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

Steven Hutson is a literary agent with WordWise Media Services.

“What I’m looking for: I’m interested in representing a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults. Surprise me.

“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: Tessa Emily Hall of CYLE Literary

Tessa Emily Hall is a literary agent for CYLE Literary.

She seeks young adult fiction (all kinds and genres) for Illuminate YA Fiction.

Tessa writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teenagers they’re not alone in their struggles. The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second YA novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, released with Clean Reads fall 2016. She’s the Founder of PursueMagazine.net, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling, and is a columnist for Broken But Priceless Magazine.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephanie Winter of P.S. Literary

Stephanie Winter is a literary agent at P.S. Literary.

She first joined the agency as an intern before becoming the agency’s relations assistant. Stephanie holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in English Literature and an M.A. in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London. She is looking for diverse, inclusive voices in fiction and graphic novels for adults and young readers. Stephanie particularly appreciates strong characters who bend stereotypes, genders, and more.

Stephanie is acquiring: adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction, in addition to Graphic Novels. She’s actively seeking titles with diverse and inclusive representation that offer smart, culturally aware, and enriching narratives. For young readers, Stephanie loves a good adventure story, light SFF, and STEAM topics. In the adult space, she appreciates all sorts of fiction but particularly enjoys Rom-Coms and Thrillers (located outside the home) and LGBTQ+ stories that bring joy. Stephanie also acquires select nonfiction in all age groups, with a soft spot for projects that blend illustration with information on culturally relevant topics.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Savannah Brooks of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Savannah Brooks is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Savannah joined the Jennifer De Chiara team in 2018 as an Associate Literary Agent after interning for a year and a half. She earned her MFA, focused in creative nonfiction, from Hamline University and her BS in marketing management from Virginia Tech. As well as agenting, she works as a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center and is a reader for multiple literary magazines. Her own creative work has been published in Barely South Review, Hobart, Lime Hawk, and Every Writer’s Resource, among others. When not immersed in the world of words, she can be found on her motorcycle, at her MMA gym, or lounging at one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes.

What I’m looking for

“I mainly represent kid-lit (PB, MG, and YA), and I’m interested in books that focus on friendship, conflicting identity, and the theme of truth. I’m always drawn in by a protagonist venturing into a realm where society says they don’t belong (think swapping gender norms), and characters with weird obsessions are a weird obsession of mine—teach me strange new things, and I’m yours. I’m all about magical realism, non-western mythology, and modern retellings, but I’m not the best fit for high fantasy or science fiction.

“In PB, I’m searching for projects that teach about and celebrate different cultures and places in the world and those that tackle serious topics in really accessible ways. For MG, I learn very heavily into action-adventure, especially those based on global folklore and mythology, and I love a snarky narrator and spooky situations. In YA, I’m looking for multicultural and queer perspectives on everything from modern teen experiences to reframing classic tropes like vampires and witches. I’ve been particularly wanting to see some horror.

“Mostly, I’m invested in representing the diverse world in which we live and would like to see that reflected in a cast of characters. Show me variations in race, sexuality, gender, dis/ability, and ethnicity without that difference being a point of contention, and I’ll be thrilled. Call me an idealist, but my goal for each book is to give kids/teens an opportunity to point to the page and say, “Finally, there I am.”

“I am very selective about taking on fiction works for adult audiences, but when I do, I look for two genres: 1) contemporary novels that walk the line of being funny while still adding to a larger sociopolitical conversation, and 2) thrillers that add to a larger sociopolitical conversation (but are NOT law-enforcement focused, including FBI/CIA). I would love to hear more from marginalized voices, regardless of whether or not marginalization is a central theme.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Keely Boeving of WordServe Literary

Keely Boeving is an Agent with WordServe Literary.

After receiving her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia, she went on to attend the Denver Publishing Institute and then began her career in New York working in the editorial department at Oxford University Press, where she acquired books for the trade history list. She moved back to Colorado in 2014 and began her own freelance editorial company before joining WordServe the following year. She lives in Denver with her husband and their twins. You can find out more about her editorial work at http://www.keelyboeving.com.

Keely is looking for well-researched nonfiction books in the areas of health and wellness, business (especially books targeting women in the workplace), parenting and family life, social justice, and religious studies; as well as projects from diverse and under-represented voices.

For the Christian market, she is seeking books in the areas of Christian Living, spiritual transformation, devotion and worship, and women’s topics including motherhood, relationships and marriage, work-life balance, and calling. She is also seeking narrative nonfiction and memoir, and occasionally represents smart, well-crafted contemporary and literary fiction.

In the children’s market, she represents middle grade and the occasional picture book; she loves stories that feature characters who are quirky and complex, and books that allow children to see themselves in the pages, perhaps for the first time.

She is not looking for thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, or romance.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Susan Velazquez of JABberwocky Literary

Susan Velazquez is a literary agent with Jabberwocky Literary.

Susan generally gravitates towards literary fiction but any story that details a complicated family dynamic, illustrates a transformative coming-of-age experience, or features multicultural characters or unique voices has a special place on her bookshelf, regardless of genre. Her favorite titles include A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith; THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET by Sandra Cisneros; THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM by Nancy Farmer; and THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers.

Susan the subsidiary rights director at JABberwoocky. She was born and raised outside of Dallas, Texas, but strangely enough, has no strong opinions on football or country music. Much to her family’s dismay, she left the South to live amongst the Yankees. She received a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in Gender Studies from SUNY Oswego in 2016. Susan speaks fluent Spanglish and just mastered the art of cooking Mexican rice.

Before joining JABberwocky, Susan interned at Foundry Literary + Media, Coral Press, and Folio Literary Management.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Patrick Munnelly of Bond Literary

Patrick Munnelly is a literary agent with Bond Literary.

Patrick worked with agency founder Sandra Bond as an Intern while getting his Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. After graduating, he spent 2 years as an editor with Literary Wanderlust Publishing. He rejoined the BLA team in 2020 as an associate agent, and also works as an Instructor of Writing and Rhetoric for the Community College of Aurora in Colorado.

He is interested primarily in anything LGBTQ+ (nonfiction and fiction, including romance). In genre fiction, he prefers anything horror & fantasy. In nonfiction, he is interested in political science, current affairs, health & wellness, and fitness. He is interested in Graphic Novels, but the works must be completed.

Please note that he does not represent science fiction or historical fiction outside of LGBTQ works. He does not represent Middle Grade or Picture Books. 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency

Julie Gwinn is a literary agent and vice president of The Seymour Agency.

Julie is actively looking for diverse voices in both fiction and non-fiction and is currently looking for romance, mystery/true crime, historical and speculative/fantasy novels. In nonfiction she is looking for self-help, lifestyle, motivational and sports related books.

Julie  most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press. Before that, she served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources.

She was awarded Editor of the Year and Agent of the Year finalist by the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of AAR, RWA and ACFW.

Julie has more than 25 years of public relations and marketing experience and has worked in marketing for several Nashville nonprofit organizations, including the Tennessee Association for the Education of Young Children, the Nashville Area Red Cross, and the YWCA. She puts that marketing expertise to use in working with her authors.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Samantha Wekstein of Thompson Literary

[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS FOR MICHIGAN ON APRIL 10. SHE IS STILL OPEN FOR ANY OTHER 2021 ONLINE EVENTS BESIDES MICHIGAN.]

Samantha Wekstein is a literary agent with Thompson Literary.

Samantha grew up in Westchester, NY. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park and received a B.A. in English. She now lives in NYC with her husband and dog. After internships with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency and Rowman & Littlefield, she began her career in 2013 at Writers House LLC. She then briefly worked as an assistant at The Agency Group (now UTA) before returning to Writers House for the next 5 years where she began supporting the CEO, and then the Founder, before becoming an agent. She’s been lucky to work with a variety of best-selling and award winning authors across all genres.

She joined TLA in 2019 where she’s excited to grow her list. In YA, she loves creative and epic fantasies, but she is also drawn to realistic stories with multi-dimensional female characters. She is always interested in elevating diverse voices, particularly through feminist narratives. She is seeking middle grade of all stripes, but especially stories that deal with themes of friendship, adventure, or encountering tragedy for the first time. She is also on the lookout for whimsical, meaningful, and funny picture books. On the adult side she is drawn to commercial voices in Romance, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jaidree Braddix of Park & Fine Literary and Media

Jaidree Braddix is a literary agent with Park & Fine Literary and Media.

Although Jaidree focuses on nonfiction (see specifics below), she informed the conference that she is open to meeting with attendees who write fiction, specifically if the attendee wants feedback on their pitch, rather than to actually submit work.

Jaidree began her publishing career as a publicist at an independent press and she will forever be fascinated by headline-making stories.

Her interests range from serious nonfiction that dives deep to illuminate important issues, to buzz-worthy and mission-driven narratives that have the potential to influence the national conversation.

Priding herself on being a creative problem solver with a “no mountain too steep” attitude and an unabashed belief that every system can be improved, no matter how well established, Jaidree works closely with Emily Sweet and Andrea Mai to provide authors with attentive and strategic support at every step of the book publishing process. She has a particular passion for editorial development and positioning, helping authors to find where their message fits and how it can be heard in the current social and political landscape. She is committed to helping authors turn their assets—be they courageous ideas, foundations for social good, academic studies, health and fitness programs, popular blogs, or Instagram followings—into compelling proposals and noteworthy books.

Jaidree holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University in New York. She was most recently an associate agent at Sterling Lord Literistic.