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.

Get to Know An Agent in Attendance: Katherine Wessbecher of Bradford Literary

Katherine Wessbecher is a literary agent with Bradford Literary.

Katherine joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2020. Prior to becoming an agent, Katherine edited children’s and young adult books at Putnam, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, and was the science and technology editor at an academic book review journal. She holds a B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary. As an editor, Katherine worked with debut and veteran authors, including Sherri L. Smith, Stacey Lee, Keir Graff, Jeff Seymour, and Eliot Sappingfield. She brings to her work a nuanced understanding of the publishing industry and a practiced editorial eye.

Katherine is looking for children’s books (picture books through YA), upmarket adult fiction, and narrative nonfiction for all ages.

Middle Grade & Young Adult:

In MG and YA, historical fiction and fantasy have been favorites since Katherine was young. But more than genre, she’s looking for the kinds of stories that transport her: to the past, an imagined world, or a perspective wholly different from her own. She’s drawn to stories that push readers to question their assumptions of the world. She’s interested in humorous voices; she’s also a fan of epistolary novels and other unexpected storytelling techniques, like Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae Files series or Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.

Picture Books:

Her favorite picture books are the kind that make both kids and grown-ups laugh. Inventive premises, twist endings, and quirky characters are all good ways to pique her interest.

Adult Fiction & Nonfiction:

Katherine is looking for upmarket adult fiction that straddles the literary and commercial divide. Books that inspire her list run the gamut from Where’d You Go, Bernadette to Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. She loves unexpected takes on familiar stories and flawed yet endearing characters. Katherine is actively seeking adult and juvenile narrative nonfiction—particularly projects that highlight stories the history textbooks left out. In the same vein, she’d love to work with nonfiction graphic novel projects like John Hendrix’s The Faithful Spy.

Katherine is NOT looking for:

  • Adult Genre Fiction (romance, thriller, high fantasy/sci-fi)
  • Business
  • Poetry
  • Memoirs
  • Screenplays

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amaryah Orenstein of Go Literary

Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary.

Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling.

Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eric Smith of P.S. Literary

Eric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary.

Eric has a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction. He’s worked on award-winning and New York Times bestselling titles, and began his publishing career at Quirk Books. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books and the publishing industry regularly appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. He also occasionally writes books when he finds the time, like his latest, Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).

Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in Young Adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), Middle Grade, and Literary and Commercial Fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of non-fiction, he’s interested in Cookbooks, Pop Culture, Humor, Middle Grade, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency

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

Jennifer Unter is a literary agent with The Unter Agency.

Jennifer has worked in many aspects of the publishing industry from editorial at Henry Holt, to a copyright lawyer at an entertainment firm. In addition to placing projects at domestic and foreign publishers, she also sells to audio, film and television. She is a member of Women’s Media Group.

“We are interested in seeing quality fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness. Additionally, we are looking for all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult).”

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennifer Herrington of Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

Jennifer Herrington is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

“I am currently building a diverse list of authors and illustrators. I represent picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, and adult genre fiction. No matter the genre or age group, I am looking for books that make feel (whether it’s laugh or cry or both!), distinctive voices, and character-driven stories that revolve around tough issues.

Illustrators:

She seeks creators that illustrate any age group from picture book, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels.

Picture Books:

“I am looking for heartfelt, funny, whimsical picture books that can revolve around big kid issues such as grief, bullying, being different, friends, etc. I especially love clever or new concepts or fresh twists on classics and STEAM concepts in a contemporary or fantasy world.”

Middle Grade:

“I am looking for high concept MG with a great hook. While I love adventurous, smart, out-of-the-box characters with schemes, friends, family, living and processing through a life crisis, I am also drawn to quiet characters and quiet topics like a first crush. Send me books on friend breakups, frenemies, or enemies. I love to laugh and cry while I fall in love with the characters.”

  • Contemporary
  • Paranormal/Fantasy – ghosts, witches, fresh mythology, superheroes
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Graphic novel

Young Adult:

“I am on looking for unique concepts or a fresh twist on classic tropes or tales. High concept YA with a strong hook.”

  • Feel-good contemporaries or contemporaries that represent real-world issues
  • Contemporary romance (love tropes!)
  • Paranormal or fantasy (not high fantasy) with solid world building. I especially love mythologies that haven’t been explored. Give me a twist on ghosts, witches, vamps, shifters, or superheroes.
  • Snort-worthy romantic comedy
  • Mystery
  • Horror – prefer scary versus bloody
  • Graphic novel

Adult Fiction:

“I am looking for out-of-the-ordinary plots with engaging and realistic characters trying to navigate the adult world.” Specifically seeking:

  • Romance with a fresh twist on trope-driven plots. Sweet to spicy.
  • I am open to contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy romance.
  • Gut-busting RomCom
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Fresh cozy mysteries (think outside-the-box amateur sleuths)
  • Graphic novel

Currently, I am not a good fit for:

Thriller
Suspense
Murder mystery
Political
High fantasy
Sci-Fi
Adult horror
Historical
Nonfiction

My MWSL is: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/jennifer-herrington/

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nicole Payne of Golden Wheat Literary

Nicole Payne is a literary agent with Golden Wheat Literary.

Nicole is currently hoping to find:

  • Young Adult historical romance set in the Middle East.
  • Young Adult literary fiction about love, family and hope and will make me ugly cry.
  • Women’s Fiction involving a Rosie the Riveter influenced story.
  • Adult contemporary about a cut-throat fashion industry and the romance that shouldn’t be a priority over creativity.
  • Adult Action and Adventure that centers around elderly women putting down knitting needles and picking up nunchucks.

Both Christian and secular themes welcome. “I always have to have a strong male and female hero/heroine or one who becomes strong as they evolves. It really grinds my teeth when I read books where the leads can’t seem to do anything for themselves.”

 

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Whitney Ross of Irene Goodman Literary Agency

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

Whitney Ross is a literary agent with Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Whitney is looking for middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres, with an emphasis on historical, science fiction & fantasy, romance, and contemporary fiction. She is also open to nonfiction submissions in the areas of design, cooking, and fashion.

Before joining Irene Goodman in 2018, Whitney Ross worked as an editor at Macmillan for nearly a decade, culminating in her role as a senior editor for Tor Teen, Tor, and Forge. Over the course of her career, Whitney has had the pleasure of editing many talented authors, including Susan Dennard, Cora Carmack, Eric Van Lustbader, Steven Erikson, Katie McGarry, Ann Aguirre, Dan Wells, and Stacey Kade.

Whitney loves to read novels set in unusual time periods and locations, whether that involves a fantastical element or not. She is rarely able to resist the trickster king motif, and has a weakness for read-between-the-lines subtle romances. And she can’t wait to be surprised by tropes turned upside down, and unusual takes on old favorites. Yet she’s constantly surprised by books not on her “wish list,” and is always open to stories with compelling characters and emotionally involving plotlines.

Whitney earned her B.A. in English Literature, a B.S. in Entrepreneurship, and an M.S. in Publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys competitive sports such as skiing and shopping, and tasting wines with her winemaker husband.

 

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2021 MWW

If you are coming to the 2021 Michigan Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from a previous year’s instructors, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:

  • Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
  • Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
  • Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
  • Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
  • Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.