally unique crime fiction and horror from publisher Polis Books. Since its founding in 2019, Agora titles have won three International Latino Book Award medals, been nominated for Edgar, Dagger, Anthony, Strand Critics, Macavity and Lefty awards, and been featured in NPR, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Chicago Tribune and Entertainment Weekly. She was named a Publishers Weekly Rising Star honoree in 2020; she is also a professor at the LIU Brooklyn Polk School of Communication MFA in Writing and Publishing, an instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Authors at Large and LitReactor. The former editor-in-chief of RT Book Reviews Magazine and a freelance editor for over 10 years also has been a judge for the Phoenix Film Festival, International Thriller Awards, and the National Association of Hispanic Publication’s José Martí Awards. Chantelle is the author of the non-fiction series on writing The Quick and Dirty Guides To…, has published numerous works of short fiction, and served as the editor of multiple anthologies, including the upcoming Jewish Noir, Volume 2 from PM Press. She hosts the Words of Prey podcast through the Pipeline Artists Network.
Chantelle is seeking all subgenres of crime fiction (including mystery, suspense, thriller, police procedurals, noir, etc.) and horror with unique social and cultural angles. She is eager to receive submissions/pitches from underrepresented voices.
She will only consider unpublished work.
If Chantelle is interested in publishing a participant’s manuscript, then she would work directly with the author.
Chantelle’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Christine Stroud, Editor in Chief, Autumn House Press – Virtual on Zoom
Christine Stroud is the editor in chief of Autumn House Press. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Buried Return and Sister Suite. She graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2008 and received an MFA in poetry with a concentration in publishing from Chatham University where she worked on the literary journal, The Fourth River. Over the years she has presented panels on small-press development and sustainability and has been a featured speaker at conferences, residencies, and colleges.
In general, Autumn House Press welcomes all short story collections, novels, essay collections, poetry collections (and single pieces for their online imprint, Coal Hill Review), and memoirs that can be classified as literary. Experimental and hybrid work is also acceptable.
Autumn House does not publish genre work; however, this certainly doesn’t mean books can’t have elements of mystery, fantasy, romance, etc.
Christine will consider previously self-published work.
If she is interested in acquiring a writer’s manuscript, she would work directly with the author, but if they already have an agent, she would be happy to work with the agent.
Christine’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but she has open waitlist spots.
Please contact George Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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