Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Anna Michels of Sourcebooks

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 3.03.41 PMAnna Michels is an associate editor at Sourcebooks, an independent publisher located outside of Chicago. Over the course of her three years at Sourcebooks, she has worked on a wide variety of projects, most recently focusing on acquiring adult fiction and memoir.

She is looking for: 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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 2.41.42 PM.pngKerry Sparks is a literary agent who joined Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency in 2008, coming to book publishing after several years in the film and television industry.

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.

A few of her clients include NYT and International Bestselling author Jennifer Niven, National Book Award Finalist Carrie Arcos, illustrator and author Mark Pett, bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert, novelist Camille Perri, essayist and poet Shayla Lawson, and a robust list of Jennifers— Jennifer Mathieu, Jenny Lundquist, Jennifer Gray Olson, and Jenny Torres Sanchez, to name a few.

Kerry grew up in the woods of Oregon as the extroverted early bird in a family of introverted night owls, and, as a middle child, learned how to negotiate while keeping the peace at a young age. She graduated with honors from California State University, Los Angeles with a degree in English, where she also published short stories and wrote and produced plays. After a decade in Manhattan, Kerry now heads up the LGR Oregon outpost in Portland where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Kerry is the co-author of the hipster baby name book Hello, My Name Is Pabst and will gladly help clients name their characters upon request.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Jonathan Westmark of Albert Whitman & Company

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. Jonathan spent two years editing and writing children’s nonfiction, and in 2016 moved into trade at Albert Whitman.

He acquires fiction and nonfiction in the following categories:

  • Picture Books
  • Early Readers
  • Chapter Books
  • Middle Grade (contemporary, historical)
  • Young Adult (all genres)

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Emma Hintzen of Sourcebooks

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 1.15.07 PM.pngEmma Hintzen is an assistant editor at Sourcebooks.

She hails from Metro Detroit and earned her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University. Before moving to the Chicago area and diving into the world of KidLit, she worked in adult nonfiction at HarperCollins Christian in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Emma is a big fan of the Midwest.

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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Chrysa Keenon of CYLE Literary

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.

Chrysa holds a degree from Taylor University in Professional Writing with minors in Public Relations and Creative Writing. She began her agenting career as an intern at The Seymour Agency and gained experience in the editorial world at GenZ Publishing. She is the recipient of the Blue Seal Award for 1st place YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy fiction and 1st Place News and Feature Story from the Indiana Collegiate Press, among others. She has over 400 publications and currently works as a content writer for a Midwest bridal magazine. Chrysa enjoys puns, coffee, and traveling to oceanside cities.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 2.32.54 PM.pngAlice Speilburg founded Speilburg Literary Agency in 2012, bringing with her the editorial and business expertise she had developed in previous publishing positions at John Wiley & Sons and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. She is currently building her client list and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction.

Nonfiction:

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. I’d love to see more nonfiction proposals, so even if you think your nonfiction project is not quite what I’m looking for, please send it over so that I can take a look.” She’d love to see

  • Pop Science Narratives that inform some particular quirk of our human nature or the world around us, like STIFF, or ON TRAILS
  • Pop Science Narratives that tie closely with political discussions regarding the environment, social issues, etc., like INFERIOR, OVERRUN, or LOST MOUNTAIN
  • Nonfiction Narratives that weave history or science through memoir, like THE OREGON TRAIL, or SPINELESS
  • Nonfiction narratives that focus on the intersection of two — perhaps unlikely — subjects, like WAR AND WINE, or EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
  • Journalistic Narratives that focus on a specific place, thing, or circumstance to show something about our culture at large, like JANESVILLE, THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, GHOSTLAND, or WILD ONES

Fiction:

She represents women’s fiction, crime fiction, some fantasy (specifics below), historical fiction, mystery, thriller, action/adventure, and horror.

“In fiction, I’m looking for stories that sidestep into history, magic, mystery, horror, or adventure. My favorite sub-genres are feminism, narrative nonfiction, and upmarket genre fiction.” She would love to see

  • Historical Fiction that reimagines factual events, especially crimes or mysteries, like BURIAL RITES, THE BALLAD OF TOM DOOLEY, or THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT
  • Women’s Fiction that oscillates between modern and historical perspectives like THE DOLLHOUSE
  • Historical Fiction that sidesteps into magic, like OUTLANDER, A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES, or THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON
  • Fantasy based on American folklore, earthy and magical, like THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH
  • Fantasy that contains mythical elements, like THE BIRD KING, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, or THE BEAR & THE NIGHTINGALE
  • Adventure Fantasy with fresh and unique magic, like A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, THE BOOK OF DUST
  • Police Procedural Mysteries that are grounded in both a unique investigator and an evocative setting like the ARMAND GAMACHE series and the ALEX MCKNIGHT series
  • Psychological Thrillers that border on horror with smart female protagonists, like IN A DARK, DARK WOOD

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lindsay Smith of Speilburg Literary

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.

Lindsey got her start in the publishing industry as an author. After her own publishing success, she started working with other writers to help launch their books and shape their careers. To date, Lindsey has worked with over 1,000 authors and negotiated book deals even before becoming an agent. Her unique perspective helps shape her passion for the industry and her role as an advocate for her clients.

Formerly a publicist and hailing from the world of self-publishing, Lindsey understands the importance of branding, and she works with each client not only to sell a book but to build a career.