The 2023 Writing Conference of Los Angeles: May 13, 2023

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter successful 2015, 2019, and 2022 events in Los Angeles, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2023 Writing Conference of Los Angeles — a full-day “How to Get Published” writing event in Los Angeles, CA on May 13, 2023.

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 (225 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writing Conference of Los Angeles! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCLA is an in-person event happening in Los Angeles on May 13, 2023. See you there.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Congress Plaza Hotel. 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 and editor faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Rachelle Gardner (Gardner Literary)
  • literary agent Sarah Bowlin (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Carlisle Webber (Fuse Literary)
  • literary agent Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman Associates)
  • literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul Levine Literary)
  • literary agent Zabe Ellor (Jennifer De Chiara Literary)
  • literary agent Steven Hutson (Wordwise Media Services)
  • and many 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 Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops. E-mail him to register for the event at WritingDayWorkshops@gmail.com.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 13, 2023 — at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCLA is an in-person event happening in Los Angeles on May 13, 2023. See you there.)

THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MAY 13, 2023):

What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. You can see a more detailed layout of the day’s classes on the 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. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

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

1. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

(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 (room). 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. TBD (room)

BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45

1. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

(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. TBD (room)

2. TBD (room)

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.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Sarah Bowlin is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.  Sarah joined Aevitas after a decade as an editor of literary fiction and nonfiction. She is seeking: Sarah is focused on bold, diverse voices in fiction and nonfiction. She’s especially interested in stories of strong or difficult women and unexpected narratives of place, of identity, and of the shifting ways we see ourselves and each other. She’s also interested in food history, wine, and dance. Learn more about Sarah here.

Rachelle Gardner is literary agent and owner of Gardner Literary. She works in the Christian market (CBA) as well as the general market, and is considering new clients for both. In fiction she’s looking at novels of 75,000 to 100,000 words in the following genres: contemporary women’s fiction, romance, suspense/thriller, historical, YA and YA fantasy including fairy tale retellings with a unique approach. Rachelle is looking at a wide variety of nonfiction, but please note, she can’t sell it unless you have a platform. If you have begun developing a following, bring her your nonfiction! She is especially interested in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors. Learn more about Rachelle here.

Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary. Carlisle is looking for: high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you. Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities. Pitch her: Middle grade (any genre), Young adult (any genre), thriller, mystery, suspense, horror, women’s fiction, and popular/mainstream fiction. Learn more about Carlisle here.

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.37.27 PMPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney. His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports. Learn more about Paul here.

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. Concerning what he seeks, Ken is a generalist, and represents adult fiction and nonfiction of all types. He does not want pitches for children’s books or kidlit novels of any kind. Learn more about Ken here.

Zabé Ellor is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. He represents middle grade in various genres and young adult novels in all genres. In adult fiction, his first love is science fiction & fantasy. He is also looking for commercial and upmarket contemporary fiction, especially projects that contain elements of literary mystery and thriller, or voice-driven projects that would make a fun beach read. He is interested in graphic novel projects for all age groups. In nonfiction, he wants proposals for books about science and history that teach and entertain in equal measure. “If you want to dive deeply into an intriguing quirk of our world—and can do so with voice, wit, and an eye for the human—I want to see your proposal! As a former evolutionary biology/Renaissance literature major, my interests are wide, but I’ll always be interested in projects about fossils. Show me your platform and your passion for the subject. Also, Diversity is incredibly important to me. I strongly encourage marginalized authors to self-identify, if they are comfortable, especially if their identity is related to their project.” Learn more about Zabe here. Learn more about Zabe here.

Steven Hutson is a literary agent and founder of Wordwise Media Services. He is seeking: “I’m interested in representing a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults. Surprise me.” Some of the categories he enjoys, though is not limited to, include: Action/Adventure, Children’s, Crime, Fantasy, General, Graphic Novel, Humor, Middle Grade, Military, Mystery, Religious, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult. For Nonfiction: Biography, Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Sports, Travel, True Crime. Learn more about Steven here.

 

 

        More 2023 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.)

———

PRICING:

$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2023 WCLA and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2022, 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 an be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

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 Writing Conference of Los Angeles 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 $89 — 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 will either 1) get an in-person meeting at the workshop, if the faculty member is attending the live event, or 2) get a 10-minute phone call with the faculty member, and have notes passed along via email, if the critiquer is not attending the live event. Options:

  • Mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, women’s fiction: Faculty member Tara Yilmaz, a writing coach and author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 10 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
  • x
  • x

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

REGISTRATION:

Because of limited space at the venue (Los Angeles Convention Center), the workshop can only allow 225 registrants. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.

(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online/virtual as well as in-person events. This next WCLA is an in-person event happening in Los Angeles on May 13, 2023. See you there.)

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

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.10.21 PM

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Writing Conference of Los Angeles.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carlisle Webber of Fuse Literary

Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary.

Carlisle refused to major in English in college because she didn’t think there was anything fun to read on the required lists. No Stephen King? No R.L. Stine? No thanks! After college, she took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from UC-Berkeley.

Carlisle is looking for: high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you.

Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities. Take a look at her manuscript wish list. But if you don’t write exactly what’s on her list, don’t worry! She’s happy to look at any work that falls into the categories she represents.

She wants:

Middle grade (any genre)
Young adult (any genre)
Thriller
Mystery
Suspense
Horror
Women’s fiction
Pop/mainstream fiction

She does NOT want:

Picture books
Early chapter books
Graphic novels
Science fiction for adults
Fantasy for adults
Literary fiction (unless it has a strong commercial hook)
Romance
Historical fiction
Memoir
Nonfiction
Any work that has been previously published, including self-published

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sarah Bowlin of Aevitas Creative Management

Sarah Bowlin is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.

Sarah joined Aevitas after a decade as an editor of literary fiction and nonfiction. She has worked on the international breakout novel How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti; the New York Times Notable Book, The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips; the National Book Award-nominated The End by Salvatore Scibona; the acclaimed novels Marlena by Julie Buntin and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong; and works by the award-winning novelist, Juan Gabriel Vásquez.

Bowlin has a BA in American Literature from New York University. Originally from the South, she got her start in publishing at Riverhead Books and was most recently a senior editor at Henry Holt & Company.

She is seeking: Sarah is focused on bold, diverse voices in fiction and nonfiction. She’s especially interested in stories of strong or difficult women and unexpected narratives of place, of identity, and of the shifting ways we see ourselves and each other. She’s also interested in food history, wine, and dance.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Steven Hutson of Wordwise Media Services

Steven Hutson is a literary agent and founder of Wordwise Media Services.

He is seeking: “I’m interested in representing a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults. Surprise me.”

Some of the categories he enjoys, though is not limited to, include: Action/Adventure, Children’s, Crime, Fantasy, General, Graphic Novel, Humor, Middle Grade, Military, Mystery, Religious, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult.

For Nonfiction: Biography, Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Sports, Travel, True Crime.

“I was a storyteller almost from birth; poems, articles, business letters, advertising copy, and lame excuses. But like most writers, I kept a day job; in-between gigs I found gainful employment as a clerk typist, vitamin buyer, waiter, forklift operator, lifeguard, bookkeeper, grocery manager, printer’s apprentice, and meat cutter. Oh, and I went to college for a while with a major in business.

“But the muse didn’t give up on me, and in time I had a couple of books published. One thing led to another; I edited dozens of books for others and managed a writers’ conference for several years, making many valuable contacts along the way. I’ve mentored hundreds of aspiring authors, I speak often at writers’ events, and I write two blogs. Swimming, gardening, and cooking keep my hands busy in-between. I live in sunny Southern California with my wife Ruth and son Bradley.”

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zabé Ellor of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Zabé Ellor is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Zabé joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in August 2018, after previously interning at the agency and at Inklings Literary, and serving as a Publications Assistant at IOP Publishing. He graduated from Cornell University in 2016 with a dual degree in biology and English. An avid reader and writer, his non-literary interests include running, travel, and finding the perfect dim sum.

He is seeking:

Middle Grade: I’m now open to MG and excited to find clients writing exciting, adventurous, hilarious books for preteens! My favorite middle grade books weave voice, whimsy, and heart together to meet young readers where they are, instead of talking down or patronizing. I love all things speculative, from wild new worlds to small hints of magic, and my dream would be to find something that innovates at world building how Gregor the Overlander does. I also love stories grounded in the contemporary world, but prefer humorous tones to the very serious. Projects with graphic elements always welcome. I’m especially interested in seeing submissions from diverse voices.

Young Adult: I love all genres of YA: swoonworthy romances, electrifying thrillers and mysteries, heartbreaking contemporaries, and SFF that sweeps me off to a new world. Whatever you’re writing, give me flawed characters who struggle with the complexities of growing up and tangled networks of relationships binding them together. Books with messy, real, and consuming emotions are my kryptonite; recent favorites include Three Dark Crowns, Burning Glass, The Astonishing Color of After, When Dimple Met Rishi, Eliza and her Monsters, When the Moon was Ours, and The Love Interest.

Adult Fiction: My first love is adult SFF, in which I’m drawn to expansive worlds inhabited by unforgettable characters. Favorites of mine include the Emberverse series, The Broken Earth trilogy, An Unkindness of Ghosts, and Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels. I’m also looking for commercial and upmarket contemporary fiction, especially projects that contain elements of literary mystery and thriller, or voice-driven projects that would make a fun beach—think Little Fires Everywhere, Crazy Rich Asians, or Big Little Lies. Any project that involves rich people, secrets, and tragicomic misbehavior is quick to catch my eye!

Graphic novels: I’m interested in graphic novel projects for all age groups. Give me children’s projects that will make me laugh, cry, or both: think The Prince and the Dressmaker, The Witch Boy, or anything by Dav Pilkey. Give me adult projects that can ONLY be told in graphic novel format—stories like Saga and Low where the art creates the world. Author/illustrators strongly preferred.

Nonfiction: In nonfiction, I want proposals for books about science and history that teach and entertain in equal measure. If you want to dive deeply into an intriguing quirk of our world—and can do so with voice, wit, and an eye for the human—I want to see your proposal! As a former evolutionary biology/Renaissance literature major, my interests are wide, but I’ll always be interested in projects about fossils. Show me your platform and your passion for the subject

Diversity is incredibly important to me. I strongly encourage marginalized authors to self-identify, if they are comfortable, especially if their identity is related to their project.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ken Sherman of Ken Sherman & Associates

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights.

He is seeking: Ken is a generalist, and represents adult fiction and nonfiction of all types. He does not want pitches for children’s books or novels of any kind.

An agent for more than twenty years, Ken has accumulated an impressive list of clients, present and past including a few estates, with notable names such as David Guterson, Anne Perry, Franz Kafka, Willa Cather, John Updike, Starhawk, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker, having taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference and The Eugene International Film Festival where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since graduating from the University of California-Berkeley with a major in psychology, Ken has returned numerous times to the classroom to teach his course, “The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and the Publishing Worlds,” at both USC and UCLA. He also co-taught a screenwriting class for many years at the Eugene International Film Festival.

Ken maintains strong community involvement as well, serving as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, is a charter member of the British Academy of Film and Television/Los Angeles (BAFTA), and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Science and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.

 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Paul S. Levine of Paul S. Levine Literary

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.36.26 PM.pngPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney.

His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction.

His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports.

Paul has sold more than 250 fiction and nonfiction books.

As an entertainment lawyer, Levine has written the legal contracts for several books adapted as movies-for-television. With over thirty-seven (38) years of experience in the entertainment and book industries, Levine is one of the few lawyers on the West coast who also understands the world of book publishing; as such, he is able to act as both literary agent and publishing attorney for his clients.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rachelle Gardner of Gardner Literary

Rachelle Gardner is literary agent and owner of Gardner Literary, representing fiction and nonfiction.

She works in the Christian market (CBA) as well as the general market, and is considering new clients for both.

In fiction she’s looking at novels of 75,000 to 100,000 words in the following genres: contemporary women’s fiction, romance, suspense/thriller, historical, YA and YA fantasy including fairy tale retellings with a unique approach.

NOT looking at adult fantasy, sci-fi, or literary fiction.

Rachelle is looking at a wide variety of nonfiction, but please note, she can’t sell it unless you have a platform. If you have begun developing a following, bring her your nonfiction!

She is especially interested in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Maria Alcantara of Arthouse Literary Agency

Maria Alcantara is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary Agency.

Maria graduated Cum Laude from Rutgers University with a Degree in English and Digital Studies. Getting her start as an editorial intern and a #RevPit First Reader, Maria has curated a particular taste for the kinds of books she aims to help bring to the masses. When she’s not working as a software engineer, you might find her cuddled up with her orange tabby and a good thriller.

Maria is looking for New Adult upmarket fiction, either character-driven or plot-driven. She loves to cozy up with a good mystery full of complicated characters and page-turning plot twists. If these novels are contemporary with Millennial leads then that’s even better. Examples of this genre currently on her bookshelf include: YOU by Caroline Kepnes, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh.

She is seeking:

Maria is also looking for women’s contemporary or commercial romance and horror with inclusive voices of Latinos and the LGBTQ community. Maria loves reading stories of marginalized voices in modern-day settings that are relatable and swoonworthy. Some favorites in this genre include: Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman.

Maria’s guilty pleasures include dark romances and corporate workplace drama! Her background also includes fashion retail and coffeehouse environments, so books set in these places usually pique her interest. She also loves reading whirlwind escapist stories à la Emily in Paris.

What She Doesn’t Want: Westerns, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Historical, Children’s books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Audrey Crooks of Trident Media Group

Audrey Crooks is an Associate Agent at Trident Media Group.

She joined the agency in 2020 as an assistant to Don Fehr and Ellen Levine. Previously, Audrey was an intern at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency, a bookseller, and from 2017-2018 she lived in Jordan, working for a nonprofit serving Gazan women refugees. Audrey’s academic background is in poetry and Middle Eastern Studies.

While continuing to work closely with Ellen Levine, Audrey is open to submissions and excited to collaborate with authors as an Associate Agent. She is seeking literary fiction, speculative fiction, story collections, international works, and upmarket and genre fiction with a literary bent. She is drawn to smart, character-driven stories with a sense of humor and style. She welcomes the surreal and is excited by fiction that explores gender, language, identity, built and natural environments, and/or systems of power in creative and compelling ways.

For nonfiction submissions, Audrey is looking for memoir, narrative nonfiction, cultural criticism, and human-centered journalistic deep-dives, with particular interests in food and dining, fashion, nightlife, dance, the cultures of the contemporary Middle East, and the American South.