The editors and agents below have provided the genres they are seeking to acquire or represent, in their own words–and they 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 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.
At 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 one or two manuscript critique(s) and pitch(es) 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 you can ask at the end of your 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 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 get a sample critiqued? If agents and editors are open considering a self-published work for traditional publishing, you will see this noted in their bios below. However, most industry professionals prefer to only consider never-published manuscripts so they don’t have to deal with copyright issues and other problems that already-released books present. If you have a self-published work you want to pitch or get critiqued but aren’t sure whether the agent(s)/editor(s) you have in mind would be receptive, contact Atlanta Writers Conference Director George Weinstein at email@example.com and he will ask for you.
NOTE: At the bottom of each editor/agent bio, we indicate if manuscript critique and/or pitch spots are full–but waitlists are available–or are closed because a deadline has passed. 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 may register for those–please go to the Registration page and use the Cvent system link to do so.
See the bios below for complete details about the editors and agents and what they are seeking to acquire or represent, respectively. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to request recommendations about which ones have the shortest waitlists.
Rebecca Brewer, Editor, Ace/Berkley Publishing Group at Penguin Random House
In fiction, Rebecca is currently acquiring adult science fiction and fantasy (all subgenres), mainstream LGBTQ novels, and the occasional mystery novel.
In nonfiction, she is acquiring memoirs and true crime.
She is NOT seeking romance or Christian fiction.
Rebecca will consider previously self-published work if its sales track record is spectacular (i.e., measured in the tens of thousands).
If Rebecca is interested in acquiring a manuscript, she would provide references to agents for representation and negotiation.
Rebecca’s manuscript critique spots are full, but a waitlist is available. She has open pitch spots.
Caroline George, Associate Agent, Cyle Young Literary Elite
Caroline’s publishing industry experience includes positions with HarperCollins Publishing and Hillsong Sydney. She has editorial and public relations experience from BookGrabbr and The Dunham Group and was a freelance publicist for Mainstreet Productions. Caroline recently sold Rachel Swanson’s Refine & Restore to Hachette. In addition to agenting, she is a blogger and published author.
In fiction, Caroline is seeking:
- Children’s picture/chapter books
- Family saga/drama
- Graphic novel
- Middle Grade
- Science fiction
- Short story collections
- Speculative fiction/myths & fairy tales/magical realism
- Upmarket/Book club
- Women’s fiction (upmarket and commercial)
- Young Adult
She is NOT seeking LGBTQ+ fiction or erotic novels.
In nonfiction, Caroline is seeking:
- Current events/politics/social commentary
- Essay collections
- Narrative nonfiction/journalism
- Pop culture
- Women’s issues
Caroline’s manuscript critique spots and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Natalie Grazian, Associate Literary Manager, Martin Literary & Media Management
Natalie has a BA in English and Minor in Spanish from Santa Clara University. Upon graduating, she worked as a sales representative for W. W. Norton and interned for two literary agencies: Kimberley Cameron & Associates and Martin Literary Management. For two years, Natalie was the Fiction Editor of The Santa Clara Review, the oldest literary magazine on the West Coast.
She is looking for upmarket and literary fiction for adults:
- Smart, voice-driven contemporary fiction
- Re-imaginings of myths/fairytales/classics
- Soft science fiction and fantasy
- Gripping psychological thrillers
- Bookclubby historical fiction
- Coming-of-age stories
In all of these, a strong hook is a must!
Natalie’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Stephanie Guerdan, Editorial Assistant, HarperCollins
Stephanie is open to picture book acquisitions as well as the rest of the kid-lit gamut.
What she looks for in a picture book is an economy of language – simple and not too wordy. It doesn’t have to be verse, but if it is, she wants clean, tight verse with a steady read-aloud rhythm. If it’s an author-illustrator (she’s fine with either an author doing the illustrations, too, or an author-illustrator duo), she wants to see cute, colorful illustrations that feel fresh and/or out of the box rather than painterly or traditional. She’d especially love to see a picture book done in alternative media like papercut or stitch-craft or something like that. Content wise, Stephanie would love to see stories that tackle complex topics or representation issues for a younger set (like Interstellar Cinderella for girls in STEM, or Prince and Knight for little-kid-appropriate queer representation). This includes stories that use animals or other creatures to discuss issues/themes like tolerance/acceptance, negative feelings, etc.
Also in fiction, Stephanie is seeking middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) in the following genres:
- Science fiction
- Historical fiction
- Super-commercial and voice-y middle grade novels
- Graphic novels in all genres
- Stories about and by marginalized voices/#ownvoices authors for all ages (MG and YA)
- Books about strong female characters dismantling the patriarchy in some way
- Queer romance in all genres, but especially f/f fantasy
Her dislikes in MG and YA fiction:
- Contemporary YA romance without diverse/fresh elements
- Casts that lack the diversity of the real world
- Sad endings/dystopias (she wants to be able to escape in a book)
For nonfiction for MG and YA audiences, Stephanie is most interested in memoir—bonus points for graphic memoirs like Spinning or Honor Girl—and history (especially presenting history from non-Western cultures in an accessible way).
If Stephanie is interested in acquiring a manuscript, she would ask the participant to seek representation from an agent to handle the negotiation.
Stephanie’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Jennifer Gunnels, Editor, Tor Books
Jen is seeking adult science fiction and fantasy in the following categories:
- Short stories, ranging anywhere from 1,500 to 30,000 words
- Novellas, running from 30,000 to 50,000
- Novels from 55,000 to 300,000 words
Her interests include:
- Hard science fiction
- First contact science fiction
- Anthropological science fiction–intricate examinations of culture and society
- Epic science fiction with strong female characters or unusual characters
- Non-Western fantasy
- Diversity in character, world-building
- Magical realism
- Science fiction or fantasy heists
- Military science fiction with new hooks
- Science fiction or fantasy that examines assumptions about identity and/or society
- Science fiction thrillers
- Fantasy with unusual assassins
- Historical fantasy
- Short and long science fiction and fantasy
She is NOT seeking young adult or middle grade material nor any urban fantasy.
If Jen is interested in acquiring a manuscript, she would ask the participant to seek representation from an agent to handle the negotiation.
Jen’s manuscript critique spots are full, but a waitlist is available. She has open pitch spots.
Julie Gwinn, Agent, The Seymour Agency
For fiction, Julie is looking for adult or young adult stories for both the mainstream market and inspirational/Christian publishers in a variety of genres including:
- Romance (all subgenres)
- Historical, specifically Regency
- Suspense (including romantic suspense)
- Speculative fiction
- Science fiction
- Christmas-themed stories
She does NOT represent horror, poetry, erotica, children’s books, or novellas.
In nonfiction, Julie is looking for lifestyle, how-to, and inspirational stories. No memoirs, please.
Julie’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Emily Hartley, Associate Editor, Ballantine Books, Penguin Random House
In fiction, Emily is looking for commercial/literary crossover with strong characters and sense of place, and she appreciate stories that are a bit edgy or dark. She is especially interested in Native American stories, East-Asian and Asian-American stories, and rural stories.
She generally does NOT work in genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy, romance, procedural mystery), historical fiction before 1950, or light women’s fiction.
In nonfiction, Emily is seeking manuscripts from underrepresented voices—especially women and people of color—about current issues, race, big ideas, and social justice. In addition, she is looking for popular history and non-prescriptive popular science with a narrative angle. She also loves a memoir or essay collection with a good hook, as well as food writing that explores a unique cuisine or aspect of the food industry.
She tends away from prescriptive books, business books (unless they are narrative or geared toward a new audience), and religious books.
If Emily were interested in acquiring a manuscript, she would put the participant in touch with an agent.
Emily’s manuscript critique and spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Chelcee Johns, Editorial Assistant, 37 Ink/Simon & Schuster
In the fall of 2017, Chelcee Johns joined Atria’s (Simon & Schuster) editorial team as an Editorial Assistant at 37 Ink where she assists Vice President and Publisher Dawn Davis with her titles, including Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker, Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heart Talk by Cleo Wade, and National Book Award finalist Never Caught by Erica Dunbar among others. Prior to joining Atria, Chelcee spent the last seven years of her career in both book publishing and digital media as an editor and content strategist. She has previously worked as an Assistant Editor at Moguldom Media Group, one of the largest multicultural digital publishers, as an Associate Agent at Serendipity Literary Agency and as a freelance book editor & publishing consultant. She is a graduate of New York University with an MS in Publishing.
In fiction, Chelcee’s interests are as follows:
- Upmarket commercial fiction, including:
- Contemporary/mainstream fiction
- Women’s fiction
- Historical fiction
She is also seeking compelling non-fiction in:
- Social justice
- Pop culture
- Cultural commentary
- Tech/start-up culture
Chelcee is particularly excited about smart, plot-driven literary novels and fiction that take us throughout the African diaspora, as well as non-fiction offering unique perspectives from experts and emerging voices with a budding platform. She is drawn to work that introduces her to new cultures with authentic, unforgettable, voice-driven characters and wants to hear from diverse voices.
She is NOT Interested in: thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, or young adult fiction.
If Chelcee is interested in acquiring a participant’s manuscript, she would recommend they obtain representation from a literary agent.
Chelcee has open spots for manuscript critiques and pitches.
Danielle Marshall, Editorial Director, Lake Union Publishing/Amazon Publishing
Danielle Marshall is the editorial director of Lake Union Publishing. Her recent acquisitions include the #1 Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale, Leftie, Macavity, and Agatha Award–winning In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen, and Wreckage by Emily Bleeker. Prior to joining Amazon Publishing in 2012, Danielle held a wide range of book retail and publishing positions, starting as a bookseller in a tiny neighborhood shop in San Francisco twenty years ago. After a long stint as book buyer and then promotions manager for Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, Danielle made a giant leap into publishing as the marketing and public relations director of the Simon & Schuster imprint best known for their publishing phenomenon The Secret. Aside from reading, Danielle is passionate about live theater, all kinds of music, and her wonderful daughter.
Danielle is seeking the following in adult fiction:
- Upmarket women’s fiction (especially quirky/comic or family drama)
- Psychological suspense
- Historical fiction
She is NOT seeking: Literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young adult, series mystery, thriller, romance, children’s, middle grade.
If Danielle is interested in acquiring a participant’s manuscript, she would be happy to work directly with the author. She does encourage them to work hard to find an agent, as she considers agents strong advocates for authors, but she does not refer authors to specific agents.
Danielle’s manuscript critique spots are full, but there is a waitlist. She has open spots for pitches.
Grace Menary-Winefield, Associate Editor, Sourcebooks
Grace Menary-Winefield joined the Sourcebooks editorial team in 2015 after working at London’s Little, Brown Book Group, Pan Macmillan, and Palgrave Macmillan. In her current role as Associate Editor she champions New York Times bestselling authors and Indie Next Picks such as The Radium Girls and The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and loves to discover and encourage new, rebellious voices. She believes wholeheartedly in her publisher’s motto: “Books change lives.”
Grace is seeking the following in commercial adult fiction:
- Contemporary book club
- Mainstream speculative, fantasy, or science-fiction
In fiction, Grace is NOT looking for horror, space operas, epic fantasy, cozy mysteries, political or legal thrillers, or romance.
Grace is seeking the following in commercial adult non-fiction:
- Narrative history
- Popular science
- Personal development
- Current events
- Practical self-help
- Illustrated gift books, including journals, humor, activity
In nonfiction, Grace is NOT looking for cookbooks, diet, religion, or gardening.
Grace will consider previously self-published work, but participants should understand that any book that was previously published (including traditionally published work, too) comes with its own challenges with respect to previous sales, reviews, or publicity.
She would consider acquiring a participant’s manuscript without an agent’s involvement. However, for negotiation purposes, if the author has the option of securing an agent, Grace would always recommend that.
Grace’s manuscript critique spots are full, but there is a waitlist. She has open spots for pitches.
Sharon Pelletier, Literary Agent, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC
Sharon joined DG&B in 2013 after working for Europa Editions, Vantage Press, and Barnes & Noble. Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Sharon moved to New York in 2009 and now can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. In addition to growing her own list, Sharon oversees digital projects and social media for the agency.
While her interests are broad, Sharon is especially seeking the following in fiction:
- Suspense fiction with a fresh angle
- Rich, thoughtful book club fiction
- Smart vacation fiction
- Commercial and upmarket women’s fiction
In narrative nonfiction, Sharon’s wished-for categories include these topics:
- Current events
- Pop culture
She also is seeking voicey practical (how-to) nonfiction
In all these categories Sharon is eager to work with underrepresented voices!
While Sharon is NOT seeking…
- Memoir without platform
…during the Saturday afternoon pitch activity, she is happy to meet with writers who work in categories she doesn’t seek personally as she is there on behalf of the agency as well as herself. Potential participants can consult https://www.dystel.com/meet-our-agents/ to see whether there’s another agent whose interests are a good fit and pitch their work for Sharon to consider on behalf of a colleague. This applies to pitches only, not manuscript critiques, where your book should be a good fit with her personal interests as described above.
Sharon’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Michelle Richter, Agent, Fuse Literary
Michelle joined Fuse Literary after eight years at St. Martin’s Press. While there, she edited nonfiction including MELISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL by Melissa Joan Hart, and worked on upmarket and commercial fiction. She has an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University (where she is an adjunct faculty member).
Her clients include Kellye Garrett, the Anthony-, Agatha-, Lefty-, and Independent Publishing Award-winning author of HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE.
Michelle is seeking the following in commercial fiction:
- Young Adult mystery/thriller
- Women’s fiction (light/commercial)
- Historical fiction from 18th century to 1930s (no WWII)
- Literary fiction with commercial crossover
She always welcomes diverse and underrepresented voices.
Michelle will consider previously self-published work if its sales track record is spectacular (i.e., measured in the tens of thousands).
Michelle’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, President and Senior Agent, McIntosh & Otis, Inc.
Elizabeth has degrees from New York University and Manhattan School of Music. She began her book publishing career in subsidiary rights and then took on the responsibilities of acquisitions editor at a major audio publishing imprint. Initially, she joined McIntosh & Otis to manage all subsidiary rights but began working as an agent shortly thereafter.
In fiction, Elizabeth is seeking:
- Historical fiction
- Contemporary romance
- Suspense (including dark erotic, domestic, mystery, and romantic)
- High concept fiction
- Literary fiction
- Women’s fiction (upmarket/book club)
She’s especially seeking family sagas, unusual and unconventional historical fiction, evocative and uncommon settings, a good ear for dry and dark humor, and standout hooks.
Elizabeth is NOT seeking science fiction or fantasy.
In nonfiction, Elizabeth is seeking:
- Narrative nonfiction
- Current affairs
Elizabeth’s manuscript critique spots and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Jennifer March Soloway, Associate Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Prior to joining Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, and toys. She has an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College and was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012.
Jennifer is actively seeking:
- Picture Books — both authors and illustrators, fiction and nonfiction
- Middle Grade — fiction and nonfiction
- Young Adult — fiction and nonfiction
- Adult — psychological thrillers, mystery, horror, and select literary fiction
Jennifer is NOT seeking adult nonfiction.
Jennifer’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Kristine Swartz, Editor, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Random House
Kristine is looking to acquire for a commercial readership in all genres of:
- Women’s fiction (upmarket and commercial)
She has a particular interest in #OwnVoices stories.
Kristine is NOT interested in nonfiction, mysteries, or children’s books at this time.
If Kristine is interested in acquiring a manuscript, she would ask the participant to seek representation from an agent to handle the negotiation.
Kristine’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.
Léonicka Valcius, Assistant Agent, Transatlantic Agency
Léonicka represents commercial and genre fiction for adults and children and some adult nonfiction topics. As the founder of #DiverseCanLit and the chair of the Board of Directors of The Festival of Literary Diversity, working with writers of color is a key part of Léonicka’s mandate. Léonicka previously worked on the Online and Digital Sales team at Penguin Random House Canada and as the French book buyer for Scholastic Book Fairs Canada. For more of her work, check out http://www.leonicka.com.
Léonicka is currently seeking in fiction:
- Funny Middle Grade Fiction
- Contemporary Young Adult (YA)
- YA Fantasy
- YA Historical Fiction
- Adult Fantasy
- Adult Historical Fiction
In nonfiction, Léonicka is currently seeking:
- Adult Narrative Nonfiction
- Adult Lifestyle/Self-Help
- Adult Business/Finance
She is NOT seeking horror, thriller, mystery, slave narratives, WWI and WWII narratives, or memoir.
Léonicka has open spots for manuscript critiques and pitches.
Please contact George Weinstein at email@example.com.
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