Editors & Agents

For the November 4-5, 2022 Atlanta Writers Conference, the editors and agents below have provided, in their own words, the genres they are seeking to acquire for publication (in the case of acquisition editors) or represent to publishers (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 may elect to participate virtually via Zoom in all events if COVID cases increase again this fall. 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 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 do 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 issues, 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.

Sanaa Ali-Virani
Photo credit: Laura Laderman

Sanaa Ali-Virani, Assistant Editor, Tor/Tom Doherty Associates-Macmillan In-person at hotel unless COVID conditions require virtual participation

https://www.tor.com/

Born in Vancouver and raised in Mombasa, St. Louis, and New York, Sanaa Ali-Virani is a Canadian-born, confused Desi and the proud child of immigrants and refugees. As an Assistant Editor at Tor Books and Tordotcom Publishing, she is seeking science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction for adults at novel- and novella-length, with a preference for character-driven stories. She talks about books on Twitter @Sanaa_AV.

The adult fiction genres she is seeking includes the following:

  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Speculative fiction
  • Outside of SFF, she is open to considering LGBTQ+ Historical Romance

Across sub-genres, Sanaa tends to be drawn to stories that are ultimately hopeful, and that carry a sense of adventure and exploration—whether that means setting off on a quest, delving into secrets of the past, or uncovering new corners in one’s own home.

Some of her particular interests include:

  • Science fiction/Fantasy/Romance mashups
  • Fantasy/Historical Fiction mashups
  • Deep dives into religion: Hook her with an interesting take on the god-king, immortals, false idols, reluctant deities, dead gods, or another angle. She is especially interested in set-ups that are not a direct analog to an extant religion or to the Greco-Roman pantheon [think Brandon Sanderson’s work, Kushiel’s Dart].
  • Myths, folktales, legends, and epics: A good retelling will absolutely catch her attention, but she is even more excited about fiction that feels like myth or folklore without necessarily being based on a specific tale [The Tiger’s Daughter], as well as fiction that draws on a body of lore and makes it its own [The Bird KingOn Fragile Waves].
  • Sanaa loves an ensemble cast that makes her change her mind about her favorite character depending on who’s currently on the page; stories centering families, born or made; a diversified group with niche roles that comes together to make a united whole (think heist team, D&D party, spaceship crew, sports team) [Leverage, Haikyu, Sufficiently Advanced Magic].
  • She also would love to see BIPOC and/or LBGTQIA+ characters as well as fiction that looks beyond Western norms. She is eager for all sorts of these stories, but those with South Asian, East African, or Japanese touchstones; immigrant and refugee narratives; and frameworks that defy or subvert gender and gendered societal roles will hit personal notes for her.
  • She has a weakness for books that can’t decide if they’re fantasy or science fiction [Light From Uncommon Stars], and also enjoys stubbornly SFF stories that nevertheless stretch into adjacent genres, particularly romance or historical fiction [This Is How You Lose the Time War, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street].
  • Sanaa is actively seeking submissions from authors of underrepresented backgrounds. Above all she is looking for stories that push the borders of genre from within.
  • And she is always open to falling in love with something she didn’t even know she wanted!

She is open to considering previously self-published work. Authors, please note explicitly if a work has been previously published if submitting a manuscript sample for her critique or pitching a project to her.

While Sanaa works primarily with agented authors, she is also open to working (and has worked) directly with authors.

Sanaa’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Malaga BaldiMalaga Baldi, Literary Agent and Founder, Baldi Agency In-person at hotel

https://www.baldibooks.com/

Malaga Baldi (she/her) has worked as an independent literary agent since 1986. The Baldi Agency is an eclectic agency specializing in general fiction, literary fiction, memoir, and cultural history. She worked as a cashier at Gotham Book Mart, in the Ballantine Books Publicity Department, as an associate at Candida Donadio & Associates and the Elaine Markson Agency before going out on her own. Baldi believes the strength of the author’s voice and the heart of the story to be key when considering new work. Baldi graduated from Hampshire College and lives in NYC.

In fiction, Malaga loves the following:

  • Voice-y fiction
  • Experimental fiction
  • Character-driven fiction
  • Fiction she can identify with (her taste in fiction is very subjective—see https://www.baldibooks.com/clients.php for examples of her clients’ novels she has sold)

Malaga is NOT seeking any category/genre fiction.

Her nonfiction interests are wide-ranging:

  • She is always looking for hybrid/creative nonfiction that blends memoir with the writer’s areas of interest—contemporary music, archeology, natural history, psychology etc.
  • She is drawn to books about American cultural history, specifically about movies, theatre, the west, gay/lesbo/queer/trans history, science, technology etc.
  • Standard nonfiction topics and ideas and threads presented in a whole new way
  • Please look at her clients’ books at https://www.baldibooks.com/clients.php to see examples of what she enjoys and surprise her

While she prefers unpublished manuscripts, she will consider self-published books if they have sold over 10,000 copies.

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

Lesley ConnerLesley Conner, Managing Editor, Apex Book Company In-person at hotel

https://www.apexbookcompany.com/

Lesley Conner is the managing editor of Apex Publications and co-editor of Apex Magazine, as well as a writer and a Girl Scout leader. Her first novel The Weight of Chains was published by Sinister Grin Press in September 2015. She is the co-editor of Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1Do Not Go Quietly, and the upcoming Apex Magazine 2021. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters and is currently working on a new novel. To find out all her secrets, you can follow her on Twitter at @LesleyConner.

Apex Publications is looking for dark speculative fiction in the following categories:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Works that push the boundaries of those genres
  • Novella-length works in these genres

In addition, as co-editor of Apex Magazine, Lesley Conner is also very interested in discovering new voices in speculative short fiction. Diverse authors. PoC, LGBTQ+, international, neurodivergent authors are encouraged to submit.

Apex is NOT interested in manuscripts dealing with typical movie monsters (vampires, zombies, werewolves). Straight fantasy would be a very hard sell, but magical elements woven through a dark sci-fi story or a dystopian landscape could be interesting. Apex Publications is also NOT looking for mysteries, romance, nonfiction, or thrillers.

Lesley prefers to work directly with the author rather than through an agent.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Lesley has open manuscript sample critique and pitch spots.

Nicole Eisenbraun
Photo credit: Araya Santo

Nicole Eisenbraun, Agent and Translation Rights Manager, Ginger Clark Literary In-person at hotel

https://gingerclarkliterary.com/

Nicole Eisenbraun is an Agent and the Translation Rights Manager at Ginger Clark Literary. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Brooklyn.

She is seeking all genres within middle grade and young adult fiction.

Within those age groups she is particularly interested in:

  • Great fairytale retellings with colorful twists – especially ones that haven’t been done before.
  • Contemporary stories that have a strong voice and discuss issues in fresh ways.
  • Stories set in the Midwest.
  • Family stories centering around the family business (think FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang)
  • Anything involving STEM
  • Thrillers/mysteries
  • YA romantic comedies with layers

Nicole is NOT looking for any adult titles, novels-in-verse, or animal protagonists.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

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

Amy GiuffridaAmy Giuffrida, Associate Literary Agent, Belcastro Agency – In-person at hotel

https://www.belcastroagency.com/

After Amy earned her BA at the University of Kutztown and a M.Ed. from Lock Haven University, she incorporated her love of reading and books with being a middle school teacher. Amy’s biggest joy was to put the perfect book in the hands of a teen and change their minds about reading. Amy turned this love into a career by reading romance slush for a publishing company, then interned for various literary agencies, until she became an associate literary agent in 2020. In her spare time, you can find Amy either listening to, reading, or talking about books. She also loves binge-watching teen and reality TV shows—all while snuggling with one or more of her three rescue dogs.

She is especially seeking stories written by diverse creators—BIPOC, LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, and disabled creators are encouraged to select her.

​In upper middle grade she is seeking the following:

  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Contemporary
  • Historical (focusing on BIPOC stories and historically marginalized voices/characters)
  • Novels-in-Verse

In young adult:

  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Science fiction
  • Contemporary
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Historical (focusing on BIPOC stories and historically marginalized voices/characters)
  • Novels-In-Verse

In adult fiction:

  • Women’s Fiction
  • Book Club/Commercial Fiction
  • Non-Political Thriller
  • Horror
  • Contemporary Romance/Rom-Com

In nonfiction:

  • Narrative non-fiction
  • Business/Social Media/Tech/Cooking books for teens
  • If you have a strong platform (this is a must) and love what you do, feel free to approach her for a manuscript sample critique or pitch with a concept for any age category

What Amy is NOT looking for:

  • Pandemic stories
  • Science fiction set in space
  • Talking animals
  • Military or Medical-based stories
  • Novellas, short story collections, screenplays
  • Previously published work
  • Chapter/picture books
  • Time travel/Portals
  • Stories that include: religious themes, suicide, rape, physical/mental abuse, or abductions

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Amy’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Geoff HabigerGeoff Habiger, Senior Partner, Artemesia Publishing In-person at hotel
http://www.apbooks.net/

Geoff Habiger is an author and managing editor at Artemesia Publishing. He has published seven books and multiple short stories, and he has been the managing editor at Artemesia for 18 years. Since its humble beginnings in 2004, Artemesia Publishing has strived to publish quality books by quality authors that will educate, inform, and entertain the reader.

To date, Artemesia Publishing has published 57 titles from 27 authors. Their focus is on fiction titles, though they have published nonfiction as well. They have two imprints: Kinkajou Press focuses on early reader and middle grade fiction, while Shadow Dragon Press focuses on horror, fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction. As a small, independent traditional publisher they work in partnership with authors to bring their books to publication.

Genres Artemesia is currently seeking:

  • Mystery – cozy, historical, thriller, police-procedural, etc.
  • Fantasy – will consider all sub-genres
  • Science fiction – will consider all sub-genres
  • Horror – will consider most stories, though not a fan of gore for the sake of gore
  • Historical fiction – any time-period or setting
  • Middle grade fiction – in any genre or sub-genre. They’ve published historical MG for the most part, but also have published contemporary stories and magical realism.
  • They will also consider blended genres – e.g. fantasy police procedural, historical fiction mystery, etc.
  • Nonfiction – their preference is in the areas of science, science education, and sports (primarily baseball, though they will consider other sports if the story/topic is compelling)

Artemesia Publishing does NOT publish erotica.

At this time, they are only considering previously unpublished manuscripts.

Geoff prefers to work directly with the author, but if the right author and manuscript came along and the author was agented, he’d consider working with them.

Geoff’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Logan HarperLogan Harper, Literary Agent, Jane Rotrosen Agency In-person at hotel

https://www.janerotrosen.com/

Logan Harper (she/her) joined JRA in 2021. Prior to this, she was an Associate Agent at a mid-sized agency in Manhattan. A native Washingtonian, she is a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle and the Columbia Publishing Course in Oxford.

Logan is seeking compelling, character-driven adult fiction across a range of genres:

  • Upmarket and literary fiction geared toward millennials: She loves complex family sagas (THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD by Claire Lombardo), protagonists you can’t help but root for (Kendall Roy!), and stories about powerful female friendships.
  • Women’s fiction: Logan would love to add some women’s fiction with book club potential to her list. Anything from a love story (but not quite a rom com—think SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE or NORMAL PEOPLE) to a character study (ELEANOR OLIPHANT) to something with an edge of suspense (à la Lucy Foley, Liane Moriarty)… she’s hungry for it all!
  • Suspense/thrillers: In particular, she adores female characters who misbehave their way into her heart (BLOOD SUGAR by Sascha Rothchild, or NEVER SAW ME COMING by Vera Kurian) and stories that explore fraught—or downright visceral—relationships between mothers and daughters or sisters, like SHARP OBJECTS.
  • Gothic and psychological horror: She is very hungry to acquire a family saga disguised as a horror story, à la THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, and loves when a horror story deconstructs itself to show a human story at its core.
  • Speculative: Logan is on the lookout for social commentary with a speculative edge, in the style of Jordan Peele’s work or SEVERANCE.

Across the board, Logan is eager to represent and champion underrepresented voices and perspectives.

Some things Logan is NOT looking for:

  • Pandemic stories
  • Body horror
  • Stories that revolve around suicide or sexual assault
  • Zombies, vampires, werewolves, etc.
  • Political thrillers
  • Military thrillers
  • Courtroom thrillers
  • Drug cartel thrillers
  • Novels set in space
  • Sci-fi that isn’t grounded in our world
  • Magic

Logan is NOT the best fit for these genres:

  • Picture books
  • Middle grade
  • Young adult
  • Fantasy
  • World-building science fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Erotica
  • Poetry

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Logan’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Jenna JankowskiJenna Jankowski, Associate Editor, Sourcebooks In-person at hotel

https://www.sourcebooks.com/

Jenna Jankowski is an Associate Editor at Sourcebooks, a midsized publisher based in the Midwest. She began her career in publishing with internships at Sourcebooks and Browne & Miller Literary Associates. Jenna works primarily under two imprints, Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press.

In fiction, Jenna is currently seeking the following:

  • Historical fiction (rich, immersive writing that illuminate stories from marginalized communities)
  • Mainstream contemporary fiction with a literary edge
  • Millennial women’s fiction
  • Feminist retellings of myths and folklore
  • Speculative fiction
  • Psychological suspense
  • Cozy mystery
  • Crime fiction that subverts traditional trope
  • Literary thrillers featuring fresh voices
  • Horror with feminist elements
  • Stories set in immersive, isolated settings with Gothic elements

She is seeking the following in nonfiction:

  • Engaging narrative nonfiction that features revealing explorations of history, science, and social science
  • Travel writing
  • Food writing
  • True crime
  • Cults
  • Medical history

She will consider self-published work, but it must have a solid sales track.

While Jenna prefers working with an agent, she can and has made offers to un-agented authors.

Jenna’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Kat KerrKat Kerr, Literary Agent, Donald Maass Literary Agency In-person at hotel

https://maassagency.com/

Kat joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities. She is actively seeking to grow her client list and is particularly hungry for magical realism, literary-leaning speculative and science fiction, women’s fiction, YA works with a lot of heart, and narrative nonfiction with something to say. Her complete list of submission interests is below.

For literary and upmarket fiction, Kat is drawn to strong, character-driven works with rich, literary prose. She loves books that make her think and have a strong emotional pull in these genres:

  • Contemporary
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Multicultural Lit
  • Speculative
  • Magical Realism
  • Family Sagas
  • Young Adult

Favorite Literary/Upmarket Novels: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, About a Boy by Nick Hornby, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Leavers by Lisa Ko, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, anything by Amy Tan

For the commercial fiction market, Kat is looking for high concept, voice-driven works with a close POV and well-developed, distinct characters in these genres:

  • Young adult (all genres)
  • Women’s fiction and rom-coms
  • Select science fiction and fantasy (she has been leaning more towards grounded pieces—something that feels contemporary but just slightly off-center of our world. If there are big sweeping epic fantasies or space operas, she’s still looking at those, but she’s being much more picky about them in terms of voice, POV, and world-building)

Favorite Commercial Genre Novels: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow, Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce, I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

For nonfiction, Kat is seeking:

  • Narrative nonfiction and journalistic non-fiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty
  • Select biographies and memoirs (she’s not looking so much for a straight memoir that touches on really broad abstract themes. Instead, she’d like to see something that touches on a bigger, yet still specific, issue. For instance, one of her favorite books, MAID by Stephanie Land, is a memoir, but it also addressed poverty in the US and gave a personalized peek of something we’ve heard about, known about, and read about from every statistical and journalistic take, but now get to see how it affects someone on an individual level.)

Please do NOT send her:

  • Plots/themes centering around unresolved trauma
  • Middle grade, chapter books, or picture books
  • Novellas, short stories, or poetry collections
  • Military/war stories
  • Westerns

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Kat’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Stacey KondlaStacey Kondla, Literary Agent, The Rights Factory In-person at hotel

https://www.therightsfactory.com/

Stacey Kondla is a literary agent with The Rights Factory. She represents a variety of clients with works that include adult literary fiction, science fiction & fantasy, rom-com, historical, mystery, nonfiction science, and children’s picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles. Her background includes working as a Field Representative for Scholastic Book Fairs, managing at two different big box book stores, freelance editing, and serving on the organizing committee of a local literary festival.

Stacey is open to most genres and categories, but please no poetry, no memoir, no erotica, and no politics.

Specifically, in fiction, Stacey is seeking:

  • Children’s picture/chapter books
  • Coming-of-age
  • Contemporary
  • Family saga/drama
  • Fantasy
  • Graphic novel
  • Historical
  • Horror/Supernatural
  • Humor
  • LGBTQ+
  • Literary
  • Mainstream/Commercial (incl. magical realism)
  • Middle Grade
  • Mystery/Crime
  • Romance
  • Science fiction
  • Southern
  • Speculative fiction/myths & fairy tales
  • Suspense
  • Thriller
  • Upmarket commercial/Book club
  • Women’s fiction
  • Young Adult

In nonfiction, she is seeking:

  • History/biography
  • Humor
  • Narrative nonfiction / journalism
  • Pop culture
  • Science
  • Women’s issues

Stacey would love to see quality narrative nonfiction science proposals with a strong preference for biological sciences over mathematical sciences, fresh new horror concepts and reinvented gothic tales for children or adults. She also loves feminist fiction across genres, would love to see a great Victorian romance or mystery with a fresh new twist and set in an interesting location, and BIPOC stories across genres and age categories.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Stacey’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

BIbi LewisBibi Lewis, Agent, The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency In-person at hotel

https://www.ethanellenberg.com/

Bibi Lewis joined the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency in 2014. A lifelong NYC resident, she is happiest with a big book in a city park. She represents both children’s and adult fiction and nonfiction.

For children’s, she represents the following:

  • Picture books
  • Chapter books
  • Middle grade
  • Young adult

She has a particular interest in big-hearted middle grade fiction, innovative children’s nonfiction, and young adult contemporary novels and thrillers.

On the adult end, Bibi is primarily looking for the following:

  • Women’s fiction
  • Upmarket commercial and book club fiction
  • Contemporary and historical romance
  • Select mysteries and thrillers—particularly domestic suspense

Bibi enjoys projects with a big hook, complicated and fully realized characters, and sharp, quick-paced prose. She is also looking for unexpected takes on true crime.

She is NOT the best fit for high fantasy, science fiction (though light speculative fiction is okay), or horror.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Bibi’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Katherine Odom-TomchinKatherine Odom-Tomchin, Literary Agent and Audio Rights Director, Folio Literary Management In-person at hotel

https://www.foliolit.com/

Katherine (Kat) is the Audio Rights Director and a literary agent at Folio Literary Management. She began her publishing career at Heritage Publishing, Inc., which publishes magazines, guides, and directories for healthcare, seniors, tourists, and attorneys throughout Florida and Southeast Georgia. During her time there, she held various positions in the editorial, graphic design, and information departments. Her many jobs included producing original content for their many publications and assisting in ad placement.

At Folio, Kat enjoys working with and being a part of Folio’s closely knit team of skilled agents. Kat is Folio’s Audio Rights Director, and she works hard to strategically place the agency’s audio rights with the most effective audio publishers possible. She also acts as a subagent for BenBella, an independent publishing house based in Dallas, TX known for publishing a range of nonfiction titles, and places audio rights for the storied authors of Harold Ober Associates and Emma Sweeney Agency.

GENRES/CATEGORIES

When thinking about the books Kat most likes to represent, or most likes to read, and even the television and movies she watches time and time again, she often comes back to a few constants:

For fiction, Kat most enjoys dark, mind-bending narratives, often with a unique world-building element, that strike a chord with their audience. Whatever genre—horror, science fiction, psychological thrillers, etc.—she finds herself struck by stories that reveal some dark, hidden facts about the people or world around us. That said, she also has a soft spot for LGBTQIA+ fiction, which she reads guiltily while the latest Stephen King novel sits judging her from her bedside table.

She’s driven most to read and represent memoirs and narrative nonfiction that tell stories of triumph over extreme hardship on the non-fiction side. She’s an avid consumer of true crime by writers personally invested in the story that they are telling and/or with inside information in a case, whether cold or solved. She will pick up the occasional science and psychology book by an expert in their field to better understand myself and how the world operates. A good rule of thumb when submitting a nonfiction proposal to her is to consider the marketability of your work. Does your work/your platform have publicity potential? If the answer is yes, she’s usually intrigued.

Currently, Kat is seeking the following:

  • Psychological Thriller: Her most recent favorite is Elaine Murphy’s LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.
  • Grounded/Hard Science Fiction – Driven more by characters and voice that imagines a world altered in some way by a scientific discovery or happening. Good examples are SEVERANCE by Ling Ma, ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer, and THE MARTIAN.
  • Horror – less gore and paranormal than the typical slasher or ghost story. More in line with titles like THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, SHUTTER ISLAND, THE HANDMAID’S TALE, or MISERY. She is open to titles like THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and IT, but characters and writing must carry the story.
  • LGBTQIA+ fiction
  • Psychology
  • Memoir
  • True Crime – think MINDHUNTER by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker or I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK by Michelle McNamara
  • Narrative Nonfiction
  • Science
  • Underrepresented Voices

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Kat’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Dianne PearceDianne Pearce, Publisher, Devil’s Party Press In-person at hotel
https://devilspartypress.com/

Before founding Devil’s Party Press (DPP) as its publisher and editor, Dianne Pearce established The Milton Workshop in 2015. Her call for members for the workshop attracted very talented writers who all happened to be over the age of 40. Pearce realized, after much frustration among the group, that something should be done to help mature authors get a leg-up in publishing, and the idea for DPP was born.

A graduate of both the West Chester University and Vermont College writing programs, Pearce has taught writing of all kinds in colleges on both coasts. Pearce has edited many books, and all have gone on to reach publication. Pearce has also edited in workshops, and through cooperative support groups, with consistently rave reviews from those she has helped. “I feel that I have a knack for spotting where the story goes flat, or where the needed information is missing. I think of myself as a guide that helps authors get all of the story where they want it to be.”

Devil’s Party Press has three imprints, open to writers who are over the age of 40:

  • Hawkshaw Press, which publishes mystery novels, including detective fiction and cozies, a la Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie—works the BBC would turn into a TV show.
  • Out of This World Press for hard science fiction (not space opera)—think 2001: A Space Odyssey rather than Star Wars.
  • Gravelight Press, which handles horror, including Gothic and monsters: more spooky than gory, and nothing involving torture/rape. If the horror has humor, so much the better. Genre-blending involving horror (e.g., detectives who are monsters) is fine as long as horror is the primary focus.

They also like literary short story collections and literary nonfiction. In addition, they run a lit mag, Instant Noodles, that publishes three themed issues per year, and they do anthologies on an annual basis. All anthologies pay for accepted work, which has allowed, so far, their horror writers to join the HWA, and they’re so happy for them.

DPP encourages submissions from women, POC, and other underrepresented groups.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Dianne works directly with authors whose work she is interested in publishing.

Dianne has open manuscript sample critique and pitch spots.

Nidhi PugaliaNidhi Pugalia, Associate Editor, Viking Books/Penguin Random House In-person at hotel

https://www.penguin.com/overview-vikingbooks/

Nidhi Pugalia is an Associate Editor at Viking Penguin, working on building a 50/50 list of fiction and nonfiction.

In fiction, she is drawn to lyrical writing in the following genres:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Magical realism
  • Speculative fiction—novels either grounded in reality with a speculative bent, or fantastical with acutely human stakes
  • Complex, propulsive, character-driven mystery, thriller, and suspense novels

She is also looking for narrative nonfiction from smart, passionate writers who are seeking to broaden the cultural lens by treading new ground, offering a new perspective, or building a bridge between disciplines.

In all areas she’s especially looking to fill her list with books that celebrate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC cultures and perspectives. She admires writers like Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Jenny Odell, Neel Patel, Olivia Laing, Aimee Bender, Erin Morgenstern, and Katie Kitamura among others.

She is NOT looking for cozy mysteries, pure memoir, or high fantasy novels.

Nidhi can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

If she is interested in a project, she would refer the author to some agents for consideration.

Nidhi’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Taylor RondestvedtTaylor Rondestvedt, Assistant Editor, Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster In-person at hotel

https://simonandschusterpublishing.com/gallery-books/

Taylor joined Gallery Books in 2021. Prior to joining the Gallery team, she worked in international book scouting at Maria B. Campbell Associates, after stints in the literary department at William Morris Endeavor, and the test kitchens (and editorial teams) of Food52 and Food & Wine Magazine. Originally from Minneapolis, she earned her BA in History from Wellesley College.

Taylor’s interests include both fiction and non-fiction. She’s a sucker for any cultural histories that send her down the rabbit hole, and she loves a great twist. Be it a dark, quirky literary novel, a memoir, a creepy thriller, brilliant essay collection, or pop-culture narrative, she’s drawn to strong and interesting characters, new ideas, and stories that change her mind.

She is seeking the following genres in adult fiction:

  • Coming-of-age
  • Contemporary
  • Family saga/drama
  • Historical (nothing pre-1960)
  • Horror/Supernatural (vampires only, please!)
  • LGBTQ+
  • Literary
  • Mainstream/Commercial (incl. magical realism)
  • Mystery/Crime
  • Speculative fiction/myths & fairy tales
  • Suspense
  • Thriller
  • Upmarket commercial/Book club
  • Women’s fiction

She is seeking the following nonfiction topics:

  • Cooking/food/cookbooks
  • Current events/politics/social commentary
  • Essay collection
  • Health/diet/wellness
  • Humor
  • Memoir
  • Narrative nonfiction / journalism
  • Pop culture
  • Self-help/relationships
  • Women’s issues

Taylor is NOT looking for romance, pre-1960 historical fiction, non-vampire paranormal fiction, biographies, or strict historical non-fiction without a cultural viewpoint.

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

If Taylor is interested in a project, she would refer the author to some agents for consideration.

Taylor’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

 

Alicia SparrowAlicia Sparrow, Acquisitions Editor, Lawrence Hill Books, Council Oak Books, Amberjack Publishing/Chicago Review Press In-person at hotel

https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/

Alicia Sparrow (she/her) has been in the book industry since 2013, having worked previously as a bookseller, in Sales working with the corporate buyers from Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million, as well as holding an editorial position at an academic press. She is the Acquisitions Editor for three imprints at Chicago Review Press: Lawrence Hill Books, Council Oak Books, and Amberjack Publishing.

Fiction for women writers:

Her acquisitions interest for the female-centric fiction imprint, Amberjack Publishing, hinges on a broad definition of the following genres:

  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance
  • Young adult (YA)
  • Magical realism
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Thrillers

All of these genres are welcomed submissions, as she believes women writers and readers contain multitudes, so seeing that nuance on the page is so very important.

For women’s fiction and romances, she is very keen on the tropes best friends-to-lovers, mutual pining, You’ve Got Mail-esque relationships, and Black love. Paranormal romances are also HIGHLY welcomed as are BDSM romances, but all BDSM stories MUST, and without exception, adhere to and emphasize the SSC, PRICK, CNC, and/or RACK rules and structures. No surprise or teen pregnancies, please.

For YA, she is looking for strong female friendships and welcomes both contemporary and fantasy stories. BIPOC and LGBTQ+ stories are highly encouraged across categories and genres.

Alicia would also love, love, love a swashbuckling female pirate story, either for adult or YA audiences.

Nonfiction for all Black and American Indigenous voices:

Lawrence Hill Books is the imprint she leads that centers, focuses on, and uplifts Black voices within nonfiction. Council Oak is the imprint meant to give voice and visibility to American Indigenous voices and communities. These imprints include cultural criticisms, current affairs and politics, civil and human rights issues, and histories. Specifically, she would like to see:

  • Cultural criticism works that sit at the intersections of religion, race, and sexuality in the Black community
  • National or regional folk tales or ghost stories, accompanied by their evolution from oral historical traditions of the regional culture
  • True crime stories that shed light on the inequities surrounding and seeking justice for “the less dead” and MMIW
  • Big idea books that discuss the history of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous sentiments in America

Her goals with these imprints, however, are for them to show the various facets of Black and Indigenous life, and not to be solely cultural trauma/oppression/racial injustice-focused. So bright, airy, and perhaps even humorous works in the categories of pop-culture, film/TV history, and biographies of unsung heroes are also very welcome!

Memoirs and poetry will, unfortunately, NOT be considered.

Alicia can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

She is open to working with both agented and un-agented authors. If the participant has an agent, she will work directly with the agent.

Alicia has open manuscript sample critique spots. Her pitch spots are full, but a waitlist is available.

Jennifer Unter
Photo credit: Jenniferlee Photography

Jennifer Unter, Literary Agent and Founder, The Unter Agency In-person at hotel

http://theunteragency.com/

Jennifer Unter (she/her) is a literary agent and founder of The Unter Agency, LLC. She has worked many aspects of the publishing industry for over 3 decades. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she began her career at Henry Holt & Co. in the editorial department before moving on to the Karpfinger Agency as a junior literary agent, while also attending law school at Fordham University School of Law. She then became an Associate at the entertainment firm of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP where she practiced primarily in the areas of publishing and copyright law, and also acted as a literary agent on various book projects. She joined Robert Lewis Rosen Associates in 2000 as Vice President of the Literary Department. In 2008, she started The Unter Agency, LLC, a full-service boutique agency specializing in quality fiction, nonfiction and all types of children’s literature. In addition to placing projects at domestic and foreign publishers, she also sells to audio, film and television. She is a member of Women’s Media Group.

Jennifer is actively looking for the following:

Fiction:

  • Suspense
  • Mystery
  • Crime
  • Thriller
  • Middle grade – all genres
  • Young adult – all genres

Nonfiction:

  • Memoir
  • Food/cooking
  • Nature/environment
  • Pop culture
  • Adventure
  • True crime
  • Politics
  • Lifestyle
  • Health/fitness

She can only consider unpublished manuscripts.

Jennifer’s manuscript sample critique and pitch spots are full, but waitlists are available.

Questions?

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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