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 three 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 and final hour is from 11:00-11:51 a.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 FIVE 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 five 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:
LISA ABELLERA – joined Kimberley Cameron and Associates in 2013 with a background in management, marketing, and finance. She has studied creative writing, design, and business, earning her BA in Strategic Management from Dominican University of CA and her MFA in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco. With adult and children’s fiction, Lisa responds to well-crafted prose with strong hooks and high personal stakes, complex and sympathetic characters, a tangible sense of place and lush world-building, multicultural aspects, and emotionally-immersive fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships. Lisa is committed to uplifting underrepresented voices and infusing more diversity and inclusion in books, so she is actively looking for strong female characters, diverse characters, and stories by BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other authors who identify with marginalized or underrepresented communities. Lisa is also looking to build her client list with limited nonfiction. With children’s nonfiction, she is primarily looking for middle-grade, prescriptive projects that are entertaining, informative, and inspire life-long-learning and curiosity in kids. With adult nonfiction, Lisa is only looking for prescriptive business books for women or by women.
MICHAEL CARR – Veritas Literary. With a strong background in editing and writing, Michael enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. He is fluent in Spanish and speaks conversational French. Before joining Veritas, Michael had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.
KARLY DIZON – Fuse Literary. 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 children’s picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary. (She might consider in adult genre fiction if you’ve got something special.)
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.
PAUL S. LEVINE – Paul S. Levine Literary. His unique combination of publishing industry savvy and entertainment legal services makes Paul a dynamic choice for both new and published authors alike. Leaning toward socially and politically important literature, he will consider fiction, non-fiction, children’s, and young adult manuscripts and proposals for non-fiction books. He is heavily involved in all aspects of comic book and graphic novel publication and adaptation. Highly aware of market trends and editors’ preferences, Paul limits himself to projects which he believes in and feels certain he can sell.
JILL MARR – Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Jill 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 Fuse Literary. Laurie is a founding partner who represents middle grade, young adult and adult genre fiction including romance, fantasy, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, weird westerns and science fiction of all types. 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.
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.
GORDON WARNOCK is a founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and editorial director of the Short Fuse 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.
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 FREE 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 2022 SFWC. Go to their websites using the links on the presenters page to find their contact information.
Thanks so much.