Future Writing Workshop of Chicago Events — And Online Conferences Happening Now

Our past Writing Workshop of Chicago events were successes — thank you to all who attended! The WWOC conference has happened multiple times before, and we at Writing Day Workshops have loved connecting writers and literary agents, and seeing so many success stories from our events.

We are not certain exactly when the 2023 WWOC will happen (and whether it will be online vs, in person). That said, if you’d like to attend a writers conference before then, we have online events coming up in 2022-2023 to keep everyone safe. Please note that even though the events below are for different cities around the country, since these events are online, anyone can attend from anywhere. Each event has 30-40 attending literary agents! Details:

If you have questions, or want to register for any 2022-2023 writers conferences, either online events or in-person events, contact us (Brian Klems) at WDWconference@gmail.com and we are happy to assist. Just let us know which event(s) you want to register for. For online events, you can attend from anywhere since the events are virtual. Writers can sign up for more than one event. If you and several people from your writing group all want to register together, ask us about a group discount.

All classes are recorded and sent out to attendees afterward, so you can study the instruction and enjoy the experience. All pitches are one-on-one with literary agents seeking writers, and done over Zoom (though phone is also an option). Thanks, all, and we hope to see you in 2022-2023 at an event!

The 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago: June 10-11, 2022

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 events in Chicago, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on June 10-11, 2022. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of two days, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited online “seats” at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2022 online Writing Workshop of Chicago! Registration is now open! 

ONLINE: The 2022 WWOC is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on June 10-11, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day online “How to Get Published” writing workshop on June 10-11, 2022. In other words, it’s two days full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome. And even though this is the Writing Workshop of “Chicago,” make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually. Our WDW writers conferences have helped dozens of writers find literary agent representation — see our growing list of success stories here.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s 2022 WWOC agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Julia Byers (Sheldon Fogelman Agency)
  • literary agent Amy Levenson (Blue Heron Literary)
  • literary agent Daniel Cramer (Page Turner Literary)
  • literary agent Rena Rossner (The Deborah Harris Agency)
  • literary agent Maria Vicente (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Ian Shea (Maximus Literary)
  • literary agent Susan Nystoriak (Golden Wheat Literary)
  • literary agent Ali McDonald (5 Otter Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Peterson (Rees Literary)
  • literary agent Carlie Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Leah Pierre (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Zoe Howard (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Debbie Alsdorf (Books & Such Literary Management)
  • literary agent Leticia Gomez (Savvy Literary)
  • editor Anna Michels (Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press)
  • literary agent Nephele Tempest (Knight Agency)
  • literary agent James Mustelier (The Bent Agency)
  • literary agent Julie Stevenson (Massie & McQuilkin)
  • literary agent Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Associates)
  • literary agent Eva Scalzo (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Kaitlyn Johnson (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Paul Levine (Paul Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Dana Newman (Dana Newman Literary)
  • literary agent Leslie Truex (Blue Ridge Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Kortney Price (Raven Quill Literary)
  • literary agent Amy Stern (Sheldon Fogelman Agency)
  • literary assistant Rae Loverde (Donald Maass Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Cortney Radocaj (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Amaryah Orenstein (Go Literary)
  • literary agent Mary DeMuth (Books & Such Literary Management)
  • literary agent Laura Stone (Blue Ridge Literary)
  • and possibly more to come

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinators Chuck Sambuchino and Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: The 2022 WWOC is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on June 10-11, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (JUNE 10-11, 2022):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022

9:30 – 10:30: Query Dos and Don’ts. From what to include and the reasons those things are important to what not to include and why you shouldn’t include them, this workshop will help you hone in what will work best for you when crafting your query.

10:45 – 11:45: So, What Exactly Does a Literary Agent Do? In this presentation, seasoned literary agent Leticia Gomez will give you an up close and personal view of what her daily work life is like and all that she does from A to Z to champion the works of the authors she represents.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Improve Your Writing And Deepen Your Characters With the Craft of Empathy. In this class, we will discuss the ways that writing with empathy in mind can help us create complex and believable characters, and we will discuss the power of writing your younger self with empathy.

2:45 – 3:45: Social Media Promotion Secrets for Authors. This presentation will show you how to use social media and personal branding techniques as a way to promote your books, and establish your expertise with readers.

4:00 – 5:00: First Pages: Hooking a Reader from the Start. Grab your reader from the beginning. It’s great advice, what what does it mean in practice? And even more important, what does it mean for your manuscript?

SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2022

9:30 – 10:30: The Art of Voice: How to Make Your Writing Come to Life. In this interactive workshop, attendees will analyze and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of real writing samples and gain a clear sense of the differences between “showing” and “telling” writing.

10:45 – 11:45: Perfect Your Pitch: A Literary Agent Breaks Down 5 Query Letters. In this session, a former literary agent turned freelance editor will examine five query letters up close, explaining what the writer has done well (and poorly).

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission.

2:45 – 3:45:Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from WWOC attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: How to Write a Stunning Nonfiction Book Proposal. This session will teach you how to wow and woo an agent with a nonfiction book proposal. If you want to stand out in the crowded author space, writing a thorough and graphically pleasing proposal will help you do just that.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

————-

PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Rena Rossner is a Literary Agent with The Deborah Harris Agency. Rena is interested in representing: Literary and Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thrillers, Horror, and Science Fiction and Fantasy. She has a particular love for novels in verse. She accepts queries for Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade and Picture Books projects and also works with illustrators. “You will steal my heart if there is some kind of Middle Eastern, Israeli, or Jewish setting, theme, or character, in any genre, but those are certainly not the only types of books I represent.” Learn more about Rena here.

Leah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. In young adult as well as adult fiction, she is seeking some fantasy, romantic meet-cute stories, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries, psychological thrillers, fairy tale retellings, espionage/heist, historical fiction and fantasy, social justice inspired stories, romance (ideally interracial or at least something out of the ordinary). In new adult fiction, she seeks romance (again, interracial or at least something out of the ordinary), coming of age, F/F friendship, and books about the college experience as well as the post-college experience. Learn more about Leah here.

Julia Byers is a literary agent with the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. Julia is enthusiastic about working with authors of children’s fiction, spanning picture books through YA, and looks forward to taking on new clients. She is seeking young adult fiction (“I’ll read pretty much anything, as long as it has a strong voice, tight plotting, and a great sense of humor”); middle grade fiction (“I generally tend toward books with a lot of heart, especially humorous mystery and adventure stories”); and picture books (“I prefer fiction, but otherwise my tastes are very open”). “Across all age groups, a priority is working with underrepresented voices. I’m especially interested in stories with incidental diversity, rather than issue-driven books, and happy (or at least bittersweet!) endings.” Learn more about Julia here.

Eric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Eric has a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction. Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), Middle Grade, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of non-fiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, Middle Grade, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas. Learn more about Eric here.

Nephele Tempest is a literary agent with The Knight Agency. “I’m currently seeking submissions in the following genres: women’s contemporary or historical fiction; contemporary or historical single-title romance; adult real-world or secondary-world fantasy; adult science fiction. In all categories/genres, I am looking for stories featuring: Underrepresented characters/diverse POVs, whether by gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.; #ownvoices stories; found families; strong sibling relationships, especially sisters or large families; excellent world building; fish-out-of-water stories; “new” settings, places that have not been overdone; strong writing/prose, distinctive voices, new twists on familiar tropes, and/or high concepts; strong hooks; smart characters who demonstrate blind spots/flaws/their humanity. Learn more about Nephele here.

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. Concerning what he seeks, Ken is a generalist, and represents adult fiction and nonfiction of all types. He does not want pitches for children’s books or novels of any kind. Learn more about Ken Sherman here.

Debbie Alsdorf is a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management. Debbie acquires adult nonfiction projects that speak to real life and is looking for proposals in these categories: Christian Living with a bent toward spiritual growth and lifestyle change, Devotionals, Mental Health, Ministry-related, Inner healing and recovery, Health, Marriage and family, Blended family and step-parenting, Lifestyle (décor, home, diet, food), Purpose and identity, Leadership, and Discipleship. Learn more about Debbie here.

[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Massie McQuilkin Literary Agents. Julie represents literary and upmarket fiction, suspense, memoir, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, young adult fiction, and children’s picture books. She is drawn to powerful storytelling in these categories and looks for unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, a strong sense of narrative tension, and stories that explore the depths of human experience, particularly the many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, social justice, and regional backgrounds. Julie specializes in editorial development of both fiction and nonfiction projects and values the creativity and collaboration of the agent-author relationship. Learn more about Julie here.

Daniel Cramer is a literary agent and founder of Page Turner Literary. “While I love all books, my heart beats for children’s literature for many reasons, but the main reason is children’s literature is fearless. These books and their authors are not afraid to tackle tough topics, to celebrate diversity, or bring awareness to issues that others would turn their backs on.” Daniel is seeking picture books (no rhyming please, anything goes for fiction, STEM nonfiction), middle grade (horror, contemporary, adventure, historical, nature guide nonfiction), young adult (horror, contemporary, retellings, historical, romance, nonfiction cookbooks/STEM), graphic novels (horror, contemporary, historical, retelling, mythology), chapter books and early readers (any fiction, nonfiction STEM and historical bios), and diverse voices. Learn more about Daniel here.

Ali McDonald is a literary agent with 5 Otter Literary. In twelve years as an international literary agent, Ali has represented many award-winning and bestselling authors and illustrators. Specializing in children’s and young adult literature, she works on projects ranging from concept and novelty books, board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels, to middle grade, young adult, and new adult fiction and nonfiction. Learn more about Ali here.

Kortney Price is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency. “I work primarily on children’s books — stories from board book up through young adult. My tastes in stories are pretty broad, but here’s a rundown of what I’m most excited about seeing in my inbox.  I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. I would love to see a vast array of characters and own voices writers writing them. Because of my experience working with the special needs community, I’m especially excited for books featuring all of those uniquely special brains or bodies that don’t operate like everyone else’s.” Kortney seeks all ages of children’s nonfiction and fiction, including picture book, graphic novel, early reader, middle grade, young adult. Learn more about Kortney here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency. At 2022 online events, she will be acting as a literary scout — taking pitches at the workshop on behalf of her co-agents. Her co-agent Cameron McClure represents a small and select group of authors and specializes in fiction. She is especially looking for projects that combine genre style plotting with literary quality writing. She’s up for anything speculative, and is interested in seeing science-fiction and fantasy, mystery and suspense, horror, and projects with multi-cultural, international, environmental, and LGBTQIA+ themes. Some of Cameron’s clients include Robert McCammon, Robert Jackson Bennett, Ada Palmer, Micaiah Johnson, Jonathan French, S.B. Divya, Molly Tanzer, Andy Marino, Ruthanna Emrys, and Amy Alko. Learn more about Rae here.

Susan Nystoriak is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary. As an agent with Golden Wheat, her main focus is on Adult Fiction. Susan is seeking: Susan is seeking authors who write for the Adult readership. RomCom’s, Women’s Fiction, and Mystery/Crime are high on her list! She is drawn to lighter themes, and humor is a plus. She represents authors who word-weave wonderful tales, and whose characters pursue their passions. She is not seeking children’s books of any kind. Learn more about Susan here.

Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary. Carlisle is looking for: high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you. Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities. Pitch her: Middle grade (any genre), Young adult (any genre), thriller, mystery, suspense, horror, women’s fiction, and popular/mainstream fiction. Learn more about Carlisle here.

Anna Michels is the Editorial Director of Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press. In nonfiction, she seeks: A wide variety of prescriptive and narrative nonfiction across categories. Smart, practical nonfiction with a unique, commercial hook and prescriptive elements in self-help, parenting, psychology, health and wellness, and more—particularly books that champion marginalized voices and that will change hearts and minds. On the narrative side: history, true crime, compelling deep dives into fascinating topics, and memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling. I have a personal weakness for travel books and outdoors-related content. In fiction, she seeks: Crime fiction (everything from cozies to thrillers), including crossover literary (think Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger) and anything that fans of Tana French, Louise Penny, or Laura Lippman would devour. Learn more about Anna here.

Cortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. As a member and advocate of both the LGBT and neurodiverse communities, Cortney adores seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. She is seeking: young adult, new adult, and adult. She is looking for LGBT (particularly F/F), neurodiversity, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology/fairytale retellings, gothic, paranormal, contemporary, horror, and magical realism. Learn more about Cortney here.

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. “I’m looking for both literary and commercial adult fiction. In literary fiction, I’m specifically drawn to visceral honesty coupled with a dark sense of humor. In commercial fiction I’m looking for horror, mystery, and thrillers. My favorite books have distinct and memorable voices that grab the reader’s attention, and a narrative gravity that permeates every action in the story.” Pitch him literary fiction, crime, mystery, suspense, horror, humor, young adult, and short story collections. Learn more about James here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez is a literary agent and the founder of Savvy Literary. At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish. Fiction areas of interest: adventure, chick lit, fantasy, historical, humor, multicultural, mystery, paranormal, romance, young adult, and middle grade. Nonfiction areas of interest: advice/relationships, biography, cooking, diet, health, history/politics/current affairs, how-to, humor, lifestyle, memoir, parenting, religion/spirituality and true crime. Learn more about Leticia here.

Zoe Howard is a literary agent with Howland Literary. Zoe represents adult fiction and nonfiction. Zoe is seeking adult literary and upmarket fiction, and would especially love to see underrepresented voices and places, LGBTQ+ narratives, magical realism, and characters breaking away from archetypes and conventions. In nonfiction, Zoe is seeking narrative nonfiction, memoir, and expert-driven nonfiction about internet culture, music, relationships, religion/spirituality, and true crime. “I am most interested in writing that seeks to break trends: the lyricists writing prose, the southerners writing about the convenience stores and coastal edges of their south, the non-traditional narrators of fiction, and so on.” Learn more about Zoe here.

Kelly Peterson is a literary agent with Rees Literary. Kelly seeks manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies. Learn more about Kelly here.

Maria Vicente is a Senior Literary Agent and Advisor at P.S. Literary representing bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults. “I welcome and encourage submissions from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators whether or not your story is considered #ownvoices.” She is seeking young adult fiction (contemporary, magical realism, horror, mystery, thriller, and light fantasy—just to name a few); middle grade fiction (all genres), chapter books with strong series potential, picture books by author-illustrators, kidlit nonfiction projects for readers of all ages (including smart essay collections and illustrated gift books); and kidlit Graphic Novels for all age categories. Learn more about Maria here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.12.03 AM.pngAmy Levenson is the founding literary agent of Blue Heron Literary. She represents: mainstream literary and commercial fiction, and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, narrative nonfiction, popular culture, and cookery. She is actively seeking nonfiction, especially with topics in heath and nutrition, cookbooks, lifestyle and popular culture. She is especially drawn to new trends or new takes on old favorites, strong voice and dynamic platforms, and is always susceptible to a good solid tug on the heart strings. Learn more about Amy here.

Amy Stern is a literary agent with Sheldon Fogelman Agency. Amy works with clients who write and illustrate all kinds of children’s literature, from picture book through young adult, in poetry, prose, and graphic formats. “I enjoy a little bit of everything, and constantly surprise myself with what I want to take on; I don’t think of myself as someone who’s a big fan of romance or high fantasy or historical fiction, for example, but I can think of several examples of each that really worked for me that I wouldn’t want to rule out. That said, if you have a historical fantasy romance, I’m probably not your best bet. I got my masters degree in children’s literature and I’m passionate about the idea that even the funniest, most lighthearted stories deserve to be taken seriously. If you think of children’s books as something easy to write or illustrate, we probably won’t be a good match.” Learn more about Amy here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary. In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance novels (all subgenres except inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy novels. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction. She is interested in submissions from diverse authors. Learn more about Eva here, as well as her specific interests and what is seeking from writers.

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary. Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Learn more about Amaryah here.

Leslie Truex is a literary agent with Blue Ridge Literary Agency. In fiction, she seeks contemporary romance, romantic comedies, romantic suspense, romantic mystery, paranormal, fantasy romance, new adult romance, YA romance, and YA fantasy. In nonfiction, she seeks business books, marketing, fitness, success-oriented self-help, and writing/publishing. Learn more about Leslie here.

Ian Shea is a literary agent with Maximus Literary. “My preferred genres are science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery/thriller, dystopian futures, and contemporary LGBTQ+ stories. I tend to lean towards YA and adult novels. I’m not currently looking for middle-grade or picture books. I’m open to both debut authors and writers who’ve been previously published.” He also seeks adventure stories and coming-of-age tales. Learn more about Ian here.

Kaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Belcastro Literary Agency. “As a Literary Agent with Belcastro Literary Agency, I am accepting submissions for Upper MG, as well as Young Adult and Adult. I’d love more LGBTQ+ storylines in all genres and ages (especially bi, ace, and trans voices!). I’m also very much looking for more main characters living with mental health issues or disability.” Kaitlyn also seeks graphic novels for all ages. She does not want picture books or nonfiction. Learn more about Kaitlyn here.

Mary DeMuth is a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management. Mary is looking for: Adult nonfiction Christian living titles, particularly those with a bent toward spiritual growth, Devotionals, Discipleship-oriented books, Accessible theological books (think N.T. Wright), Books about the US church as well as the global church, Health-related topics, Mental health issues, Trauma-related recovery, Habit research, Design books, and Leadership/business/productivity ideas. She is not acquiring any fiction, YA, or children’s books. Learn more about Mary here.

Dana Newman is a literary agent with Dana Newman Literary. “We are interested in practical nonfiction (business, health and wellness, psychology, parenting, technology) by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms who are committed to actively marketing and promoting their books. We love compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down. On the fiction side we consider a very selective amount of literary fiction and women’s upmarket fiction. We look for character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice that are emotionally truthful.” Learn more about Dana here.

Laura Stone is a literary agent with Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She is seeking: Romance (Amish, Contemporary, Regency, Suspense, Historical); Mystery & Crime (Cozy, Detective, Whodunit , Gentleman Thief, Legal Thrillers, Capers/Heist, Private Investigator, and Historical); Action / Adventure / Thriller (Spy/espionage thrillers, Artifact (religious, alien, historical); Alien encounters/invasions, Natural disaster);  Fantasy (Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, Epic, Heroic, Magical realism); Young Adult (Post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fantasy); Middle Grade (Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, Action/Adventure). Learn more about Laura here.

 

        More 2022 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open.

These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.

(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)

———

PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2022 WWOC and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10 additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of late 2021, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals. There is no limit. Here are quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, one of the workshop’s former instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Writing Workshop of Chicago attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?

Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Bailey, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Children’s picture books, chapter books, and middle grade: Faculty member Henry Herz, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. Children’s picture books should be 1,000 words maximum, and can or cannot have illustrations.
  • Memoir, children’s picture books, adult fiction of any kind, young adult, middle grade: Faculty member Shirin Leos, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).
  • Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance (no erotica), contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, young adult (including genre YA and SF/F): Faculty member Amber Royer, author and writing instructor repped by Jennie Goloboy of Donald Maass Literary Agency, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Middle grade, young adult; adult fiction in the areas of low fantasy, literary fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and mainstream fiction: Faculty member Joel Brigham, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Children’s picture books and middle grade: Faculty member Brittany Thurman, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).
  • Memoir and essay: Faculty member Kate Hopper, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Chicago workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: The 2022 WWOC is an Online Conference to keep everyone safe, on June 10-11, 2022. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) Online events are easy and awesome, and the online events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The WWOC will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Chicago workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal or CC refund]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already started edited your work.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2022 Writing Workshop of Chicago.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zoe Howard of Howland Literary

Zoe Howard is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

Zoe holds a BFA in Creative Writing and a Publishing Certificate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. During her time in Wilmington, Zoe worked with Lookout Books and completed an interdisciplinary creative thesis that considered the overlaps between science, material religion, and storytelling.

Zoe is most interested in authors seeking out the places and people underrepresented in current publishing trends—the lyricists writing prose, the southerners writing about the convenience stores and coastal edges of their south, the unhinged women of fiction, non-traditional narrators, and so on. She would love to see more books about parasocial relationships, celebrity, niche TikTok genres, and combinations of pop-culture and personal narratives.

Zoe represents adult fiction and nonfiction. Zoe is seeking adult literary and upmarket fiction, and would especially love to see underrepresented voices and places, LGBTQ+ narratives, magical realism, and characters breaking away from archetypes and conventions. In nonfiction, Zoe is seeking narrative nonfiction, memoir, and expert-driven nonfiction about internet culture, music, relationships, religion/spirituality, and true crime. “I am most interested in writing that seeks to break trends: the lyricists writing prose, the southerners writing about the convenience stores and coastal edges of their south, the non-traditional narrators of fiction, and so on.”

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Anna Michels of Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press

Anna Michels is the Editorial Director of Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press.

After a part-time job at my local library in high school, Anna majored in English in college and attended the Denver Publishing Institute before joining Sourcebooks.

She is seeking:

Nonfiction: A wide variety of prescriptive and narrative nonfiction across categories. Smart, practical nonfiction with a unique, commercial hook and prescriptive elements in self-help, parenting, psychology, health and wellness, and more—particularly books that champion marginalized voices and that will change hearts and minds. On the narrative side: history, true crime, compelling deep dives into fascinating topics, and memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling. I have a personal weakness for travel books and outdoors-related content.

Fiction: Crime fiction (everything from cozies to thrillers), including crossover literary (think Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger) and anything that fans of Tana French, Louise Penny, or Laura Lippman would devour.

Please do not send her: romance, YA, MG, picture books, or poetry.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amy Levenson of Blue Heron Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.12.03 AM.pngAmy Levenson is the founding literary agent of Blue Heron Literary.

She represents: mainstream literary and commercial fiction, and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, narrative nonfiction, popular culture, and cookery. She is actively seeking non-fiction, especially with topics in heath and nutrition, cookbooks, lifestyle and popular culture. She is especially drawn to new trends or new takes on old favorites, strong voice and dynamic platforms, and is always susceptible to a good solid tug on the heart strings.

Blue Heron Literary is a boutique agency based out of Seattle that places fiction and nonfiction with major and independent publishers throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Amy, a native to the Pacific Northwest and graduate of the University of Washington, began her career at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in New York City, where she had the opportunity to work with books by some of her favorite childhood authors and illustrators.

She later returned to Seattle, selling books for becker&mayer! that focused on well-known estates and intellectual properties, including Star Wars and the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leslie Truex of Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Leslie Truex is a literary agent with Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

She is seeking:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Romantic Comedies
  • Romantic Suspense/Mystery
  • Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
  • New Adult Romance
  • YA Romance
  • YA Fantasy

In Nonfiction:

  • Small/home/online business
  • Marketing
  • Fitness
  • Success-oriented self-help
  • Writing/authorship/publishing

She does not represent erotica.

Leslie Truex began her writing career by accident. After starting a career website in 1998, she wrote two traditionally published non-fiction books, was the home business expert at About.com (now DotDash: The Balance Small Business), and her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Personal Branding Blog, and Business 2 Community. However, her passion lies in writing fiction. She is the author of a dozen romance and mystery novels using a pen name. She is passionate about helping writers through her online community for romance writers, and as the President of the Virginia Writers Club. She’s excited to work with writers in getting their works published through Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

In her spare time, she does her best to get through her TBR list, continues to write fiction, and indulges in her passion for Happy Planners.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency

Nephele Tempest is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

Nephele joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles-area office. As an agent, she loves to help her clients hone their skills and build their careers. Nephele initially worked on the editorial side of the publishing business before leaving to try other industries, including sales and finance. She spent a number of years at several major New York investment firms, first as a financial advisor and later a marketing and communications writer. This broad experience provided her with insight into multiple aspects of the publishing industry. Nephele continues to actively build her client list and looks for fiction with both strong, well-developed characters and a story that pulls her in and won’t let go.

I’m currently seeking submissions in the following genres: women’s contemporary or historical fiction; contemporary or historical single-title romance; adult real-world or secondary-world fantasy; adult science fiction.

In all categories/genres, I am looking for stories featuring:

  • Underrepresented characters/diverse POVs, whether by gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.
  • #ownvoices stories
  • Found families
  • Strong sibling relationships, especially sisters or large families
  • Excellent world building
  • Fish-out-of-water stories
  • “New” settings, places that have not been overdone
  • Strong writing/prose, distinctive voices, new twists on familiar tropes, and/or high concepts
  • Strong hooks
  • Smart characters who demonstrate blind spots/flaws/their humanity

Specifically, I’d love to find any of the following:

  • High-concept/breakout romance with a strong secondary narrative in addition to the HEA, especially rom-coms or something with a lighthearted thread. (Featuring diverse couples of all types.)
  • Women’s fiction that features a long-time female friendship or close-knit sisters; would love a travel/road-trip novel, but no Thelma-and-Louise endings.
  • A heroine looking at a slow/late career start/finding themselves in mid-30s to late-40s/reinventing themselves.
  • Unconventional/self-made/entrepreneurial heroines.
  • Fresh, creative re-imaginings of classics.
  • Dual/multiple timelines.
  • Magic or magical realism, especially non-Western.
  • Historical fiction set between the early-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, especially that does not focus on WW2 directly.
  • Historical fiction with a literary tie-in.
  • Literary-leaning witch novel: women’s fiction/historical/fantasy, especially something set in modern-day Salem.

Favorite recent(-ish) reads include RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston, THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB series by Lyssa Kay Adams, LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn, BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall, PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev, HAMNET by Maggie O’Farrell, THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin, NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo, THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow, REPUTATION by Lex Croucher, Themis Files series (SLEEPING GIANTS, WAKING GODS, and ONLY HUMAN) by Sylvain Neuvel, WRITERS AND LOVERS by Lily King, and THE DINNER LIST by Rebecca Serle.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Stone of Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Laura Stone is a literary agent with Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

After spending more than twenty years as an editor, Laura Stone joins Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She began her career as a freelance editor, eventually working with Entangled Publishing as a senior editor, working as the managing editor of The Manning Times, and integrating mentoring and coaching into her business.

Laura fell in love with words and story weaving when her parents and grandparents not only read to her constantly but also made up their own stories to pique her imagination. She began reading on her own by five years old and wrote her own stories by the time she was six. Now, as an accomplished editor, mentor, coach, and published author, Laura is eager to help other writers achieve their publishing dreams.

In her spare time, Laura reads, writes her own novels, beads, crochets, cross-stitches, and spends time with her husband and four rescue dogs.

Her wish list:

ROMANCE: Amish, Contemporary, Regency, Suspense, Historical (NOT looking for: Science fiction romance, fantasy romance, paranormal romance)

MYSTERY/CRIME: Cozy, Detective, Whodunit , Gentleman Thief, Legal Thrillers, Capers/Heist, Private Investigator, and Historical (NOT looking for: Serial killers, Noir, Hardboiled, Police procedurals, Paranormal)

ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER: Spy/espionage thrillers, Artifact (religious, alien, historical), Alien encounters/invasions, Natural disaster (NOT looking for: Military action/adventure, Mafia/Mob, Terrorist, Political, Epidemic, Psychological, Techno-thriller)

FANTASY: Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, Epic, Heroic, Magical realism (NOT looking for: Fairy tales, Urban/contemporary fantasy, Vampires, Shapeshifters, Demons, Dark fantasy/horror, Science fantasy)

YOUNG ADULT: Post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fantasy (NOT looking for: Contemporary, Romance [unless romantic elements are subplots of types looking for above], Coming of age, Vampires/shapeshifters/ angels/demons, Suicide themes)

MIDDLE GRADE: Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, Action/Adventure (NOT looking for: Urban/contemporary, Suicide themes)

OVERALL NOT looking for: Religious fiction, Horror, Western, Erotica, Romantica, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Children’s Picture Books, First Readers, Graphic Novels/Comics, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction, Nonfiction, Present Tense

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dana Newman of Dana Newman Literary

Dana Newman is a literary agent with Dana Newman Literary.

“We are interested in practical nonfiction (business, health and wellness, psychology, parenting, technology) by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms who are committed to actively marketing and promoting their books. We love compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down.

“On the fiction side we consider a very selective amount of literary fiction and women’s upmarket fiction. We look for character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice that are emotionally truthful.”

Dana Newman Literary Inc. is a boutique literary agency in Los Angeles. “Our deep expertise in working with content creators, from crafting proposals and polishing manuscripts through negotiating and managing contracts and protecting intellectual property rights, allows us to provide a sophisticated, innovative approach to our role as author advocates. We believe in the power of books to shape our culture and impact lives, and seek authors who are passionate about their work and have something meaningful to share.

Prior to becoming a literary agent, Dana worked for 14 years as General Counsel for Moviola and its affiliates, Paskal Lighting and Magnasync Corporation. With years of experience working in the entertainment and communications technology industries during the digital revolution in film editing and audio recording, Dana enthusiastically embraces new technologies and ideas about how books are created, distributed and experienced.

Dana combines her professional insight, educational background (B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley, J.D. from University of San Francisco), and a lifelong love of reading to her role as a literary agent. She regularly attends writers’ conferences and speaks frequently on legal issues for authors (including publishing contracts, collaboration agreements, and copyright). Dana Newman Literary works with Judy Klein of Kleinworks Agency on handling clients’ foreign rights sales. She works as a co-agent with Phyllis Parsons of The Parsons Company, Inc. in connection with speakers and film/TV rights.

Attorney at Law: In addition to her work as a literary agent, Dana is also Of Counsel at Raines Feldman LLP, where she focuses on business and legal advising, negotiating and drafting contracts, intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks), licensing and publishing law. She has extensive experience with publishing and literary agency agreements, and also does pre-publication legal review of manuscripts. Her specialty is helping creative entrepreneurs and authors achieve their goals, and she’s represented a wide variety of clients in entertainment, media and business. She wrote “Copyright Grants: as Powerful as Kryptonite?” published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and co-authored the chapter on Technology and Intellectual Property Rights in the book Emerging Companies Guide: A Resource for Professionals and Entrepreneurs, Second Edition (American Bar Association 2011).

Dana is a member of the Association of American Literary Agents and the California State Bar.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Susan Nystoriak of Golden Wheat Literary

Susan Nystoriak is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary.

Born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, Susan attended Potsdam College, earning both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. A lifelong learner of both music and the written word, Susan has spent the majority of her life straddling both realms. As an agent with Golden Wheat Literary, her main focus is on Adult Fiction.

Susan is seeking: Susan is seeking authors who write for the Adult readership. RomCom’s, Women’s Fiction, and Mystery/Crime are high on her list! She is drawn to lighter themes, and humor is a plus. She represents authors who word-weave wonderful tales, and whose characters pursue their passions.

Susan is not seeking children’s PB, MG, or YA at this time. Fantasy and Paranormal also fall outside of her wish list.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rena Rossner of The Deborah Harris Agency

Rena Rossner is a Literary Agent with The Deborah Harris Agency.

Rena is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars Program, she studied at Trinity College, Dublin and holds an MA in History from McGill University. She is the author of the cookbook EATING THE BIBLE (Skyhorse, 2014) and the novel, THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD (Redhook/Orbit, 2018) which was named “One of the 100 best books of 2018” by Publishers Weekly. She has been at the agency since 2012.

Rena is interested in representing: Literary and Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thrillers, Horror, and Science Fiction and Fantasy. She has a particular love for novels in verse. She accepts queries for Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade and Picture Books projects and also works with illustrators.

SPECIFICS:

“I represent Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult. In terms of Adult fiction, I look for Literary, Historical, Fantasy and SciFi, Romance and Thrillers, though I am open to all genres. Nonfiction: in all genres, but it depends on the project. I have a love for history, food, and literary science writing, but am open to anything.

“Picture Books: I want funny/quirky books (think Skippyjon Jones,) adorable books that have a classic feel (I love animals and precocious little girls and boys,) or books with a strong message (not ones that moralize) but something with an edge – be it historical fiction, an alternative princess story, or a family story that feels familiar but has a different twist. I love magical realism and poetry and I find myself attracted mostly to picture books under 500 words, though I am open to considering longer ones.

“Middle Grade: I love novels in verse. I love magical realism and poetic writing. I love funny, quirky middle grade. Historical fiction, books with a classic feel. I also love Science Fiction and Fantasy. MG contemporary with a great voice. I’m open to Mysteries/Thrillers.

“Young Adult: Novels in verse, poetry, poetic writing, historical fiction. Contemporary YA with lots of heart – I love romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Nonfiction, anything multicultural and QUILTBAG friendly too (send me the next Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe PLEASE!) but I would also give anything for the next Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.

“Adult Fiction – literary writing above all, poetic writing, but I will always be a sucker for all types of SciFi and Fantasy (I love literary scifi and richly imagined alternate worlds,) all types of fantasy, especially Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy and Magical Realism. Any kind of Literary Fiction, even edgy and gritty, but give me stunning phrases that make you want to stop and read them again and again. I love all kinds of Historical Fiction (give me the next Outlander, Hild or Pillars of the Earth,) but I am open to horror, psychological suspense and thrillers. I love romance in all genres. And I have a soft spot for Ireland and anything set in the Middle East.

“Nonfiction: I’m a foodie, so any books related to food are right up my alley including cookbooks, but in terms of non-fiction (besides cookbooks,) while I am open to them, I wouldn’t say that it’s a genre I know well, having said that, literary writing trumps all, especially in memoir.

“IN GENERAL: You will steal my heart if there is some kind of Middle Eastern, Israeli, or Jewish setting, theme, or character, in any genre, but those are certainly not the only types of books I represent.

“Though I am based in Jerusalem, I represent authors all over the world and about half of my current clients are US-based.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ali McDonald of 5 Otter Literary

Ali McDonald is a literary agent with 5 Otter Literary.

In twelve years as an international literary agent, Ali has represented many award-winning and bestselling authors and illustrators. Specializing in children’s and young adult literature, she works on projects ranging from concept and novelty books, board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels, to middle grade, young adult, and new adult fiction and non-fiction.

Her select list of clients includes The New York Times bestselling author Laura Nowlin (If He Had Been With Me and This Song is (Not) For You), Hugo-award-winning Emily Pohl-Weary (Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl), and multi-award-nominated and Best Book-listed author Jo Treggiari (Blood Will Out and The Grey Sisters), among others.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Mary DeMuth of Books & Such Literary Management

Mary DeMuth is a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.

Mary is looking for:

  • Adult nonfiction Christian living titles, particularly those with a bent toward spiritual growth
  • Devotionals
  • Discipleship-oriented books
  • Accessible theological books (think N.T. Wright)
  • Books about the US church as well as the global church
  • Health-related topics
  • Mental health issues
  • Trauma-related recovery
  • Habit research
  • Design books
  • Leadership/business/productivity ideas.

She is not acquiring any fiction, YA, or children’s books.

Mary is also a podcaster of the popular Pray Every Day podcast, artist, speaker, and the author of 40+ books, including The Most Misunderstood Women of the Bible (Salem 2022). She lives in Texas with her husband and is the mom to three adult children. Find out more at marydemuth.com.

Mary can’t remember when she didn’t write. From journals to letters to poems, Mary wrote her way through life.

The most important thing you need to know about Mary is she loves Jesus. She writes, speaks, and podcasts about how he’s transformed and re-storied her life.

Before she was published, Mary set pretend deadlines for herself and met them early. She wrote millions of unpublished words, honing her craft and perfecting her voice. After a meeting with a published author who guarded publishing information like a state secret, Mary vowed that if she ever figured out how to get published, she would share it with any aspiring author. Since then, she’s been pouring into new and established authors through intensives, conference speaking, one on one coaching, and mastermind groups.

Mary has made every single mistake an author can make, but she’s also learned resiliency. She is unafraid to try new things. This is her superpower in helping you navigate the intricacies of the publishing and platform journey. She’s been there. She’s walked through rejection, success, deadlines, platform creation, web presence, content creation, and social media building. Since she’s been in the author trenches, she’s better equipped to understand your pathway toward publication and success.

To date, Mary has written more than 40 books—both nonfiction and fiction. She has spoken all over the world, helping writers hone their message, write powerfully, and get noticed. Her podcast, Pray Every Day, has surpassed two million downloads and has been listened to in more than 150 countries. In her spare time, she creates small scale art projects for her Etsy shop.

A former church planter in Southern France, Mary has a heart for the world. She is a mom to three adult children and the wife of Patrick for thirty-one years. They make their home in beautiful Rockwall, Texas.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Debbie Alsdorf of Books & Such Literary Management

Debbie Alsdorf is a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management.

Debbie acquires adult nonfiction projects that speak to real life and is looking for proposals in these categories:

  • Christian Living with a bent toward spiritual growth and lifestyle change
  • Devotionals
  • Mental Health
  • Ministry-related
  • Inner healing and recovery
  • Health
  • Marriage and family
  • Blended family and step-parenting
  • Lifestyle (décor, home, diet, food)
  • Purpose and identity
  • Leadership
  • Discipleship

Debbie’s core focus has always been in leadership and encouraging people. From leading flourishing women’s ministries, to the women she speaks to and writes for, she is known as an encourager. Many have affectionately called her a cheerleader of hope. As an agent, she will help her clients to find the hope and faith they need to follow their calling.

One thing is certain, Debbie is a woman on a mission—to help others live a better story. She does this by leading them to the heart of God’s love for them—basic but often not talked about truths that changed her life after seventeen years serving in Christian ministry. During a life crisis, she asked God for a fresh start. That meant getting real with God about her insecurities, brokenness, and lack of faith. The process took her back to the basics and a life reset. Because of this, she has a tuned ear to the felt needs of women and is an avid reader of nonfiction, which will help her to direct her clients how to focus their projects for that audience.

Debbie brings to agenting more than 20 years’ experience leading teams, creating programs, and shepherding women as the Director of Women’s Ministries in large and thriving churches. Before working in ministry, she held positions in sales and marketing, representing large national lines such as Maxell, Sony, and Avery, supplying large retailers and helping to develop marketing, sales, and strategies. This experience informs how to pitch projects to publishing houses and to guide her clients in marketing strategies for their careers and individual books.

As a writing coach, she has worked with writers to envision the best way to structure a book and write in a way that connects with readers. She is also a pastoral counselor, certified life coach, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, all of which prepare her to help authors to ride the roller coaster of publishing as well as equip her to understand readers’ felt needs.

Debbie has written fourteen traditionally-published books and contributed to four compilations. She has a heart for authors. She also understands how to promote through her experience on numerous national radio broadcasts and podcasts and being interviewed on “The Today Show” for her book It’s Momplicated. She understands the world of public speaking, having been a featured speaker at women’s events and writers’ conferences and can help writers to develop their ministries through public speaking.

Being part of the Books & Such team enables her to utilize the skills she’s gained through her own experiences. She loves imparting vision, coaching, and helping others to fulfill their calling.

After raising a blended family in Northern California, Debbie and her husband moved their empty nest and two little dogs to Arizona.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amy Stern of Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Amy Stern is a literary agent with Sheldon Fogelman Agency.

Amy works with clients who write and illustrate all kinds of children’s literature, from picture book through young adult, in poetry, prose, and graphic formats. She joined the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in 2010 as an agent assistant after receiving masters degrees in children’s literature and library and information science from Simmons College and completing an agency internship. Since then she has worked her way up to managing clients on her own, while also handling all agency permissions. Before she began her journey to agenting, Amy double majored in English and Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College and worked at libraries and bookstores. She has served as a mentor for the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature’s MFA program, and regularly participates in conferences and conventions.

SHE IS SEEKING:

“I feel like so much of what I want is what everyone wants — fresh voices, exciting stories, something very marketable but not quite like anything out there. I like my stories firmly rooted in character and my characters firmly rooted in their world.

“I enjoy a little bit of everything, and constantly surprise myself with what I want to take on; I don’t think of myself as someone who’s a big fan of romance or high fantasy or historical fiction, for example, but I can think of several examples of each that really worked for me that I wouldn’t want to rule out. That said, if you have a historical fantasy romance, I’m probably not your best bet.

“I firmly believe that every story is about race, gender, and class- it’s just that often, those are invisible because they’re the societal default. I am definitely looking for a broader spectrum of representation on my list, but I’d also like to see more stories where those default identities are explicitly acknowledged and analyzed, rather than invisible.

“Topics I love to read about? Summer camps, boarding schools, reality television, kids who are in some way extraordinary, puzzles, puns. I really love stories that involve close family relationships that both enhance and complicate the protagonists’ lives. I want to see more mental illness stories that aren’t just about diagnosis and LGBTQIA+ stories that aren’t just about coming out. I’m a giant nerd who goes to several comic conventions a year and I am always in favor of stories about geeks that don’t rely on stereotypes or pop culture references to succeed.

“I got my masters degree in children’s literature and I’m passionate about the idea that even the funniest, most light-hearted stories deserve to be taken seriously. If you think of children’s books as something easy to write or illustrate, we probably won’t be a good match.”

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julia Byers of Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Julia Byers is a literary agent with the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. She joined the agency 2018 as a temp, after spending several years interning around the publishing industry, working at a bookshop, and running a nonprofit organization for young writers.

She enjoyed working with SFA so much, she decided to stay on, and is now excited to take on a more hands-on role by working with clients and foreign rights. She received her B.A. in Honors Creative Writing & Literature with a minor in Global Media Studies from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, as well as certificates from the St Peter’s College, Oxford University Summer School and the Columbia Publishing Course UK. Julia is enthusiastic about working with authors of children’s fiction, spanning picture books through YA, and looks forward to taking on new clients.

SHE IS SEEKING:

“I enjoy working with children’s books for all age groups.

“Within YA, I’ll read pretty much anything, as long as it has a strong voice, tight plotting, and a great sense of humor. I like to see protagonists struggle with big questions and their place in the world, no matter the circumstances, and welcome darker stories about contending with trauma and grief (as long as there’s still some humor and hope woven in). That said, I’m always a sucker for:

  • secret identities
  • time travel
  • globetrotting adventures
  • high school theatre
  • anything dealing with movies/TV
  • socially conscious protagonists
  • super fluffy rom-coms

“Also, if you can comp your book to Taylor Swift’s music (especially folklore), PLEASE send it my way, I beg of you.

“Middle grade-wise, I generally tend toward books with a lot of heart, especially humorous mystery and adventure stories. I can never get enough of kids going on quests, whether that be to save the world or just to beat a mean girl at the local scavenger hunt. I’m not the best fit for stories from animals’ POVs, but if your protagonist has a cute animal companion who goes everywhere with them, sign me up (as long as said animal companion does not die; the last time I read a book with an animal death, I accidentally threw it across the room).

“In terms of picture books, I prefer fiction, but otherwise my tastes are very open. I love both laugh-out-loud humor and quieter, more lyrical writing. What I really look for is a strong character arc and sense of plot structure.

“Across all age groups, a priority is working with underrepresented voices. I’m especially interested in stories with incidental diversity, rather than issue-driven books, and happy (or at least bittersweet!) endings.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: James Mustelier of The Bent Agency

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

“I am an agent at the Bent Agency as well as the in-house Editorial Consultant. I was born in Miami, Florida, and lived in Spain, France and Italy before moving to New York. I studied Creative Writing at Florida State University and received my MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, where I served as the Graduate Editor of the literary journal. I’ve worked as an editorial associate at Fiction magazine and as a freelance editor.

“I’m looking for both literary and commercial adult fiction. In literary fiction, I’m specifically drawn to visceral honesty coupled with a dark sense of humor. In commercial fiction I’m looking for horror, mystery, and thrillers. My favorite books have distinct and memorable voices that grab the reader’s attention, and a narrative gravity that permeates every action in the story.”

Pitch him:

  • Literary fiction
  • Crime
  • Mystery/Suspense
  • Horror
  • Humor
  • YA fiction
  • Short Stories

Do NOT pitch him:

  • Romance
  • Poetry
  • Self-help
  • Picture books

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary

Maria Vicente is a Senior Literary Agent and Advisor at P.S. Literary representing bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults.

Her favourite books to work on allow readers to experience something new about the real world or invite them into fictional worlds they’ll never want to leave. In her 8 years at P.S. Literary, Maria has launched the careers of many authors and illustrators and is known for being an early advocate of the growing graphic novel market in trade publishing.

With a B.A. in English from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from Western University, Maria puts her teaching background to use hosting presentations and workshops about the book industry. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore.

Maria is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents (PACLA).

“I welcome and encourage submissions from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators whether or not your story is considered #ownvoices.”

SHE IS SEEKING:

Young Adult: “I am interested in a variety of YA genres: contemporary, magical realism, horror, mystery, thriller, and light fantasy—just to name a few! I enjoy literary prose combined with a strong voice and high concept. My YA wish list includes: contemporary stories about best friends; macabre fairy tale retelling; LGBTQ+ romantic comedy; a book about a boy band; eerie mysteries and thrillers; magical realism with gorgeous prose; a novel-in-verse; experimental story structures.”

Middle Grade: “I am currently looking at all genres of middle grade. I am also open to chapter books with strong series potential. My MG wish list includes: fantasy based on non-Western folklore; creepy horror stories; a modern Sweet Valley Twins series; an animal story (not talking animals; ex: Pax); high concept chapter book series; realistic stories with literary prose.”

Picture Books: “I am looking for illustrated picture books by author/illustrators. Topics on my picture book wish list include: stories with literary sensibilities (ex: Birdsong, Lubna and Pebble; Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox; This is Sadie; Virginia Wolf); nonfiction (not biographies); the Wheel of the Year; cultural traditions/folklore/history.”

Kidlit nonfiction: “I am looking for nonfiction projects for readers of all ages. I expect a nonfiction book proposal to offer a new perspective on an entertaining topic. I particularly enjoy nonfiction in the pop culture, science, design, and lifestyle categories. If you’re a millennial journalist hoping to turn your expertise on a topic into a book, please get in touch! Some specific nonfiction wish list topics include: the history of a pop culture topic; lifestyle for millennials; vegan cookbook; nonfiction for kids and teens; smart essay collections; illustrated gift books.”

Kidlit Graphic Novels: “I represent illustrated books for all age categories. If you are an illustrator, please provide a link to your portfolio when sending a query letter. My current comics wish list: graphic memoirs; graphic nonfiction; contemporary young adult.”

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ian Shea of Maximus Literary

Ian Shea is a literary agent with Maximus Literary.

“In the fourth grade, my teacher sent a note home asking if my parents knew I was writing a book report on John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. While it might not have been age-appropriate, the story sucked me in and I wanted to tell everyone how much I loved it! That was when I realized my love of books was stronger than most other kids. As an adult, my passion for great storytelling has led me to Maximus Literary.

“My first venture in publishing was working as a contributor for a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper. After seeing the power of the written word, I always knew my dream career would involve writing and pursued a degree in that field. Spending 10 years in corporate America, where I worked with Fortune 500 companies, I developed an eye for detail and thrived in the fast-paced, creative environment. I learned the value of nurturing client relationships, especially for their celebrity customers. Now, I’m able to utilize my skillset to foster lasting relationships with authors and publishers, alike.

“As an associate agent at Maximus Literary, I’ll be working with authors in a variety of genres. I am always on the hunt for talented writers with unique voices. Some of my favorite books include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. My preferred genres are science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, dystopian futures, and contemporary LGBTQ+ stories.”

HE IS SEEKING:

“I tend to lean towards YA and adult novels. I’m not currently looking for middle-grade or picture books. I’m open to both debut authors and writers who’ve been previously published. I only care about whether or not you have a well-written and compelling story that I won’t want to put down. I’m open to standalone stories or books with series potential.

“I’m eagerly seeking the following genres:

  • Mysteries and thrillers: Murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, “whodunit”, I enjoy it all!
  • Fantasy: Far-off worlds, magic, superheroes, knights, evil sorceresses, chosen ones, magical girls, it’s all fun.
  • Horror: Whether it’s a haunted house, a serial killer, or a centuries-old curse, if it will make me too scared to turn the lights off, I want to read it. I lean more towards suspenseful and atmospheric stories and I’m less interested in excessive gore.
  • Science fiction: I like anything from artificial intelligence to epic space sagas and everything in-between!
  • Adventure: Whether your protagonist is running from the mob or globe-trotting looking for ancient treasure, I’m open to reading it.
  • Dystopian futures: I love stories about corrupt governments and the last of humanity trying to survive!
  • Coming of age: I love stories about characters of any age going through life-altering journeys that cause them to grow as people. I particularly love stories about characters who are LGBTQ+ that aren’t centered around coming out.
    Re-imagined fairy tales

I’m not interested in:

Romance or stories where romance is essential to the plot.
Erotica
Cowboys/Westerns
Religion
Poetry
Memoirs
Biographies
Historical fiction
Satire

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary.

Eva  was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Houston, Buenos Aires, San Juan, and Boston before settling down outside of Binghamton, New York. She has been reading romance since the fifth grade when she discovered the Sweet Valley High series. On inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage Harlequin Romances, she set a goal to someday finish reading them all on top of her already massive TBR.

Eva has a B.A. in the Humanities from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. Since graduating in 2002, she has spent her career in scholarly publishing, working for Houghton Mifflin, Blackwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, and Cornell University in a variety of roles. She has been with Speilburg Literary since 2013, and started accepting clients in 2017. Eva is a member the AALA (formerly AAR), RWA, and SCBWI.

In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance (all subgenres but inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction.

Fun Fact: My name is not pronounced with a long E sound. I’m of Puerto Rican, Lebanese, and Spanish descent.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leticia Gomez of Savvy Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 11.51.01 PM.pngLeticia Gomez is a literary agent and the founder of Saavy Literary.

Leticia has been working in the publishing industry for more than two decades. During this span of time, she has published her own newspaper, authored and published three books, edited numerous fiction and nonfiction manuscripts written in both English and Spanish that have gone on to publication. Thus far in her career as a literary agent she has placed close to 200 books with independent and mainstream traditional publishers.

At the present time, Savvy Literary Agency is interested in reviewing compelling and commercially viable book proposals and manuscripts written in English or Spanish in the following genres:

Fiction: Adventure, Chick-lit, Fantasy, Historical, Humor, Multi-cultural, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult and Middle-grade.

Nonfiction: Advice/Relationships, Biography, Cooking, Diet, Health, History/Politics/Current Affairs, How-to, Humor, Lifestyle, Memoir, Parenting, Religion/Spirituality and True Crime.

The Savvy Literary Agency is not interested in representing projects in the following genres: Children’s Picture Books, Horror, Erotica, Poetry, Short Story Collections, and Graphic Novels

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 Business and Self-Help, 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 currently an Executive Producer for Bridges, an independent feature-length film starring Chris Routhe. Blending her experience as an author, literary/film/television agent and acquisition editor, she is now truly excited to spearhead her very own Hispanic book imprint Café con Leche Books (www.cafeconlechebooks.com).