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)