The 2020 Writing Workshop of Chicago: June 27, 2020

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 events in Chicago, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Writing Workshop of Chicago — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Chicago, IL on June 27, 2020.

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (300 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Writing Workshop of Chicago!

(IMPORTANT MAY 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 WWoC is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, and online conferences 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 the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or phone. Learn all details about the new June 27 WWoC Online Conference here and what everything means.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, June 27, 2020, at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, just south of the downtown area. In other words, it’s one day 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.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the 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 agent faculty so far includes:

  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Kenzi Nevins (CYLE Literary)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Julie Gwinn (The Seymour Agency)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Cate Hart (Harvey Klinger)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Lizzie Poteet (The Seymour Agency)
  • literary agent Beth Marshea (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Kerry Sparks (Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Lindsey Smith (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Chrysa Keenon (CYLE Literary)
  • editor Emma Hintzen (Sourcebooks)
  • literary agent Dan Cramer (Flannery Literary)
  • literary agent Leah Pierre (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Kerstin Wolf (D4EO Literary)
  • editor Jonathan Westmark (Albert Whitman & Co.)
  • literary agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary)
  • editor Stacy Abrams (Entangled Publishing)
  • literary agent Alexandra Weiss (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • editor Anna Michels (Sourcebooks)
  • literary agent Alyssa Roat (CYLE Literary)
  • literary agent Stephanie Hansen (Metamorphosis Literary)
  • and probably 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 coordinator Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops, with assistance from regional Chicago writing groups.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, June 27, 2020 — the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, just south of the downtown area. (312)427-3800.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (JUNE 27, 2020):

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.

Please Note: There will be 3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

CLASS LIST COMING SOON

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

CLASS LIST COMING SOON

(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.)

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

CLASS LIST COMING SOON

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

CLASS LIST COMING SOON

(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.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

CLASS LIST COMING SOON

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s Barnes & Noble station for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

————-

PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 9.34.57 PMDan Cramer is a literary agent with Flannery Literary. He is seeking: picture books with great rhythm, fiction and nonfiction (no rhyming please); middle grade adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy; young adult contemporary (rom-coms), science fiction, dystopian, historical fiction, and thrillers; and LGBTQIA+ themes. Learn more about Dan here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.55.51 PM.pngEric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, essay collections, and blog to book ideas. Learn more about Eric here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 4.23.30 PMKenzi Nevins is a literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite. Kenzi personally seeks picture books (text only is fine, but author-illustrators are her favorite), middle grade (all kinds), young adult (all kinds, including graphic novels with images), and adult fantasy. She is also happy to take pitches on behalf of her many co-agents, and pass on great submissions to them after the event. That means she will take pitches for romance (all kinds), literary fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction, high & low fantasy, historical, mystery, thriller, suspense, women’s, and Christian/inspirational. For nonfiction, she will take pitches for parenting, leadership, ministry, devotionals, and self-help. She will also take pitches for board books and chapter books. Learn more about Kenzi here.

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 10.27.21 PMJulie Gwinn is an agent with The Seymour Agency, and was formerly an editor with many years of publishing experience. Her primary areas of interest include Christian and inspirational fiction and nonfiction, women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), new adult, Southern fiction, literary fiction, as well as young adult novels. Learn more about Julie here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 2.56.29 PM.pngCate Hart is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency. She specializes in historical, whether in young adult, women’s fiction and romance, or narrative nonfiction. She is particularly drawn to oft-forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. She also loves high-concept fantasy in YA and Adult fiction. Cate seeks the following nonfiction categories: narrative, history, film, TV, theatre, pop culture, and music. She also seeks the following fiction genres: historical, commercial, women’s fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, psychological thriller, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Cate here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 12.08.49 AMLizzie Poteet is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency. Lizzie is always looking for a good love story. She loves classic romance tropes, strong dialogue, sassy heroines, witty banter, and good old fashion romance. She’s actively seeking inspirational romance, cozy mystery, new adult romance, young adult (no speculative), romantic suspense, historical and contemporary romances, and loves anything with a happy ending. Learn more about Lizzie here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 2.41.42 PM.pngKerry Sparks is a literary agent with Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. With a love for all these mediums of storytelling, she gravitates toward books that have a cinematic feel or visual element that lend to film or television adaptation. She primarily represents fiction, with a specific focus on novels for teens and young adults but regardless of age is always on the hunt for books that combine a solid hook and great writing and that have an undeniably fresh yet relatable voice. She also represents a select list of nonfiction writers. Learn more about Kerry here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 2.39.57 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Literary. She is seeking mainstream/commercial fiction, family sagas, literary fiction, women’s fiction, RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. For young adult, she seeks contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, and fantasy. Beth is also starting to acquire a very select list of middle grade and picture books. Learn more about Beth here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 12.43.24 PM.pngLeah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary. She is seeking: “I am looking for diverse and unique work that is faced paced, that I will not be able to put down, and will leave me on the edge of my seat. As much as I pretend to hate them, I do love a good plot twist and a shocking ending. I love stories with a complex cast of characters and I am a sucker for camaraderie, banter, and the tight-knit, family-like group of friends trope.” Adult novels: romance (ideally interracial), fantasy with elements of myth and legends, historical fantasy/fiction, social-justice-inspired espionage/heist. New adult novels: romance, coming-of-age, finding one’s identity, F/F friendship, the college experience as well as the post-college experience. Young adult novels: Fantasy with elements of myth and legend (lesser know myths/legends i.e. Middle Eastern), Meet-Cute/Coming-of-age that involves romance and self-discovery/self-love, Contemporary, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries and thrillers (unreliable narrators are okay), fairy-tale retellings, and a good heist concept. “A lot of what I am looking for does overlap, so please use your best judgement when submitting. If you’re not sure, give it a try.” Learn more about Leah here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 11.31.03 PMLindsey Smith is a literary agent with Speilburg Literary. Lindsey is interested in cookbooks, lifestyle, health, pop culture, gender issues, self-help, true crime, and current events. She is especially interested in podcast-to-book ideas, journalists who specialize in specific research, and cookbooks that have a niche and/or narrative voice. Please do not pitch diet books. Lindsey is excited to work with first-time authors as well as those who are established. She is seeking nonfiction only, specifically prescriptive nonfiction that is compelling, and voice-driven, with the ability to shed light on a topic that might be unknown. She especially loves projects and people that bring humor to serious situations. Learn more about Lindsey here.

ChrysaChrysa Keenon is a literary agent with CYLE Literary. She is seeking: For adult novels, she seeks humorous romance, LGBTQ+ romance, and low fantasy. In young adult, she seeks humorous/lighthearted contemporary romance, fantasy LGBTQ+, diverse romance, magical realism, and stories about characters from marginalized backgrounds. She also will consider fairytale retellings/spinoffs and middle grade fantasy. Learn more about Chrysa here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 2.32.54 PM.pngAlice Speilburg is the founding literary agent of Speilburg Literary Agency. She enjoys nonfiction in the areas of History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Travel, and True Crime. “In nonfiction, I’m looking for cultural narratives, microhistory, nature, and pop science written by journalists and academics.” In fiction, she represents women’s fiction, crime fiction, some fantasy (specifics on her agent page), upmarket genre fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, action/adventure, and horror. Learn more about Alice here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 1.15.07 PM.pngEmma Hintzen is an assistant editor at Sourcebooks. Emma is seeking: Kids’ nonfiction (board books, picture books, and middle grade) that is commercial and entertaining for both kids and parents, offers a unique perspective, gives voice to people and topics that are underrepresented in kid lit, or hits a unique or overlooked need. Learn more about Emma here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 5.12.00 PM.pngKerstin Wolf is a literary agent with D4EO Literary. She is seeking a wide variety of middle grade books, including fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, horror, and graphic novels. She is seeking a wide variety of young adult books, including fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, historical with magical elements, some steampunk, “geeky” contemporary romance, and graphic novels. For new adult and adult fiction, she seeks fantasy, women’s fiction, and romantic stories. Learn more about Kerstin here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 5.56.45 PM.pngStacy Abrams is the editorial director of Entangled Amara and Entangled Teen, the two print imprints of Entangled Publishing. In teen fiction, she is seeking contemporary coming-of-age/romance, contemporary mystery/thriller, trope-driven short romances (particularly those set in high schools), romantic comedies, and accessible fantasy or paranormal. In adult fiction, she seeks contemporary romance (specifically weddings, cowboys, holiday, babies), political thrillers, and literary women’s fiction (particularly “ripped from the headlines” issues). Learn more about Stacy here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 9.47.12 AMAlexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. She is seeking beautifully written young adult fiction (realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but stories that include magic, space, or science are not for her). She loves coming-of-age tales; stories that explore culture, race, sexuality, and identity; and literature from diverse and underrepresented voices. She represents all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children’s picture books and middle grade books. In adult fiction, she is “open to most genres, but category romance, or heavy mystery/horror/thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for.” Learn more about Alexandra here.

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 3.03.41 PMAnna Michels is an associate editor at Sourcebooks. She is seeking commercial/mainstream literary fiction with interesting settings and a strong narrative voice (such as Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman); mystery (particularly historical and crossover literary—think Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger) and psychological suspense; and memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling. She can take pitches on behalf of other Sourcebooks editors for young adult books, adult romance, and nonfiction gift books. Learn more about Anna here.

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.29.12 PM.pngAlyssa Roat is a literary agent with Cyle Young Literary Elite. She is seeking: any kind of young adult (but especially fantasy and speculative), middle grade fiction of any kind, fantasy (especially in non-western settings), the occasional Christian fiction title, and a rare thriller/mystery/suspense. “I’m especially interested in anything with these elements: Southwestern settings; non-western contemporary, fantasy, and historical settings; lesser-known mythologies and mythological creatures; humor.” Learn more about Alyssa here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 1.24.38 PM.pngJonathan Westmark is an editor at Albert Whitman & Company. Early in his career, he bounced between a fashion media publisher in New York and literary presses in Minnesota before finding his home in children’s publishing. He acquires fiction and nonfiction in the following categories: picture Books, early readers, chaoter books, middle grade (contemporary, historical), and young adult (all genres). Learn more about Jonathan here.

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 5.15.59 PMStephanie Hansen is a literary agent and founder of Metamorphosis Literary. Stephanie enjoys prose that flows as smoothly as poetry, unforgettable plot twists, and well-rounded characters. She is actively acquiring thrillers (YA & Adult). She is also on the hunt for the following on behalf of her fellow Metamorphosis agents: #OwnVoices, picture books (STEAM), middle grade (STEAM), young adult (contemporary, mystery, & SFF), romance (any kind), adult science fiction & fantasy. cozy mystery, women’s fiction, LGBTQ+, literary fiction, and nonfiction (stories rooting for the underdog). She is most interested in fiction with unexpected antagonists. (She is representing her agency in replacement of Mark William Norby, who was previously scheduled but is no longer attending.) Learn more about Stephanie here.

        More 2020 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 2020 WWOC and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 2019, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents 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, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are some testimonials from 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 2016-10-16 at 3.19.33 PM.png“I am happy to report that I signed a writer after meeting
them through a pitch session at the Writing Workshop of Chicago.”
– literary agent Marcy Posner of Folio Literary

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 12.26.01 AM.png“I signed a lovely author after meeting her at the
Writing Workshop of Chicago. I’m thrilled.”
– literary agent Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 3.23.35 PM.png“I signed an author from the Writing Workshop of Chicago.
Her name is Georgina Cross and I’m delighted I found her.”
– literary agent Rachel Beck of Holloway Literary

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 2017-09-08 at 11.47.54 PM.png“I wanted to let you know I signed a writer who
I met at the Writing Workshop of Chicago,
Rebecca Rissman. It was a quality conference.”

– literary agent Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.56.25 PM.png“I signed a client from the
Writing Workshop of Chicago.”

– literary agent Abby Saul of The Lark Group

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Brian Klems, one of the day’s 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, crime, thriller, horror, and general fiction: Faculty member Julie Hyzy, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Literary fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, women’s fiction, memoir, humor: Faculty member Ricki Cardenas, a published writer, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, talk with you for at least 10 minutes to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes. Unlike other critiquers who may join the 2020 Chicago event, Ricki will not personally be at the event, so she will be doing her 10-minute critique consultations through phone calls or Skype or Zoom.
  • Young adult, tween, middle grade: Faculty member Jessica Burkhart, a published YA/MG author, will get your work in advance and critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story. She will then meet with you for 10 minutes at the event to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • 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 for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Children’s picture books: Faculty member Lisa Rose, a published PB writer, will get your work in advance, edit the first 1,000 words (max), meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • More 2020 critique options forthcoming.

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

REGISTRATION:

(IMPORTANT MAY 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 WWoC is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, and online conferences 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 the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or phone. Learn all details about the new June 27 WWoC Online Conference here and what everything means.)

Because of limited space at the venue, the workshop can only allow 300 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

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 Jessica Bell via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. 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 Jessica 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, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. 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 edited your work.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Writing Workshop of Chicago.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephanie Hansen of Metamorphosis Literary

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 5.15.59 PMStephanie Hansen is a literary agent and founder of Metamorphosis Literary.

Stephanie enjoys prose that flows as smoothly as poetry, unforgettable plot twists, and well-rounded characters. She is actively acquiring thrillers (YA & Adult).

She is also on the hunt for the following on behalf of her fellow Metamorphosis agents: #OwnVoices, picture books (STEAM), middle grade (STEAM), young adult (contemporary, mystery, & SFF), romance (any kind), adult science fiction & fantasy. cozy mystery, women’s fiction, LGBTQ+, literary fiction, and nonfiction (stories rooting for the underdog).

She is most interested in fiction with unexpected antagonists.

Stephanie represents authors with their debut novels and New York Times-bestsellers and has brokered deals with small presses and major publishing houses. She holds a master’s degree with a Creative Writing Specialization.

Stephanie is unilaterally deaf with 90 dB tinnitus. She’s dedicated to elevating voices that often go unheard.

(She is representing her agency in replacement of Mark William Norby, who was previously scheduled but is no longer attending.)

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alyssa Roat of CYLE Literary

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.29.12 PM.pngAlyssa Roat is a literary agent with Cyle Young Literary Elite. She is seeking: any kind of young adult (but especially fantasy and speculative), middle grade fiction of any kind, fantasy (especially in non-western settings), the occasional Christian fiction title, and a rare thriller/mystery/suspense.

Specifically, she is seeking:

  • any kind of young adult (but especially fantasy and speculative)
  • middle grade fiction
  • fantasy
  • unique historical fiction
  • occasional Christian titles
  • a rare thriller/mystery/suspense

“I’m especially interested in anything with these elements: Southwestern settings; non-western contemporary, fantasy, and historical settings; lesser-known mythologies and mythological creatures; humor.”

Alyssa has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry, as an agent, editor, writer, and marketer. Along with being a part of the C.Y.L.E. team, Alyssa is the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer with 150+ bylines. She holds a degree in Professional Writing from Taylor University. Her debut novel, Wraithwood, releases Nov. 7, 2020 from INtense Publications.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Stacy Abrams of Entangled Publishing

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 5.56.45 PM.pngStacy Abrams is the editorial director of Entangled Amara and Entangled Teen, the two print imprints of Entangled Publishing.

She’s been with the company since its inception in 2011, leaving the hustle and bustle of New York City and her job as an editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books to dive into the world of romance. Stacy earned her bachelor’s in English at Northwestern University and currently resides in the frozen tundra of Chicago with her husband, two sons, and too-cute puppy. She is always looking for high-quality adult and teen fiction, specifically in contemporary coming-of-age, mystery/thriller, and of course romance.

Stacy is looking for:

TEEN:
-Contemporary coming-of-age/romance
-Contemporary mystery/thriller
-Trope-driven short romances, particularly those set in high schools
-Rom-coms
-Accessible fantasy or paranormal

ADULT:
-Contemporary romance, specifically weddings, cowboys, holiday, babies
-Political thrillers
-Literary women’s fiction, particularly “ripped from the headlines” issues

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Agency

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 2.39.57 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency.

At the 2020 Tampa workshop, she will be taking pitches from attendees, and also teaching a speech.

Beth founded Ladderbird Literary Agency with the intention of bringing diverse stories tot the forefront. She has a long love of literature, but found herself disappointed by the homogeneity of canonical work. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration and decided to merge her passions and create her own agency. Beth is passionate about writing that pushes genres and boundaries and challenges the reader to accept a new point of view.

 

What she’s looking for:

Beth is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, hidden histories. or weird histories, and issue-driven books.

Her first love is and always will be literary fiction, where she’s looking for work with unusual settings or work that involves clever plots and dynamic characters that bring to light new perspectives on old ideas. Particular areas of interest are stories set in Mexico or Central America. In addition, she’s especially fond of magical realism. Think: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, The Little Snake by A.L. Kennedy, The Vegetarian by Han Kang, and anything by Haruki Murakami.

Adult fiction:

Mainstream/Commercial Fiction: Multi-gen family sagas (ideally multicultural) meets cutes/RomComs (especially LGBTQ+).

Women’s Fiction: Smart, sharp, and funny, especially centered around F/F relationships, friendship or romantic,

Literary Fiction: Work with unusual settings and/or involving clever plots and dynamic characters that bring to light new perspectives on old ideas. Particular areas of interest are stories set in Mexico or Central America. In addition, she’s especially fond of magical realism.

Mysteries: Beth loves unusual settings and prefers cozies,

Thrillers: Work about anything other than rich suburban women.

Fantasy: Books that are fast-paced with wonderful (ideally non-European) characters.

Science Fiction: Near future; unusual tech; not focused around the US.

Kidlit:

Young Adult: Contemporary (friendship stories; found family; non-US based settings) mysteries (high stakes), thrillers (stories with big twists; no unreliable narrators), fantasy (character-driven and really original).

Beth is starting to acquire a very select list of middle grade and picture books. In middle grade, she’s looking for fun, compelling characters that deal with real problems that middle schoolers face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. In picture books, she’s dying to find books with really cute hooks like “The Day the Crayons Quit,” or nice messaging like “Not Quite a Narwhal.” She’d love to find a book that brings parents and kids together with language simple enough for a young child to read, but engrossing enough for and adult to enjoy.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kerstin Wolf of D4EO Literary

Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 5.12.00 PM.pngAfter years of interning at a number of literary agencies and publishers, freelance editing, and bookselling, Kerstin Wolf got her start as an agent in training at The Booker Albert Literary Agency before joining D4EO Literary as a literary agent in February 2019.

When not reading, editing, or doing anything related to publishing, Kerstin enjoys practicing martial arts. She has the most experience in judo, boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. She also likes learning new languages. She has studied Spanish for a number of years now and also has some experience in Arabic, German, American Sign Language, Basque, Japanese, and Old English.

She is seeking the following for Middle Grade:

  • Fantasy of any kind
  • Science fiction
  • Mysteries along the lines of The 39 Clues series, York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, and Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
  • Horror along the lines of Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
  • Graphic novels

She is seeking the following for Young Adult:

  • Fantasy of any kind
  • Science fiction
  • Horror along the lines of Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Paranormal
  • Historical with magical elements
  • Steampunk along the lines of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • “Geeky” contemporary romance along the lines of Geekerella by Ashley Poston and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Graphic novels

She is seeking the following for New Adult/Adult:

  • Fantasy along the lines of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series and Villains series and Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance along the lines of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren