Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.30.03 AM.pngLauren MacLeod is a literary agent with The Strothman Agency.

Lauren joined the Strothman Agency after graduating cum laude from Emerson College with a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She lives in Nashville, TN and tweets under @Lauren_MacLeod.

Lauren’s primary interests are young adult fiction and nonfiction, middle grade novels, as well as highly polished literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. Some of her favorite (non-client) YA authors are Melina Marchetta, Meg Rosoff, and Maureen Johnson.

She is seeking: Young adult & middle grade in every subgenre. She loves books for and about lost people, and well-drawn, complex, flawed characters. She is always looking for projects with strong voices and diverse casts. She is drawn towards multifaceted female characters, underrepresented protagonists, and books that explore interesting questions.

On the middle grade side, she loves manuscripts with funny characters or humorous situations. On the YA side, she will never stop looking for the next Perks of Being a Wallflower or Jellicoe Road.

On the nonfiction side, Lauren looks for all captivating narrative nonfiction, and is particularly interested in food writing, science, pop culture and history. Her dream nonfiction project would be a feminist history of the United States.

Lauren is not accepting submissions for picture books or chapter books for early readers at this time. She does not represent adult romance, sci-fi or chick lit.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 10.27.15 PMLiterary agent Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that 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.

Last year she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words. She has more than 25 years public relations and marketing experience and has also worked in marketing for several Nashville non-profit organizations including the TN Assoc. for the Education of Young Children, the Nashville Area Red Cross and the YWCA. She is married and has two children.

Her primary areas of interest include Christian and inspirational fiction and nonfiction, women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), new adult, Southern fiction, literary fiction, and young adult novels.

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Greg Daniel of Daniel Literary Group

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 4.15.59 PM.pngGreg Daniel is a literary agent and the founder of Daniel Literary Group, a literary agency representing quality nonfiction books for adults.

His authors are recognized and published across a variety of categories including narrative nonfiction, religion/spirituality, business, pop culture, practical advice, social issues, and biography/memoir.

In addition to taking pitches at the event, he will be teaching the speech “Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal.”

“We take pride in our ability to come alongside our authors and help strategize about where they want their writing to take them in both the near- and long-term. Forging close relationships with our authors, we help them with such critical factors as editorial refinement, branding, audience, and marketing. We are committed to finding the ideal publishing home for each of our authors–a home where their books can reach the broadest possible audience.”

Greg founded Daniel Literary Group in early 2007 after more than ten years in publishing, six of which were at the executive level at Thomas Nelson Publishers where he was Vice President and Associate Publisher for W Publishing Group, a trade book division of Thomas Nelson.

Greg has had the honor of working with such critically acclaimed authors as Sara Miles, Jon Sweeney, Scot McKnight, River Jordan, Matthew Paul Turner, David Dark, and Debbie Blue. Greg has also been involved with publishing books by a number of celebrity personalities, including Bono, George Foreman, and “Black Hawk Down” hero Cpt Jeff Struecker.
 
 With his publishing background, Greg brings a keen editorial eye to the projects he represents. He teaches writing workshops at a handful of conferences each year. Greg also provides consulting services to authors who need help determining their best entryway into publishing in an ever-evolving market.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cate Hart of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 10.48.06 PM.pngCate Hart is a literary agent at Corvisiero Literary.

Cate is all about guilty pleasures. She loves salted caramel mochas, Justin Timberlake, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, and Steampunk. As a native Nashvillian, Cate’s biggest guilty pleasure is watching “Nashville.”

When she’s reading, Cate looks for character-driven stories, a distinguished voice, and intriguing plots.She loves characters that surprise her, like the pirate with a heart of gold, and plots that keep her guessing until the very last page.

When she’s not reading queries, Cate works with clients to build their platform, works on PR projects to help promote clients’ books, and reads manuscripts with an editorial eye.

She is seeking: Cate seeks unique stories with well-crafted plots and unforgettable characters with a strong voice. Her favorite genre is historical, whether it’s Middle Grade or YA, Adult Romance or something even spicier. The time periods she loves most are Elizabethan England, the American and French Revolutions, the Victorian Era and the Gilded Age. She loves Scottish and French History. If it’s steampunk, clockpunk, or candlepunk, she wants it.

Her first love will always be young adult. She will consider any YA subgenre, but is looking especially for Fantasy and Magical Realism.

For Middle Grade, she is looking for Fantasy, Adventure and Mystery with a humorous or heart-warming voice and a unique concept.

For Adult, she is only accepting Historical Romance.

Cate will also consider select LGBTQ and Erotica.

For Non-Fiction, Cate will consider select histories and biographies. She is looking for secret histories and little known facts and events. She enjoys reading about the everyday heroes of the American and French Revolutions, something more beyond the tactics of war.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michael Caligaris of Holloway Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 4.09.19 PM.pngMichael Caligaris is a literary agent with Holloway Literary Agency.

Michael has been working in publishing since 2013. After earning an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College, he then co-founded a Bay Area literary magazine, The East Bay Review, and worked for the world’s largest academic science journal, PLOS ONE. He considers the time he taught creative writing to first-generation college students as a turning point in his career, for they inspired him to further seek out those often-overlooked authors writing about family, struggle, class, and race. As an agent for Holloway Literary, Michael strives to find emerging authors with strong voice and vision, and he promises to tirelessly campaign for their exposure.

His interests are as follows:

  •  Literary Fiction
  • Autobiographical fiction, i.e., So Long, See You Tomorrow; A River Runs Through It; Sylvia
  • Short story collections or connected stories as a novel, i.e., Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Strout, Junot Diaz
  • LGBTQ lit
  • Novels that are set in the Midwest or could be considered Americana
  • Crime Fiction
  • Mystery/Noir, i.e., Walter Mosley, Kate Atkinson, Lou Berney
  • Dystopian fiction
  • Civil unrest/political uprising/ war novels
  • Memoir
  • New Journalism and/or long-form journalism
  • Essay collections on art, race, mental health, music, etc.
  • Satirical/humor writing
  • Environmental writing

Get to Know an Agency Assistant in Attendance: Lesley Sabga of The Seymour Agency

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.43.20 PM.pngLesley Sabga is an agent assistant at The Seymour Agency.

She is taking pitches on behalf of all of the agency’s acquiring agents. She wants to hear pitches for happily-ever-after romance, mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, young adult with a fresh voice (both contemporary and sci-fi/fantasy), science fiction, fantasy, action/adventure, picture books (especially author-illustrators), cookbooks, middle grade (all kinds), narrative nonfiction, and memoir.

Lesley is a graduate of the editorial program at the University of Chicago and also hold a BA in English from the University of Kentucky. She has experience working in two publishing houses, Entangled Publishing and Jolly Fish Press, and is currently working at The Seymour Agency. She is also a full-time freelancer for the Editorial Freelance Association and the Chartwell Literary Group.

Lesley is an avid reader and a constant occupant of local coffeeshops and bookstores. She wakes up every day thankful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for literature professionally.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2017 TWW

If you are coming to the 2017 Tennessee 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 one of this 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.