Get to Know an Editor in Attedance: Emily Clark Victorson of Allium Press

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 12.09.01 AM.pngEmily Clark Victorson is the co-founder and publisher of Allium Press of Chicago.

After receiving degrees from Oberlin College and the University of Michigan, Emily moved to the Chicago area, where she has lived for over twenty-five years. Prior to starting Allium Press, she worked as a librarian, historian, and book designer for such organizations as the Newberry Library, the Chicago History Museum, and History Works, Inc.

Allium Press was founded in 2009 as a small, independent press and
publishes literary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, middle grade, and
young adult fiction — all with a Chicago connection.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jen Karsbeak of Fuse Literary

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 1.36.50 PMJen Karsbaek joined first Larsen Pomada Literary Agency, then Fuse Literary Agency (formerly named Foreword Literary) in 2013.

Jen now acts as an agency scout to find exciting and talented writers for the agency’s current agents. She is happy to take pitches on behalf of the agency for the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, mainstream/upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, middle grade, new adult, young adult, and literary fiction. The agency also seeks books by and about people from marginalized perspectives, such as LGBT people and/or racial minorities.

Get to Know Writing Day Workshops Coordinator Jessica Bell

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 12.15.26 AM.pngJessica Bell is the executive coordinator of Writing Day Workshops, which organizes one-day writing conferences. These events take place mostly in the U.S., but can happen elsewhere.

If Jessica could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she spends most of her time in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a 30-something Australian contemporary fiction author, award-winning poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

She started as a poet, drawing from her musical background and etching her thoughts and feelings into verse. Those stanzas soon turned into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually into published books. Her literary voice is said to overflow with “lyrical descriptions, unique metaphors, tight dialogue, and an abundance of sensory detail.” She has also been told she has the ability to take a seemingly ordinary three-chord type story and turn it into a main stage event.

In addition to her novels about unique dysfunctional families, poetry collections, and her best-selling pocket writing guides (Writing in a Nutshell series), she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia’s Cordite Review, Writer’s Digest, and the anthologies 100 Stories For Queensland and From Stage Door Shadows, both released through Brisbane, Australia’s, eMergent Publishing.

One of Jessica’s proudest moments was when, in November 2013, her poem, Sugar (which was published in a poetry anthology called Women’s Work, edited by Libby Hathorn) was broadcast on ABC National Radio’s Poetica program.

Jessica Bell is the Publisher of Vine Leaves Press, and she makes a living as a Book Cover Designer for indie authors, and an editor/writer for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

As of October 2016, she is the singer of Keep Shelly in Athens.

To see a list of awards click here.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Marcy Posner of Folio Literary

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 1.06.56 PMMarcy Posner is a literary agent with Folio Literary. She is seeking: “I straddle the line between adult and children’s books (middle grade and young adult only). In the adult world, I’m looking for: commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, biography, history, health, and lifestyle – and, especially, thoughtfully written commercial novels, thrillers with international settings, and narrative nonfiction. In the children’s world, I’m looking for smart, contemporary YA and middle-grade novels. A great new juvenile mystery series for boys would be fun.” She does not represent genre books of any kind (no romance, mystery, sci-fi or fantasy), nor does she seek memoirs.

About her: “I have spent a lifetime in books. I started out with a brief stint as a librarian, but found it a bit too staid, so moved on to publishing. My first job was at Pinnacle Books where as assistant to the President I was given a book to edit the third week of my employment. I then moved on to Rodale Press and then Salem House where I helped bring British books to the US, finally moving up the publishing ladder to Pantheon’s Associate Publisher, where I worked with some of the major cultural icons of our time, including Noam Chomsky, Studs Terkel, Matt Groening and Art Spiegelman. After fifteen years on the editorial side of the business, I made the jump to agenting – spending twelve years as at the William Morris Agency as an agent and as Vice President and Director of Foreign Rights; five years as president of my own agency; five years at Sterling Lord Literistic as an agent and Director of Foreign Rights; and I’m now here – and very happy – at Folio.

“Editorial skill and a deep knowledge of the publishing industry sets me apart from many of my colleagues. When I work with my authors, I’ll focus editorially on how to make the book as strong as it could be – whether that book be terrific women’s fiction or an extraordinary YA debut (or any of the other categories I represent). During that process, I’m able to bring to bear all the institutional memory I possess, knowing which editors and which publishing houses have a penchant for a certain subject, or a different voice, or a particular kind of author. My clients include Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Kelly, other New York Times bestsellers, Sheri Reynolds and Jill Barnett, along with Kristi Cook, Christopher Grant, Georgia Bockoven and Jerri Corgiat.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.06.32 PMGemma Cooper is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

“I started my publishing career in New York, spent several years working in London, and now live in Chicago, where I work with authors based in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. The best part of my job is getting to be the first fan of an unpublished book and then champion this book — nothing beats being able to talk up your passions to other book fanatics! My client list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions.”

I love younger fiction, and have a soft spot for funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential. For middle-grade, I’d love to see a good mystery or adventure, but really any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller). For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance or something with strong friendships or sibling relationships. For picture books, I am only looking for author/illustrators and not just picture book texts. I’m looking for diverse voices, illustrators and stories across my list, but particularly for chapter books and MG.

Get to Know Presenter Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books

Screen-Shot-2014-01-08-at-1.09.19-PMChuck Sambuchino (chucksambuchino.com, @chucksambuchino) of Writer’s Digest Books is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His authored books include Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript; Create Your Writer Platform, which was praised by Forbes.com; and How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, which was optioned for film by Sony. He oversees one of the biggest blogs in publishing (the Guide to Literary Agents Blog) as well as one of the biggest Twitter accounts in publishing (@WritersDigest). He is a freelance editor who has seen dozens of his clients get agents and/or book deals, and he has presented at more than 120 writing conferences and events over the past ten years.

At the workshop, Chuck will be presenting the session, “Everything You Need to Know about Agents, Pitching, and Queries” and several other sessions.