The 2023 Atlanta Writing Workshop: March 11, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 events in Atlanta, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Atlanta Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Atlanta, GA on March 11, 2023.

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 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 Atlanta Writing Workshop! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online and in-person events. This next ATLWW is an in-person event happening in the north suburbs on March 11, 2023. See you there.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at the Le Meridien Atlanta Peremeter by Marriott (north central suburbs). In other words, it’s one day 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.

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

  • literary agent Kat Kerr (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Pamela Harty (The Knight Agency)
  • literary agent Kristen Terrette (Martin Literary Management)
  • literary agent Erin Clyburn (Howland Literary)
  • literary agent Carlisle Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Michelle Jackson (Olswanger Literary)
  • literary agent Elaine Spencer (The Knight Agency)
  • editor Zoie Janelle Konneker (Peachtree Publishing Company)
  • literary agent Caroline Trussell (Metamorphosis Literary)
  • and more 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, with administration from the Broadleaf Writers Association. Contact him at WDWconference@gmail.com to register.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 11, 2023 — at the Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter by Marriott (north central suburbs), 111 Perimeter Center W, Atlanta, GA 30346.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online and in-person events. This next ATLWW is an in-person event happening in the north suburbs on March 11, 2023. See you there.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MARCH 11, 2023):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. You can see a more detailed layout of the day’s classes on the Schedule Page here.

Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:

8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.

BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30

1. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

2. Leveraging Social Media To Build Your Author Brand. Building your author brand is essential for all aspiring authors, regardless of your writing level. You don’t have to wait to become published to begin building your author brand, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.44.34 AMBLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50

1. 10 Things I’ve Learned by Editing 1,000 Manuscripts (and What Writers Can Take Away from My Experience). In this seminar, we will discuss developmental vs. line- or copy-editing, what dev editors consider when editing and exercises that can help you dev-edit yourself.

2. “The End” — Now What? Everything You Need to Understand, From a Finished Draft to Your Whole Career. The session outlines in detail the steps needed after writers complete their first draft of a novel or other full-length book.

(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.)

LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15

Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.

BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30

1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (room). 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. How to Sell a Nonfiction Book. This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from AWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.

2. Character-Centered Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  In this presentation, a literary agent will share his approach to crafting fantasy worlds rooted in character conflict, demonstrating an approach to let exposition flow naturally while that the same time raising the emotional stakes of the story.

(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.)

BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00

1. The Art of Storytelling. This is a presentation on the elements and art of storytelling. From the inciting event to the resolution, the road to great storytelling weaves through the beats and debates your characters must endure. Learn the path and get your manuscript ready for readers.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success. Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and have more control over your writing destiny.

SESSIONS END: 5:00

At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Kat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency. She is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. 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. Kat is drawn to strong, character-driven works with rich, literary prose. She loves books that make her think and have a strong emotional pull. Learn more about Kat here.

Pamela Harty is a literary with The Knight Agency. “I’m looking for romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, and historical fiction. For nonfiction, I’d like health and wellness, advice and relationship, and true crime.” Pamela serves as The Knight Agency’s Vice President of Sales, and belongs to the Association of Authors’ Representatives and Romance Writers of America. Learn more about Pamela 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.

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 Carlie here.

Michelle Jackson is a Literary Associate with Olswanger Literary. “I look forward to bringing adult fiction and select non-fiction of new authors work out there, especially BIPOC and underrepresented authors.” In fiction, she seeks: Commercial, Historical, Humor, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Women’s Fiction. Her fiction subgenres include: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense. In nonfiction, she seeks: Biography, True Crime, Self-Help, Relationships, Cookbooks, Narrative, Spirituality, select Memoirs. Learn more about Michelle here.

Erin Clyburn is a literary agent with Howland Literary. Erin represents middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and adult fiction and nonfiction. In MG and YA, she is looking for horror, mystery, thriller, big-hearted contemporary, and grounded stories with magical or speculative elements. In adult fiction, she is most interested in upmarket and literary fiction, and she gravitates toward the dark and strange: horror, thriller, mystery, and grounded stories with speculative or magical elements. Send her your weirds. In nonfiction, she’s interested in intersectional perspectives and is looking for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and deep dives into topics including pop science, nature, food and culinary history, and sports and adventure. An Alabamian with Louisiana roots, Erin is particularly interested in Southern literary and upmarket fiction from diverse voices in the above genres. Learn more about Erin here.

Zoie Janelle Konneker (she/her) is an editorial assistant at Peachtree Publishing Company. “I am seeking fiction novels across middle-grade and young adult audiences. I am looking for timeless, emotive, and well-paced books.” In Middle Grade: historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi (CYBERPUNK, steampunk, soft science fiction), fantasy (urban, animal, magical, dystopian, high fantasy), supernatural, and plenty of humor. My current priority is light-hearted historical fiction (anywhere from the 1800s to 1990s) with a unique setting and voice and/or anything magical realism. Women’s/LGBTQIA+/Black/Indigenous history and equality is a priority for me, so stories about a particular time in history that is often overlooked or whitewashed are particularly intriguing.” (That last sentence applies to YA novels too.) In Young Adult: “historical fiction (1800s – 1990s), contemporary, sci-fi (cyberpunk, steampunk, soft science fiction), fantasy (urban, animal, magical, dystopian, high fantasy with unique magic system), magical realism, supernatural, humor, romance (prefer rom-coms to dramas), retellings (of lesser-known myths/lore).” Learn more about Zoe here.

Elaine Spencer is a literary agent at The Knight Agency. In fiction, she is open to: General fiction, mystery, romance, suspense, thriller, women’s, Southern fiction, diverse stories. In nonfiction, she is open to: memoir, reference, biography, cookbooks, sports, lifestyle, pop culture, social media, platform-driven authors, health, mind/body, business/finance. Elaine continues to keep a focused author list as she believes it is important to work closely with her clients through each step of the publishing process. She relishes seeing her clients’ talents grow alongside their careers, and one of her favorite parts of the job continues to be educating authors about the market and business at large. Learn more about Elaine here.

Caroline Trussell is a literary agent with Metamorphosis Literary. 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.

ADDED ONLINE PITCHING: To ensure that writers have a robust and diverse lineup of agents & editors to pitch, 2023 Atlanta Writing Workshop attendees will have the ability to also pitch literary agents at the Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2023 ATLWW on our event calendar.

That event is the 2023 Online Writing Workshop of San Francisco, April 14-15, 2023, which will have 30-40 agents taking one-on-one Zoom virtual pitches. 

This means that 2023 ATLWW attendees can have access to pitching all those online WWSF agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online April 2023 WWSF. (That said, if you want to formally register for the WWSF and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a discount for confirmed Atlanta attendees.)

If you are interested in this added pitching opportunity, the first step is to get formally registered for Atlanta. Following the ATLWW one-day conference on March 11, 2023, we will be in touch with all ATLWW attendees and ask them if they want to partake in pitching online agents at the 2023 WWSF (April 14-15). At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and purchase meeting time.

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        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.)

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PRICING:

$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 ATLWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 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, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four 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 an 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 Brian Klems, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Atlanta Writing Workshop 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 will either 1) get an in-person meeting at the workshop, if the faculty member is attending the live event, or 2) get a 10-minute phone call with the faculty member, and have notes passed along via email, if the critiquer is not attending the live event. Options:

  • Young adult fiction of all kinds (in-person critiques): Faculty member Gilly Segal, a published novelist, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you for 10 minutes at the event to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the in-person meeting.
  • Women’s, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, thriller, mystery (virtual): Faculty member Michelle McGill-Vargas, a writing coach and 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 10 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • Children’s picture books and middle grade (virtual): Faculty member Brittany Thurman, a published 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. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).
  • Young adult and middle grade novels (virtual): Faculty member Livia Blackburne, a published author of YA fiction, 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.
  • More critique options 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 credit card, PayPal, or check. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Atlanta workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter by Marriott), the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online and in-person events. This next ATLWW is an in-person event happening in the north suburbs on March 11, 2023. See you there.)

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 credit card, PayPal, or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The ATLWW 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 Atlanta 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]. 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 edited your work.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Atlanta Writing Workshop.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carlisle Webber of Fuse Literary

Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary.

Carlisle refused to major in English in college because she didn’t think there was anything fun to read on the required lists. No Stephen King? No R.L. Stine? No thanks! After college, she took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from UC-Berkeley.

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. Take a look at her manuscript wish list. But if you don’t write exactly what’s on her list, don’t worry! She’s happy to look at any work that falls into the categories she represents.

She wants:

Middle grade (any genre)
Young adult (any genre)
Thriller
Mystery
Suspense
Horror
Women’s fiction
Pop/mainstream fiction

She does NOT want:

Picture books
Early chapter books
Graphic novels
Science fiction for adults
Fantasy for adults
Literary fiction (unless it has a strong commercial hook)
Romance
Historical fiction
Memoir
Nonfiction
Any work that has been previously published, including self-published

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Caroline Trussell of Metamorphosis Literary

Caroline Trussell is a literary agent with Metamorphosis Literary.

Caroline has a background in editing, writing, and communications and has worked as an agent assistant, editorial assistant, journalist, and communications consultant. She is passionate about finding writers with unique voices and points of view and is looking for steamy romances, out of this world fantasies, and YA and MG that touch on vital topics that can’t be ignored. She’s also a self-published young adult author, a Columbia Publishing Course graduate, and a mental health advocate.

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

Get to Know an Editor and Agent in Attendance: Leticia Gomez of Kensington Books, Dafina Books, and Savvy Literary

Leticia Gomez is the editorial director for Kensington Books and Dafina.

Leticia is the Editorial Director for Dafina Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., which focuses on high-quality fiction and nonfiction that centers on race, identity, and its impact on our experiences. Dafina’s carefully curated list is a home for dynamic stories that innovate and amplify voices too long ignored through books that entertain, challenge, and inspire.

Launched in 2000 as the first African-American imprint, Dafina has led the market for more than twenty years in highlighting voices of color. Leticia is actively seeking to acquire multicultural fiction and nonfiction of all genres, including literary fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery, and narrative nonfiction of all genres with a focus on authors of color (BIPOC) hailing from all walks of life, as well as specific nonfiction projects for marginalized communities.

In addition to her role at Kensington, Leticia is a prominent literary/film/television agent who specializes in bringing culturally diverse voices to the forefront. She has helped her clients secure deals with the largest publishers in the world and has seen several of her projects successfully optioned for TV and film rights. As a literary agent, she has placed nearly 200 books with independent and mainstream traditional publishers. In January of 2007, Leticia launched Savvy Literary Services, becoming one of a highly select group of agencies in the world that specializes in the Latino book market.

Savvy Literary is now an industry leader specializing in Self-help, Narrative Non-fiction, Memoir, True Crime, Spiritual/Inspirational, Political/Current Affairs, Suspense/Thriller, Family Drama, and the Young Adult market. Championing the work of minority writers continues to be a top priority for the agency. Blending her experience as an author, literary/film/television agent and acquisition editor, she is truly excited to spearhead her very own Hispanic book imprint Café con Leche Books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency

Elaine Spencer is a literary agent at The Knight Agency.

Elaine joined The Knight Agency in 2005, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in economics and literature. Originally serving as the agency’s submissions coordinator, Elaine then moved on to head the foreign rights department, before beginning to actively build her own individual client list. Over the last decade Elaine has placed over 300 titles in a wide variety of subgenres, to all major publishers in the marketplace.

Elaine continues to keep a focused author list as she believes it is important to work closely with her clients through each step of the publishing process. She relishes seeing her clients’ talents grow alongside their careers, and one of her favorite parts of the job continues to be educating authors about the market and business at large

Elaine lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, daughter, and four-legged sons. Elaine is a member of RWA and the WFWA and is also an AAR recognized agent. She is interested in a wide-variety of subgenres, including but not limited to: women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, and a multitude of nonfiction categories.

In fiction, she is open to: General fiction, mystery, romance, suspense, thriller, women’s, Southern fiction, diverse stories.

In nonfiction, she is open to: memoir, reference, biography, cookbooks, sports, lifestyle, pop culture, social media, platform-driven authors, health, mind/body, business/finance.

WISH LIST:

  • I would love to see more historical women’s fiction exploring unique moments in history with a strong sense of place. Fiona Davis, Chanel Cleeton, and Ariel Lawhon are all wonderful examples of the type of story that will grab my attention.
  • On the contemporary side of the women’s fiction spectrum I want stories that will speak to readers personally, characters who will get in your head and cause reason for personal reflection. I love contemporary Suburban Dramadies (think Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty or even the modern classic Little Children by Perrotta . I’m also always interested in sweeping family dramas that bridge over into the commercial space such as Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng or All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. I loved The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg, and This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel.
  • I love stories with strong southern themes. To me this means an overwhelming sense of another time (even if its in a contemporary novel); stories about a place steeped in ancient traditions and family expectations, unique cultural oddities and loveliness
  • Fictionalized Stories featuring hot topics in the news and/or from the daily realities of modern pop-culture.
  • In Romance I’m looking for urban-set contemporary romantic comedies. I know I’m one of a million but The Hating Game has been at the top of my favorites list for awhile. I also like stories featuring strong “underdog” modern heroines. In my view this can take a lot of directions, someone from a marginalized background, someone with an uncommon upbringing, a person who has overcome all the odds, etc.
  • I’m a big fan of domestic suspense but it would really have to be stand out in a currently crowded space to grab my attention. It must have high stakes, a sympathetic protagonist, and a unique easy to spot hook
  • I’m also really growing my list in the non-fiction space. I’m interested in narrative, prescriptive and gift nonfiction in a vast arena spanning from true-crime (especially as it relates to its lasting impact on history, a place or a group of people such as Missoula by Jon Krakauer or Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann), pop-culture, motivational/self-help, how-to guides, female empowerment, humor (especially humorous memoir), diet, platform-driven social media brands, modern parenting, and lifestyle to name a few.
  • Beyond the above specific parameters I love stories featuring animals (ok, starring animals!), cooking/food/wine, world-travel, secret or underground societies, “clubs” of all sorts (knitting, book, widows, etc)., weddings, vacation spots, sports-influence

RECENT SALES:

THE HIDING SEASON by Sara Ackerman (Mira Books, 2020)

THE DRUDGE REVOLUTION by Matthew Lysiak (Benbella Books, 2020)

SUTTER CREEK MINISERIES by Laurel Greer (Harlequin Books, 2020)

RAPTOR by Peter Vronsky (Penguin, Random House, 2020)

THE HIGHLAND EARL by Amy Jarecki (Grand Central Books, 2019)

THE LIEUTENANTS NURSE by Sara Ackerman (Mira Books, 2019)

THE FOURTH SUMMER by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (Lyrical Press, 2018)

DEFENSELESS by Elizabeth Dyer (July, 2018)

 by Jules Bennett (Harlequin, 2017)

CHRISTMAS SANCTUARY by Lauren Hawkeye (Bookshots, 2017)

DEMOLISHED by Cathryn Fox (St. Martins, 2017)

THE MEN OF WOLLSTONECRAFT HALL by Karyn Gerrard (Lyrical Press, 2018)

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Erin Clyburn of Howland Literary

Erin Clyburn is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

Prior to joining Howland Literary, Erin was an associate agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She was the general manager and director of collection development for Turtleback Books, a distributor of books to the school and library market, and she has over a decade of experience in magazine publishing, having worked for brands including Food & Wine, Cooking Light, People, and Entertainment Weekly. She received her BA in English Literature from Mississippi State University and her MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her partner, Michael, and four unruly rabbits.

She is seeking: Erin represents middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and adult fiction and nonfiction. In MG and YA, she is looking for horror, mystery, thriller, big-hearted contemporary, and grounded stories with magical or speculative elements. In adult fiction, she is most interested in upmarket and literary fiction, and she gravitates toward the dark and strange: horror, thriller, mystery, and grounded stories with speculative or magical elements. Send her your weirds. In nonfiction, she’s interested in intersectional perspectives and is looking for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and deep dives into topics including pop science, nature, food and culinary history, and sports and adventure. An Alabamian with Louisiana roots, Erin is particularly interested in Southern literary and upmarket fiction from diverse voices in the above genres. A more in-depth wishlist can be found on her website.

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

Kristen Terrette is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kat Kerr of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Literary agent Kat Kerr joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction.

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.

Submission Interests:

Literary and Upmarket Fiction:

Kat is drawn to strong, character-driven works with rich, literary prose. She loves books that make her think and have a strong emotional pull.

Contemporary
Women’s Fiction
Multicultural Lit
Speculative
Magical Realism
Family Sagas
YA

Favorite Books: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, About a Boy by Nick Hornby, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Leavers by Lisa Ko, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, anything by Amy Tan

Commercial Fiction:

For the commercial market, Kat is looking for high concept, voice-driven works with a close POV and well-developed, distinct characters.

Select Science Fiction and Fantasy
Women’s Fiction and Rom-Coms
YA (all genres)

Favorite Books: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow, Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce, I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee.

Nonfiction:

Narrative nonfiction and journalistic nonfiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty
Select biographies and memoirs

Do not pitch:

No – Plots/themes centering around unresolved trauma
No – Previously published or self-published works
No – MG, Chapter books, picture books
No – Novellas, short stories, or poetry collections
No – Military/war stories
No – Westerns

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Zoie Janelle Konneker of Peachtree Books

Zoie Janelle Konneker (she/her) is an editorial assistant at Peachtree Publishing Company.

Raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, she interned at two local publishing houses in 2019 and graduated from Georgia Tech in with a BS in Literature, Media, & Communication in 2020. Between her graduation and her acceptance of a full-time role at Peachtree in the winter of 2021, she worked as a Foster Coordinator at a metro-Atlanta animal shelter and attributes her love for animals and spreadsheets to her time there. Her goal is to leave the world better than she found it through elevating underrepresented voices in children’s literature and putting relatable, relevant stories in the hands of those that need them most.

Manuscript Wishlist

I am seeking fiction novels across middle-grade and young adult audiences. I am looking for timeless, emotive, and well-paced books.

Middle Grade:

I am looking for standalone titles that are full of action and heart. I enjoy historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi (CYBERPUNK, steampunk, soft science fiction), fantasy (urban, animal, magical, dystopian, high fantasy), supernatural, and plenty of humor. My current priority is light-hearted historical fiction (anywhere from the 1800s to 1990s) with a unique setting and voice and/or anything magical realism.

Cringe-worthy coming-of-age stories with strong-willed, messy, emotional protagonists are my favorite. The manuscript should also be child-centered (non-human characters OK), plot-driven, and should contain realistic, culturally relevant themes. Women’s/LGBTQIA+/Black/Indigenous history and equality is a priority for me, so stories about a particular time in history that is often overlooked or whitewashed are particularly intriguing. I also seek out stories with neurodivergent protagonists in particular. Body positivity and body diversity are also a huge plus.

I enjoy themes of friendship, compassion, sharing, honesty, learning and problem-solving, self-esteem/acceptance and self-reliance, identity, imagination and creativity, decision-making, unconventional or found families, LGBTQIA+ and racial equality.

I am looking for immersive, evenly paced writing that emphasizes and amplifies the protagonist’s unique voice. I prefer not to acquire books written in verse.

  • Bonus points:
  • Well-timed plot twists
  • Southeastern U.S. setting
  • Sapphic characters

Young Adult:

I am looking for standalone titles with immersive, atmospheric writing that emphasizes and amplifies the protagonist’s (or protagonists’) unique voice. I prefer to acquire books written in prose. I seek out manuscripts that are equally plot and character-driven, highly descriptive, and evenly paces. Atmosphere, mood, and voice are make or break.

Genres: Fiction: historical fiction (1800s – 1990s), contemporary, sci-fi (cyberpunk, steampunk, soft science fiction), fantasy (urban, animal, magical, dystopian, high fantasy with unique magic system), magical realism, supernatural, humor, romance (prefer rom-coms to dramas), retellings (of lesser-known myths/lore)

Subject matter: Human/character-centered, social-emotional learning, neurodiversity, women’s/LGBTQIA+/Black/Indigenous history and equality, family, friendships, relationships, growing up, coming of age/entering the world as an adult

Themes: Friendship, compassion, self-esteem and self-reliance, identity, imagination and creativity, decision-making, unconventional or found families/family trauma or troubles, LGBTQIA+ and racial equality

Bonus Points:
— Sapphic characters
— Gender nonconforming characters
— Cats

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency

Pamela Harty is a literary with The Knight Agency.

“I’m looking for rom-com, cozy mysteries, and historical fiction. For non-fiction, I’d like health and wellness, advice and relationship, and true crime.”

Pamela joined the agency in the summer of 2000, and has placed hundreds of titles in a broad range of categories, including: health, parenting, southern history, African-American interest, business, motivation, romance, young adult, children’s, middle grade, and Christian living. Recent sales include books to Penguin Putnam, Grand Central, Random House, Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, Harlequin/Silhouette, Thomas Nelson, Water Brook, McGraw Hill, and Baker/Revell. She brings to the agency a successful sales background combined with a genuine love of books.

Says Pamela, “Agenting is my dream job. I get to read for a living while working with incredibly talented people in a competitive and challenging industry. It’s a great time to be in publishing where there are more opportunities than ever before for writers.”

Pamela serves as The Knight Agency’s Vice President of Sales, and belongs to the Association of Authors’ Representatives and Romance Writers of America.