One of the things that makes our conference attendees most anxious–and one of the things they end up having the most fun with–is the Speed Dating with Agents event. All during the conference you will get to hear from the agents in sessions as they tell attendees who they are and what they’re looking for. On Saturday evening the Tri-Valley Writers will hold a ‘Practice Your Pitch; Cast Off Your Jitters‘ session you won’t want to miss…even if you aren’t nervous about pitching. Then on Sunday morning, the fun begins!
There are four separate Speed Dating groups of 51 minutes each, the first is from 9:00-9:51 a.m., the second hour is from 10:00-10:51 a.m., the third hour is from 11:00-11:51 a.m. and the final hour is from 12-12:51 p.m. Make your way to the Bayview Room no more than 5 minutes before your session begins. Due to the city fire Marshall regulations, you will NOT be allowed to line up prior to your hour time slot. There will be no advantage, since all Speed Dating attendees for that time slot will be let into the room at the same time.
Each agent will be seated at a table. The tables will be arranged alphabetically, around the circumference of the room. Get in the line forming in front of the agent you want to see. HINT: The longer the line, the more time you will spend waiting. Scan the room to find agents you want to see with shorter lines so you can see more of them. When you are not Speed Dating, you are encouraged to attend all the wonderful workshops that will be happening all morning or visit the onsite conference bookstore: Bookshop West Portal. During your THREE MINUTE PITCH you will be trying to convey the essence of your book and why you’re the best person to write it, quickly, allowing a response from the agent within your three allotted minutes. You may also use your three minutes to ask about whatever you need to know and start a relationship with them. (Also, if an agent wants to see your work or spend more time with you, you may be able to meet on Saturday or Sunday.) When the first bell rings, stop talking and let the agent speak. When the second bell rings, move on to the next agent’s line.
Please remember to speak quietly while you are waiting in line, as the agents must be able to hear each pitch. You may also wish to practice your pitch on your fellow attendees–quietly–while you wait. Bring the first page of your novel to show, if you wish, or a one-page description of your nonfiction book. Bring business cards. You may wish to share these things with the agents, but do respect the agent if he or she chooses not to accept anything from you. If anyone wants to see something, you’ll be told what to send, and how.
We frequently tell writers to imagine what would happen if their book was turned into a movie. And if that movie was on TV, what would TV Guide write about it? That’s your “perfect pitch.”
You may go from one agent to your next choice to your next choice during your hour. When the hour is up you will leave the Bayview Room out the front door. Remember, manners count.
LIST OF AGENTS AT THE 2020 SAN FRANCISCO WRITERS CONFERENCE:
ALICIA BROOKS – Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, began her career over twenty years ago in book publishing as an editorial assistant at Penguin USA. She worked her way up to an assistant editor position at Nan A. Talese/Doubleday where she worked with noteworthy authors, including Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, and Ian McEwan. Alicia then became an editor at Picador/St. Martin’s Press where she edited over 39 hardcover titles and several trade paper original titles, including Noelle Howey’s Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods–My Mother’s, My Father’s, and Mine, Nega Mezlekia’s award-winning Notes from the Hyena’s Belly, and Ben Brantley’s New York Times Book of Broadway. As an agent at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, she is looking for Memoir, Narrative Nonfiction, Self-Help, Pop Culture, Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, YA Fiction, Mystery/Crime, and Historical Fiction. Alicia is a graduate of Wellesley College with a B.A. in English and Philosophy and has a Master’s Degree in the Teaching of English from Columbia University. E-Mail: [email protected]
KARLY CASERZA – Fuse Literary, obtained her Business Marketing degree and has been a Freelance Graphic Designer for over 10 years. She has a deep love for characters with a strong voice and seeks out stories she can get lost in. Diversity in genre fiction is a major bonus. She specializes in middle grade and young adult genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary). [email protected]
MICHELE CRIM – Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management, a boutique agency based in New York City, represents authors such as Mark Bittman and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Cal Peternell and Mads Refslund, co-founder of Noma, and MBG recently signed Moby to do a cookbook for his new award-winning restaurant, Little Pine. They work with chefs, food, and lifestyle writers such as Deborah Madison, Sarah Britton, Tess Masters and many others. They also represent fiction and narrative nonfiction writers, worldwide.
KARYN FISCHER – Literary agent at Bookstop Literary, actively looking for YA and MG novels. Former indie bookseller. Wife & toddler mama. Identical twin. Lover of books, tea, wine, & pups.
RACHELLE GARDNER – As a literary agent she’s negotiated 200+ contracts with more than 20 publishers, and worked with more than 100 authors to bring their books to publication and build their careers. She’s been in publishing since 1995, worked in-house at two publishing companies, and edited books published by Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and many more. Nowadays she’s lucky to work at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Books and Such Literary Management
JENNIE KENDRICK – Red Fox Literary represents YA and MG fiction across all genres, but she has a special interest in historical, paranormal, magical realism/fabulism, and classic 90s teen horror.
LIZ KRACHT – joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates in the fall of 2010. She appreciates writing that has depth, an introspective voice, and is thematically layered. Having lived in cities such as New York, San Francisco and San Juan, Puerto Rico, she is compelled by multicultural themes and characters and is drawn toward strong settings. In fiction, she represents literary, commercial, women’s, thrillers, mysteries, historical, and crossover YA. In nonfiction, she is interested in high concept, health, science, environment, prescriptive, investigative, true crime, voice- or adventure-driven memoir, sexuality, spirituality, and animal/pet stories.
RACHEL LETOFSKY – Rachel is a graduate of the Humber Creative Book Publishing Program and the University of Toronto, where she specialized in English literature. She joined what was then The Cooke Agency in 2010. She frequently travels throughout North America to writers’ festivals and literary events to moderate panels, take part in quick-pitch sessions, and host workshops for authors. Rachel is actively seeking ground-breaking and heart-breaking middle grade and YA titles in all genres. She is drawn to works with a whimsical nature or a grounded, gritty edge in equal measure, though in either instance, unforgettable characters and original concepts are a must. She also has a natural soft spot for exquisite literary fiction. In non-fiction, Rachel is looking for narrative-driven memoirs, and anything quirky, life affirming or mind blowing. She is on Twitter at @rachelletofsky.
EM LYSAUGHT – Ladderbird Literary, is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She holds a B.A in Comparative Literature from Occidental College, a publishing certificate from NYU, an MLitt in Ancient Greek Monsters from The University of St Andrews in Scotland, and a handful of college credits from art schools across the US. She also draws comics about queer monsters being friends. She is looking for queer fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels for all age ranges.
DORIAN MAFFEI, Kimbereley Cameron & Assoc. – While she appreciates most fiction that traverses across multiple genres, she is especially interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling that sometimes veers on the weird. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page, and explores the peculiar within the mundane. Check out her Manuscript Wish List page to get a better understanding of the types of books she gravitates toward.
JILL MARR – is an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
She is interested in commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense and horror, women’s commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for non-fiction by authors who are getting their work published regularly and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Jill is looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of science, history, narrative non-fiction, sports, politics, current events, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor, music, and very select memoir.
LAURIE MCLEAN is a founding partner who represents adult genre fiction including romance, fantasy, mysteries, suspense, thrillers and science fiction, as well as middle-grade and young-adult children’s books. She looks for visceral writing, amazing world-building, relentless pacing, and characters that jump off the page. Query her at [email protected] and put “SFWC Request” in the subject line to avoid an auto-reject, @agentsavant, newsletter at FuseLiterary.com/newsletter. Fuse Literary Agency Website: Fuse Literary
MARY C. MOORE – She started an internship with with Kimberley Cameron & Associates in 2012, became Kimberley’s assistant in 2013 and was officially promoted to a full literary agent in 2015. Since then she has done deals with Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Macmillan and more. She is seeking adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction with emphasis on strong adult narratives, commercial page-turners at any age, and sweet humorous middle grade.
She does not represent non-fiction (including memoir), picture books, or self-published novels (although she will consider your next project).
ANDY ROSS, AAR, of Andy Ross Literary Agency, represents books in a wide range of subjects, including narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, young adult fiction, and literary and commercial fiction.
KATHARINE SANDS – Katharine Sands is a literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Actively building her client list, she likes books that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks, which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. When reading fiction she wants to be compelled and propelled by urgent storytelling, and hooked by characters. For memoir and femoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed.
EMMA SECTOR, Prospect Agency, represents children’s book authors and illustrators with Prospect Agency. She is open to middle-grade and YA of all types, but is especially drawn to fantasy adventure, magical realism, and historical fiction. She love picture books with big ideas and few words and chapter books with quirky, vibrant characters. Check out Prospect Agency’s website and portfolio at prospectagency.com!
ALEC SHANE – Alec majored in English at Brown University and quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency and is now aggressively building his own list.
On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. In fiction, Alec is looking for mystery, thrillers (though he’s experiencing terrorist fatigue at the moment), suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and middle grade and young adult fiction.
He doesn’t want Romance, straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, or travel memoir.
ERIC SMITH – Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. He began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, Barnes & Noble’s blog, and more. As an author, he’s been published by Bloomsbury, Quirk, and Flux.
JENNIFER MARCH SOLOWAY is an associate agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She’s seeking laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. Jennifer adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries, full of unexpected twists. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. Her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially stories about family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. NOTE: Andrea Brown will also be at the SFWC, but she will not participate in Speed Dating.
SABA SULAIMAN, Talcott Notch Literary Agency, is looking primarily to build her list with PB, MG and YA, and is particularly (although not exclusively) interested in contemporary realistic stories. She is committed to highlighting marginalized voices with compelling stories to tell; stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exists in this world, and address urgent and often underexplored issues with veracity and heart. Twitter @agentsaba Website: sabasulaiman.com
GORDON WARNOCK is a founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and editorial director of the Fast Foreword digital publishing program. He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director and editor for independent publishers, freelance publishing consultant, and writing tutor. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide. Fuse Literary Agency Website: Fuse Literary
NOVELS: Agents may want to read the first page of a novel because they can tell immediately whether a writer can write and if they know how to start a novel. Have a short synopsis of your novel and the rest of the first chapter with you in case agents want to see them. Bring a copy of your proposal or the manuscript of a novel and a short synopsis to the conference (although there’s no certainty that anyone will ask to see everything you bring.)
NARRATIVE NON-FICTION: Be prepared to share the beginning of your work. It should have the impact of a novel. If you want to sell a book to a big house, agents will want to hear a compelling title. They need to know about the writing, media and professional experience that qualifies you to write your book. Tell them what you will do to promote the book. They may also want to see a sample of your writing and a list of chapters.
Agents all work differently and will vary in what they want to hear. Even if an agent can’t help you, they will answer your questions and give you direction.
DON’T MISS ASK A PRO!
The ASK A PRO event on Saturday afternoon is open to all attendees. (Read that: No additional cost!) For the first 30 minutes, each publishing professional will introduce himself or herself for 2 minutes. Then each editor or agent will sit at a 10 person table. The nine attendees at the table each will have one minute to ask a question and then receive one minute of feedback. Then all nine attendees will move to another table and meet another Publishing Pro. Attendees can move to new tables every l8 minutes until 6:30 pm.
Always remember that all of the agents, editors and presenters are there to talk to you at breakfast, lunch, and during breaks. You don’t have to wait for a “Speed Dating” or “Ask a Pro” event to talk to them. If they have their badge on, they’re “on” and approachable! If they do not have a badge on, then please respect their privacy.
If you still have not spoken to an editor or agent during or after this event, or want to follow up with the ones you did talk to, try to write to them after the conference mentioning you were an attendee at the 2018 SFWC. Go to their websites using the links on the presenters page to find their contact information.
Thanks so much.