Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sally Apokedak of The Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency

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Sally Apokedak is a literary agent with The Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency.

What She is Looking For (in Her Own Words):

Picture Books: I’m looking for author/illustrators. Not really looking for authors only right now.

Middle Grade Books: I love boy-centric middle grade books. I love boys who love science, boys who go on adventures, and boy geniuses. I love fantasies. I love any genre if the voice is strong–if the author is strong and not stumbling.

YA Books: Fantasy is my favorite, and if there’s romance, I love it even more. I still like dystopian, and fairy tales. I love mysteries and don’t see many of those for young adults. Books with characters who are spiritual and books set in worlds with established religions always strike me as being deeper and more realistic than books with no religion. We are more than physical beings, after all.

Nonfiction For All Ages: I’m interested in devotional books, Christian living, science for young children, and biography. But you may try me on anything.

Adult Inspirational: I’m looking for adult books for the Christian market, particularly fantasy and romantic suspense.

What I Don’t Like: I am not a huge fan of issue books, preachy stories,  gay lit, or sexual content. I read novels  for fun, not to grow. If the fun story makes me grow, that’s a plus, but I’m not looking for overt lessons in regards to how to be saved from sin, love gay people, or recycle my garbage and save the world. Supernatural books, with angels, demons, or any mix thereof, will probably not catch my fancy. I’m not salivating for werewolves, vampires, ghosts, fairies, or zombies. (Orcs, hobbits, and dragons are what I love.) I’m not into dark and angsty books, and I really like endings that, if not completely happy, are at least full of  hope. For young boys, I’m OK with some scatological humor, but I like characters older than ten to be a little more mature and a little less enamored with their own bodily functions than the real-life boys they are patterned after. Any picture books that rhyme where all the rhyming words are one or two syllables, are not going to be right for me, I’m pretty sure.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eric Smith of P.S. Literary

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Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.53.46 PMEric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary.

Eric began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on BookRiot, The Huffington Post, Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine’s Books section, and more. A published author with Quirk Books and Bloomsbury, he seeks to give his authors the same amount of love his writing has received. Follow him on Twitter: @ericsmithrocks

Eric is seeking: Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), New Adult, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, essay collections, and blog to book ideas.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jen Karsbeak of Fuse Literary

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Jen Karsbaek joined first Larsen Pomada Literary Agency, then Fuse Literary Agency (formerly named Foreword Literary) in 2013.

Jen now acts as an agency scout to find exciting and talented writers for the agency’s current agents. She is happy to take pitches on behalf of the agency for the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, mainstream/upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, middle grade, new adult, young adult, and literary fiction. The agency also seeks books by and about people from marginalized perspectives, such as LGBT people and/or racial minorities.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Elizabeth May of Kensington Publishing

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Elizabeth May is an editorial assistant at Kensington Publishing Corporation where she works primarily with editorial director Gary Goldstein on genre fiction and select nonfiction.

She recently acquired Cynthia Tennent’s Truhart contemporary romance series for Lyrical Press. She is seeking many categories of genre fiction, and particularly enjoys books that walk the line between upmarket and commercial, as well as historical women’s fiction, and mysteries where the characters are as important as the crime, a la literary suspense. You can find her on Twitter: @LizMay05.

She is seeking: Fiction areas of interest include action/adventure, commercial, fantasy, general, historical, horror, humorous, LGBTQ, literary, mystery, new adult, religious, romance, science fiction, women’s fiction. Nonfiction areas of interest: biography, crafts/DIY, history, humor, journalism, memoir, pop culture, travel, and true crime.

In her own words: “I would love to find the next Outlander—or a romantic adventure story that is going to take me into another world and time period and introduce me to a new set of supernatural and/or historical elements. I love mysteries, the darker the better. Would love to find the next Ruth Ware or Laura McHugh. Atmospheric and character driven psychological thrillers, especially with a unique female voice. Would love to find the next Elizabeth Hoyt, or Kresley Cole, a romance author who can really blend humor, drama, and amazing character development and sexual tension to create an unputdownable romance. I’d like to find the next Seth Grahame Smith, supernatural thriller with the kind of quirky and unique hook that can’t be ignored, and demands a space in the cultural conscience. I also seek the next Marie Kondo—a self-help styled book that seems so simply innate that as soon as you hear about it you wonder why you haven’t already read it.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Elizabeth Copps of Maria Carvainis Agency

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Elizabeth Copps is a literary agent with Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.

She is seeking: In fiction, action/adventure, commercial, family saga, historical, horror, humor, LGBTQ, literary, middle grade, mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, and young adult. In nonfiction, she seeks humor, pop culture, and travel.

Bio: “I migrated from Florida to start my career with Maria Carvainis Agency as an intern in 2010. In 2011 I signed on with the agency as a full-time assistant, and two years later I was promoted to associate agent. I represent a wide range of genres from MG and YA, to adult contemporary + literary fiction, mystery, psychological thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, horror, and select nonfiction projects. I’m an equal fan of hilarious stories as well as dark, gritty and sinister reads. For me, the very best books are timeless, thought provoking, and discussion spurring. I want to see characters who burst off the page and elicit some sort of emotional response in their readers. There are only so many settings and themes to expound on, but every single person is different which means there are limitless combinations of character traits a writer can play with. That’s pretty amazing. The King said it best regarding what it means to create a complex character: ‘Bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do―to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.'”

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

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Elaine Spencer is a literary agent with The Knight Agency. She also serves as vice president of operations for the agency. 

Elaine entered the publishing industry after realizing she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life as an Economist. After studying Economics and Comparative Literature at The University of Georgia, she joined the TKA team in 2005 and assumed a variety of roles including submissions coordinator and sub rights manager before settling in her current position as VP of Operations and Associate Agent.

Elaine keeps a focused client list as it is most important to her to be able to work closely with her clients through each step of the publishing process, from a manuscript’s inception all the way through publication, promotion and beyond. She enjoys seeing her clients grow as authors, and one of her favorite parts of the job is working side by side with her clients to educate them about not only about the process but also the business at large.

Elaine is a member of RWA and AAR and is interested in a wide-variety of subgenres, including but not limited to: romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade material. She loves stories that include dogs, cooking, fashion, secret societies or clubs, southern flair, wit and humor, heart-tugging conclusions that will bring her to tears and smart sassy characters that stay with you long after the final pages. In addition to channeling her inner Martha Stewart and flexing her Pinterest-inspired muscles, Elaine spends her spare time traveling, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and four-legged child, Claude.