Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 3.19.47 PM.pngMary Cummings is a literary agent at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises.

Mary represents fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry for children and teens, from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, including contemporary and historical, humor, mystery, fantasy, and multicultural. She is particularly seeking middle grade novels as well as picture books with strong story arcs, a spunky central character, and warmth, humor, or quirky charm. In literary nonfiction, her areas of interest include lyrically written science, arts, nature, mindfulness, and social awareness issues.

Houses she’s sold books to include, among others: Little, Brown; Knopf; Abrams; F,S,G; Henry Holt; Holiday House; Imprint; and Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster.

Learn more about her: cummingskidlit.com and amsterlit.com

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.35.49 AM.pngAlexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

Within young adult, the genres she is most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but also stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are her favorite, as are stories that include space and science. She loves stories that include diverse and risk-taking subjects, including culture, race, sexuality, and identity.

She also seeks all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Books with or without pictures intrigue her, and she is most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore.

Concerning adult fiction, she is looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels.  She seeks interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. Alexandra is open to most adult genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for her. 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 she looks for.

Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com and PR Manager for a Chicago circus. She previously worked as an Acquisitions Editor for an award-winning anthology and holds a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing from Columbia College Chicago.

Get to Know an Agency Assistant in Attendance: Lesley Sabga of The Seymour Agency

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.43.20 PM.pngLesley Sabga is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency.

She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents. She wants to hear pitches for happily-ever-after romance, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, young adult with a fresh voice (both contemporary and sci-fi/fantasy), science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, picture books (especially author-illustrators), cookbooks, middle grade (all kinds), narrative nonfiction, and memoir.

Lesley is a graduate of the editorial program at the University of Chicago and also hold a BA in English from the University of Kentucky. She has experience working in two publishing houses, Entangled Publishing and Jolly Fish Press, and is currently working at The Seymour Agency. She is also a full-time freelancer for the Editorial Freelance Association and the Chartwell Literary Group.

Lesley is an avid reader and a constant occupant of local coffeeshops and bookstores. She wakes up every day thankful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for literature professionally.

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.

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

Gift books: 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

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: Kelly Van Sant of D4EO Literary

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 4.21.15 PM.pngKelly Van Sant is a literary agent with D4EO Literary.

Kelly has nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She cut her teeth in New York working at esteemed literary agencies such as Writers House and Harold Ober Associates, where she developed an eye for compelling, emotionally resonant stories, honed her editorial skills, and soon grew adept at contract vetting and negotiation. After relocating to Minnesota, Kelly joined Llewellyn Worldwide as their Contracts Manager across all three imprints and then moved to Quarto Publishing Group where she led the contracts department. She is a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center, and also blogs about the publishing industry at Pub(lishing) Crawl and co-hosts their weekly podcast. She recently joined D4EO and is actively building her client list.

“I am seeking middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices and inclusive narratives.”