Presenters & Instructors

We will update this page as time progresses.

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

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, he is teaching a class and talking with writers for one-on-one pitches.

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.

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

At the 2021 online SD workshop, Julie is teaching a class and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

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.

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Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.07.42 AM.pngNikki Terpilowski is a literary agent and founder of Holloway Literary.

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, Nikki is teaching a class and taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.

After receiving a B.A. in English, Nikki worked in the marketing communications field for several years as a writer and editor. Deciding she wanted to align her professional career with her lifelong passion for reading and writing, she interned at the Elaine English Agency based in Washington, DC, and then moved into literary management, representing a small group of women’s fiction and romance writers, that has expanded to include a list of YA, literary, historical, southern, mystery and thriller authors. Nikki loves all types of fiction, but is particularly interested in finding fresh Southern voices and ethnically and culturally diverse fiction. Books she’s represented have been nominated for RITA awards, RT Book Review top picks, Starred Publishers Weekly reviews, bestsellers, and Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees.

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Screen Shot 2019-11-23 at 9.00.28 PMJames L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories.

He’s the best-selling, Christy Book of the Year, Carol, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of ten novels, co-owner of The Rubart Writing Academy, and an audio book narrator. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. See all of his books here.

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, he is teaching on mystery & thriller & suspense writing, and also critiquing manuscripts as an add-on for attendees.

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Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 9.49.28 PMAmber Royer is the author of the high-energy comedic space opera Chocoverse series (Free Chocolate, Pure Chocolate). Her fiction is represented by the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

At the 2021 online Michigan conference, Amber is offering critiques for attendees as an add-on element.

She teaches enrichment and continuing education creative writing classes for teens and adults through both the University of Texas at Arlington and Writing Workshops Dallas. She is the discussion leader for the Saturday Night Write writing craft group. She spent five years as a youth librarian, where she organized teen writers’ groups and teen writing contests. In addition to two cookbooks co-authored with her husband, Amber has published a number of articles on gardening, crafting and cooking for print and online publications.

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

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, she is teaching a class on voice. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

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.

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Ben Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019, after working behind the scenes since the agency’s founding in tech support and bookkeeping roles. He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and has (under Courtney’s oversight) begun taking on his own clients at the agency.

His interests include humor, YA and middle grade novels, speculative fiction (especially decolonial sff), mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A., English), and New York University (M.A., English Education), he lives in San Diego with his human, canine, and kitchen appliance families.

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, Ben is co-teaching a class and also taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.

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Literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan founded Handspun Literary Agency in 2016, after more than ten years with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Her eclectic list includes women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, romance, science fiction & fantasy, YA novels, humor, and practical nonfiction.

A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A., Literature), and Johns Hopkins University (M.A., English), she lives in San Diego with her family.

She is always looking for stories she can’t stop reading.

For adult fiction, Courtney represents only the following: mainstream fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), mystery novels, and speculative fiction.

For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit.

She is not currently accepting new middle grade, early reader, or picture book submissions.

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, Courtney is co-teaching a class and also taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.

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Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 6.57.59 PMShirin Leos is the author of 19 children’s books.

At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, Shirin is teaching a class, and also doing add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.

Shirin (formerly Shirin Yim Bridges) is an Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author of nineteen children’s books, the former Head Goose of Goosebottom Books, and a successful developmental editor. She has coached writers who have secured multi-book and media deals from the likes of MacMillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House, and Amblin Entertainment. Shirin was the Executive Director of the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference (MCWC), and has conducted workshops at writers’ conferences around the world as well as for many universities, including Stanford.

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Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 8.16.11 PMChuck Sambuchino (@chucksambuchino) is a freelance editor, bestselling book author, and former longtime staffer for Writer’s Digest Books. For many years he edited the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog was one of the largest blogs in publishing, and he wrote the platform guidebook CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM.

His humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, was optioned by Sony Pictures. Chuck’s books have been mentioned in Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Variety, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, Mental Floss, New York magazine, and many more media outlets.

He is a successful freelance editor of queries, synopses, and manuscripts—seeing dozens of clients get agents or book deals following his consultations/edits. He loves meeting new writers.

Chuck is the lead coordinator for Writing Day Workshops. At the 2021 online Michigan workshop, he is teaching a class and doing add-on query critiques for attendees.

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Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.40.52 PM.pngTara Bailey is the founder and CEO of Bailey Publishing House.

Tara founded Bailey Publishing House, LLC in 2016. She serves as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Editor.

At the 2021 online Michigan Writing Workshop, Tara is meeting virtually with writers for add-on manuscript critiques.

Tara is a ghostwriter and author of Dracula of the West Side and Number Seven (2018). She’s the author of the dark comedy play, “Deadbeat” (2017). The play premiered on May 21, 2018 at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater, downtown Pittsburgh. The production was produced by Wali Jamal Abdullah and directed by Kim El.

She was the featured speaker at the Celebration of Reading in June 2017 and Pittsburgh’s Write On: Black Book Expo in November 2017. Along with speaking at book festivals, BPH hosts an annual writers workshop. She’s been a featured guest on WAMO 100 radio programs and Soul Pitt Quarterly wrote an article about her company in Summer 2017 edition. In addition to her commitment to BPH, she is also Editor-in-Chief for a personal care home monthly magazine in Pennsylvania.