Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sandy Lu of Book Wyrm Literary Agency

Sandy Lu founded Book Wyrm Literary Agency after working as a literary agent for more than a decade at other boutique agencies, including Peter Rubie Literary Agency, Anderson Literary Management, and most notably, the L. Perkins Agency.

Book Wyrm Literary Agency is actively looking for new and exciting voices in the following:

In fiction: literary and commercial fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, family saga, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA.

In nonfiction: narrative non-fiction, history, biography, science, business, psychology, pop culture, and food writing.

We do not represent poetry, screenplays, picture books, and books about parenting, religion/spirituality, and sports.

Born and raised in Taiwan, Sandy’s family moved to New York in her teens, so she understands the struggles of immigrants and those who straddle two cultures all too well.

Sandy holds BAs in psychology and sociology from Queens College, with minors in music, business, and Japanese. Prior to becoming an agent, she attended the Ph.D. Program in Social and Personality Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center and worked as a business/operations manager in the theater industry.

Sandy’s areas of study and work experience greatly inform her interest in submissions. In fiction, she is seeking stories that will draw her in with a unique voice, make her miss her bedtime with a thrilling plot, and characters that will stay with her long after she turns the last page. Bonus points if you can make her laugh out loud or unable to hold back tears in public. Sandy especially loves historical fiction and anything dark, twisted, or with a supernatural bent.

In nonfiction, she’s looking for projects that can make connections about different topics in an unexpected way, explicate complex research for a general audience, introduce the reader to cutting-edged science or previously little known historical facts and figures, teach us new ways to think or clever skills that can improve our daily life, and expand our knowledge and understanding of the world—past, present, and future

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jane Chun of Janklow & Nesbit

Jane Chun is a literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit.

Prior to working at J&N, Jane worked on a freelance project for HG Literary and interned at Writers House and Maximum Films & Management.

Jane is particularly interested in stories that center marginalized communities and prose that is cinematic and atmospheric with good rhythm. In both fiction and nonfiction, she is drawn towards compelling, fresh voices that make her feel as though the writer is in the room with her, telling her their story with intimacy as if they were already acquainted. Regardless of how plot-driven a story is, characters with rich inner worlds and emotional depth are a must for her.

For fiction, she is seeking commercial, upmarket, and literary works in both adult and MG/YA about the search for and rebuilding of identity, diaspora, family and community, and examinations of power in relationships. She is also looking for fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction that delve into sharp social commentary and have meticulous worldbuilding and settings that don’t feel like Western Europe. For historical fiction, she likes hidden histories and anything that is set in a time or place she’s not familiar with or focuses on a community that has been often overlooked if it’s a time/place she knows.

In terms of nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs, essay collections, and narrative nonfiction with a nuanced, intersectional approach and similar themes to her interests in fiction. She also is interested in books about food, travel, pop culture, and cultural criticism that dive deeply and thoughtfully into culture and traditions.

In addition to traditional prose, she is very interested in graphic novels and nonfiction. She is looking for stylistically engaging, unique art that feels either nostalgic without being derivative or fresh and boundary-pushing.

She is not the right person for picture books, prescriptive nonfiction, self-help, religion/spirituality books, romance, commercial thrillers, hard sci-fi, poetry, or short story collections.

Jane is a native New Yorker and attended NYU where she majored in History and minored in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology; Creative Writing; and Spanish. She returned to NYU shortly after graduating to receive her M.S. in Publishing with distinction.

Jane is part of the 2022 Literary Agents of Change Mentorship Program cohort and the American Association of Literary Agents (AALA).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rachel Altemose of Salky Literary Management

Rachel Altemose (she/hers) is a literary agent and has been with Salky Literary Management since its inception in 2019. Prior to SLM, she interned at Eden Street Literary Agency and attended the Columbia Publishing Course.

She has a burgeoning list of picture book, middle grade, young adult, narrative/serious nonfiction, and literary fiction authors, and also assists Jesseca, Eryn, Kate, and Charlotte with SLM and CSLA clients.

Rachel is a lifelong lover of storytelling and graduated from Vassar College with degrees in English and drama. She is interested in a diverse array of genres (children’s through adult) and is particularly keen on narratives with unique voices, diverse perspectives, immersive settings, complicated familial relationships, young/twenty-something protagonists, magical realism/surrealism, or experimental style.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Thomas of Serendipity Literary

Kelly Thomas is a literary agent with Serendipity Literary.

Kelly brings seventeen years of sales and business expertise to the literary world as a champion for writers. Kelly is a Certified Copy Editor who has a Bachelor’s degree in English (Literature) from Pace University. She is an associate member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and a member of the Editorial Freelance Association. Prior to joining Serendipity, she provided manuscript analysis for the D4EO Literary Agency. She is a panelist for the New York Women in Film & Television’s (NYWIFT) ‘The Business of Adaptations Panel’ program and a trainer for the ‘Next Bestseller Workshops.’ Kelly has participated in Pitch Slams for writing conferences, including ThrillerFest, Crimebake, and The Writer’s Digest Conference. She has sat on ‘Ask the Agent’ panels for the AWP Conference and Writing Barn’s ‘Courage to Create’ program and a ‘First Pages Critique’ panel for the Carnegie Center for Literary and Learning’s Books-in-Progress Conference. Kelly is a published poet with publications in Tales for the Disenchanted (2008) and Penumbra Art & Literature (2015). She has served as an editor for the literary arts magazine Pen & Brush and as a writing coach for the academic consulting company Brattlestreet. Kelly works as a freelance editor and ghostwriter in her free time.

What She’s Looking For:

Kelly considers herself a generalist who is drawn to lyrical writing and strong voices. She is interested in nonfiction (narrative nonfiction, memoirs, true crime, self-help, business, travel writing, photography, medical, STEM, psychology, health and fitness, music, food & drinks, cooking) and adult fiction (psychological thrillers, suspense, comedies).

She enjoys working with musicians, television personalities, athletes, and other pop culture figures to help translate their stories or expertise onto the page. 

She also represents children’s books including picture books, middle grade, and young adult. She enjoys fast-paced, plot-driven fiction with twists, turns, and jaw-dropping moments. She is drawn to stories about leadership, overcoming adversity, and beating the odds. Stories that are told from a unique psychological vantage point are always of interest.

The truth is often stranger than fiction, so Kelly is actively looking for the next great true crime manuscript with a murderous and methodical plot. She loves multi-layered protagonists who struggle between what is right and wrong, and anti-heroes who are villainous but endearing at the same time. Some of her favorite books that perfectly master this include Dearly Departed Dexter, You, American Psycho, Fight Club, Psycho, Interview With the Vampire, Dracula, and My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kristen Terrette of Martin Literary Management

Kristen Terrette is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management.

Kristen is a literary manager excited to build her list featuring titles in middle grade, young adult, female-driven crime thrillers, faith-based books, and the occasional picture book with an author/illustrator.

She has a BA in Early Childhood Education and MA in Theology and Religious Studies which led her into children’s ministry for many years. Eventually, her lifelong love of books and authors drew her back to her original dream of entering the publishing world. Kristen is a multi-published author and freelance writer. She’s held such positions as the Blog Manager for a national women’s ministry and the Social Media Manager for a publishing house. All these components landed her a spot in the coveted Writers House Intern Program. There, she received valuable hands-on agenting and publishing experience which she brings into her new position. 

Kristen has long been a voice for diversity. She’s written extensively on topics of racial reconciliation and unity and is a facilitator of groups around these topics in her church. In all her focused genres, she welcomes books with BIPOC or disabled main characters and diverse friendships. She believes books change people in all the best ways and that every child should see themselves in the pages.

Middle Grade (All subgenres except Sci-fi): Kristen hearts Middle Grade. She would love to see books tackling themes like abandonment, bullying, loneliness, comparison, divorce, and body image but done so by instilling hope, growth, and healing. Send her the creepy, horrifying, supernatural, fantastical, historical, and contemporary. She is ready to see it all.

Young Adult (All subgenres except Sci-fi): Kristen’s background in writing YA and her extensive reading in this genre has given her a great love and understanding of it. Grab her attention within the first couple of pages. Send her books with first loves, unique friendships, interesting and/or challenging family dynamics, and hard-hitting subject matter (race relations, suicide, abuse, divorce, etc.) but leave her with a satisfying (not necessarily happy!) ending.

Women’s Crime Thriller: Kristen loves a good thriller with a woman main character, so send her the smart, tough, and brave lady crime solvers. If she can’t figure out what’s going to happen next or what the ending will be, you’ve gotten her attention. 

Faith-Based Fiction and Memoirs: Kristen loves a good redemption or forgiveness story, a historically accurate saga, a clean and beautiful, yet realistic love story, or a memoir that has her crying and laughing within the span of a few pages. Surprise her with the beauty of God’s grace. 

Picture Books with Authors/Illustrators: Picture books are an important part of establishing a love for literature at an early age, though, at this time, Kristen is only looking for authors who are also illustrators. If your work fits these criteria, she’d love to see it.

Kristen is not a good fit for Science Fiction (even in MG or YA), books with any political agenda, extremely foul-mouthed characters, or gratuitous sex scenes.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance Anjanette Barr of Dunham Literary

Anjanette Barr is a Literary Agent at Dunham Literary, Inc. She has been working in various branches of the writing and publishing world for over a decade, and being an agent is the perfect way to synthesize her interests and talents.

She spent the pandemic earning a certificate in Literary Representation from UCLA Extension. She also holds a B.A. in Japanese Studies from William Jewell College.

Anjanette lives with her family of six in Juneau, Alaska.

Member:

– Association of American Literary Agents
– Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
– Alaska Writers Guild
– Catholic Writers Guild

What she’s seeking:

Anjanette has an eclectic reading taste and a love for literature that “baptizes the imagination” (C.S. Lewis) and begs to be shared. She loves genre and popular fiction with substance, and literary and non-fiction titles infused with living ideas that leave readers with a new desire to immerse themselves in the subject matter.

This could look like an historical fiction that uses captivating detail and relatable characters to bring times-gone-by to life (My Antonia, Outlander), or it could be a SFF world that highlights virtues like empathy and self-sacrifice (Lord of the Rings, Song of Albion, The Sparrow). A romance set in a place so vivid she feels she’s traveled there and wants to take up the protagonists hobbies will definitely get her attention (The Winter Sea).

In nonfiction she is looking for well-researched biography (Unbroken) written in beautiful literary prose, popular science and other disciplines titles that make lay-people enchanted and invested in topics previously over their heads (The Elements by Theodore Grey, Freakonomics), and memoir with the ability to connect diverse readers (If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende). She’s also interested in books that shed light on poverty and justice in a new way (Evicted by Matthew Desmond).

She prefers picture books that are winsome and pleasant to read aloud (Blueberries for Sal, Brigid’s Cloak by Bryce Miligan, Miss Rumphius). Humor is great when it helps tell the story (The Book with No Pictures, Good Dog Carl).

Particular interests of Anjanette’s are the exploration of culture, history, faith, myth, fine arts, and nature. She has a soft spot for gothic novels (​Rebecca, Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield) and magical realism (The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey). As a mother of four, she’s is especially fond of books that can be read aloud and shared with the whole family (Children of the Longhouse, Anna Hibiscus, Gregor the Overlander).

Anjanette is not a good fit for: Horror (unless it’s gothic or quite mild), Erotica, True Crime, Sports, or Politics.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Gabbi Calabrese of Sourcebooks

Gabbi Calabrese currently serves as an editorial assistant for Sourcebooks, where she works on books for kids of all ages. She received her MFA from The New School with a dual concentration in Fiction and Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Before joining Sourcebooks, she interned for a number of literary agencies, including Triada US and Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. Currently living in NYC, when she isn’t reading or writing her own stories, she can be found cooking new recipes, watching competition shows, and planning her next Halloween costume.

She is seeking: I am interested in picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction of all genres except historical fiction, as well as adult romance, thrillers, and horror. I would love to see work in the YA/adult crossover space as well as graphic novel pitches. I am particularly interested in books by marginalized voices.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Bonnie Swanson of The Purcell Agency

Bonnie Swanson is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency.

Bonnie is 20+ year elementary teacher. She shares her love of literature with her students and even tests out her own books on them. (And everyone thinks agents are tough!) Using her experience as a teacher, she has been a mentor for many authors through the WriteMentor program started by author Stuart White. Some of her mentees have gone on to publishing and best-selling success with their titles.

A short sample of her favorite authors are Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, S.A. Stovall, Suzanne Collins, Jen Mann, Danielle Paige, Christopher Paolini, Neal Schusterman, and Ally Condi. She’ll try just about anything, but romance is her true jam and the HEA (happily ever after) is a must! 

She is an active member of SCBWI and a co-rep for her local chapter. When she’s not teaching, reading, or spending time with her three kids & husband, she’s busy creating her own stories. You can also find her covered in fur and playing with her three cats Milo, Winter and, Mira—when they tell her to. She is seeking:

PICTURE BOOKS: not looking for any PBs right now

Young adult & new adult: Issue driven, romance (anything but erotica), speculative fiction, magical realism, paranormal, rom-com, suspense, mystery. (If it’s not on this list and you think I’d like it, pitch it!)

ADULT: Romance, Speculative Fiction/Suspense (think Dean Koontz), Humor (combine all three and now we’re talking!)

Always accepting LGBTQ, #ownvoices, and BIPOC

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary

Maria Vicente is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency.

Maria represents bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults. Her favorite books to work on show readers something new about the real world or invite them into new worlds they never want to leave.

In her 8 years at PSLA, Maria has launched the careers of many authors and illustrators and is known for being an early advocate of the growing graphic novel market in trade publishing. With a B.A. in English from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from Western University, she puts her teaching background to use hosting workshops about the publishing industry and supporting her fellow agents at PSLA. Maria lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore.

Maria is acquiring fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. She is looking for: literary fiction and upmarket speculative fiction (fantasy, magical realism, horror); young adult novels; middle grade novels; illustrated picture books; illustrated graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and graphic nonfiction; and narrative nonfiction for kids, teens, or adult readers about culture, arts and entertainment, history, and science topics. She welcomes and encourages submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled creators.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Aimee Ashcraft of Brower Literary

Aimee Ashcraft is the Agency Operations Manager & Literary Agent at Brower Literary.

Aimee is looking for upmarket and literary fiction, specifically historical fiction, women’s fiction, and YA (all genres). She loves books that pull her in, immersing her in a world she can’t escape until the final sentence. She is looking for original voices and compelling, complex female characters.

Aimee has loved books since the days of sneakily reading under her desk in elementary school. Thankfully, reading is no longer a punishable offense, and she is busy seeking out stories that feature all-encompassing worlds and compelling female characters. She loves books that are told from an original point of view and are more addictive than a good Netflix binge. Aimee received her BA from Transylvania University and her MA from NYU. She is now based in New York City and joined Brower Literary & Management in 2016 as an intern, where she is now thrilled to be representing authors as a literary agent. In addition to being a full-time literary agent, Aimee also assists in the operations of the agency as a whole.