One of the things that makes our conference attendees most anxious–and one of the things they end up having the most fun with–is the Speed Dating with Agents event. All during the conference you will get to hear from the agents in sessions as they tell attendees who they are and what they’re looking for. On Saturday evening the Tri-Valley Writers will hold a ‘Practice Your Pitch; Cast Off Your Jitters‘ session you won’t want to miss…even if you aren’t nervous about pitching. Then on Sunday morning, the fun begins!
There are four separate Speed Dating groups of 51 minutes each, the first is from 9:00-9:51 a.m., the second hour is from 10:00-10:51 a.m., the third hour is from 11:00-11:51 a.m. and the final hour is from 12-12:51 p.m. Make your way to the Room of the Dons no more than 5 minutes before your session begins. Due to the city fire Marshall regulations, you will NOT be allowed to line up prior to your hour time slot. There will be no advantage, since all Speed Dating attendees for that time slot will be let into the room at the same time.
Each agent will be seated at a table. The tables will be arranged alphabetically, around the circumference of the room. Get in the line forming in front of the agent you want to see. HINT: The longer the line, the more time you will spend waiting. Scan the room to find agents you want to see with shorter lines so you can see more of them. When you are not Speed Dating, you are encouraged to attend all the wonderful workshops that will be happening all morning or visit the onsite conference bookstore: Bookshop West Portal. During your THREE MINUTE PITCH you will be trying to convey the essence of your book and why you’re the best person to write it, quickly, allowing a response from the agent within your three allotted minutes. You may also use your three minutes to ask about whatever you need to know and start a relationship with them. (Also, if an agent wants to see your work or spend more time with you, you may be able to meet on Saturday or Sunday.) When the first bell rings, stop talking and let the agent speak. When the second bell rings, move on to the next agent’s line.
Please remember to speak quietly while you are waiting in line, as the agents must be able to hear each pitch. You may also wish to practice your pitch on your fellow attendees–quietly–while you wait. Bring the first page of your novel to show, if you wish, or a one-page description of your nonfiction book. Bring business cards. You may wish to share these things with the agents, but do respect the agent if he or she chooses not to accept anything from you. If anyone wants to see something, you’ll be told what to send, and how.
We frequently tell writers to imagine what would happen if their book was turned into a movie. And if that movie was on TV, what would TV Guide write about it? That’s your “perfect pitch.”
You may go from one agent to your next choice to your next choice during your hour. When the hour is up you will leave the Room of the Dons out the front door. Remember, manners count.
LIST OF AGENTS AT THE 2019 SAN FRANCISCO WRITERS CONFERENCE:
LISA ABELLERA, Kimberley Cameron and Associates. Lisa is looking for upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, horror, most speculative fiction except for paranormal fantasy, romance if part of another genre, YA and middle grade fiction.
AMELIA APPEL, Triada Us, is seeking adult fiction, non-fiction, and occasional YA.
For adult fiction, she is most interested in literary fiction, mystery, thriller, upmarket women’s fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and horror. Projects with a smart, distinct voice, a fantastic setting to jump into, and/or a witty protagonist are all up her alley. She is not looking for romance novels.
For adult non-fiction, she is primarily looking for creative non-fiction, humor, sports, how-to, pop culture, and true crime. She is not looking to represent memoir.
For YA, she is particularly interested in stories with a savvy protagonist and a slightly dark tone that deal with serious coming-of-age issues well.
PETER BEREN AAR, of the Peter Beren Agency, is a literary agent and publishing consultant who specializes in Photography, how-to and popular culture. The former Publisher of Sierra Club Books and VIA Books, he is the author or co-author of seven books including The Writers Legal Companion (Basic Books), California the Beautiful (Rizzoli) and The Golden Gate (Insight Editions). His clients include photographers Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, and Baron Wolman; and graphic novelist Jack Katz, www.peterberen.com.
AMY CLOUGHLEY, Kimbereley Cameron & Assoc. – She enjoys literary and upmarket fiction of all types in addition to commercial—including well-researched historical and well-told women’s fiction. She also loves a page-turning mystery or suspense with sharp wit and unexpected twists and turns. She has a soft spot for distinctive, strong, contemporary characters set in small towns. Amy always looks for an unexpected story arc, a suitable pace, and a compelling protagonist.
She is interested in narrative nonfiction when the plot and characters are immersed in a culture, lifestyle, discipline, or industry. She will also consider a travel or adventure memoir.
DAWN FREDERICK, Red Sofa Literary – Dawn represents biography (historical), creative nonfiction, graphic novels, history, humor, popular culture social issues/current affairs, sports and YA both fiction and nonfiction.
ANNIE HWANG, is actively seeking new clients and gravitate toward literary fiction featuring diverse characters and authentic voices; rich historical fiction where the setting takes on a life of its own; visceral literary thrillers with dark psychological grit; and nuanced speculative/science-fiction that explores what it means to be human in the age of technology. I love to champion underrepresented voices and am particularly drawn to complex characters with emotional resonance, deftly braided narratives, and captivating layered plots. Above all, I’m always on the hunt for gifted storytelling that stretches its genre to new heights. When it comes to nonfiction, I’m open to fresh, smart, well-branded nonfiction in the areas of pop science, pop culture, diet, health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and humor. Folio Literary Management
JENNIE KENDRICK, Red Fox Literary – I represent YA and MG fiction across all genres, but I have a special interest in historical, paranormal, magical realism/fabulism, and classic 90s teen horror.
DORIAN MAFFEI, Kimbereley Cameron & Assoc. – While she appreciates most fiction that traverses across multiple genres, she is especially interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling that sometimes veers on the weird. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page, and explores the peculiar within the mundane. Check out her Manuscript Wish List page to get a better understanding of the types of books she gravitates toward.
TAYLOR MARTINDALE KEAN, an agent with Full Circle Literary, is actively acquiring all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction and non-fiction. She is particularly interested in finding unique and unforgettable voices, stories that stay with you, and diverse characters and authors. More than anything, Taylor is looking for character-driven stories that bring the world vividly to life and voices with impact, regardless of genre or category.
LAURIE MCLEAN is a founding partner who represents adult genre fiction including romance, fantasy, mysteries, suspense, thrillers and science fiction, as well as middle-grade and young-adult children’s books. She looks for visceral writing, amazing world-building, relentless pacing, and characters that jump off the page. Query her at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “SFWC Request” in the subject line to avoid an auto-reject, @agentsavant, newsletter at FuseLiterary.com/newsletter. Fuse Literary Agency Website: Fuse Literary
PATRICK MILLER is the Principal Agent and Editor who founded Fearless Books & Literary Services in 1997. He is a veteran magazine journalist and author of a dozen books, and has provided manuscript evaluation and editing for many major publishers, agents, and hundreds of writers. After working in almost every other aspect of publishing, he began providing professional representation in 2015.
KRISTEN MOELLER, For as long as she can remember, escaping into the wonders of a great novel has been a favorite way to unwind. Kristen seeks to discover (mostly female) authors of literary fiction or deep and gritty memoir about walking through the fires of life without losing our way.
PATRICIA NELSON joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. She represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, and is actively building her list.
In general, Patricia looks for stories that hook her with a unique plot, fantastic writing and complex characters that jump off the page. On the adult side, she is seeking women’s fiction both upmarket and commercial, historical fiction set in the 20th century, and compelling plot-driven literary fiction. She’s also looking for sexy, smart adult contemporary and historical single title romance. On the children’s side, Patricia is open to a wide range of genres of YA and MG, with particular interest in contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. She is interested in seeing diverse stories and characters, including LGBTQ, in all genres that she represents.
MONICA ODOM is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents a variety of nonfiction by authors, as well as literary and upmarket fiction, and illustrators. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. She was also schooled in bookselling and event coordinating at her local indie, Watchung Booksellers. She loves to see a personal project turn into something original and surprising, and is committed to the expansion of diversity and inclusivity in the publishing industry.
NICKI RICHESIN of Wendy Sherman Assoc., Inc. is especially interested in representing literary and upmarket fiction, young adult fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir. She is eager to discover authors writing about somewhat unconventional protagonists with an imaginative slant on storytelling. In young adult fiction, she has a particular fondness for coming-of-age stories that take a cue from classic literature. Nicki is drawn to memoir with a genuine voice that instantly connects with readers and takes them on a journey. Wendy Sherman Assoc., Inc.
ANDY ROSS, AAR, represents books in a wide range of subjects, including narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, young adult fiction, and literary and commercial fiction.
JENNIFER MARCH SOLOWAY is an associate agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She’s seeking laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. Jennifer adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries, full of unexpected twists. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. Her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially stories about family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. NOTE: Andrea Brown will also be at the SFWC, but she will not participate in Speed Dating.
PAUL STEVENS, Donald Maas Agency – He’s looking for strong stories with interesting characters. Well-rounded LGBT characters and characters of color are a plus.
Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror:
Paul is looking for science fiction, fantasy, and horror in all subgenres. He would love to see stories that take tried-and-true genre tropes and turn them on their heads in an inventive way.
For example, epic fantasy should stretch the boundaries and shake things up. If your book is about a group of characters going on a quest, be sure you have an inventive take on the quest fantasy subgenre. Show us something that we’ve never seen before. Go HERE to see a full list
JENNIFER CHEN TRAN, Bradford Agency. Jennifer is very interested in diverse writers and #ownvoices from underrepresented/ marginalized communities, strong and conflicted characters who are not afraid to take emotional risks, stories about multi-generational conflict, war and post-war fiction, and writing with a developed sense of place. In non-fiction, she loves books that broaden her world view or shed new light on ‘big ideas.’ Go to her web page for detailed information
GORDON WARNOCK is a founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and editorial director of the Fast Foreword digital publishing program. He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director and editor for independent publishers, freelance publishing consultant, and writing tutor. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide. Fuse Literary Agency Website: Fuse Literary
CARLISLE WEBBER refused to major in English in college when no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She is seeking YA, middle grade, and a range of adult fiction genres including women’s fiction, suspense, mystery, thriller, romance, and contemporary science fiction and fantasy. Her ongoing submissions wish list includes, but is not limited to, guy-centric YA romance, grunge era nostalgia, and things that go bump in the night. CK Webber Associates Website: Carlisle Webber Fuse Literary
NOVELS: Agents may want to read the first page of a novel because they can tell immediately whether a writer can write and if they know how to start a novel. Have a short synopsis of your novel and the rest of the first chapter with you in case agents want to see them. Bring a copy of your proposal or the manuscript of a novel and a short synopsis to the conference (although there’s no certainty that anyone will ask to see everything you bring.)
NARRATIVE NON-FICTION: Be prepared to share the beginning of your work. It should have the impact of a novel. If you want to sell a book to a big house, agents will want to hear a compelling title. They need to know about the writing, media and professional experience that qualifies you to write your book. Tell them what you will do to promote the book. They may also want to see a sample of your writing and a list of chapters.
Agents all work differently and will vary in what they want to hear. Even if an agent can’t help you, they will answer your questions and give you direction.
DON’T MISS ASK A PRO!
The ASK A PRO event on Saturday afternoon is open to all attendees. (Read that: No additional cost!) For the first 30 minutes, each publishing professional will introduce himself or herself for 2 minutes. Then each editor or agent will sit at a 10 person table. The nine attendees at the table each will have one minute to ask a question and then receive one minute of feedback. Then all nine attendees will move to another table and meet another Publishing Pro. Attendees can move to new tables every l8 minutes until 6:30 pm.
Always remember that all of the agents, editors and presenters are there to talk to you at breakfast, lunch, and during breaks. You don’t have to wait for a “Speed Dating” or “Ask a Pro” event to talk to them. If they have their badge on, they’re “on” and approachable! If they do not have a badge on, then please respect their privacy.
If you still have not spoken to an editor or agent during or after this event, or want to follow up with the ones you did talk to, try to write to them after the conference mentioning you were an attendee at the 2018 SFWC. Go to their websites using the links on the presenters page to find their contact information.
Thanks so much.