Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kortney Price of Belcastro Agency

Kortney Price is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency.

“I work primarily on children’s books — stories from board book up through young adult. My tastes in stories are pretty broad, but here’s a rundown of what I’m most excited about seeing in my inbox…

“I am committed to building a list that reflects the diversity of our world and so I am passionate about diverse representation in the books I work with. I would love to see a vast array of characters and own voices writers writing them. Because of my experience working with the special needs community, I’m especially excited for books featuring all of those uniquely special brains or bodies that don’t operate like everyone else’s.”

In Nonfiction:

Categories: PB, MG, YA, Graphic Novel

“How to” books for kids such as cooking, art, science, computers, mindfulness, handiness skills, wilderness skills, etc. I’m looking for a unique take on these kinds of books, especially one that evokes the imagination in some way.

Books for girls (or boys!) featuring body image, body changes, lifestyle, stress management/mindfulness or health

Picture books that introduce readers to new concepts such as baking, music, yoga, mindfulness, dance, etc.

In Fiction:

Categories: PB, Early Reader, Chapter Book, MG, YA, Graphic Novel

Board Books:

Simple, engaging, movement type books that introduce young readers to new things such as cooking, musical instruments, animals, etc.

Picture book specifics:

I love picture books that are either emotionally poignant or hilarious. I have a soft spot for unique retellings and holiday stories. Family traditions, love, self-acceptance and empowerment are also my favorites. Some of my favorites growing up were: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Heckedy Peg, Tacky the Penguin, and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.

Early Reader & Chapter Book specifics:

For early reader and chapter books, I am looking for just about anything. Amelia Bedelia was my all time favorite. Magic Tree house-type books are also a favorite. I love history in these stories and would love to see more books geared toward boys in this realm.

Middle Grade specifics:

In middle grade, I’m still more than a little obsessed with finding a wilderness survival story. Show me kid versus nature, whether it be mountains, desert islands, or jungle, I’m dying to find something in this realm. Otherwise I’m looking for super creepy horror, poignant contemporary, historical adventures and troublemakers on the space station type of sci-fi.

Young Adult specifics:

In young adult, I’m looking for the same kind of survival stories as I am in middle grade. Contemporary YA would be either lighthearted romance with a good dose of comedy, or a much more serious contemporary tackling topics that are much heavier such as dealing with trauma.

My MAIN wish in YA is for more horror, magical realism, psychological thriller, genre blending historical… basically all of the stories you avoid reading when home alone. I adore stories with a distinctly gothic feel, hauntings, psychological cat and mouse games, or other dark and twisty elements.

Fun facts about me:

My first ever job was showing cattle at the county fair for a cut of the winnings.
I have volunteered/worked in the special needs community since I was 9 years old. The first thing I taught was swim lessons.

I “played” 9 sports at various times growing up. I was never any good at any of them, but enjoyed dance, swim and track the most. I loved jazz and tap, swam the 400m IM and ran the 400m sprint.

I tell people I’m from Saint Louis, but I’m actually originally from a teeny farm town in Southern Illinois, about an hour’s drive east of the city.


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary

Gordon Warnock is a literary agent founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and Editorial Director of Short Fuse Publishing. He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director, editor for independent publishers, publishing consultant, and author coach. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide. He is an honors graduate of CSUS with a B.A. in Creative and Professional Writing.

With a zest for fresh, new voices and a deep love of the classics, Gordon actively seeks out both the timely and the timeless. In that spirit, he establishes involved, long-term working relationships with talented and dedicated authors of many genres.

“I’m looking for large-platform projects in which the book represents something bigger than the book itself, of which you are the expert, the one best fit to bring it to the page. I prefer to work with socially-responsible books that raise new issues or illuminate common issues in new ways. I love books with strong charity tie-ins and celebrities coming together to promote a good cause on a large scale. For memoir, please paste in the first chapter below your query. For graphic nonfiction, please attach a 10-page sequential PDF excerpt of the finished artwork, not to exceed 50 MB. For all other genres, please email your query letter only.

“The nonfiction categories I consider include the following:

• Memoir (Adult, NA, YA, Graphic)
• Cookbooks/Food Narrative/Food Studies
• Illustrated/Art/Photography (especially graphic nonfiction)
• Political and Current Events
• Pop-Science
• Pop-Culture (especially punk culture and geek culture)
• Self-Help
• How-To
• Humor
• Pets
• Business and Career

“Some of my favorites are: Wreck This Journal, Steak and Cake, Digging Up Mother, Drinking at the Movies, and Paper: Paging through History.

Fiction interests:

“I’m looking for fresh concepts that excite me before I even start reading and tension-filled prose that won’t let me stop. Plot is very important, as is an authentic voice that makes me believe your protagonist is a real person. Novels must be completed, polished and between 55,000 and 100,000 words long. For all text-based works, please paste in the first chapter below your query. For graphic novels, please attach a 10-page sequential PDF excerpt of the finished artwork, not to exceed 50 MB. The genres I consider include the following:

• High-Concept Suspense
• Book Club Women’s Fiction
• Literary Fiction for Adults through YA
• Graphic Novels for Adults through MG

“Some of my favorites are: The Good Girl, Gaijin, The Weight of Lies, Freakboy, and We the Animals.

Not looking for:

• Genre Fiction (Western, Romance, Sci-Fi)
• Satire
• Legal Thrillers
• New Age
• Children’s and MG
• Novellas
• Screenplays
• Collections of essays, short fiction, or poetry (unless you also write full-length works)

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Charlotte Wenger of Prospect Agency

Charlotte Wenger is a literary agent in the Boston area with Prospect Agency.

Prior to joining Prospect, she was an associate editor at Page Street Kids, where she acquired and edited fiction and nonfiction picture books. She has her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons College (now University) and serves on the national advisory board of the Mazza Museum, the world’s largest collection of original artwork by children’s book illustrators.

Charlotte is drawn to children’s literature and art for all ages—board books through young adult, but especially picture books—as well as select adult nonfiction biographies and memoirs.