Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michelle S. Lazurek of WordWise Media Services

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 11.36.04 PM.pngMichelle S. Lazurek is an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services.

Personally, she seeks Christian nonfiction for adults, and picture books (secular and Christian) for children. That said, she is taking pitches for her entire agency and co-agents, and is happy to hear pitches for science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. Nonfiction areas of interest for the agency include theology, Bible studies, religious/inspirational, professional, church issues, social/cultural issues, career, and reference. She takes both secular and Christian submissions.

No erotica or very vulgar manuscripts, please.

About Michelle: “In 2009, I felt a calling on my life to start writing. Apart from some poems in high school, I had never written anything before. As I studied and wrote down my thoughts, I soon published my first book. Today, with nine titles in print and hundreds of articles (and a few awards along the way), I teach aspiring authors at writers’ conferences. Now I get the privilege to journey with them more closely, and help them achieve their dreams. I have a Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Relations from Liberty University. When not occupied with literary pursuits, you can find me sipping a hot latte at Starbucks, reading a good book, or collecting records from the 1980s and 90s. I live with my husband, two children and our crazy dog, Cookie.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lori Perkins of L. Perkins Agency

Screen Shot 2020-08-15 at 11.09.28 PM.pngLori Perkins is the founding agent at L. Perkins Agency.

She has sold more than 2,000 titles in her two decades as an agent. Perkins has had 7 books on the NY Times best-seller list including How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson, which made the NYT best-seller list for 7 weeks, J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter by Marc Shapiro, and The Hunger Games Companion by Lois Gresh.

Perkins is also the founder and publisher of Riverdale Avenue Books, an award-wining hybrid publisher, and currently splits her time between the two successful publishing businesses. As a result, she is only representing a few select clients, but oversees all aspects of the agency.

She is also a published author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as the editor of the first zombie romance anthology, Hungry for Your Love and 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey. She was an adjunct professor at N.Y.U.’s Center for Publishing for two decades, as well as an online professor at Writer’s Digest University. In 2010, The New York Chapter of Romance Writers of America named her Literary Agent of the Year, and she received an Outstanding Achievement Award as an Author’s Representative from Romantic Times Magazine.

She is a frequent speaker at writer’s conferences and conventions from romance to kink and attends approximately 13 conferences a year.

She is seeking:

“I am most interested in erotic and paranormal romance, female-driven science fiction and fantasy. In nonfiction, I am interested in pop culture and LGBTQ/social justice titles. Also interested in those areas in fiction as well, and memoirs that fall under those umbrellas.”

“We have a new line of books at Riverdale Avenue Books, the Binge Watcher’s Guides, and we are looking for authors to write guidebooks on TV shows and film franchises.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Peterson of Rees Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.58.43 AM.pngKelly Peterson is a literary agent with Rees Literary Agency.

Kelly is a West Chester University graduate with a B.S.Ed in English and Literature. She worked as a Junior Literary Agent for two years before moving to Rees Literary Agency, continuing to champion her authors and the manuscripts she loves.

Kelly seeks manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.

 

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

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), 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.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2020 PWW

If you are coming to the 2020 Philadelphia Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agents and editors. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from one of last year’s instructors, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:

  • Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
  • Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
  • Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
  • Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
  • Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.