The 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop: April 8, 2017

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter a successful 2016 event in Philadelphia, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Philadelphia, PA on April 8, 2017.

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 (150 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop!

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square. 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 faculty so far includes:

  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Kaylee Davis of Dee Mura Literary
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Kimiko Nakamura of Dee Mura Literary
  • [NEW ADDITION] editor Lauren Jablonski (St. Martin’s Press)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Kirsten Carleton (The Prospect Agency)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Amy Stern (Sheldon Fogelman Agency)
  • [NEW ADDITION] literary agent Jennifer Unter (The Unter Agency)
  • literary agent Kimberly Brower (Brower Literary & Management)
  • literary agent Hannah Fergesen (KT Literary)
  • literary agent Quressa Robinson (D4EO Literary)
  • literary agent Erica Bauman (Zachary Schuster Harmsworth)
  • literary agent Vanessa Robins (Corvisiero Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Damian McNicholl (Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency)
  • literary agent John Willig (Literary Services)
  • literary agent Marie Lamba (Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency)
  • literary agent Eric Smith (P.S. Literary)
  • literary agent Caitlin McDonald (Donald Maass Literary)
  • literary agent Kelly Peterson (Corvisiero Literary Agency)
  • and possibly 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 Jessica Bell of Writing Day Workshops, with administrative assistance from the Eastern PA SCBWI and First Novels Club.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square, 1800 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (215)561-7500.

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 8, 2017):

What you see below 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.

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. An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today (Wyeth C). This workshop examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing / e-publishing.

2. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction (Wyeth A). This session will discuss the tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.

3. How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir (Wyeth B). In this session, you’ll learn what sells (and why), and how you can get your memoir published.

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

1. Get Rid of Negative Talk and Naysayers (Wyeth A). Get your over your own self-doubt as well as any outside negative voices, and find the time & passion to just write.

2. Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters (Wyeth C). This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents.

3. Ten Tips for Writing Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction (Wyeth B). This presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night.

(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 (Wyeth C). 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.  Nonfiction Intense: Book Proposal Tips (Wyeth A). If you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you.

3. Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book (Wyeth B). In this session, we’ll discuss questions to consider before sending a picture book manuscript out in the world.

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. How to Self-Publish Your Book Now and Do It Right (Wyeth A). You’ll learn how to: prepare your manuscript, design your cover, format your paperback interior & ebook, register with desired retailers/distributors, and much more.

2. Talking Craft and Revision (Wyeth C). This session will discuss common manuscript problems as well as tools you can use to create the manuscripts that will get the attention you want from agents and editors—and readers.

3. Talking Fantasy and Science Fiction (Wyeth B). Taught by a literary agent who also writers SF/F, this is a discussion on the genres of science fiction and fantasy — i.e., how to write and sell speculative fiction.

(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. Author Platform: Talking Social Media, Blogging, and Marketing Your Books (Wyeth A). This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online.

2. Ten Keys to Writing Success (Wyeth C). Learn 10 things you can be doing right now that will help get your book(s) published and find success.

3. How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market (Wyeth B). This session will address important topics and tips for writers of romance.

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.

————-

PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

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Kimiko Nakamura is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. Kimiko represents fiction (both YA and adult) within the genres of contemporary, literary, historical, and women’s fiction. She loves projects that reimagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and anything with elements of magical realism. For nonfiction she represents cookbooks and memoirs. On her bookshelf and in her inbox, she looks for cookbooks she can read like the Sunday morning paper and daring memoirs of people making their mark on the world. Learn more about Kimiko here.

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 2.57.03 PM.pngLauren Jablonski [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an assistant editor at St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan. Lauren is interested in acquiring commercial fiction and nonfiction for both young adult and adult. She enjoys contemporary, historical, fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, romance, thrillers and anything with a unique voice — especially works that promote strong female characters, inclusion, and diversity. In nonfiction, she is interested in quirky, gifty, and celebrity projects as well as memoir, pop-science, business, and projects about strong women. She loves being sucked into worlds she knows nothing about. Learn more about Lauren here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 3.46.16 PM.pngKirsten Carleton [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with The Prospect Agency. She is seeking the following fiction genres: action, adventure, crime, fantasy, general, historical, humor, LGBTQ, literary, military, mystery, science fiction, thriller, and young adult. “I’m interested in YA, speculative, and literary fiction in which I connect with the characters and can’t wait to read what they will do next. Great writing is a must, but not enough to stand alone: I want plot, action, movement.” Learn more about Kirsten here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 2.07.00 PMKaylee Davis is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary. Kaylee is actively acquiring middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction — particularly sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, literary, and LGBTQ. She is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She loves plot twists, genre-bending, unlikely allies, flawed heroes, and stories that are both literally and figuratively out of this world. Learn more about Kaylee here.

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 1.28.11 PM.pngJennifer Unter [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent and the founder of The Unter Agency. The Unter Agency represents quality fiction and general nonfiction. Her nonfiction interests include memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness. Adult fiction interests are women’s/book club fiction and literary fiction. She is also open to seeing commercial thrillers and mysteries. (No romance or sci-fi or fantasy, please.) The Unter Agency also represents all types of children’s literature — picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Learn more about Jennifer here.

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-1-35-17-pmAmy Stern [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. She is currently accepting picture book, middle grade, and young adult submissions from authors and illustrators, particularly if the work explores underrepresented identities. She is open to picture book text submissions. She’s not your best bet for a heterosexual romance or historical fiction, but is open to pretty much anything else in all categories of kidlit. Learn more about Amy here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.58.43 AMKelly Peterson is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She represents middle grade, young adult, new adult, and adult. In middle grade, she seeks adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi with a lot of humor. In young adult, she seeks all sub-genres with an emphasis on fantasy, sci-fi, and diverse voices. In new adult and adult, she seeks contemporary romance that makes her sob uncontrollably. She specifically loves strong and witty voices, independent female characters, and a lot of action. Learn more about Kelly here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 1.34.12 PM.pngKimberly Brower [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Brower Literary & Management. She is interested in commercial and upmarket fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction, psychological thrillers, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and young adult (all genres). However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong character arcs. Learn more about Kimberly here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 12.13.53 AM.pngQuressa Robinson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with the D4EO Literary Agency and is actively building her client list. She represents adult science fiction, adult fantasy, speculative/magical realism, upmarket and commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction, family sagas, contemporary young adult, and YA/adult crossover material that’s sci-fi or fantasy. In nonfiction, she seeks celebrity books, pop culture books, and popular science. “I am particularly interested in OwnVoices and inclusive narratives. Genre bending is also great — i.e. epic fantasy romance or upmarket fantasy.” Learn more about Quressa here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 10.40.28 AM.pngHannah Fergesen [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with KT Literary. She represents young adult and middle grade, as well as some select adult fiction. In YA and MG, she is looking for speculative and contemporary stories, running the gamut from fantasy, mystery, horror and magical realism, to family-oriented dramas, historical fiction, and stories dealing with contemporary issues, such as mental health or addiction. In adult fiction, she wants weird and/or lyrical fantasies and speculative mysteries (such as anything by Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig) and stories with a good twist, like Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Learn more about Hannah here.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 1.57.20 PM.pngErica Bauman [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, and is actively building her client list. She is seeking middle grade (all genres), young adult (all genres), and children’s nonfiction. In adult fiction, she seeks commercial fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, and historical fiction. For nonfiction, she seeks memoir and pop culture. Learn more about Erica here.

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 9.31.09 PM.pngDamian McNicholl [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. He is looking for great nonfiction and fiction that appeals to a wide audience and makes people think, laugh, and sob. In fiction, his interests are accessible literary, upmarket commercial, historical, and some offbeat/quirky stories. Nonfiction interests are memoir, biography, history, investigative journalism and current events especially cultural, legal as well as LGBT issues that can help lead to meaningful change in society. Learn more about Damian here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.53.30 AMJohn Willig is a literary agent with Literary Services, Inc. John is primarily interested in: narrative nonfiction that shines a light on new topics, events or perspectives and research-based prescriptive nonfiction. Categories of interest include: science, psychology, history, politics, current events, business, travel, food/cooking, crafts, lifestyle/personal growth (please no memoirs), and reference. John’s also interested in historical fiction — crime/mystery and literary. Learn more about John here.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 11.27.39 PM.pngVanessa Robins [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. She is seeking: new adult—all, especially humorous; young adult—gritty plots with diverse characters; adult fiction—thought out thrillers, romance with strong female leads, heavily science-based sci-fi, and sports-centric plots; nonfiction—memoirs including coming of age, cultural/ethnic/sexuality, survivor, and humor themed. Bonus points for medical narratives (characters with medical illnesses and chronic diseases, or MS told through a medical professional’s view point). Learn more about Vanessa here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.53.51 PMEric Smith [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. He 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. Learn more about Eric here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.08.07 PMMarie Lamba [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary. She is seeking: middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, especially with diverse points of view, or a STEM tie-in. She also wants general adult fiction and women’s fiction. She’d love to find an original women’s novel that would inspire the next smart and funny chick flick. Marie wants memoirs with strong voices and unique, inspiring stories (especially foodie memoirs, or ones with a celebrity or pop culture connection). She also represents a select number of established illustrators and picture book authors. She’d love a fresh non-gory ghost story for any age, and she’s fascinated with hidden treasures, artifacts and with discovering ancient civilizations right beneath our feet. Marie is a huge fan of folklore and fairy tales, and, while she wouldn’t want a retelling, she always enjoy those elements woven into a story in a unique way. Overall, books that are original, moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome. Learn more about Marie here.

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 9.09.19 PM.pngCaitlin McDonald is a literary agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres, as well as contemporary fiction about geeky characters. She also handles a small amount of nonfiction in geeky areas, with a focus on feminist theory/women’s issues and pop culture. She enjoys secondary world fantasy, alternate history, genre-bending, cross-genre fiction, stories that examine tropes from a new angle, and diversity of all kinds (including ,but not limited to, race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and worldbuilding). Learn more about Caitlin here.

Adriana Dominguez is a literary agent with Full Circle Literary. Unfortunately, she has had to cancel her appearance at the event.

Elizabeth Copps is a literary agent with Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc. Unfortunately, she has had to cancel her appearance at the event.

Amy Singh is an acquiring editor with Skyhorse Publishing. Unfortunately, she has had to cancel her appearance at the event.

        More 2017 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:

$169 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2017 PWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of October 10, 2016, 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 can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.49 AM.pngI signed with my agent, Patricia Nelson, after
meeting her at the Arizona Writing Workshop.”
– writer Axie Oh

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.07.56 AM.png“I officially signed with agent Renee Nyen of KT
Literary. I met her at the Colorado Writing
Workshop.” – writer Jessie Hilb Akos

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.00 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Michigan Writing
Workshop, I signed writer Kyle Prue as a new
client.” – literary agent Veronica Park

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.08.09 AM.png“After taking pitches at the Alabama Writing
Workshop, I met Erin Hollis at a pitch session, and
she is now my newest client.” – agent Julie Gwinn

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Philadelphia 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 $79 — 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 get an in-person meeting at the workshop. Options:

  • Young adult / middle grade / chapter books: Faculty member Madeline Smoot, a children’s book editor, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your novel, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. No picture books, please.
  • Women’s fiction / chick lit / literary fiction: Faculty member Amy Sue Nathan, a published women’s fiction novelist and essayist, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your fiction, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Adult fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction: Faculty member Janice Bashman, a published fantasy author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your fiction, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Thriller, crime, suspense, and mystery: Faculty member Merry Jones, a published mystery author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your fiction, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Memoir / personal essay: Faculty member Anne Kaier, a published memoir author, will get your work in advance, edit the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book/essays, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • More genres and critique options: We may add more critique options in the future.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com, and she will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Philadelphia workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Rittenhouse Square, the workshop can only allow 150 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

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 Jessica Bell via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com. She will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The PWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Jessica plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Philadelphia 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.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary & Management

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 1.34.18 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Kimberly Brower is a literary agent with Brower Literary & Management.

Kimberly is interested in commercial and upmarket fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction, psychological thrillers, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and young adult (all genres). However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong character arcs.

In addition to taking pitches from 2017 attendees, Kimberly is also teaching the workshop “How to Write and Sell Romance in Today’s Market.”

Kimberly fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of seven and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. She holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge and received her JD from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Although she loves all things romance, she is also searching for books that are different and will surprise her, with empathetic characters and compelling stories. She takes great pride in her client list, from the debut authors to #1 NYT bestsellers, and likes to consider them all her favorite authors. She previously worked for over two years at Rebecca Friedman Literary before starting her own agency. After spending 14 years in California, she is thrilled to be back on the east coast living in New York City. Connect on Twitter: @KimberlyBrower

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Vanessa Robins of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 1.20.32 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Vanessa Robins is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Literary.

She represents: new adult fiction (especially humorous stories), young adult fiction (loves gritty plots with diverse characters), thrillers, romance with strong female leads, science fiction heavily based in science, and sports-centric plots. For nonfiction, she likes coming-of-age memoirs (cultural/ethnic/sexuality, survivor, and humor-themed; bonus points for medical narratives [characters with medical illnesses and chronic diseases, or MS told through a medical professional’s view point]).

She is not a good fit for middle grade, picture books, or erotica.

Vanessa is a writer, reader, and lover of food. From Lancaster, Pennsylvania—no, she’s not Amish— she graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in May of 2015 with a degree in English literary studies and a minor in professional writing. Vanessa was Managing Editor of her college’s undergraduate literary magazine for two years, where her love of literature thrived, and her passion for the publishing world was created.

When she isn’t reading or working, Vanessa can be found playing rec league softball, experimenting in the kitchen, knitting, or screaming at her favorite sports teams (go Eagles and Phillies!).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Hannah Fergesen of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 10.40.28 AM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Hannah Fergesen is a literary agent with KT Literary.

She represents: young adult and middle grade, as well as some select adult fiction. In YA and MG, she is looking for speculative and contemporary stories, running the gamut from fantasy, mystery, horror and magical realism, to family-oriented dramas, historical fiction, and stories dealing with contemporary issues, such as mental health or addiction. In adult fiction, she wants weird and/or lyrical fantasies and speculative mysteries (such as anything by Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig) and stories with a good twist, like Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

In her own words:

I am a geek and a total TV junkie. I love TV shows because they often have fantastic ensembles and character arcs that can be savored over long periods of time. My favorite shows work so well for me because of impeccably-written characters and/or ensembles, people struggling with big emotions, and gut-busting comedy or perfectly executed snark.

So what am I looking for? In the less specific, I’m looking for stories that capture everything I’ve mentioned above, as well as stories that scare me, awe me, thrill me, and sentences that give me chills. I love adventure, women in the lead, weird stories, diverse and QUILTBAG characters, and dark and twisty stories with enough light to keep me hoping and rooting for the characters.
Less abstractly, I’m looking for YA and MG, as well as some select adult fiction.

In YA and MG, I’m looking for speculative and contemporary stories, running the gamut from fantasy, mystery, horror and magical realism, to family-oriented dramas, historical fiction, and stories dealing with contemporary issues, such as mental health or addiction.

For both YA and MG, I’m very interested in finding a good, twisty mystery or suspense. If they’re historical (I’d love to find an Amelia Peabody-esque YA historical mystery), or have a speculative bent, even better. And if anyone has the novel-version of BRICK, please send it to me!

I love dark, complex fantasies like SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo, or THE IMPOSTER QUEEN by Sarah Fine, especially if they have a non-Western setting. If there’s a historical aspect, like THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE by Heidi Heilig, I’m sold.

I am into contemporaries with light Sci-Fi elements like MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera, as well as pure Sci-Fi with politics and an edge like Battlestar Galactica, or a bold re-imagining of another time (like FIREFLY did with the Old West).

I’d love to see historical fiction in both YA and MG like SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys and IVORY AND BONE by Julie Eshbaugh. Anything with a Gothic or Art Deco setting makes me tingly, but I’d also love to see something about a little-known event or era, particularly if it has present-day relevance.

In MG, I would love to find something that I loved as much as REDWALL when I was a kid. Fantasies with some whimsy and darkness are wonderful, like THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne Valente, or THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani. Fun, fast-paced adventures and and mysteries appeal to me as well.

In adult, I want weird and/or lyrical fantasies and speculative mysteries ala anything by Neil Gaiman and Chuck Wendig, as well as Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS, VICIOUS by Victoria Schwab, DEATHLESS by Catherynne Valente, or KRAKEN by China Mieville. I’d also love something with a good twist, like DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn (GONE GIRL less so, but the idea is the same).

What I’m looking for, above anything else, is something that keeps my eyes glued to the page, reads beautifully, and curls my toes. And anything that sets my editorial Spidey-senses tingling! I’d love to find a book in a genre or category I didn’t know I wanted. That is to say, if you write YA or MG and you didn’t see your genre on this list, but you think we’d be a good fit, send it anyway! More than anything, I want to represent and work with writers whose books I love, and that could very well be you.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Damian McNicholl of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 9.31.09 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Damian McNicholl is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

He is seeking: great nonfiction and fiction that appeals to a wide audience and makes people think, laugh, and sob. In fiction, his interests are accessible literary, upmarket commercial, historical, and some offbeat/quirky. Nonfiction interests are memoir, biography, history, investigative journalism and current events especially cultural, legal as well as LGBT issues that can help lead to meaningful change in society. “As a guide, examples of novels I’ve enjoyed include The Kitchen House, The Help, Water for Elephants, My Year of Meats, Watership Down, Cold Mountain, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Atonement. Admired nonfiction authors include David McCollough, Tim Pat Coogan, Eric Schlosser, Augusten Burroughs, and David Sedaris.”

Damian grew up in Northern Ireland and moved to the US in the early nineties. A former attorney, he’s the author of the critically acclaimed novel A Son Called Gabriel (CDS Books/Perseus Books Group). Tremendously interested in the business side of publishing as well as the creative, he attended the initial meeting with the publisher armed with a marketing plan that helped convince the publisher to add his novel to their list. The novel was a Lambda Literary Awards debut fiction finalist and an American Booksellers Association Booksense Pick (now known as Indie Next List). Sold in the UK to independent publisher Legend Press, he negotiated the sale of a second novel, Twisted Agendas, to them. A screenplay he wrote of A Son Called Gabriel was a quarterfinalist in the Nicholl Fellowships organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Damian has appeared on television and radio in the US and UK to discuss his work. His latest novel, currently titled The Moment Of Truth, will be published by Pegasus in Summer 2017.

Damian is now keen to utilize his experience to help talented published and unpublished writers achieve their goals.