Tag Archives: agents

2014 OWFI Agents, Editors, Publishers Appointments

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If you’re attending OWFI 2014 and are interested in booking an agent/editor/publisher pitch session, Natasha Hanova is your gal.  Feel free to repost and/or tweet if you or someone you know might be interested in this writer’s conference. Thanks!

Please email her at NatashaHanovaOWFI (at) gmail (dot) com with your top two choices to request an appointment or if you have any questions.

Sign up DEADLINE is Monday, April 28.

NOTE: These appointments are only for people who have registered for OWFI 2014. Click here for online registration or download registration.

See you in May!

Here’s a list of attending agents, editors, and publishers. Please be sure to check their websites for current wish lists.

Agents

Susan Brower from the Natasha Kern Literary Agency

I love finding and developing authors and connecting them with the reader.  Book publishing has changed dramatically over the past several years and it’s no secret that the novels that create buzz through their unique writing or concepts are the ones that become bestsellers.  Over the past 25 years in publishing, I have done marketing, editing, story development and acquisitions for Zondervan, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Most recently, I was Executive Editor and had the privilege of working with New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Tim LaHaye, Stephen L. Carter, and Terri Blackstock and was named ACFW’s Editor of the Year in 2010. And now I am fortunate to partner with Natasha Kern at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

I’ve been an avid fiction fan since childhood and love the way stories are able to change lives, heal hearts, and bring joy to readers.   Today, I want to read and acquire women’s contemporary, any kind of romance, suspense, mystery and historical novels.  I would love to discover the next breakaway author in any of these genres.

I am originally from Arizona and now live in Michigan with my hubby, and three furry “kids,” Shep, Ollie, and Pepper.

Susan Bower Agency Website     •     Susan’s Website   

Dawn Michelle Hardy from Serendipity Literary Agency

Dawn Michelle Hardy has been called a “literary lobbyist” by Ebony magazine for her ability to help authors reach their readership using strategic promotions, win awards and garner national and local media attention.

She began her career in publishing in 2002, first as a assistant to a self published turned New York Times Bestselling author, then as an award-winning publicist and author consultant and now as an associate agent with Serendipity Literary Agency led by Regina Brooks.

While actively building her client list, she likes memoirists who can capture a larger narrative through their personal story and strong hook, best-in-class professionals in a variety of fields, the relatively unknown that has unique and incomparable life experiences, and the music, sports and pop culture enthusiasts with a ‘hip’ idea from an untold vantage point.

Her client list is diverse ranging from a veteran entertainment writer, to a single mother, to a Washington Post award winning sports journalist. Her first acquisitions as agent included a biography on the Grammy winning pop-star Nicki Minaj (Hip-Pop Moments for Life by Isoul Harris), a previously self published memoir that garned SyFy Channel docu-series fame (Forgotten Burial: A Restless Spirit’s Plea from Beyond the Grave by Jodi Foster) and a forthcoming narrative inspired by the #2 most shared news story in 2013 on NBA 16-time Allstar Allen Iverson.

As an agent she is continuously seeking acquisitions for platform driven general interest narratives that can spark debate and heavy conversation. She welcomes the process of collaborating with editors and authors on topics in the area of sports, pop culture, blog and trend, music, lifestyle and social science.

Dawn on Twitter  

Amanda Luedeke  from the Chip MacGregor Literary Agency

Amanda was a 2006 graduate of the acclaimed Professional Writing program at Taylor University Fort Wayne. Since college, she’s made her living as a writer, working as a freelancer for local newspapers and marketing companies, while operating her own writing business.

Her love for writing and her ability to think strategically landed her a full time job in marketing at an agency in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since starting there in 2008, Amanda has written web and print copy for Vera Bradley, Baekgaard, Brecks and Peg Perego. She’s also assisted in marketing strategy for these companies, conducting research, launching social media sites and proposing and working on major projects targeted at the online consumer.

Yes, she knows … she’s one of those people.

She met Chip at an author signing in Barnes and Noble in 2008. After realizing they had a commonality in Taylor University, one thing led to another, and before she knew it, she was helping him with projects, research, and all the little stuff she now assumes he just didn’t feel like doing. Shortly after, Amanda was hired on as Chip’s Assistant.

On board as an Agent since 2010, Amanda brings unique interests to the MacGregor Literary team. She represents general market and CBA projects, and her areas of interest include nonfiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction (all types except historical romance), paranormal and speculative fiction (including steampunk, fantasy, etc), YA, middle grade fiction, and twenty-something/post college-aged hip lit (think Joe Meno, Brett McCracken, Brad Land, JD Salinger).

Having lived all over the Midwest, from Iowa to Minnesota to Illinois, Amanda considers the Chicago suburbs to be ‘home’, though she’s currently settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband, Tad.

Amanda on Facebook     •     Amanda on Twitter

 Maria Vicente from the P.S. Literary Agency

Maria Vicente is an associate agent at P.S. Literary Agency. She is a creative and editorial agent, providing support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Maria is dedicated to managing authors’ literary brands for the duration of their careers.

Her reading preferences vary across categories and genres, which is reflected in her client list. She is actively looking for literary and commercial fiction, young adult, middle grade, illustrated picture books, and nonfiction projects in the pop culture, pop psychology, design, and lifestyle categories. She has affinities for literary writing, strong character development, and original storytelling formats.

Maria’s publishing career began as an intern with Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency. She also interned at P.S. Literary before joining the agency as an associate agent. Maria has a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University, a Bachelor of Education from The University of Western Ontario, and many years of experience editing and designing literary magazines. She is currently an editor for Underneath the Juniper Tree, a literary/art horror magazine for children.

Her blog, I Believe in Story (ibelieveinstory.com), features book reviews, advice for writers, publishing industry articles, and lifestyle posts inspired by literature. You can find Maria on Twitter at @MsMariaVicente.

Editors

Mari Farthing

Mari Farthing is a writer and editor with over 20 years of practical experience in private industry, government, media and publishing. Mari has worked with writers on technical documentation, procedural manuals, memoir, children’s fiction (middle grade, young adult), women’s fiction, suspense and horror.

Mari on Twitter     •     Mari on Facebook

Mary-Theresa Hussey

Mary-Theresa has been at Harlequin for nearly a quarter century—but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

As an executive editor for Harlequin Books, she is surrounded by fantastic stories, terrific colleagues and has had the pleasure of working on thousands of entertaining, enlightening and exciting novels.

Mary-Theresa—sometimes known as Matrice—works with authors on both series and single title imprints, and is always eager to talk about books.

Publishers

Rhonda PendersRhonda Penders from Wild Rose Press

Rhonda Pender is President and co-founder of The Wild Rose Press, a publishing company that publishes books electronically and in print.  The company began in May 2006 and is home to over 1600 titles and 500 authors. The Wild Rose Press began as a romance only publishing house but in 2013 opened its submissions to other genres of fiction including erotica, women’s fiction, mystery and suspense including thrillers, and historical fiction.

TWRP prides itself on never issuing form rejection letters and on being a kinder and gentler publishing house.  Their web site, which is referred to as “the garden”, is truly a community garden where everyone feels as if they have a part in its growth.  Writers, authors, readers and editors come together in chats, loops, blogs, and email to discuss ideas, thoughts, concerns and plans for growing the company.  The editors and the owners are completely accessible to their writers. Currently they are accepting submissions in all lines and all lengths.  All submissions should be made electronically and specific guidelines can be found on their website at http://www.thewildrosepress.com.

Vivian Zabel from 4RV Publishing

Vivian Zabel has a degree in English and speech. She taught in public schools for 27 years, covering such subjects as English, composition, writing, yearbook newspaper, literary magazine, drama, debate adn speech. Vivian has published short stories, articles and poetry until she retired from teaching, and now has 7 published books. Vivian is the founder and president of 4RV publishing, a traditional, royalties-paying publishing house with over 75 authors, including many OWFI members.

Vivian’s Blog     •     Vivian’s Website

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The Waiting Game? Don’t.

I have heard it in creative writing classes and at writing conferences. I’ve seen it in online forums and asked of bloggers. They word the question a variety of ways; “How long do I wait for a response to a query?” or “How long do I give an agent to get back with me?” but it means the same thing. The waiting game. All writers play it and make no mistake about it (and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here) none of us like it. However, it isn’t the existence of this aspect of our reality that’s a problem. It’s the way we respond and that is evident in the verbiage of the questions themselves, wait, give.

Too many writers take a wait and see mentality to the process. Perhaps it’s because I waited until my kids were grown to pursue my writing, but I have never had the patience for a “wait” attitude. I don’t see it as healthy; and frankly, I don’t think it accomplishes anything valuable for the writer. The last two and a half years of my life have been chaotic and read like one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. I am aware of how often life can send things off course. When I send a query off or I pitch an agent, I lose control. I pitched an agent once and heard nothing for months only to find out right after I pitched her, she experienced health issues. Life. Shit happens.

We can’t wait. Send off your query or your requested pages. Have a drink to celebrate. Then, start a new project or begin edits of another project. NEVER sit and wait. Always be moving forward with your game plan. If you have goals in place, the grind of submissions should never stop that progress. I pitched my YA. The agent asked for the manuscript. I sent it. Months later, she asked me to send an electronic copy. I sent that. I followed up three months later. When I’d heard nothing at the six month mark(per guidelines), I sent a thank you for considering my manuscript and assumed it was a rejection.

A year later I heard from the agent with an apology and an explanation regarding a family death. She didn’t owe me that, but it was nice that she offered it. I’ll admit to being stunned. And impressed. After the year she’d had, she still took the time to read my work and give me feedback.   She offered suggestions and asked me to resubmit. During that year, I had revised my YA one more time and edited my adult novel. It was a productive time. Now, I have further feedback and an opportunity to resubmit. Thank goodness, I didn’t “wait”.

What do you do while you’re “waiting”?

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Dream Agent

I’ve read a lot of interviews and posts asking agents about their dream client. None of what they’ve said came as any surprise. In fact, I like what they all had to say because it sets the standard that I expect of myself. It’s good to know it’s the expectation of most agents. However, while we talk about our dream agents with each other and think about it most of the time during the submissions process, I’ve not read any blog posts about it. I’m curious.

My dream agent is someone who loves my characters as much as I do. He/she wants the book to be the best it can be and will work with me to ensure that it is. My dream agent will appreciate an author with a good work ethic but help the author keep her sense of humor when it gets stressful. (What? This occupation stressful?) The best agent for me is someone who loves reading and books and storytelling and writers and wants to help me in building my career as someone who also loves those things. My dream agent is not in it for just this book; they are in it for every book.

My dream agent is out there. Waiting.

What is your dream agent like?

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It’s the Questions not the Answers

Life flummoxes me at times. Okay, most of the time. It leaves me with more questions than answers and yet, it’s one of the things about life I find most fascinating. I’ve always been fascinated by questions, in fact, it’s what drove me into education and a love of learning. Most of my students always think teaching and teachers are about answers, and I’ve met my share who are but not most. The truth is a lifelong learner is one who will never stop asking questions, never stop being curious, never be satisfied with “the answers” as given.

As a writer, this is particularly beneficial. The entire process of building a story is one of asking questions. My character is a cop but is he a street cop or a detective? Or is he with a federal branch? Does my character make his bed by mining his corners or slap the covers up over the pillows and call it good?

Will I tell the story in first person or third? Which character needs to tell the story? Where is it taking place? Will the setting be a production as in science fiction world building? What genre is this story?

The questions don’t end with the first draft. In fact, they multiply. Are my chapters well-developed? Are my scenes effective in propelling the story forward? Is there a strong character arc for my MC? Are any surprises or twists earned? Does the ending satisfy or frustrate the reader?

The polished draft is ready for submission? Who do I submit to? How many at one time? Simultaneous submissions okay?  Do I pursue traditional or self-publish, and at what point do I make that decision? Do I need an agent? If so, where do I find one? Which one will be best for me? For my novel? What about best for my career overall?

Questions. I have them. I’m surrounded by them. Finding the answers is always both the fun and the burden of the art. I cherish every minute of it.

How about you? What questions are your favorite in the process of creating? What questions do you dread finding an answer to?

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The Sweet Hereafter

A conference brings this storm swell of creative juices, and you’ll return home convinced that you are ready to conquer anything publishing throws your way. That glow will last if you’re lucky, 24 hours. A part of every conference prep should include planning for a return from the wonderful world of nothing but writers and writing to that world of diapers, bottles, teenage drivers and angst, or cranky hubbies. Whatever your daily world encompasses, it’s all waiting for you when you leave that sheltered world of the “conference”.

The first thing you need to do is prepare yourself emotionally for this return to your ‘normal world’ as Christopher Vogler describes it in The Writer’s Journey. My critique group has done this and we’ve learned new things every time. Here are suggestions for returning from the conference:

1. Hit the ground running when you get home by making time to email the contacts you made at the conference. Don’t wait. Don’t give them or yourself time to forget. If you followed advice, you wrote something memorable on the back of the business cards you collected.

2. Share what you learned. If you have a local group of writers you work with, share what you learned with them. If not, use your blog or website as a host for educating others about Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. (or your conference) and writing. If your entire group attended (as our group does), it is always a good idea to debrief after conferences. Go over what went well, what didn’t, what inspired you, what frustrated you, etc. As a group, we attend different sessions to maximize our attendance, then we share what we learned with each other.

3. When you enjoy a conference and find it worthwhile, spread the word! Let others in on what’s worthwhile about it. Give them publicity. We’re all in this together so help each other out.

4. We have a new goal for this conference. Since this is our third year, we wanted to do something special. Stay tuned to the Novel Clique blog for interviews with writer attendees at OWFI 2012.

5. Final evaluation: upon returning you need to do a final run down of the experience. Was the conference a good one for you? Just as you did when selecting a conference return to those important questions:

a. Location: Was the location good for you? Price certainly feeds into this these days because of the price of gas.

b. Genre: Did you find the things you needed for what you write? Were there agents who represent what you write?

c. Price: Consider the costs of everything from travel to hotel to food to cost of the conference. Was it cost-effective for you?

d. Presenters: Were the presenters good? Were they speaking about things of importance to you as a writer? Did you return with more than you left home with?

Once you’ve answered those questions you’ll know whether you want to attend that conference again or not. For us, after attending OWFI, all those answers were good ones.

What do you want to return from a conference having accomplished?

Be sure to check out Natasha’s post on what to do before the conference and Leatrice’s upcoming post on what to do during.

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Retreat Activity on Steroids

My critique group took a short retreat last weekend to a casino. No, we didn’t gamble. We didn’t even drink. Our full focus was on writing. We gathered in our (gratis) room and buckled down. I had purchased The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, and he made me an instant fan. Eventually everyone bought the book so we decided when we took this excursion, we’d bring the book and work on the exercises he provides.

Everyone brought the first five pages of a WIP and Lukeman’s book, and we set to work. Our group is highly disciplined, but in this setting I didn’t expect that we would accomplish as much as we hoped. So much for low expectations. We nearly completed the book selecting the exercises possible in the limited time we had. (One exercise called for four hours which we knew would need to wait for another time.)

Noah’s book offers some advice that will strike the experienced writer as, “Well, duh.” However, even experienced writers make beginner mistakes in first drafts. It never hurts to remind yourself what you’re looking for when you go to revise. It also offers advice that writers wouldn’t know because they aren’t privy to the mindset of editors and agents.

Lukeman walks the walk in his book by keeping it short and concise. He makes his points and moves on. He covers everything from submission problems like presentation to big picture problems like characterization and pacing. He addresses common problems with language like clichés and excessive reliance on adjectives and adverbs. Through it all the tone is that of a professor who wants his student to succeed but won’t tolerate any skating on the important things. And, he reminds us, it’s all important.

For anyone on the submission track this is a must read. Take it seriously by keeping it close at hand when you’re working on your manuscript. Your future agent will thank you.

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My Writer’s Bookshelf

Writers have extensive libraries. It’s a part of who we are. We have books in the genres in which we write, books outside of the genre in which we write, research books, and we have how to books. We LOVE our how to books. Even when we should put them down and just write, we can’t pull ourselves from learning our craft from experts.

Every writer has a list. Books that touched them and sent them down a path of no return in terms of their growth as a writer. I’m no different. Les Edgerton quotes some of my favorites in his book, Hooked, so it made me think about my list, my top ten, as it were. Here are the first five:

On Writing by Stephen King: Brevity is probably the surprising aspect of this part autobiography/part book on writing King penned after a horrific crash nearly took his life. When you look at the average length  of  his works, this book’s length is a picture book next to an unabridged dictionary. Still, he is classic King throughout offering tongue in cheek humor and dead serious professionalism about the craft. He offers up his own work in draft form as examples of the editing process. If you’re not afraid of climbing into the dark mind of genius, this is a must read.

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway: This is perhaps the most comprehensive how to book I’ve ever read. I read it my first semester of grad school, and she blew me away with her insights. It’s like a mini writing class. I especially love the organization of the book. She takes an aspect of the craft; for instance, characterization, and she talks about it. Then at the end of that section, she has several pieces which best exemplify what she’s tried to teach you. I never put this one away because I am always referring back to it. It’s doggy eared, highlighted, scribbled in and my most used book.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas: This guy is the guru of agents. Not only is he a well-respected agent, a hot ticket on the conference scene, and a great writer, he appears to have unending energy. This book offers signposts for those seeking to find a way to make their novel break free of the pack and find success.  

The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose, and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maas: This is another great book to use for revision. I’ve used the exercises in it for my writer’s group as we do rewrites of our WIP. Some of my best writing has come from these pieces. If you want to find your way down to the core of your writing, this book is a great way to start.

Hooked by Les Edgerton: If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m reading this book. I’m moving slowly – school year and I’m teaching six days a week – but I’m experiencing high levels of excitement from what I’m learning. Honestly, given the ADD nature of people today, you need to have everything on your side when it comes to your book. Getting the reader hooked isn’t just a good idea, it’s imperative. Read this book!

Next time I’ll provide the bottom half of my top ten. Tell me, what books are on your writer’s bookshelf?

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