Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Julie Matysik of Running Press Kids

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 4.24.55 PM.pngJulie Matysik is the editorial director for Running Press Kids.

Prior to working at Running Press, Julie was the editorial director of Sky Pony Press, the children’s imprint at Skyhorse Publishing, which she helped found. She has worked with a number of bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators, including Mallika Chopra, Beth Vrabel, Stacy McAnulty, Thrity Umrigar, Charles Santore, Elly MacKay, and Iza Trapani, and currently works with the estates of Bob Ross and David Bowie. When she is not busy writing board books and editing manuscripts, Julie—a native of Madison, Wisconsin—spends time with her husband and two young children exploring Philadelphia, where they live.

She is seeking the follow categories/genres:

  • Board books (stand alone and series)
  • Picture books (including nonfiction; mainly humor, trendy, socially relevant and no biographies)
  • Middle grade nonfiction
  • YA fiction (contemporary, light—no dark/heavy themes if possible)
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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 4.22.18 PMMarie Lamba is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

Marie (www.marielamba.com) is author of the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head and Drawn, of the picture book Green Green: A Community Gardening Story (Farrar Straus Giroux), and of the upcoming picture book A Day So Gray (Clarion). Her articles appear in more than 100 publications, and she’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. Marie has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, a book publicist, and has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion.

Fiction interests:

“I’m currently seeking middle grade and young adult fiction, especially with diverse points of view, or a STEM tie-in. I also want general adult fiction and women’s fiction. I’d love to find an original women’s novel that would inspire the next smart and funny chick flick. I also represent a select number of established illustrators and picture book authors. I’d love a fresh non-gory ghost story for any age. I’m fascinated with hidden treasures, artifacts and with discovering ancient civilizations right beneath our feet. I’m a huge fan of folklore and fairy tales, and, while I wouldn’t want a retelling, I always enjoy those elements woven into a story in a unique way. Overall, books that are original, moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome.”

“I’m NOT interested in Christian fiction, horsey books, thrillers, genre science fiction or high fantasy (though I am open to speculative elements, especially in middle-grade fiction), erotica, category romance (though romantic elements are welcomed in novels), or books that feature graphic violence.”

“Some favorite titles on my reading shelf include Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Shug by Jenny Han, and Dogzilla and Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey. For more insight into my tastes, check out the books I’ve authored, as well as the works of the authors I represent, and visit marielamba.com for my Agent Monday blog posts.

Nonfiction interests:

“I represent nonfiction for children and for adults. For children’s, I’m open to most non-fiction subjects, especially ones that fit into my interests (see above).”

“In the adult realm, I want memoirs with strong voices and unique, inspiring stories (especially foodie memoirs, or ones with a celebrity or pop culture connection). In non-fiction, I’m seeking narrative nonfiction, pop culture, history (little known or unique view of well-known), science and technology for the rest of us, art, biography (especially unknown/little known sides of well-known people), parenting, cooking and food, health and wellness, lifestyle, advice and relationships, and personal finance.”

“Overall, I’m especially looking for nonfiction that is inspiring and hopeful. I have a special interest in social justice, in titles that elevate and celebrate women and diverse people, and in books that aim to improve our society and help our environment.”

“Some nonfiction favorites on my reading shelf include: Rush by Stephen Fried, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine, and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I also loved the movies RBG and Hidden Figures, and I’m a sucker for The Great British Bake Off.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jade Wong-Baxter of Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 3.17.48 PMJade Wong-Baxter is a literary agent with Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.

Jade got her start in publishing at Writers House, W. W. Norton, and Folio Literary Management. A graduate of Vassar College, she joined MMQ in 2017.

She’s looking for literary fiction, upmarket/mainstream fiction, and narrative nonfiction, with an emphasis on narratives by and about people of color, as well as the perspectives of marginalized identities.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Susan Velazquez of JABberwocky Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 1.05.08 PM.pngSusan Velazquez is a literary agent with JABberwocky Literary Agency.

“I am primarily interested in literary/upmarket fiction, historical fiction, and women’s fiction, especially family sagas. In science fiction and fantasy, I’m looking for stories that reflect or challenge how our society functions today. In young adult, I am open to all genres but am particular towards stories that are centered on the bittersweet pains of growing up. In nonfiction, I am only interested in narrative nonfiction that examines history, technology, or pop culture. Above all, I’m looking for strong emotional arcs and characters who feel as real as possible.

Susan was born and raised outside of Dallas, Texas, but strangely enough, has no strong opinions on football or country music. Much to her family’s dismay, she left the South to live amongst the Yankees. She received a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in Gender Studies from SUNY Oswego in 2016. Susan speaks fluent Spanglish and just mastered the art of cooking Mexican rice.

Before joining JABberwocky, Susan interned at Foundry Literary + Media, Coral Press, and Folio Literary Management.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leah Pierre of Ladderbird Literary

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 12.43.24 PM.pngLeah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

A Texas native, Leah moved to the east coast to pursue her dream of working in publishing. Leah spends her time enjoying the company of fictional characters more than people. When not in the company of fictional characters, Leah hangs out with friends and family, cooks, and catches up on movies and TV shows.

She is seeking: “I am looking for diverse and unique work that is faced paced, that I will not be able to put down, and will leave me on the edge of my seat. As much as I pretend to hate them, I do love a good plot twist and a shocking ending. I love stories with a complex cast of characters and I am a sucker for camaraderie, banter, and the tight-knit, family-like group of friends trope.”

Adult novels: romance (ideally interracial), fantasy with elements of myth and legends, historical fantasy/fiction, social-justice-inspired espionage/heist.

New adult novels: romance, coming-of-age, finding one’s identity, F/F friendship, the college experience as well as the post-college experience.

Young adult novels: Fantasy with elements of myth and legend (lesser know myths/legends i.e. Middle Eastern), Meet-Cute/Coming-of-age that involves romance and self-discovery/self-love, Contemporary, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries and thrillers (unreliable narrators are okay), fairy-tale retellings, and a good heist concept.

“A lot of what I am looking for does overlap, so please use your best judgement when submitting. If you’re not sure, give it a try.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Caitlin McDonald of Donald Maass Literary

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 9.58.57 PM.pngCaitlin McDonald is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

She is looking for:

– All types of science fiction and fantasy for adult, young adult, and middle grade, especially secondary world fantasy and alternate history
– Genre-bending or cross-genre fiction, and stories that examine tropes from a new angle
– Diversity of all kinds, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and worldbuilding

Caitlin joined DMLA in 2015, and was previously at Sterling Lord Literistic. 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. Caitlin grew up overseas and has a BA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

She does not want to see women’s fiction, crime fiction, Christian fiction, picture books, or young reader chapter books.

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

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.53.46 PM[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Eric 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.