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 2019 SAN FRANCISCO WRITERS CONFERENCE:
KARLY CASERZA – Karly 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@example.com
MICHELE CRIM – Michele is the west coast literary agent for Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management, a boutique agency based in New York City. They represent 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.
PETER BEREN AAR, of the Peter Beren Agency, is a literary agent and publishing consultant who specializes in Photography, how-to and popular culture. The former Publisher of Sierra Club Books and VIA Books, he is the author or co-author of seven books including The Writers Legal Companion (Basic Books), California the Beautiful (Rizzoli) and The Golden Gate (Insight Editions). His clients include photographers Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, and Baron Wolman; and graphic novelist Jack Katz, www.peterberen.com.
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, I’ve 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.
I’ve 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 I’m lucky to do my work at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Books and Such Literary Management
LIZ KRACHT – Elizabeth 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.
RACHELLE 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.
JENNIE KENDRICK – Red Fox Literary – I represent YA and MG fiction across all genres, but I have a special interest in historical, paranormal, magical realism/fabulism, and classic 90s teen horror.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
KRISTEN MOELLER, For as long as she can remember, escaping into the wonders of a great novel has been a favorite way to unwind. Kristen seeks to discover (mostly female) authors of literary fiction or deep and gritty memoir about walking through the fires of life without losing our way.
PATRICIA NELSON joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. She represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, and is actively building her list.
In general, Patricia looks for stories that hook her with a unique plot, fantastic writing and complex characters that jump off the page. On the adult side, she is seeking women’s fiction both upmarket and commercial, historical fiction set in the 20th century, and compelling plot-driven literary fiction. She’s also looking for sexy, smart adult contemporary and historical single title romance. On the children’s side, Patricia is open to a wide range of genres of YA and MG, with particular interest in contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. She is interested in seeing diverse stories and characters, including LGBTQ, in all genres that she represents.
ANDY ROSS, AAR, 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.
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.
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.