Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Grace Menary-Winefield of Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 9.32.05 AM.pngGrace Menary-Winefield is an associate editor with Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark.

What Grace is looking for:

Fiction: Commercial/mainstream fiction that explores unique, sometimes even fantastical concepts (such as Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell). She seeks diverse stories in both historical and contemporary settings.

Nonfiction: Quirky self-help books with a great hook and wide appeal; smart nonfiction with unique explorations of history.

Gift: Entertainment pop culture books, both novelizations and nonfiction tie-ins; gift books (text and illustration) that inspire and entertain.

She is not seeking romance, thriller/mystery, health books, or cooking.

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

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Emily 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

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Jen 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 an Agent in Attendance: Vicki Selvaggio of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.50.27 AMVicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

With a strong background in business ownership, Vicki came to The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency with over 6 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio. Drawn to the publishing scene first as an author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.”

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Tiffany Shelton of St. Martin’s Press

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Tiffany Shelton is an editorial assistant for St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and St. Martin’s Press Romance.

She graduated from Florida State University with two degrees–a bachelors in Criminology and a bachelors in English: Editing, Writing, and Media. Her passion for books, and more specifically words, led her to pursue a masters degree in book publishing from Portland State University, graduating in June 2015.

“I’m looking for voice-driven narratives with dynamic storytelling, immersive worlds, and characters to love (or love to hate). I have a soft spot for stories featuring diverse characters and cultures, and strong female protagonists.

“In adult, I’m interested in contemporary romance (especially romantic comedies), women’s fiction geared towards women in their 20s and 30s, literary fiction, upmarket and commercial fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, thriller, and select nonfiction (memoir, humor, and social issues). Favorites include The Painted Girls, Tell Me Your Dreams, The Underground Railroad, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Homegoing, Virgin, and Isle of Youth.

“In YA, I’m interested in contemporary (In the vain of Nina LaCour, Kasie West, Jenny Han, and Gayle Forman), historical, fantasy, horror/thriller, and magical realism. Favorites include The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, The Star-Touched Queen, The Diviners, A Mad Wicked Folly, Maid of Secrets, Welcome to the Dark House, and Afterworlds.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary

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Joanna MacKenzie is a literary agent with Nelson Literary.

She seeks to expand her list in both adult and YA. She’s looking for the epic read that, at its center, beats with a universal heart. In particular, she is drawn to smart and timely women’s fiction, as well as absorbing, character-driven mysteries and thrillers – both, ideally, with a little edge. She has a weird obsession with, what she calls, “child in jeopardy lit” and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines. On the YA side, she is interested in coming-of-age stories that possess a confident voice and characters I can’t stop thinking about.

“I owe my love of books to the librarian of my childhood bookmobile, who, after I had worked my way through The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, lifted the velvet rope and let me in to the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gifted me Cat’s Cradle, Wuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my 15th birthday. In 2002, I got my start in publishing at a Chicago-based literary agency and while there, I successfully placed numerous manuscripts that have gone on to become critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling novels. I love working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revisions) and am committed to the stories my clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers the build. Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, I’m all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are – parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Veronica Park of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 9.58.31 PM.pngVeronica Park is a literary agent and marketing consultant with Corvisiero Agency.

She is also an author and journalist with more than ten years of experience writing and editing for publication.

She graduated with a BA in print journalism with an emphasis in linguistics and business marketing from Brigham Young University and went on to expand her writing skills as a broadcast journalist and independent film producer. In publishing, she has finally found an arena that requires her entire assortment of professional skills, while allowing her to read and write every single day.

Favorite Categories/Genres:

Young Adult and New Adult:
— anything with a unique voice
— particularly romantic and/or LGBT at the moment
— likes YA horror

Adult Fiction:
— open to many genres and areas
— particularly Romance in all sub-genres
— no science fiction or fantasy for adults

Nonfiction:
— seeks material that is funny and/or centered upon current events and controversial issues. (Because real life is funny…and full of issues.)

Middle Grade:
— emphasis on diversity, high concept ideas and graphic novels.

Picture Books:
— She is taking pitches for picture books on behalf of co-agent Marisa Corvisiero. These pitches can for text-only submissions, or author-illustrator submissions.

In particular, Veronica loves: High concept stories that sneakily illustrate real issues (such as: feminism in any era, racial and/or cultural identity, LGBTQIA as a fact of life, niche club memberships, social ethics, etc.), romances that make you laugh out loud and deeply love–or love to hate–some of the characters, gender swapping and/or seriously twisted fairytale retelling. Plotting and pacing are VERY important, but character development is MOST important.

Thoughts on Romance: Preferably, romances should be realistic (none of that “love at first sight” malarkey, or zero-mutual-respect fauxmance. Lust at first sight…is realistic, let’s be honest.) Pro feminist and pro consent, pro gender role swapping. Bonus points for princesses rescuing knights–i.e. modern day heroines that inspire teenage girls to be more badass.

Themes to avoid: controlling boyfriends (unless your story is clearly anti), werewolves, vampires or zombies (unless you’ve somehow found a new spin I haven’t seen), Mary Sue heroines (look it up), edge for the sake of edge, or characters who do things for reasons which psychology can’t explain.