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.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michelle Jackson of Olswanger Literary

Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Jackson is a Literary Associate with Olswanger Literary.

An educator for over 20 years, Michelle is also a published author, writing professionally as Michelle Lindo-Rice for Mira and Harlequin Special Edition and Zoey Marie Jackson for Harlequin Love Inspired. She has earned educational degrees from New York University, SUNY at StonyBrook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University.

“I look forward to bringing adult fiction and select non-fiction of new authors work out there, especially BIPOC and underrepresented authors. I am also a content editor and love developing and working with new authors to help them hone their craft. I am looking for stories with strong character arcs and hooks. Intriguing plot lines that keep me up at night until I get to the last page. Romances that make my heart swoon, thrillers that keep me guessing and heartwarming, uplifting tales. Stories about sister friends, mother-daughter relationships. Stories with themes of friendship, forgiveness, love and second chances. I have a soft spot for fellow educators who are writers and for stories featuring educators. I also am looking for those who want to write category romances – I also love Amish romances!”

Fiction: Commercial, Historical, Humor, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Women’s Fiction.

​Sub-genres: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense.

Nonfiction: Biography, True Crime, Self-Help, Relationships, Cookbooks, Narrative, Spirituality, select Memoirs