Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 9.47.12 AM.pngAlexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

She is seeking:

Young Adult: “I’m looking for writers who have the ability to turn their pens into paintbrushes; in other words, beautiful writing. The genres I’m most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are my weakness, as are stories that include space and science. Please do not me those. I’m looking for strong YA voices, and ones that go beyond the coming-of-age story. I love stories that explore culture, race, sexuality, and identity. I’m passionate about representing literature from diverse and underrepresented voices.”

Middle grade and children’s picture books: “I love all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Children’s picture books with or without pictures intrigue me, and I’m most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore.”

Adult fiction: “I’m not looking for romance, but I am looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels. I’m interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. I’m open to most genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for.”

Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com, the PR Manager for a local Chicago circus, and an all-around literary bookworm. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing in 2015. Previously she’s worked as an Acquisitions Editor for the award-winning anthology Hair Trigger, interned as a publicist for Kaye Publicity, and was a loyal volunteer for Columbia’s annual Story Week: Festival of Writers event for the past four years. Ever since she was little, her main goal has been to inspire with words, just like the many beloved books and authors have done before her.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dawn Michelle Hardy of Dream Relations PR & Literary Consulting

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.19.32 PM.pngDawn Michelle Hardy is a literary agent with Dream Relations PR & Literary Consulting.

UNFORTUNATELY, DAWN HAD TO CANCEL HER APPEARANCE AT THE 2020 CHARLOTTE EVENT.

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Dawn sticks to nonfiction. She likes memoir writers who can capture a larger narrative through their personal story and strong hook, best-in-class professionals and educators in a variety of fields, an engaging and outspoken cultural critic, pop-culture, sports or music enthusiast with a “hip” idea from an untold vantage point. Creatives who use art as activism. She wants to hear from loud millennials, women, and multicultural voices looking to better the world through their writing.

Dawn has been called a “literary lobbyist” by Ebony magazine for her ability to help authors reach their readership using strategic promotions, win awards and garner national and local media attention. She has dual roles in the book publishing industry as both publicist and literary agent. She founded Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency in 2004. Additionally, in 2011 she joined Serendipity Literary Agency where she aids in shaping the careers of platformed writers. Some of her clients at Serendipity include Jean McGianni Celestin, co-writer of the upcoming Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation, Kent Babb, Washington Post sports writer and PEN Literary Award finalist for Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson, Clay Cane, entertainment editor at BET.com and director of Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church.

As a publicist she works with both fiction and nonfiction authors including New York Times bestseller D. Watkins, author of The Beastside: Living and Dying While Black in America, Tia Williams, former magazine beauty editor and author of The Perfect Find and Clint Smith award-winning poet, Ted Talk conference speaker and contributor to The New Yorker.

UNFORTUNATELY, DAWN HAD TO CANCEL HER APPEARANCE AT THE 2020 CHARLOTTE EVENT.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Dyksterhouse of Raven Quill Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 1.43.30 PMKelly Dyksterhouse is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency.

Kelly grew up with a book always in her hands and a story always in her head. The important role that books played in her early years developed into a passion for children’s literature in her adult life. Kelly holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults for Vermont College of Fine Arts and has interned as an editorial reader at leading literary agencies and worked as an independent developmental editor and writing mentor. She considers the opportunity to help bring books into existence to be a great honor, and it is a particular joy for her to work alongside authors as they develop their project from idea to polished manuscript. The best feeling of all is when those manuscripts end up as books in the hands of children.

Picture books: “I would love to find and author or an author-illustrator whose books give readers a new way of looking at the ordinary in the vein of Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Brenden Wenzel. I am drawn to subversive pb’s that allow the reader in on the joke of the story, as in Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat, and pb’s with an unexpected humorous twist at the end.”

Middle grade: “MG is my sweet spot, and I am looking to create a very diverse list. I would love an #ownvoices novel in verse or coming of age friendship story such as thannha lai’s Inside Out and Back Again and Kelly Yang’s Front Desk. I love high-concept fantasy and ghost stories that use the world, action, and character to reveal important themes such as friendship, identity, family, forgiveness, like Holly Black does in Doll Bones. I am also drawn to summer vacation stories, such as The Season of Styx Malone, Caterpillar Summer, or Summer of the Gypsy Moths. Finally, I have a particular love for ensemble casts, whether that be in mysteries like The Maypop Kidnapping or family stories like The Penderwicks or The Vanderbeekers. Basically, I am pretty open to anything, so send me your best writing.”

Young adult: “My love for ensemble casts carries over to YA, and in particular I love heist books, such as Ally Carter’s Heist Society or Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. I would love an #ownvoices book that deals with the struggle between personal identity, family identity, and culture like in Acevedo’s Poet X. I am also really interested in books that explore the intersection of faith and culture—though I’m more interested in stories that show growth through the struggle and questions rather than give answers. In fantasy, I am drawn to books leans more literary, with a vivid, well-drawn world.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Vicki Selvaggio of Storm Literary

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Vicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary (formerly with Jennifer De Chiara Literary).

Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to Storm Literary Agency as a Literary Agent and Partner. Previously with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, she was drawn to the publishing scene first as an author. As a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio, Victoria’s desire to help writers and illustrators reach their publications goals inspired her to become an agent.

With over twenty-five years as a business owner, Victoria is excited to help grow the agency’s client base with talented writers and illustrators, while also helping build the agency from within with motivated agents who possess the same ideals, literary interests, goals, and approaches to the industry.As a frequent presenter at conferences, library events, contests, etc., Victoria is always interested in meeting writers and illustrators, and hearing about unique projects! While Storm Literary is primarily a children’s book agency, Victoria will be accepting pitches for new adult and adult projects from conference attendees.

She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cassie Mannes Murray of Howland Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-02 at 12.58.03 PMCassie Mannes Murray is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

Cassie is accepting submissions for adult fiction and nonfiction that fit the following categories: literary, speculative (sci-fi or fantasy), slipstream, or hybrid. She is interested in memoir, essay collections, literary and commercial fiction, as well as short stories.

Because genre categories are for marketing purposes, Cassie would like to work with authors who are difficult to categorize, but passionate about writing at the sentence level. She would like to work with writers who elevate and innovate structure, point-of-view, and language especially.

Before pivoting into publishing, Cassie was a high school teacher for six years and ran an infamous book blog known as Books & Bowel Movements where she worked with many brands, including several publishing houses and indie presses.

She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from North Carolina State University, and is working on her MFA at UNCW in creative nonfiction. She has designed for Ecotone and Lookout Books, been supported by the Sarah Morton Fellowship and Kenyon Writers Workshop, as well as Raleigh Review, where she is the Book Review Editor, Social Media Coordinator and Accountant. She is working on a lyric essay collection about the strange and odd particularities of the south, pertaining to women, and her work is forthcoming in Passages North and The Rumpus.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency

Screen Shot 2020-03-09 at 5.18.04 PMMelissa Jeglinski is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in English with a writing concentration, Melissa began her career as an editor with Harlequin Enterprises. Looking to work with a variety of authors and genres, she joined The Knight Agency in 2008. With over two decades experience in the publishing industry, Melissa has fostered her clients to National prominence including a recent Newbery Honor.

Melissa is seeking projects in the genres of Romance, Mystery, Women’s Fiction, and Historical Fiction, as well as projects geared to the Middle Grade age group.

 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance Katharine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 11.44.03 AMKatharine Sands is a literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in New York City.

She is the author of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye and has been a guest speaker on writing and publishing for Poets and Writers, The American Society of Journalists and Authors, UCLA, New York University, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Katharine is seeking all types of fiction, memoir and nonfiction. Katharine likes books that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks, which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. When reading fiction she wants to be compelled and propelled by urgent storytelling, and hooked by characters. For memoir, femoir, and himoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed. Katharine has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books including fiction, memoir and non-iction. Among the books she represents are: The Apothecary’s Curse, by Bram Stoker Award nominee Barbara Barnett; and Girl Walks Out of a Bar, a memoir by Lisa Smith that was featured by People as Notable Nonfiction.