The 2023 Writing Workshop of San Francisco: April 14-15, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2016, 2018, and 2021 events in San Francisco, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Writing Workshop of San Francisco — an online “How to Get Published” writing event on April 14-15, 2023. (Writers are welcome to attend virtually from everywhere and anywhere.)

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited online “seats” at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writing Workshop of San Francisco!

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 WWSF is an Online Conference, on April 14-15. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special two-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on April 14-15, 2023. In other words, it’s two days full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome. And even though this is the “San Francisco” Writing Workshop, make no mistake — writers from everywhere are welcome to attend virtually. Our WDW writers conferences have helped dozens of writers find literary agent representation — see our growing list of success stories here.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into two days of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the online classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents online to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s 2023 WWSF agent & editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Jane Chun (Janklow & Nesbit)
  • literary agent Stephanie Winter (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Rebecca Eskildsen (Writers House)
  • literary agent Lauren Hall (Folio Literary)
  • literary agent Mariah Stovall (Trellis Literary)
  • literary scout Rae Loverde (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Sandy Lu (Book Wyrm Literary)
  • literary agent Caroline Trussell (Metamorphosis Literary)
  • literary agent Maria Alcantara (Arthouse Literary)
  • literary agent Lily Dolan (United Talent Agency)
  • literary agent Dani Segelbaum (Carol Mann Agency)
  • literary agent Beth Marshea (Ladderbird Literary)
  • literary agent Kayla Cichello (Upstart Crow Literary)
  • literary agent Rachel McCain (Gold Dust Literary)
  • literary agent Elisa Moles (Painted Fire Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Aimee Ashcroft (Brower Literary)
  • literary agent Carlie Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Darlene Chan (Linda Chester Associates)
  • literary agent Reeves Hamilton (Vertical Ink Agency)
  • literary agent Emily Williamson (Williamson Literary)
  • literary agent Keir Alekseii (Azantian Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Jessica Felleman (Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Kortney Price (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent James Mustelier (The Bent Agency)
  • literary agent Maria Vicente (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Amaryah Orenstein (Go Literary)
  • literary agent Renée C. Fountain (Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary)
  • literary agent Bonnie Swanson (The Purcell Agency)
  • editor Gabbi Calabrese​​ (Sourcebooks)
  • literary agent Anjanette Barr (Dunham Literary)
  • literary agent Jennifer Chen Tran (Folio Literary)
  • literary agent Kristen Terrette (Martin Literary Management)
  • literary agent Paul Levine (Paul Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Eva Scalzo (Speilburg Literary)
  • literary agent Zabe Ellor (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Kat Kerr (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Thomas (Serendipity Literary)
  • literary agent Rachel Altemose (Salky Literary Management)
  • and more agents to come.

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops. Contact Brian at WDWconference@gmail.com to register.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 WWSF is an Online Conference, on April 14-15. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 14-15, 2023):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: From Idea to Bestseller. Explore the life cycle of a book from creation, to query, to publication, to publicity, to sales. We will have an interesting discussion about the various ways that agents and authors come together and how they work as a team to shape a career, especially when they team up after a first book is already with a publisher.

10:45 – 11:45: Info-Dumping vs Infolding. Anna Keesey coined the term “infolding” to refer to that process by which we deepen our characters through reflection and recollection. Unfortunately, many people conflate this process with infodumping, which interrupts the natural flow of storytelling and breaks character. In this presentation Keir goes deeper into these definitions and demonstrates the difference between the two.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: Query Dos and Don’ts. The query letter is often the first point of contact between writers and agents. In this session, agent instructor Eva Scalzo will present the query letter basics every writer should know.

2:45 – 3:45: How to Write a Winning Book Proposal. Learn about all the components of a book proposal and how they work in concert to create a compelling argument for your nonfiction book.

4:00 – 5:00: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Understanding Both Paths. Agent instructor Anjanette Barr has experience in both publishing spheres and will talk about the pros and cons of each, as well as the option authors have today of being a “hybrid author” by utilizing both worlds.

* * * * *

SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 2023

9:30 – 10:30: Unwrapping the Story: Using Layered Subplots and Mythical Themes for Rich and Satisfying Storytelling. This session explores the use of subplot by examining three basic plot types–The Quest, Unrequited Love and Good vs Evil– and how they can be used together to create fully formed plots and characters. Attendees will leave with several tools they can use in adding depth to their storytelling in screen, novels, memoir or short fiction.

10:45 – 11:45: Tricks to Creating a One-Page Synopsis. Agents often ask for a synopsis along with a query letter, but so many writers have no idea where to begin. This class will teach you what should and shouldn’t go into a synopsis and how it differs from a summary/pitch.

11:45 – 1:15: Break

1:15 – 2:30: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission.

2:45 – 3:45: Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from WWSF attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

4:00 – 5:00: Your Novel Could Be a Movie: Adapting a Book to Film. 80% of what Hollywood produces these days is an adaptation from an intellectual property, but how does a novelist make this leap to film successfully? This class will give an overview of how to think visually for the screen, and what “kind” of adaptation is right for your book.

Agent pitches and critique consultations overlap with Saturday sessions. The schedule of presentation topics below is subject to change and updates:

(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here.)

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Jane Chun is a literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit. 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. Learn more about Jane here.

Stephanie Winter is an associate agent at PS Literary Agency. Stephanie is primarily acquiring across three pillars: adult fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. She’s actively seeking titles with diverse and inclusive representation that offer smart, culturally aware, and enriching narratives. In fiction, she particularly enjoys commercial and upmarket projects (rom-coms, thriller/suspense, etc.) that offer millennial and/or queer-affirming perspectives. In nonfiction, she’s on the hunt for pop culture, cultural criticism, millennial business and finance, narrative nonfiction, how-to, and lifestyle projects. Overall, she’s looking for stories that will engage with and change the way we view the world around us. Learn more about Stephanie here.

Anjanette Barr is a Literary Agent at Dunham Literary, Inc. 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 nonfiction 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, or it could be a SF/F world that highlights virtues like empathy and self-sacrifice. 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. In nonfiction she is looking for well-researched biography written in beautiful literary prose, popular science and other disciplines titles that make lay-people enchanted and invested in topics previously over their heads, and memoir with the ability to connect diverse readers. She’s also interested in books that shed light on poverty and justice in a new way. She prefers picture books that are winsome and pleasant to read aloud. Particular interests of Anjanette’s are the exploration of culture, history, faith, myth, fine arts, and nature. Learn more about Anjanette here.

Mariah Stovall is a lterary agent with Trellis Literary. She is actively seeking writers with strong voices and intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives. She works on adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, essay collections and memoir. She’s most passionate about music, mental health/illness, Black America, linguistics, histories of objects and ideas, pop science, and deep dives into subcultures and social movements, but great writing can get her interested in any topic. Learn more about Mariah here.

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. “I’m looking for a range of commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction. In all genres (but particularly in literary fiction) I prize economical prose, complex characters, steadily building tension, narrative gravity, and the momentary relief of dark humor, even (or especially) amid dire circumstances. In commercial fiction I’m looking for compact horror and mysteries with big hooks and intricate plotting. In sci-fi and fantasy I’m drawn to stories that are grounded in reality and have high stakes that touch on contemporary issues — more speculative fiction and alternate histories than high fantasy or space opera. In nonfiction I’m looking for books that give me a vivid look into subcultures and events I might not otherwise have had the chance to explore. In young adult and middle grade I’m interested in epic fantasy, grounded sci-fi, and irreverent retellings of fairy tales, classic myths, and historical events. I’m specifically seeking stories written from diverse perspectives that draw from underrepresented cultures.” Learn more about James here.

Jennifer Chen Tran is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management. For nonfiction: narrative or memoir (with a platform) that sheds light on an unseen corner in society or history. Prescriptive non-fiction with practical takeaways, cookbooks with a unique angle or narratives centered on culinary life (see David Chang’s Eat a Peach), lifestyle titles (see Kate Oliver’s The Modern Caravan), humorous or visually-driven projects, and business books that read like memoir. Big idea books that shift how we perceive or navigate the world. For fiction: middle-grade and Young Adult with heart and humor or visually-driven elements (see Remy Lai’s Pie in the Sky), contemporary fiction that braids together issues of social significance and identity (see Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek). Learn more about Jennifer here.

Rachel Altemose (she/hers) is a literary agent with Salky Literary Management. She has a burgeoning list of picture book, middle grade, young adult, narrative/serious nonfiction, and literary fiction authors. 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. Learn more about Rachel here.

Darlene Chan is a literary agent with Linda Chester Literary Agency. Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC, women’s fiction, literary fiction, chick lit/rom-com, crime fiction, pop culture, narrative nonfiction, and nonfiction books on film and the entertainment industry. She’s not seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, family saga, children’s/YA or screenplays that have been turned into novels. Learn more about Darlene here.

Renee C. Fountain is a literary agent, publishing industry veteran, a reviewer for Kirkus and New York Journal of Books, and a book scout for The CW Network. She is the president of Gandolfo, Henlin and Fountain Literary. Renee is looking for all types of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction. She prefers: thrillers, horror/dark fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, humor, science fiction, pop culture, memoirs, and narrative/commercial. Learn more about Renee here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary. In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance novels (all subgenres except inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy novels. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction. She is interested in submissions from diverse authors. Learn more about Eva here, as well as her specific interests and what is seeking from writers.

Lily Dolin represents clients in both fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she is drawn to dark and offbeat humor, gripping narratives, strong commercial hooks, and nuanced female perspectives. For nonfiction, she is looking for short story collections and memoirs that are funny, outrageous, shocking, emotional, or all of the above. She also enjoys true crime and pop culture. Wishlist: Upmarket, book club fiction, dark fiction, literary fiction, true crime, memoir, essay collections, select mystery. The next Mona Awad or Alexandra Kleeman! She is not looking for historical fiction or thrillers. Learn more about Lily here.

Zabé Ellor is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. He represents middle grade in various genres and young adult novels in all genres. In adult fiction, his first love is science fiction & fantasy. He is also looking for commercial and upmarket contemporary fiction, especially projects that contain elements of literary mystery and thriller, or voice-driven projects that would make a fun beach read. He is interested in graphic novel projects for all age groups. In nonfiction, he wants proposals for books about science and history that teach and entertain in equal measure. “If you want to dive deeply into an intriguing quirk of our world—and can do so with voice, wit, and an eye for the human—I want to see your proposal! As a former evolutionary biology/Renaissance literature major, my interests are wide, but I’ll always be interested in projects about fossils. Show me your platform and your passion for the subject. Also, Diversity is incredibly important to me. I strongly encourage marginalized authors to self-identify, if they are comfortable, especially if their identity is related to their project.” Learn more about Zabe here.

Jessica Felleman is a literary agent with Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. Jessica represents a range of creators, loves fresh stories about magic, and looks for commercial and literary fiction featuring underserved voices, unforgettable places, and complicated families. She is especially looking for fiction that balances on the edge of genre—particularly science fiction and fantasy. Jessica has a soft spot for stories set in Los Angeles and New England, the weird and strange, and characters who make mistakes, even if they can’t fix them. Jessica specializes in pop culture nonfiction and prescriptive titles that offer realistic advice or new perspectives to help readers better understand themselves and the world, as well as humor, cookbooks, and narrative nonfiction about science, history, and psychology that engages with contemporary conversations. Learn more about Jessica here.

Kortney Price is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. “I work primarily on children’s books — stories from board book up through young adult. My tastes in stories are pretty broad, but here’s a rundown of what I’m most excited about seeing in my inbox.  I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. I would love to see a vast array of characters and own voices writers writing them. Because of my experience working with the special needs community, I’m especially excited for books featuring all of those uniquely special brains or bodies that don’t operate like everyone else’s.” Kortney seeks all ages of children’s nonfiction and fiction, including picture book, graphic novel, early reader, middle grade, young adult. Learn more about Kortney here.

Elisa Moles is a literary agent with Painted Fire Literary Agency.  She is seeking: Especially interested in upmarket fiction. “In one word, what defines fantastic fiction narrative? Consequences. Consequences give structure. And stories with cohesive and creative structures, true to each writer’s background and voice, stand the test of time beyond the trendy topics and gimmicks of the day. I especially love psychologically complex characters. I’m looking for distinctive and compassionate voices who are telling organically unexpected stories in a wide variety of styles and genres. Surprise me.” Please do not pitch: nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, middle grade, YA, graphic novels, screenplays, westerns, horror, nihilist, or erotic work. No previously self-published works please. Learn more about Elisa here.

Kat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities. She is actively seeking to grow her client list and is particularly hungry for magical realism, literary leaning speculative and science fiction, women’s fiction, YA works with a lot of heart, and narrative nonfiction with something to say. In fiction, she seeks literary, upmarket, women’s, rom-coms, multicultural, speculative, magical realism, family saga, young adult, and select sci-fi and fantasy. In nonfiction, she seeks narrative nonfiction and journalistic nonfiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty. She also represents select biographies and memoirs. Learn more about Kat here.

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and founder of Williamson Literary. Nonfiction: history, sports, science, environmental, biographies, travel, culture, adventure, educational, motivational (i.e. work that informs or inspires social change or advocates for women and BIPOC). Give thought to your author platform and develop a strong marketing section for your book proposal. Adult Fiction:  upmarket, contemporary, literary, and commercial; character-driven women’s fiction, book club fiction, domestic suspense, adventure, international, upbeat, feel-good, dark and dangerous, fiction with fantastical elements or magical realism, poignant social commentaries, humor, satire, new takes on old tropes. Send us writing that sings rather than tells, take us on an emotional journey, build vivid scenes for us, craft strong voices and unusual and unforgettable settings (we love stories where place is a character too). Any subject is welcome. Learn more about Emily here.

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. 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. Kristen is seeking middle grade (all genres except sci-fi), young adult (all subgenres except sci-fi), women’s crime thriller, faith-based fiction and faith-based memoirs, and picture books by author-illustrators. Learn more about Kristen here.

Dani Segelbaum is a literary with the Carol Mann Agency. Dani joined the agency in 2021 as a literary agent and subrights manager. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks. In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and nonfiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices. Learn more about Dani here.

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. 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. Learn more about Maria here.

Reeves Hamilton is a literary agent with Vertical Ink Agency. Reeves Hamilton is a twenty-plus year veteran of the publishing industry. As an agent, he will specialize in science fiction, broadly defined as hard Sci-Fi and space opera, but also as Sci-Fi-adjacent and genre-bending upmarket commercial fiction. He is not seeking adult fantasy or young adult fiction. Learn more about Reeves here.

Gabbi Calabrese currently serves as an editorial assistant for Sourcebooks, where she works on books for kids of all ages. 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.” Learn more about Gabbi here.

Keir Alekseii is a literary agent with Azantian Literary Agency. Keir is seeking young adult and adult science fiction & fantasy, as well as young adult contemporary. She is only open to receiving queries from writers who identify as belonging to a marginalized or underrepresented group such as (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, ND, folks who speak English as a second language, and DIS people. She has a fondness for disaster bi/pan characters, being one herself, and appreciates seeing diverse representations of queerness. She’d also love to read more books with nonbinary characters and love that runs deep even without a romantic element (yes, that means aro characters and stories with friendships that don’t turn romantic are welcome). Learn more about Keir here.

Lauren Hall is a literary agent with Folio Literary.  Lauren is a literary agent, executive producer, and multiple #1 New York Times bestselling writer who comes alongside incisive thinkers and writers to bring ideas to life. “I am looking for commercial nonfiction, pop culture, pop-science/psychology, cultural criticism, memoir, humor, lifestyle, cookbooks, health and wellness, essay collections, illustrated/gift books, underrepresented voices, and select literary, upmarket, and historical fiction.” Learn more about Lauren here.

Maria Alcantara is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary Agency. Maria is looking for New Adult upmarket fiction, either character-driven or plot-driven. She loves to cozy up with a good mystery full of complicated characters and page-turning plot twists. If these novels are contemporary with Millennial leads then that’s even better. Maria is also looking for women’s contemporary or commercial romance and horror with inclusive voices of Latinos and the LGBTQ community. Maria loves reading stories of marginalized voices in modern-day settings that are relatable and swoonworthy. She also loves reading whirlwind escapist stories à la Emily in Paris. Learn more about Maria here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency. At the 2023 WDW online events, she will be acting as a literary scout — taking pitches at the workshop on behalf of one or multiple co-agents at her agency. Her co-agent Cameron McClure is seeking the following: projects that combine genre style plotting with literary quality writing. She’s up for anything speculative, and is interested in seeing science fiction and fantasy, mystery and suspense, horror, and projects with multi-cultural, international, environmental, and LGBTQIA+ themes. Learn more about Rae and her co-agents here.

Beth Marshea is a literary agent and is the owner of Ladderbird Literary Agency. In all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, Black writers, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more Non-binary and Ace representation across categories. Beth loves deeply character driven stories that showcase joy, resilience, love, clever twists, exciting moments of action, thought provoking concepts, and really anything that can make her get deep into her emotions. She seeks various adult nonfiction, some young adult nonfiction, some middle grade nonfiction, and some picture book nonfiction. In adult fiction, she represents mainstream/commercial fiction, mysteries, thrillers and fantasy. In young adult fiction, she likes contemporary, mystery, thriller, and fantasy. She also seeks extremely select middle grade fiction and picture books. Learn more about Beth here. 

Rachel McCain is a literary agent with Gold Dust Literary. “I accept nonfiction, adult fiction, YA fiction, and children’s literature (fiction or nonfiction). I do not accept romance, erotica or religious/spiritual. I love nonfiction with a historical element (think Show Me a Hero). I absolutely love nonfiction stories that are unknown and/or overlooked. Dark and gritty stories are especially welcome (think Random Family and Grand Central Winter.) In regards to fiction, I would love to find the next Alice Walker or James Baldwin. I would love something set in New York. I also love YA fiction with series potential – think Goosebumps, Babysitter’s Club, The Princess Diaries. I am looking for the next Meg Cabot and R.L. Stine. For children’s literature, I want something with diverse and unique characters.” Learn more about Rachel here.

Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary. Carlisle is looking for: high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you. Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities. Pitch her: Middle grade (any genre), Young adult (any genre), thriller, mystery, suspense, horror, women’s fiction, and popular/mainstream fiction. Learn more about Carlisle here.

Rebecca Eskildsen is a literary agent with Writers House. “I am actively growing my list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Across the board, I’m looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives. In middle grade, I’m mainly looking for contemporary books that make kids feel seen. Mostly I want to see fresh, engaging voices, particularly narratives with a sense of humor and a strong emotional core. For YA, I’m looking for some darker themes and twisty, gripping stories — give me your ambitious “unlikable” girls (ugh – I’ll like them). Separately, I’m looking for funny, slow-burn YA rom coms. I’m looking for a more limited variety of adult books. I’d love to have my inbox full of contemporary rom coms. I’m also looking for sagas about families and/or friends, of any age or topic, and I’m looking for 20-something coming-of-age stories. Regardless of whether you recognize your book in this MSWL, if you think we’ll be a good fit, feel free to pitch me!” Learn more about Rebecca here.

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary. Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling. Learn more about Amaryah here.

Sandy Lu is a literary agent with Book Wyrm Literary 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. Learn more about Sandy here.

Caroline Trussell is a literary agent with Metamorphosis Literary Agency. She is seeking: Romance (especially romantic comedies, enemies to lovers, and fake dating); Fantasy (particularly magical realism and urban fantasy); Young Adult (contemporary romance and mental health driven storylines); Middle Grade (with lots of heart and that discusses tough topics in an age appropriate way); In any genre, stories that feature dynamic characters with non-visible disabilities and/or mental illness. Learn more about Caroline here.

Kayla Cichello is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary. Kayla brings nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing to her agent position. She is open to all kid lit — picture books through young adult, as well as illustrators, and is searching for those voices that make her laugh and keep the pages turning. Some of her clients include author Ana Otaru, author of the upcoming MASQUERADE FOR GRANDPA (Atheneum/S&S, 2023) and author/illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of SUMMER OF THE TREE ARMY (Sleeping Bear, 2021). Learn more about Kayla here.

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 novels, and young adult novels (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. Learn more about Aimee here.

Bonnie Swanson is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency. She is seeking: 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!). In adult fiction, she seeks Romance, Speculative Fiction/Suspense (think Dean Koontz), Humor (combine all three and now we’re talking!) Always accepting LGBTQ, #ownvoices, and BIPOC. She does not want any picture book submissions right now. Learn more about Bonnie here.

Kelly Thomas is a literary agent with Serendipity Literary. 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. 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. Learn more about Kelly here.

 

        More 2023 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open.

These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.

(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)

———

PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 WWSF and access to all workshops, all days. (You also get 10+ additional free pre-recorded webinars on writing and publishing.) As of late 2022, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals. There is no limit. Here are quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, one of the workshop’s former instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Writing Workshop of San Francisco attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?

Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get a phone/Zoom critique meeting with the faculty member. Options:

  • Psychological thrillers, horror, mysteries, suspense, general contemporary adult fiction; and lastly some romance and women’s fiction: Faculty member S.Z. Estavillo, a writing coach and former literary agent, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. 
  • Romance (all kinds): Faculty member Anna Harrington, an author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Women’s fiction, contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, young adult, and memoir: Faculty member Kimiko Nakamura, a literary agent and writing coach, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Thriller, suspense, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, spiritual writing: Faculty member James Rubart, an author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. 
  • Middle grade and children’s picture books: faculty member Denise McConduit, an author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime around the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you are submitting a picture book, make the submission 1,000 words or fewer, and it can or cannot include illustrations.
  • More critique options possibly forthcoming.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by PayPal or check or credit card. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the San Francisco workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

ONLINE: Writing Day Workshops plans both in-person and virtual/online conferences. The 2023 WWSF is an Online Conference, on April 14-15. Online events are easy and awesome, and the virtual events we’ve done thus far have received wonderful feedback. You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and understand we are keeping all aspects of a traditional in-person event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Zoom or phone. Learn all details about what it means to have a writers conference online.)

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: WDWconference@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check or credit card. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The WWSF will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the San Francisco workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal or CC refund]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already started edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writing Workshop of San Francisco.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Elisa Moles of Painted Fire Literary Agency

Elisa Moles is a literary agent with Painted Fire Literary Agency.

She is seeking: Especially interested in upmarket fiction. “In one word, what defines fantastic fiction narrative? Consequences. Consequences give structure. And stories with cohesive and creative structures, true to each writer’s background and voice, stand the test of time beyond the trendy topics and gimmicks of the day. I especially love psychologically complex characters. I’m looking for distinctive and compassionate voices who are telling organically unexpected stories in a wide variety of styles and genres. Surprise me.”

Please do not send: nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, middle grade, YA, graphic novels, screenplays, westerns, horror, nihilist, or erotic work.

A graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute, Elisa has fifteen years of distinctive experience coaching, developing, and elevating artists of all types. Her background in academia (with a doctorate in music performance and literature) has given her a comfort with diverse settings and voices, a critical eye, and an ability to “find the gap” in the marketplace for the written word. An agent must come to each writer on an individual basis, dependent upon their particular skills, personalities, needs, and aspirations. Working on art demands a tailored experience. This methodical process requires a true love for the hero’s journey that every artist travels. Elisa has a long history of editing and developing writers; currently, in the nonfiction sphere, she is an editor at The Collective, an online quarterly publication for musicians and artists that prizes critical writing, diverse thinking, and underrepresented voices. As a classical musician, Elisa has always understood what it takes for artist professionals to succeed; she has built Painted Fire to be an agency whose goal is not only to sell books, but to provide writers with the tools and community they need to maintain a lifestyle of creative productivity. There is a cacophony of content — a creative and empathetic representative acts to make sure the right work is heard above the noise.

“Needless to say, we are an equal opportunity agency and welcome submissions from all backgrounds, walks of life, and experience paradigms.”

No previously self-published works please.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Emily Williamson of Williamson Literary

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and founder of Williamson Literary, a small but vibrant and actively engaged literary agency in Baltimore, Maryland.

Emily Williamson represents a variety of projects in nonfiction and fiction. She is a native of New Jersey, graduated from American University (BA Anthropology) in 1997 and Johns Hopkins University (MA Writing) in 2012. She began her editing career in 2011 with Chrysalis Editorial* in Washington, DC. In 2016 she founded Williamson Literary, driven by the desire to help great writers achieve their publishing goals.

As a writer, she understands the investment of time and heart it takes to follow this challenging path. It is the core of Williamson Literary—to support the careers of dedicated writers who deserve to see their ideas and imaginings realized. Williamson Literary is also about building relationships: agent-author, agent-publisher, author-publisher.

In the past, Emily spent 13 years as an archaeologist traveling all over the US and abroad in search of many things…sometimes finding nothing. It is this varied, nomadic past that has influenced her own writing and her particular interests as an agent. Emily does other things. She is a painter (see Twitter page). She loves the outdoors, cuts her own firewood, and plays fantasy football. She’s one of those annoying people who can’t eat gluten; she binge-watches Netflix shows; loves to travel; and her preferred clothing season is Autumn.

Here’s what we currently represent:

Nonfiction: history, sports, science, environmental, biographies, travel, culture, adventure, educational, motivational (i.e. work that informs or inspires social change or advocates for women and BIPOC). Give thought to your author platform and develop a strong marketing section for your book proposal.

Adult Fiction:  upmarket, contemporary, literary, and commercial; character-driven women’s fiction, book club fiction, domestic suspense, adventure, international, upbeat, feel-good, dark and dangerous, fiction with fantastical elements or magical realism, poignant social commentaries, humor, satire, new takes on old tropes. Send us writing that sings rather than tells, take us on an emotional journey, build vivid scenes for us, craft strong voices and unusual and unforgettable settings (we love stories where place is a character too). Any subject is welcome.

If you’d like to address your query letter to a particular agent, visit our About page to learn more.

What we do Not represent:

The heavily partisan, inflammatory, or hateful
Children’s picture books, Middle Grade or Young Adult
Genre Romance or Erotica
Horror (as a strict genre, but we like classic horror elements)
Hard Science Fiction and High Fantasy (again as a strict genre, but we love out-of-this-world stories)

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amaryah Orenstein of Go Literary

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary.

Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling.

Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kortney Price of Belcastro Agency

Kortney Price is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency.

“I work primarily on children’s books — stories from board book up through young adult. My tastes in stories are pretty broad, but here’s a rundown of what I’m most excited about seeing in my inbox…

“I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. I would love to see a vast array of characters and own voices writers writing them. Because of my experience working with the special needs community, I’m especially excited for books featuring all of those uniquely special brains or bodies that don’t operate like everyone else’s.”

In Nonfiction:

Categories: PB, MG, YA, Graphic Novel

“How to” books for kids such as cooking, art, science, computers, mindfulness, handiness skills, wilderness skills, etc. I’m looking for a unique take on these kinds of books, especially one that evokes the imagination in some way.

Books for girls (or boys!) featuring body image, body changes, lifestyle, stress management/mindfulness or health

Picture books that introduce readers to new concepts such as baking, music, yoga, mindfulness, dance, etc.

In Fiction:

Categories: PB, Early Reader, Chapter Book, MG, YA, Graphic Novel

Board Books:

Simple, engaging, movement type books that introduce young readers to new things such as cooking, musical instruments, animals, etc.

Picture book specifics:

I love picture books that are either emotionally poignant or hilarious. I have a soft spot for unique retellings and holiday stories. Family traditions, love, self-acceptance and empowerment are also my favorites. Some of my favorites growing up were: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Heckedy Peg, Tacky the Penguin, and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.

Early Reader & Chapter Book specifics:

For early reader and chapter books, I am looking for just about anything. Amelia Bedelia was my all time favorite. Magic Tree house-type books are also a favorite. I love history in these stories and would love to see more books geared toward boys in this realm.

Middle Grade specifics:

In middle grade, I’m still more than a little obsessed with finding a wilderness survival story. Show me kid versus nature, whether it be mountains, desert islands, or jungle, I’m dying to find something in this realm. Otherwise I’m looking for super creepy horror, poignant contemporary, historical adventures and troublemakers on the space station type of sci-fi.

Young Adult specifics:

In young adult, I’m looking for the same kind of survival stories as I am in middle grade. Contemporary YA would be either lighthearted romance with a good dose of comedy, or a much more serious contemporary tackling topics that are much heavier such as dealing with trauma.

My MAIN wish in YA is for more horror, magical realism, psychological thriller, genre blending historical… basically all of the stories you avoid reading when home alone. I adore stories with a distinctly gothic feel, hauntings, psychological cat and mouse games, or other dark and twisty elements.

Fun facts about me:

My first ever job was showing cattle at the county fair for a cut of the winnings.
I have volunteered/worked in the special needs community since I was 9 years old. The first thing I taught was swim lessons.

I “played” 9 sports at various times growing up. I was never any good at any of them, but enjoyed dance, swim and track the most. I loved jazz and tap, swam the 400m IM and ran the 400m sprint.

I tell people I’m from Saint Louis, but I’m actually originally from a teeny farm town in Southern Illinois, about an hour’s drive east of the city.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Mariah Stovall of Trellis Literary

Mariah Stovall is a lterary agent with Trellis Literary.

Mariah joined Trellis Literary Management after agenting at Howland Literary and Writers House. Prior to that, she worked on the other side of things, at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and at Gallery Books.

She is actively seeking writers with strong voices and intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives. She works on adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, essay collections and memoir. She’s most passionate about music, mental health/illness, Black America, linguistics, histories of objects and ideas, pop science, and deep dives into subcultures and social movements, but great writing can get her interested in any topic.

Mariah hopes to learn something from everything she reads, whether that’s a new possibility for how to structure a novel or a piece of history she wasn’t taught in school. She gravitates toward outsider characters and weird, dark, challenging stories that are obsessive in content and craft. She has a hands-on, collaborative approach to editing, and loves helping writers shape their projects for publication. She is especially passionate about advocating for authors from underrepresented and marginalized and minoritized groups (including writers without MFAs).

Mariah is a graduate of Pitzer College, of the Claremont Colleges, where she studied English and World Literature with a minor in Linguistics. She has written fiction and nonfiction for Ninth Letter, Hobart, Joyland, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Catapult, The Paris Review, Poets & Writers, Literary Hub and more, and volunteered with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

Mariah’s favorite non-client authors: Hanif Abdurraqib, Percival Everett, Leslie Jamison, Han Kang, Angie Kim, Raven Leilani, Valeria Luiselli, Ottessa Moshfegh, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Helen Oyeyemi, Mary Roach and Sanjena Sathian.

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.