Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Susan Finesman of Fine Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 12.15.03 AMSusan Finesman is a literary agent and founder of Fine Literary.

She seeks: Literary and mainstream fiction, mystery, romance, young adult, historical fiction, memoir/biography, business/investing/finance, history, mind/body/spirit, health, travel, lifestyle, cookbooks.

Susan began scouting books, plays and narrative nonfiction for Tri-Star Pictures in 1986. Five years later, she moved on to SAVOY Pictures followed by a long and award winning stint at HOME BOX OFFICE where highlights included an Emmy for Ernest Gaines’ A LESSON BEFORE DYING.

“Scouting books for film is like sitting in the most fabulous catbird seat, not prisoner to any genre and not prey to any shelf space at the bookstore. Learning how to find new stories and adapt them for the screen gave me a slightly different perspective on how to sell books to publishers. In 2010, I decided to build a seat of my own, introducing great writers first to publishers and then, not as an afterthought but as part of a coordinated plan, pursue film, television and internet opportunities. I continue to be interested in all kinds of books but tend to be compelled by work that features characters that I cannot shake. I challenge authors to make me laugh or cry and you will have certainly won me over by doing both. I love the twists and turns of a great page-turner, can be seduced by a truly honest memoir and am delighted when transported by historical fiction.”

Regarding nonfiction: “Cookbooks and lifestyle are a particular area of interest but I can be compelled to consider almost any subject that is honest and thoughtful.”

“We work with co-agents in every territory and join forces with Hollywood agencies to broker film and television rights. At this time, we are not representing children’s picture books or work composed for the stage or screen.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kianna Shore of Ladderbird Literary

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.24.53 PMKianna Shore is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

​Born in South Korea and adopted to a Jewish family in Texas, Kianna actively seeks out stories with their #ownvoices. Bi-romantic, she is an advocate for queer stories. With a passion for learning about the world and telling diverse narratives, Kianna is a recent graduate from UCLA’s MFA Screenwriting program and Boston University’s School of Global Studies. When she’s not reading manuscripts or working with authors, Kianna can be found writing, learning languages, or running.

She is seeking:

Kianna wants prose that reads like poetry. Create characters that are super flawed and awful or a precious cinnamon roll that must be protected — but make me care. Make me fall in love with them and then break my heart. Introduce me to unforgettable worlds. Super intersectional? I’m your girl. Fantasy inspired by non-western cultures? Yes!

Fantasy starring a character with a disability? For sure. YA historical with a queer BIPOC lead? Send it my way. I want to champion underrepresented writers who write their #ownvoices. Right now I am actively looking for YA, but will consider well written MG and NA that follow the same guidelines listed below.

YA Contemporary: I’d love to see protagonists, family and friends, and circumstances that we haven’t seen before. Give me an enticing plot that betrays expectation and characters that subvert stereotypes. Settings that are super specific to your neck of the woods or abroad are welcomed!

YA Crime and Thrillers: I love twists and turns I don’t see coming (that will be hard-but try me!). Give me young women that are in control of their own destinies – and law breaking is how they’re going to do it. Confident characters that have the swagger of your average villain — who aren’t the average villain.

YA Fantasy: Let’s see some non-European based fantasy! I am better versed in East Asian culture and mythology, but will work with anyone. Make me fall in love with the world and the people in it. Although spectacular, submitted fantasies should have well-developed characters and a strong plot. Think Avatar the Last Airbender, Fullmetal Alchemist, or She-Ra. Keep me engaged, keep me on my toes. Keep me reading.

YA Historical: Queer and marginalized people have existed throughout the ages – but you wouldn’t believe it looking at many bookshelves today! Make the setting POP and transport me to another time period, another world. Not looking for white savior stories! Give me characters that are in charge of their own futures.

YA Science Fiction: I’d love to see some great science fiction that is science POSITIVE. No more technology is evil stories! There is enough of that! Fiction that re-learns how to navigate and prioritize technology or stories that show that science is not without bias is great. Looking for work that is character driven and with heart!

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tara Gilbert of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 2.52.20 PMTara Gilbert is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Agency. At the 2020 LA conference, she is taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as co-agents.

Tara wants nothing more than to live and breathe literature. While every other girl grew up wanting to be Cinderella, Tara dreamed about being Belle. Not because she wanted a Beast to call her own. No. She wanted to spend her days with her nose stuck in a book and to find a home with a gigantic library.

Personally, she is seeking all kinds of young adult and middle grade, adult sci-fi, adult fantasy, graphic novels, and romance. On behalf of co-agents, she will take pitches for historical novels, women’s fiction, mainstream/general fiction, and children’s picture books.

When Tara isn’t reading for pleasure, writing, critiquing manuscripts for her CPs, or interning; she is a full-time recruiter and part-time student trying to get her Bachelors in English. She is happily married with four fur-babies in Portland, Oregon.

Get to Know a Literary Scout in Attendance: Rae Loverde of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 6.06.26 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency.

At the 2020 LA event, she will be acting as a literary scout — taking pitches at the workshop on behalf of her co-agents.

Her co-agent Kiana Nguyen is seeking the following:

  • contemporary romances like Alisha Rai and Alyssa Cole
  • adult sci-fi that feels like “Black Mirror”
  • psychological thrillers
  • In YA, she’s looking for thrillers and contemporary that’s queer, POC, or features a mystery.
  • In all categories except romance, the darker, the better.

Her co-agent Caitlin McDonald is seeking the following:

  • All science fiction & fantasy fiction for adult, YA, and MG, 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

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Jemiscoe Chambers-Black of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 7.58.14 PMJemiscoe Chambers-Black is a jr. literary agent at Corvisiero Literary.

She is seeking: mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, romance in all genres (especially in contemporary and fantasy), thriller, crime, fantasy, middle grade, young adult, and literary fiction.

Jemiscoe cannot say that reading and writing came naturally. Rather, those interests were inspired by pizza. At seven, her school offered free Pizza Hut and Shakey’s Pizza coupons as rewards for reading books, and she was sold. Eventually, the books held more interest than the pizza ever did. And so began Jemiscoe’s love of imaginary worlds filled with interesting characters.

After working more than a decade as an Assistant Director for film and television, Jemiscoe ultimately returned to school to pursue her love of reading and writing. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing, and an MFA in Fiction. Also, several of her short stories are published in literary journals and magazines.

Before joining the Corvisiero team, Jemiscoe was an assistant editor for the web content of the Assignment Magazine and a deputy editor for Odyssey. Jemiscoe is also a freelance editor, copyeditor, and beta reader, helping writers create emotionally resonant work. And when she is not reading, writing, or editing, she is usually spending quality time with her husband, Shane, and three kids, Wolf, Hok, and Phoenix.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.14.49 PM.pngNephele Tempest is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

She is currently seeking works in the following genres: literary/commercial fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy, science fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, historical fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction.

Nephele joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles-area office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having previously worked on the editorial side of the business, as well as for several major New York investment firms as a financial advisor and later a financial marketing and communications writer. Her previous experience provided her with insight into multiple aspects of the publishing industry.

Nephele is a member of Romance Writers of America.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dana Newman of Dana Newman Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 8.34.12 PM.pngDana Newman is a literary agent and the founder of Dana Newman Literary.

She is seeking: “On the fiction side, we consider a very selective amount of literary fiction and women’s upmarket fiction. We look for character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice that are emotionally truthful.

“We are interested in practical nonfiction (business, health and wellness, psychology, parenting, technology) by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms who are committed to actively marketing and promoting their books.

“We love compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down.”

Dana Newman Literary was founded by Dana Newman in 2010. Prior to becoming a literary agent, she worked for 14 years as General Counsel for Moviola and its affiliates, Paskal Lighting and Magnasync Corporation. With years of experience working in the entertainment and communications technology industries during the digital revolution in film editing and audio recording, Dana enthusiastically embraces new technologies and ideas about how books will be created, distributed and experienced. Dana combines her professional insight, educational background (B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley, J.D. from University of San Francisco), and a lifelong love of reading to her role as a literary agent. She regularly attends writers’ conferences and speaks frequently on legal issues for authors (including publishing contracts, collaboration agreements, and copyright). Dana Newman Literary works with Judy Klein of Kleinworks Agency on handling clients’ foreign rights sales. She works as a co-agent with Phyllis Parsons of The Parsons Company, Inc. in connection with speakers and film/TV rights.

In addition to her work as a literary agent, Dana is also Of Counsel at Raines Feldman LLP, where she focuses on business and legal advising, negotiating and drafting contracts, intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks), licensing and publishing law. She has extensive experience with publishing and literary agency agreements, and also does pre-publication legal review of manuscripts. Her specialty is helping creative entrepreneurs and authors achieve their goals, and she’s represented a wide variety of clients in entertainment, media and business. She wrote “Copyright Grants: as Powerful as Kryptonite?” published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and co-authored the chapter on Technology and Intellectual Property Rights in the book Emerging Companies Guide: A Resource for Professionals and Entrepreneurs, Second Edition (American Bar Association 2011).

Dana is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and the California State Bar.