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 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 just 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 founding 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: Stacey Graham of 3 Seas Literary Agency

Stacey Graham is a literary agent with 3 Seas Literary Agency.

She is seeking:

Adult — Romance. I never met a trope I didn’t like

Nonfiction — I’m looking for fun, quirky, fascinating topics with strong commercial appeal and a great platform. Specifically looking for how-to books, antiques, and craft books
Middle grade — spooky and/or hilarious

Graphic novels — MG/YA/Adult.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michelle Lazurek of Wordwise Media Services

Michelle S. Lazurek is a literary agent with Wordwise Media Services.

What I’m looking for: I’m interested in representing Christian nonfiction for adults, and picture books for children.

“In 2009, I felt a calling on my life to start writing. Apart from some poems in high school, I had never written anything before. As I studied and wrote down my thoughts, I soon published my first book. Today, with nine titles in print and hundreds of articles (and a few awards along the way), I teach aspiring authors at writers’ conferences. Now I get the privilege to journey with them more closely, and help them achieve their dreams. I have a Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Relations from Liberty University.

“When not occupied with literary pursuits, you can find me sipping a hot latte at Starbucks, reading a good book, or collecting records from the 1980s and 90s. I live in Pennsylvania with my husband, two children and our crazy dog, Cookie.”

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kim Lindman of Stonesong Literary

Kim Lindman is a literary agent with Stonesong Literary.

Kim is interested in representing narrative nonfiction, select short story collections, commercial and literary fiction in adult and young adult age groups, with special interest in contemporary fiction and magical realism.

She is highly collaborative and particularly seeks to represent a diverse client list. People from underrepresented groups are highly encouraged to submit their work.

Kim started as an assistant at Stonesong in 2018, and now holds the positions of Associate Agent and Social Media Coordinator. Originally from the West Coast, she graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a B.A. in English Literature and a subfocus in Journalism. Since moving to the NYC area, Kim has worked with the United Nations and currently holds a hospitality position at Van Brunt Stillhouse in Brooklyn. Her distinct professional experience and personal passions make her a good choice for social sciences, travel, and beverage/cocktail books.

She is not currently looking for romance or poetry.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lori Steel of Raven Quill Literary.

Lori Steel is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency.

Lori’s experience runs the gamut from freelance editor and writing instructor to school librarian and intern/assistant with two leading kid lit agencies. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she also earned the Picture Book Certificate, as well as degrees in education and history. Lori is drawn to lyrical language, compelling settings, and stories with heart. It’s her belief that the power of story, in any form, has the ability to affect change and impact young lives. Lori works editorially with clients to ensure their work shines before finding its perfect home. When not holding a quill, you can often find Lori planning her next travel adventure or perfecting her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

She is seeking:

For all projects, I seek stories with authentic, unforgettable voices that reflect the diverse world we inhabit, instill the possibility of hope and change, and illuminate the shared human experience.

More specifically for YA, I would love to find a fresh take on fantasy tropes, contemporary stories that flip conventional scripts, unexpected historical and/or historical fantasy mash-ups that disrupt entrenched notions. I’m always on the look-out for genre-bending writing in the vein of A.S. King!

Middle Grade contemporary, historical, and fantasy fiction stories that demonstrate deep understanding of readers’ age, voice, and growing awareness of themselves and the world around them is paramount.

For Graphic Novels, I’m looking for writer-illustrators crafting accessible contemporary and select nonfiction stories.

For Picture Books, I’m eager to find writer-illustrators who craft stories with spare text and rich art, creators who play with structure, utilize collusion to engage participation, and don’t underestimate young readers. Nonfiction stories that surprise and instill a sense of wonder are always welcome. Whimsical, lyrical, and/or humorous stories that young readers will beg to read over and over again always top the list.

Themes/ideas/atmospheres that intrigue me:

  • Nonfiction picture books about ecology/environmentalism written from unusual perspectives
  • Regional setting/voices
  • Found families
  • Endearing meet-cute stories
  • Musical motifs
  • Verse, multiple POV and/or interpolated/mixed media novels
  • Setting as character and/or antagonist
  • In all seriousness: Stories that are important and extend the conversation.

I’m NOT the right agent for:

  • Horror of any kind
  • YA Nonfiction
  • Hard sci-fi
  • Didactic, overly sentimental, and message-driven books
  • Stand-alone board books, early readers, and chapter books
  • Boarding school settings
  • Vampires, werewolves, zombies
  • Stories devoid of hope
  • Rhyming PBs in the vein of Seuss or Silverstein

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jess Dallow of Brower Literary

Jess Dallow is a literary agent with Brower Literary.

Jess is looking for contemporary thrillers and mysteries in YA. In Adult, she is looking for small town romance, rom-coms, domestic suspense, and book club fiction. She would love to see diverse characters and #ownvoices within these genres.

Having grown up with the same name as her favorite Sweet Valley High twin, Jess has always had a love for books, especially those that feature child psychopaths, platonic friendships between men and women, a romance that makes her heart beat faster, and serial killers. She has a BFA in Writing for Film and Television from the University of the Arts and worked in entertainment for eight years before returning to her home state of NY where she worked at a literary agency for two years before joining Brower Literary & Management.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Maggie Cooper of Aevitas Creative Management

Maggie Cooper is an agent with Aevitas Creative Management, representing adult fiction and select nonfiction projects. Maggie is actively seeking imaginative, genre-bending literary fiction; capacious historical novels; beautifully told queer stories; and smart, feminist romance. Her other loves include epistolary novels, well earned happy endings, and narratives that disrupt cisness, whiteness, and the heteropatriarchy.

Based in Boston, Maggie joined Aevitas in 2018. She holds a degree in English from Yale University, attended the Clarion Writers Workshop, and earned her MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as an editor for The Greensboro Review. Prior to becoming an agent, she worked in the world of independent and university presses, as a bookseller, and as a teacher to students ages 10 through 85.

She is seeking:

“I’m seeking imaginative, genre-bending literary fiction; capacious historical novels; beautifully told queer stories; and smart, feminist romance. I love fabulism and the strange, epistolary novels, well earned happy endings, clever retellings, and narratives that disrupt cisness, whiteness, and the heteropatriarchy.” She specializes in Chick Lit, GLBT, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Short Story Collections, Upmarket Women’s Fiction. She also sometimes considers Commercial Fiction, Family Saga, Graphic Novels, Multi-Cultural.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Natalie Edwards of Trellis Literary

Natalie Edwards is a literary agent with Trellis Literary.

Natalie joined Trellis Literary after nearly two years at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. Prior to that, she worked at Curtis Brown, Ltd. At Trellis, Natalie supports Allison Hunter and Michelle Brower, while actively building a list of her own.

In terms of fiction, she is seeking commercial, upmarket, and literary titles both contemporary and historical: stories of queerness and diaspora (i.e., Patsy), hidden histories, workplace satires/sendups of #girlbosses, and anything that offers biting social commentary and disrupts conventional wisdom. She is particularly drawn to accessible voices with a literary sensibility, in the vein of Ann Patchett and Zadie Smith, especially when they let her in on a subculture or historical truth she’s never encountered before. She also enjoys contemporary retellings of classic works, particularly by authors from underrepresented and marginalized groups.

In the nonfiction space, she is looking for hybrid memoirs (think H is for Hawk or In the Darkroom), which combine personal stories with research/reportage; narrative nonfiction like Say Nothing or Bad Blood; and cultural histories about music, film, art, and sports. There is nothing more delicious to her than the implosion of a scam, and nothing sweeter than rightful justice being handed down, so anything involving bad actors getting their comeuppance at the hands of passionate advocates for truth, she wants to see.

Natalie grew up in Pasadena, California and attended Bowdoin College, where she earned her BA in English with a minor in History and played four years of varsity softball. She lives in Brooklyn and still plays on several softball teams in the city.

Natalie’s dream authors include: Ann Patchett, Zadie Smith, Carmen Maria Machado, Robert Kolker, Susan Faludi, Patrick Radden Keefe, Samantha Irby, Fiona Davis, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Karina Longworth, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and T Kira Madden.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rebecca Eskildsen of Writers House

Rebecca Eskildsen is a literary agent at Writers House.

“I am actively growing my list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Across the board, I’m looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives.

“In middle grade, I’m looking for a range of fiction, from fun adventure stories to contemporary books that make kids feel seen. Mostly I want to see fresh, engaging voices, particularly narratives with a sense of humor and a strong emotional core.

“For YA, I’m looking for some darker themes and twisty, gripping stories, but also some lighthearted fun! Give me your ambitious “unlikable” girls (ugh – I’ll like them) and your funny, slow-burn romances.

“I’m looking for a more limited variety of adult books. I’d love to have my inbox full of contemporary rom coms. I’m also looking for sagas about families and/or friends, of any age or topic, and I’m looking for 20-something coming-of-age stories.”

Middle Grade Wishlist Specifics:

— Voices full of humor, particularly in contemporary settings.

— Friendship stories! Elementary school and middle school is a weird time for friendships. There can be rivalries or shifting loyalties, and they can make you closer than ever, or pull you apart. Sometimes the end of a friendship is dramatic, sometimes it’s just what happens, but we’ve all had *feelings* about these friendship transitions.

— Kids grappling with shifts in their family, such as divorce or foster care. I’d really like to see more portrayal of divorce in MG, especially in the background of stories. My recent favorites that tackled these topics are FIGHTING WORDS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Rebecca Stead’s THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE.

— Queer characters, especially trans and non-binary kids.

— Stories about immigrants and/or immigration, like FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang.

— Books that shine a light on mental health.

— Grounded, contemporary fantasy.

— Fun ghost stories, like CITY OF GHOSTS by Victoria Schwab or Eva Ibbotson’s DIAL-A-GHOST.

— Big adventure stories, like Gordon Korman’s MASTERMINDS series.

Young Adult Wishlist Specifics:

— Friendship stories, like UNPREGNANT or even CODE NAME VERITY, and friendship break-ups, such as WE USED TO BE FRIENDS and WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING.

— Explorations of toxic relationships, both among platonic friends, and romantic relationships, like GIRLS ON FIRE or BAD ROMANCE.

— Grounded fantasy/realism that is lyrical and heart-wrenching, like BLANCA & ROJA or THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS.

— Twisty, gripping stories, like THE CRUEL PRINCE or DEAD QUEENS CLUB – bonus points if they have the same level of relatable yet cutthroat ambition that Jude has in THE CRUEL PRINCE.

— I’m picky about high fantasy, but would love to see high fantasy that tells us truths about ourselves, a la SERAPHINA and TESS OF THE ROAD, or has a strong emotional core, like GRACELING and FIRE.

— Emotional character studies, such as WE ARE OKAY and EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED. Quiet books, basically, that may not have a lot of action but still grip the reader’s soul. Break my heart and put it back together again!

— Rom coms! I’m especially interested in slow burn romances and books that play with format by including texts, tweets, and chat rooms, like in EMERGENCY CONTACT and TWEET CUTE.

— Fun, high concept books, like YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN or THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE.

— Witch books! I devoured Cate Tiernan’s SWEEP series multiple times as a teen and felt the same joy reading THESE WITCHES WON’T BURN. I am absolutely here for the resurgence of witchy YA.

— Books that talk about mental health in a destigmatizing way, like LITTLE & LION.

— Clever, unexpected retellings, like MY LADY JANE or HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS or THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, or anything by Anna-Marie McLemore.

Adult fiction wishlist specifics:

— I’m hungry for fresh and hilarious rom coms, like RED, WHITE, & ROYAL BLUE and THE EX TALK. As with YA, I’m interested in playing with format, like the romance that’s built upon post-it notes in THE FLATSHARE. I’d also love to see more queer rom coms!

— Young millennial/Gen Z stories about coming of age, like NORMAL PEOPLE and QUEENIE.

— Deconstructions and examinations of uncomfortable modern cultural dynamics, like in SUCH A FUN AGE or EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS.

— Grounded family sagas, like EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU and THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS.

— Anything that can make mundane life feel exciting and fascinating, the way Liane Moriarty’s books feel.

Weirdly specific things I’d love to see in any age category:

— Something about crows? Crows are fascinating and loyal and also vengeful if you cross them. Bring me your contemporary or fantasy crow story!

— Seattle and/or Pacific Northwest settings.

— Forest magic!

— Something that feels like Crazy Ex Girlfriend season 3, with lots of hope and healing by the end.

— I binged all of Teen Wolf in the early days of lockdown, and I’d love to see a creative take on kitsunes or banshees.

— Something with the wit, humor, and emotional range of Veronica Mars (season 1 through the movie, we don’t talk about season 4).

— Something with the hilarity and incisive remarks of the first half of Swan Princess.

I am NOT looking for:

— Picture books

— Grimdark

— Nonfiction

— Graphic novels

— Military science fiction

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

Rachelle Gardner is a literary agent and the founder of Gardner Literary.

As a literary agent since 2007, Rachelle has negotiated 300+ contracts with more than 20 publishers, and worked with more than 200 authors to bring their books to publication and build their careers.

She’s been in publishing since 1995, worked in-house at two publishing companies, and edited books published by Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and many more. Nowadays she feels lucky to work at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

When she’s not working, you can usually find her out hiking the local trails, riding her bike, haunting bookstores, or having coffee at Starbucks.

She is seeking:

“I represent NONFICTION books for the Christian market (CBA) as well as for the general market, and we are accepting queries for both.

“If you’re writing nonfiction, we can’t really sell it unless you have a sizable platform. If you don’t, you may want to pursue smaller publishers on your own — you don’t need an agent. Only pursue an agent if you have a platform and want to work the medium to large publishers.

“We’re interested in:

  • Next generation voices in the faith community
  • Books about the intersection of faith and culture
  • Deconstructing and reconstructing faith; asking hard questions about faith
  • Books by BIPOC authors; books that grapple with racial issues, LGBTQ+ issues, and all social issues
  • Deeper spirituality and prayer books
  • Books about animal conservation, animal sanctuaries, and animals that help people
  • Feminism and women’s issues
  • Memoirs about any of the above — must be well-written and the author should have a platform.
  • Family life — interested in really unique and/or extraordinary takes on parenting and family, whether it’s memoir or self-help
  • Devotionals with depth, originality, and a definable audience
  • Gift books: journals, guided journals, gifty devotionals; other gift-type books for occasions such as graduation

She is NOT seeking:

— Fiction
— Cookbooks
— Poetry
— Short stories
— Novellas
— Screenplays
— Graphic novels
— NO children’s, middle grade, or YA books