Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Chrysa Keenon of CYLE Literary

ChrysaChrysa Keenon is a literary agent with CYLE Literary.

She is seeking: For adult novels, she seeks humorous romance, LGBTQ+ romance, and low fantasy. In young adult, she seeks humorous/lighthearted contemporary romance, fantasy LGBTQ+, diverse romance, magical realism, and stories about characters from marginalized backgrounds. She also will consider fairytale retellings/spinoffs and middle grade fantasy.

Chrysa holds a degree from Taylor University in Professional Writing with minors in Public Relations and Creative Writing. She began her agenting career as an intern at The Seymour Agency and gained experience in the editorial world at GenZ Publishing. She is the recipient of the Blue Seal Award for 1st place YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy fiction and 1st Place News and Feature Story from the Indiana Collegiate Press, among others. She has over 400 publications and currently works as a content writer for a Midwest bridal magazine. Chrysa enjoys puns, coffee, and traveling to oceanside cities.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Hannah VanVels of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 9.29.48 AMHannah VanVels is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary. Her life is consumed by all things books, and when she’s not working on books, she can usually be found curled up with a good book and a good cup of coffee.

She earned her BA at the University of Michigan and holds MA degrees from Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago. Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, a freelance editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and most recently as the acquiring editor at a young adult imprint with HarperCollins Publishing.

She is seeking:

“First and foremost, I’m building an inclusive list with a variety of voices and genres. I love working with #OwnVoices authors, and I’m looking for voices from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, regardless of genre, even if it’s ‘tropey,’ ‘overdone,’ or ‘outdated.’ I want to see it all!”

Middle Grade:

  • Magical realism and contemporary fantasy: Give me a story with a magical school where the MC is a POC. Something with humor and heart and, duh, magic! Stories inspired by myths, folklore, or legends, particularly those that are non-western in origin
  • Humor: A novel that will make adults and kids alike laugh while they read (think Shrek-type humor but a little more immature)
  • Adventure: I would love to find a MG version of The Mummy (the Brendan Frasier version, of course). Characters that are on the spectrum, but their story is not centered on that; it’s just who they are. Because characters on the spectrum can fight dragons and save the world too!
  • Animals. I’m a giant animal lover and a total sucker for beautiful emotional stories that involve animals like Pax and The One and Only Ivan
  • Nonfiction. Narrative nonfiction focused on historical events or figures that history has overlooked STEAM-focused topics for students and young readers

Young Adult Fiction:

  • Fantasy. My first love is character-driven fantasy (urban, contemporary, high — all of it!). ❤ A new retelling of an old trope? A mythical setting inspired by a non-European culture? A reluctant hero who inevitably shouts, “I never asked for any of this!”? Sign me up! I’m looking for strong world-building, strange magic, empathetic villains, morally gray heroes, and subversive fantasy tropes
  • Contemporary horror/thrillers. Creeptastic thrillers with a tightly-knit, well-paced plot, clever and nuanced characters, and a twist that readers will never see coming. I generally steer clear of excessive on-page violence. Dystopian and paranormal are some of my subgenres. Ghosts, vampires, and contagions are very much welcome in my inbox. A heist narrative like a YA Ocean’s Eleven
  • Contemporary. High concept contemporary fiction aimed at all genders. Bonus points if it makes me laugh and/or cry. Evergreen themes: self love, coming of age, girls supporting girls, friendship and friendship breakups, and slow burn romances. Topical contemporary fiction addressing real issues that teens face.
  • Science Fiction. Accessible science fiction. Think Star Wars or superhero movies. I’m looking for a strong grounded story in which you do not need to understand the ins and outs of time travel and quantum physics in order to follow along
  • Young YA. Fiction aimed at younger YA audiences to fill the space where MG ends and traditional YA begins. Great writing is a must. Great character development and an unforgettable voice really drive it home.

New Adult & Adult Fiction:

  • Horror. Dark and devious stories like Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. Paranormal aspects welcome! Stories that are gothic and witchy!
  • Fantasy. The key for adult fantasy, for me, is accessibility and intrigue. More Patrick Rothfuss than J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m looking for a well-developed world and magic system with very real stakes. Bonus points if your MC isn’t the typical “Chosen One.”
  • Commercial, literary, and genre women’s fiction. I’m particularly interested in the adventures of twenty-something women navigating the start of professional life after college. Think a younger version of “Sex and the City.” I’m on the lookout for cozy mysteries with a strong female MC and humorous writing style. Romantic comedies! A story that will make me laugh and swoon at the same time.

Nonfiction and Memoir:

  • Powerful personal stories and memoirs, especially from those with marginalized backgrounds. A platform can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from social media, past publications, or expertise in your subject. Essay collections on a unified and relevant theme

Graphic Novels

  • Young readers through young adult, fiction, and nonfiction. Characters that leap off the page, relatable stories, and stunning illustrations always welcome

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Latoya C. Smith of LCS Literary Services

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 9.08.20 AMLatoya C. Smith is a literary agent and founder of LCS Literary Services.

She is seeking:

Fiction

  • High-concept women’s fiction
  • Romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, cowboys, LGBTQ, erotic, inspirational, paranormal)
  • High-concept thrillers and horror
  • Comedy

Nonfiction (platform/market-based)

  • Memoir
  • How-to/Advice
  • Relationships
  • Health/Wellness
  • Politics/Current Events /History

Latoya started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author, Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple in August of 2005. She then attained a full-time position at Kensington Publishing in March of 2006. In October 2006, Latoya joined Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group.

For the span of her eight years there, Latoya acquired a variety of titles from Hardcover fiction and nonfiction, to digital romance and erotica. She was featured in Publishers Weekly and USA Today, as well as on various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. In early 2014, she appeared on CSpan2 where she contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing. From August 2014 to February 2016, Latoya was Executive Editor at Samhain Publishing where she acquired short and long-form romance and erotic fiction. She is the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple for Editor of the Year, 2017 Golden Apple for Agent of the Year, and the 2017 Literary Jewels Award for Editor of the Year. Latoya provides editorial services and literary representation through her company, LCS Literary Services.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Weronika Janczuk of The Janczuk Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 10.06.28 AM.pngWeronika Janczuk is a literary agent with The Janczuk Literary Agency (formerly with D4E0 Literary).

Weronika (pronounced like Veronica) broke into publishing in 2009, through a high school workshop that placed me with former young adult editor Brian Farrey at Flux (now North Star), a small imprint in Minnesota, where she pulled, from the slush pile, the lovely Out of the Blue by Holly Schindler, which received a starred review in Booklist. She then moved on to intern with Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management, Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency, and Mary Kole, formerly with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. From 2010-2011, as an undergraduate at NYU, she worked with Bob Diforio and sold an array of projects. Weronika’s parents immigrated from Poland to Canada, where she was born. “I grew up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota; and now I reside in New York City, NY. I studied at New York University’s Gallatin School, where I finished a self-designed degree in the philosophy of the human person. I love Earl Grey tea and lattes, Sudoku, rivers, and pierogi with blueberries. I am also a writer, as are many other agents and editors. I queried my first project when I was 13, and have never queried again, tinkering in silence, perfecting craft, with my current project a science fantasy.

She is seeking:

“I am not, and have never been, a single-genre reader. I am eager only for the best-told stories, building out a list of talented novelists and writers in these genres:”

  • young adult
  • fantasy & sci-fi
  • literary fiction
  • commercial fiction
  • women’s fiction
  • romance
  • crime, mystery & thrillers
  • memoir
  • nonfiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.)

“Human nature fascinates me, and I am drawn to stories that share the rawness and truth of what is and what is possible. I love beautiful writers, worlds, characters; smart, quirky and genre-bending stories. I love underdogs, and stories about characters that rise above limitations. I love romance, whether genre- or element-wise, that is visceral in its rawness. I love dark contours, intense in their immediacy, and world-building that catches your breath with its precision and distinctness.

“I am very much a reader that likes to be challenged, and expanded; very carefully constructed projects, which reveal a writer’s capacities, are most often those that awaken my heart and mind. I would prefer to work with writers eager to grow in their skill as novelists and build long-term, sustainable careers.

“I will not consider middle grade, children’s, or picture books, nor am I the right agent for illustrators or graphic novels.”