Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Reiko Davis of DeFiore & Company

Reiko Davis is a literary agent with DeFiore & Company.

Before joining DeFiore in 2016, Reiko Davis was at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency for four years. She grew up in Kansas City, received her BA in Comparative Literature and Art History from Brown University, and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course.

Reiko’s interests are varied, but on the adult side she’s primarily seeking literary and book club fiction. She loves historical, contemporary, or multigenerational novels both in the U.S. and internationally; family sagas; voice-driven coming-of-age stories; the occasional rom-com; and fierce, compassionately written works that grapple with identity and belonging and portray diverse lived experiences. She’d love to connect with promising writers of short fiction who are at work on a debut story collection and/or novel.

She also represents select narrative non-fiction projects that explore social justice, issues of race and gender, and the history and experiences of women and people of color. She loves compelling journalistic narratives that read like fiction or that use an intimate personal story as a lens for a larger issue or analysis. She consumes a lot of true crime in her free time so is open to seeing projects in the vein of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, The Fact of a Body, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil if a project like that were to cross her desk.

On the children’s side, Reiko is actively looking for middle grade projects that aren’t afraid to tackle big questions or important emotional truths, and do so through remarkable storytelling, humor, and heart. Right now she’s especially on the lookout for middle grade non-fiction in the areas of mental health, science, political activism, environmentalism, and narrative history. She has a real soft spot for middle grade novels that empower kids to make a difference in their communities.

She’s not looking for adult genre category fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, horror) or adult nonfiction with a highly prescriptive bent.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kate Davids of Arc Literary Management

Kate Davids is a literary agent with Arc Literary Management.

Kate is looking for nonfiction projects, particularly practical nonfiction, in cooking, personal finance, business, pets/animals, gardening, mental health, and new age. She also enjoys history books that delve into interesting subcultures, like anime or tabletop RPGs.

In fiction, Kate has a soft spot for science fiction and fantasy that has great action and world building that leverages real world cultures or histories. She loves fiction that represents diverse cultural backgrounds in their settings and characters.

For children’s books, Kate is looking for titles that can help both parents and their children explore the world together. This includes bi-lingual books and books about travel and multi-culturalism. She also likes a good laugh and an “aww” moment or two.

Kate joined Arc Literary after 3 years working at Simon & Schuster as part of their Organic Growth Initiative. She uses her background in market research and digital marketing strategy to help her clients find new audiences and better appeal to the audiences they may already have. Prior to working in publishing, Kate worked in marketing strategy and research in a variety of industries for brands like Weight Watchers and Unilever. She loves exploring different cultures, including subcultures. For her, books enable readers to explore new and different perspectives, with authors as the all-important guides and gateways.

Born in Arizona, Kate moved to New York City after first studying and living in Toulouse, France, and then London. She has always loved international cultures and travel, visiting her family based in Rome as often as possible. She has become an expert on traveling on a budget. She currently speaks French and Italian, and has also studied Japanese and Spanish. When she is home, she can be found reading comic books, watching anime, or trying out new recipes in the kitchen.


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Claire Draper of The Bent Agency

Claire Draper is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

“I fell in love with books later than some, when my high school best friend dragged me to the theater to see Twilight. I became a book fanatic after that. There was not a time you could catch me without a book on my person or fanfiction open on my phone. I read every YA novel available and quickly moved on to the adult romance section, which was decently larger at the local Borders. I decided I wanted to be involved in books any way I could. I ended up moving from California to New York to try and get a degree and weasel my way into book publishing.

“After studying Queer Diversity in Children’s Literature at New York University’s Gallatin School and pursuing multiple internships, in 2016 I spent a fantastic (if short-lived) two weeks working as a bookseller for the Strand, before joining InkWell Management as a receptionist and agents’ assistant. In early 2019, I moved to the Bent Agency to start building my list with a collection of very queer books for kids of all ages, including graphic novels, picture books, middle-grade, and young adult. And then I embarked on books for adults, when I decided to return to my favorites with particularly queer memoir, queer romance novels, and select adult nonfiction.

“For all the books I work with, I prefer to work with queer creators and BIPOC creators, and strongly encourage those creators to send me their work. Regardless of genre, age, or subject, I like lighthearted, emotional, hopeful, adventurous reads. I am largely genre-agnostic, but I do prefer books with a fast pace, high stakes, and strong emotional development for the main character(s). I do not want to see books from authors writing identity-based books not of their own identity.

“For graphic novels, I like a diverse cast of characters, in nearly any genre or location. I love art that challenges traditional styles and is easily recognizable as belonging to a particular artist. I like stories for all ages, fiction and nonfiction, but especially love when a book has strong themes of love and/or friendship, and is extra queer.

“For illustrator portfolios, I like to see a decent sampling of your work, including anything from character design, to fan art, to sequentials (any paneled work, webcomic, zine, etc., will suffice). Please let me know whether you are exclusively an illustrator or author/illustrator.

“For YA and middle-grade contemporary, I love fiction where the main character has average, everyday challenges and we see how they overcome them. I love books that are lighthearted and emotionally poignant. I am especially interested in queer, disabled, and BIPOC protagonists, especially when the books are not issue-driven.

“For YA and middle-grade genre, I love fast pacing and high stakes. I am generally not preferential to any specific genre (fantasy, horror, sci-fi, etc.) as long as the rules of the genre are respected and understood. Much like with contemporary, I am especially interested in queer, disabled, and BIPOC protagonists, especially when the books are not issue-driven. But above all, give me a good, page-turning adventure.

“For queer adult romance novels, I want books with queer protagonists that have distinct personalities and a fast pace. I love nearly any genre, but require that the story is queer, feminist, and body-positive. I can’t bear to read dated ideals of partnership, relationships, femininity, and masculinity. I DO NOT want books where the characters participate in sexual acts without consent and/or while heavily intoxicated. Consent is key and a non-negotiable. Sweep me off my feet, please! I’ve been reading romance novels since I was a teenager, so make sure to respect the rules of HEA and give me some good trope-filled romance. To reiterate, I love a wide range of sub-genres in this space, so send it all.

“For memoir, I am particularly interested in queer authors writing about their queerness and the intersections of their identity. I love books with humor and interesting perspectives, and enjoy a big personality or narration to go with the contents of the memoir. I do not want conservative or conservative-leaning memoirs.

“For select adult nonfiction, I love creators with a fun and interesting platform, who are the experts in their field, and have something interesting and crucial to say. Subjects for this may include but are not limited to: plants, crafting, DIY, cleaning, homemaking, cooking, art, feminism, queer theory, parenting, and media criticism.

“By pitching me at a conference, please address me as Claire or Mx. Draper and ensure your manuscript will NOT contain the following or it will be considered an automatic pass: Suicide ideation, Eating disorders, Sexual assault, Gratuitous violence.