Editors & Agents

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 awconference@gmail.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 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 awconference@gmail.com to request recommendations about which ones have the shortest waitlists.

Jenny ChenJenny 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 are full, but a waitlist is available. She has one open pitch spot.

Natalie Edwards

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 spots are full, but a waitlist is available. She has open pitch spots.

Zabé Ellor

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 and pitch spots are open.


Leticia Gomez

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:

In fiction:

  • Adventure
  • Upmarket Women’s Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Humor
  • Multi-cultural
  • Mystery
  • Paranormal
  • Romance
  • Young Adult
  • Middle Grade

In nonfiction:

  • Advice/Relationships
  • Business
  • Biography
  • Cooking
  • Diet
  • Health
  • History/Politics/Current Affairs
  • How-to
  • Humor
  • Lifestyle
  • Memoir
  • Parenting
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • 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 open.

Molly GregoryMolly 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
  • Humor
  • Essay collections

In nonfiction, Molly is seeking the following:

  • Memoir
  • 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 waitlists are available.

Jeff Herman

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 and pitch spots are open.


Sam Hiyate

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
  • Memoir
  • Narrative nonfiction
  • Health and lifestyle
  • Self-improvement

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 open.


Lisa Diane Kastner

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)
  • Thriller
  • Fantasy
  • Dark fiction (typically horror or horror with flavors of other fiction like literary or thriller or mystery or sci fi)
  • Memoir

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:

  • Literary
  • Mystery
  • Young adult
  • Women’s fiction
  • Dark fiction/horror
  • Magical realism
  • Historical fiction
  • Thriller
  • 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 waitlists are available.


David LeGere

David LeGere, CEO and Publisher, Woodhall Press – In-person at hotel


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:

In fiction:

  • Thriller
  • General/mainstream
  • Historical
  • Mystery
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Young Adult
  • Romance

In nonfiction:

  • Self-help
  • Spirituality
  • 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 waitlists are available.


Kayla LightnerKayla Lightner, Agent, Ayesha Pande Literary – In-person at hotel


Kayla Lightner is a literary agent and rights manager at Ayesha Pande Literary. Prior to joining APL, Kayla worked as an assistant at Liza Dawson Associates. She is a member of the AALA (Association of American Literary Agents) as well as a member of their DEI committee. She is also on the Adult Internship Grant committee for We Need Diverse Books. A Georgia native, she earned her B.A. in English from Vassar College. Before finding her way to publishing, she held various positions including a fashion market assistant at Harper’s Bazaar and a freelance writer at Creative Loafing Atlanta. An adventurous reader, Kayla loves stories—across fiction and nonfiction—that masterfully straddle the line between story-telling and teaching her something new.

In fiction, she is seeking the following:

  • Crime
  • Family Saga
  • Fantasy
  • Graphic Novel
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Humor
  • Literary
  • Science Fiction
  • Short Stories
  • Thriller

Within these categories, her favorite sub-genres are Dark Humor, Domestic Suspense, Dystopian, Magical Realism, Psychological Horror, Southern Gothic, Contemporary

Her wish list includes the following:

Speculative Fiction that introduces the reader to some secret/obscure society that plays a significant (but unknown) role in the workings of the world like Big Machine by Victor Lavalle, or The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead.

Science Fiction that integrates West Indian or African folklore like Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson and the Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor; narratives that take place in a hierarchic/flawed society that blurs the lines between utopia and dystopia in the tradition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World; narratives with a striking voice and that play with POV like N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy; narratives that repurpose popular tropes within the genre to provide new, insightful social commentary like Black Mirror.

Horror grounded in history, dealing with race, or revealing that real people/social institutions can be far more terrifying than fictionalized monsters, like Colson Whitehead’s Nickel Boys; psychological horror that muddies the reader’s understanding of “good” and “evil.”

Fantasy that contains a unique, non-Eurocentric pantheon, gods that interfere in the lives of mortals, and comprehensive magic systems that are rooted in African, Caribbean, or West Indian folklore like Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring.

Magical realism with Southern gothic elements like Mama Day by Gloria Naylor.

Short Story collections / novels that explore the experiences of black women in a manner that is both funny and poignant like Heads of the Colored People  by Nafissa Thompson-Spires or The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesah Philyaw; that use speculative elements as a means to examine history like These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card.

Satire (either as a short story collection or a novel) that pokes fun at the “American Dream” in the vein of George Saunders’ Civilwarland in Bad Decline, Paul Beety’s The Sellout, or Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour.

In nonfiction, Kayla is seeking the following:

  • Humor
  • Journalism
  • Memoir
  • Narrative Nonfiction
  • Psychology
  • Sports
  • True Crime

Her nonfiction wish list includes the following:

Family Sagas that confront the trope of the typical American family and turn the picket white-fence narrative on its head; Especially drawn to narratives that are rooted in the immigrant experience like Zadie Smith’s White Teeth or sit in the tensions of familial relationships (whether is be spouses, parent/child, or siblings) like American Marriage by Tayari Jones, With Teeth by Kristen Arnett, or The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

Narrative Nonfiction that teaches the reader something about an overlooked demographic or forgotten community, their way of life, and how they see the world like  Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down; Compelling, well-researched stories about forgotten or willfully overlooked moments in history and the ripple-effects they have on our modern day life like Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson; A narrative constructed by journalist who has written about a topic so thoroughly/extensively in previous articles, that they’ve developed a specialized expertise and are the only ones who could really give the reader insight into a topic/world they otherwise wouldn’t know about.

Young Adult Narrative Nonfiction (either serious or humorous) that makes larger, hard “adult” topics more accessible, or pushes past pre-conceived notions of what subjects are “appropriate or inappropriate” for younger readers like Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi.

Memoirs about growing up in the South (bonus points if you can incorporate Southern cuisine/soul food); the experiences of first-generation college students at prestigious PWI’s (like Casey Gerald’s There Will Be No Miracles Here); and the experiences of WOC in comedy.

Essay Collections that are smart, funny, and speak to girlhood and womanhood like Morgan Jerkins’ This Will Be My Undoing or mental health like I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying  by Bassey Ikpi; I’m particularly drawn to narratives that depart from the tropes of centering black women’s suffering/trauma or insisting on  unwavering Black Girl Magic, and instead offer a more realistic, robust conversation around Black womanhood (with all the vulnerability, honesty, humor, ugliness, and grace that comes with it).

“Big Idea Books” that investigate the different ways in which the internet and “internet culture” currently impact our lives, from how we communicate to how we learn to how we consume, and more.

She can only consider unpublished work.

Kayla’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are open.


Dorian Maffei

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:

  • Commercial/Mainstream
  • Contemporary
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Literary
  • Science Fiction
  • Speculative
  • Suspense
  • Thriller
  • 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 waitlists are available.


Megan Manzano

Megan Manzano, Agent, D4EO Literary Agency – In-person at hotel


Megan fell in love with reading and writing from a young age. She grew up to receive a BA in English with a minor in philosophy; eager to stay as close to books as possible. With several years of publishing experience under her belt, she currently works dual roles as a marketing manager for trade and professional books and a Literary Agent at D4EO. She has previously mentored for the Pitch Wars class of 2018 and the RevPit 2020 contest.

She represents middle grade, young adult, and adult literary fiction across multiple genres. Megan is a sucker for atmosphere (in setting and in tone), voice that leaps off the page, characters who will make her laugh and cry all at the same time, and a deep exploration of interpersonal relationships.

For Adult fiction, Megan is seeking the following:

While she prefers literary fiction, she is open to stories that lean upmarket. Her tastes in literary fiction are best summed up with the works of Erin Morgenstern, Madeline Miller, and N.K. Jemisin. She loves great prose with characters at the forefront. Megan would especially love to see queer relationships, stories with some kind of speculative element, unusual settings, an exploration of family, and dark academia.

For Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction:

  • Contemporary: Give her some darker contemporary novels with complex family dynamics or odd jobs or shadows lurking in a forest. She would also love to see fluffy contemporary stories about friendships, developing first crushes, beginning to question/learn about your identity and quieter plots – i.e., stories with more personal and character-driven stakes. Anything that explores what it means to grow up is a favorite of hers and really important for younger readers to have in their hands.
  • Thrillers: Megan would love a mystery set in a small town, a survival thriller, a story driven by an unreliable narrator, a group of misfits working together to solve a case, or a thriller blended with speculative elements.
  • Romance: Give her more diverse romances: best friends to lovers, slow burn, and stories that make her feel good while reading and have happy endings. If you have a queer rom com, please select her for a manuscript sample critique or pitch! Romances that are in the backdrop of a speculative world are more than welcome, too.
  • Fantasy: Give her light fantasy, magical realism, and everyday society with a spark of magic. She is NOT accepting high fantasy.

Megan is always looking for the following elements:

  • Queer representation
  • Stories by BIPOC authors
  • Neurodiversity
  • Polyamory
  • Teens who don’t go to college
  • Sex positive stories
  • Gray morality/anti-heroes
  • Slow burn relationships
  • Angst
  • Mental health representation
  • Soft/geeky characters
  • Strong friendships/sibling relationships

She is not the best fit for:

Stories containing vivid descriptions of demon possession, exorcisms, or hauntings, though gore, creepy elements, and atmosphere are fine; werewolves; superheroes; animal protagonists; books where sports are the main focus; historical fiction; nonfiction; picture/chapter books; graphic novels; or screenplays.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Megan’s manuscript critique spots are full, but a waitlist is available. She has open pitch spots.

Beth Marshea

Beth Marshea, Owner and Lead Agent, Ladderbird Literary Agency – In-person at hotel


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
  • Mysteries
  • Thrillers
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror

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 open.


Molly McGhee

Molly McGhee, Assistant Editor, Tor/Nightfire, TDA, Macmillan Publishers – In-person at hotel


Molly McGhee is from a cluster of unincorporated towns outside of Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her M.F.A. in fiction at Columbia University, where she later taught in the undergraduate creative writing department. She has worked in the editorial departments of McSweeney’s, The Believer, NOON, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and she now brings the strange to life at Tor. She has worked with authors like Olivie Blake, V.E. Schwab, Holly Black, Brandon Sanderson, Katherine Addison, Samantha Hunt, and Jeff VanderMeer. In addition to being an editor, she is also a writer whose work has appeared in publications like The Paris Review.

Molly is seeking the following in fiction:

  • General fantasy
  • Historical fantasy
  • Contemporary fantasy
  • Grounded fantasy
  • Low fantasy
  • Epic fantasy
  • Magical fantasy
  • General horror
  • Psychological horror
  • Weird horror
  • Occult horror
  • General science fiction
  • Space opera

When acquiring manuscripts, she has a preference for contemporary fantasy, weird/strange fiction, and horror.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

If Molly is interested in acquiring a writer’s manuscript, she would work directly with the author or would work through an agent depending on the author and the level of polish on their manuscript.

Molly’s manuscript critique spots are full, but a waitlist is available. She has open pitch spots.


Chantelle Aimée OsmanChantelle Aimée Osman, Editor, Agora Books (an imprint of Polis Books) – Possibly virtual but might be in-person at hotel, depending on COVID spread


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 open.

Christine StroudChristine Stroud, Editor in Chief, Autumn House Press – Possibly virtual but might be in-person at hotel, depending on COVID spread


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 open.

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Jackie Williams, Associate Agent, The Knight Agency – In-person at hotel


Jackie Williams joined the The Knight Agency in 2020, after an editorial fellowship with Chronicle Books. Originally from Washington D.C, she previously worked in public policy, graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies, and subsequently assisted in consumer protection and international trade cases at The Federal Trade Commission.

She’s interested in collaborating closely with writers throughout all stages of their careers and bringing more multicultural representation to the publishing landscape.

Jackie is currently seeking the following fiction genres for middle grade, young adult, and adult:

  • Mystery/Crime
  • Thriller
  • Suspense
  • Gothic
  • Horror
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Contemporary
  • Literary
  • Upmarket/Book club
  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance
  • Family sagas

For non-fiction, Jackie is looking for the following:

  • Food/Drink
  • Lifestyle/Wellness
  • Self-help
  • How-to
  • Light business
  • Relationships
  • Pop culture

She will consider previously self-published work.

Jackie’s manuscript critique and pitch spots are open.


Please contact George Weinstein at awconference@gmail.com.

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3 thoughts on “Editors & Agents

  1. Wouldn’t miss it. A great opportunity to meet and greet those on the forefront of everything books.

  2. What an awesome opportunity to network with such a collective group of talented professionals.

  3. The 2017 Writers Conference was a great and informative experience. I will never miss another conference. Both editors and agents were informative and motivating.

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