Reading from the Slush Pile Event – Friday, October 3, 2014
GORDON WARNOCK, CALIFORNIA AGENT
Gordon Warnock is a founding partner at Foreword Literary, serving as a literary agent and editorial director of the Fast Foreword digital publishing program. He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director and editor for independent publishers, freelance publishing consultant, and college-level writing tutor. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide.
His client list is an even balance of seasoned veterans and promising new voices including Robert V. Taylor, Kelly Davio, and MariNaomi. Read more about what he represents and view his submission guidelines at http://forewordliterary.com.
Gordon’s role at the conference will be four-fold: 1) participating in a Friday evening event ($10): “Reading from the Slush Pile–Agents Share Their Thoughts,” 2) taking pitches during the conference day, 3) leading a workshop on “How to Hook a Agent,” and 4) doing an add-on event ($35) called One-on-One Critique, both written and verbal. See details below.
CHRISTINE TOMASINO, NY AGENT
President of Tomasino Agency
Chris Tomasino has been agenting since 1975, when she joined RLR Associates, Ltd and developed their literary division. Her clients have ranged from Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote to former baseball manager and now MLB executive Joe Torre, from talented international book packagers Labyrinth Publishing and Carroll & Brown to diverse corporate clients Angel Records and The PGA. She is as comfortable with commercial fiction as she is with highly produced full color books; with the unconventional and best-selling Anti-Coloring Books as she is with translating the content of the world’s foremost online wedding resource, The Knot, and its offspring The Nest and The Bump, into best-selling book franchises. She shepherded Sarah Ban Breathnach’s ground-breaking Simple Abundance (2 1/2 years on the NY Times bestseller list) and its spin-offs through the publishing process. Ever ahead of the trends, she was in on the boon in young adult fiction series in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the cookbook and lifestyle rage in the 1980’s and 2000’s, and the blossoming of spirituality and esoterica in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Having started her own, boutique-sized agency in 2000, she is best known for representing popular non-fiction titles. She specializes in memoir, self-help, women’s issues, and spirituality, and especially those books tapping into the newest theories in health and popular science which are supported by impeccable research and scholarship. Even though non-fiction is a surer sale in today’s publishing marketplace, Chris loves fiction and is always on the lookout for the novel that will envelop, entertain, and enrich. She is on the faculty of the M.A./M.F.A. in Creative Writing program at Wilkes University.
Chris will be accepting verbal pitches throughout the conference. She will also be participating in the Friday night special event: “Reading from the Slush Pile – Agents Share their Thoughts.”
KATE SCHAFER TESTERMAN
After a dozen years working in publishing in New York City, Kate moved to Colorado and formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Bringing to bear the experience of being part of a large agency, she enjoys all aspects of working with her authors, offering hands-on experience, personal service, and a surfeit of optimism. Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Ellen Booraem, Stephanie Perkins, Carrie Harris, Trish Doller, and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Kate is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Honors Program, a former cast member of the New York Renaissance Faire, and an avid collector of shoes, bags, children, and dogs. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.
Kate will be participating in the Friday night special event: “Reading from the Slush Pile – Agents Share their Thoughts.” She will NOT be available for pitches during the conference day on Saturday.
HELEN HARDT, EDITOR
Musa Publishing & Lyrical Press
Helen Hardt has been editing professionally since 2008, both commercial and freelance. She edits all genres of fiction and non-fiction. She counts among her clients New York Times Bestselling Authors, USA Today Bestselling Authors, RITA winners and finalists, and EPIC winners and finalists. She also offers author mentoring.
Currently, she acquires all genres and heat levels of romance for Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington, and she acquires romance, erotica, speculative fiction, literary fiction, and GLBT fiction for Musa Publishing.
Helen is also an award-winning author. She lives in Colorado.
Helen will be accepting verbal pitches during the conference day. She will also be doing an add-on event ($35) called One-on-One Critique, both written and verbal. See information below.
SHANNON HASSAN, LITERARY AGENT
Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Shannon Hassan, an agent at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role, having worked in publishing and law for more than a decade. She represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and select nonfiction. For fiction, she is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and she enjoys both contemporary and historical settings. For nonfiction, she is interested in narrative nonfiction from authors with a strong platform. Before becoming an agent, Shannon was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, and prior to that a corporate attorney at Arnold and Porter in New York. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University.
Shannon will be accepting verbal pitches throughout the conference.
Deb Courtney, Publisher
Deb holds a degree in Fiction from the University of South Florida, where she was a Saunders Scholar in Fiction. She has had numerous short stories published and has worked as a freelance journalist. Her background includes marketing and public relations in several business sectors. Her most recent venture is Courtney Literary.
Preference is given to memoir, mystery, edgy YA, business/how-to projects, and quirky off-beat humorous projects which have a difficult place.
Deb will accepting verbal pitches during the conference day. She will also be doing an add-on event ($35) called One-on-One Critique, both written and verbal. See information below.
Suggestions for Agent Pitches
The eight-minute pitch sessions will be in one location. Please arrive in the set-up waiting area at least five minutes early to check in with the Pitch Monitors. Please be respectful of other pitch participants by ending your session on time when the monitors alert you that the session is over.
Use your time with the agent wisely. Whether this is your very first pitch session or your fiftieth, please consider some useful tips/recommendations for conducting a pitch. These are not rules, but suggestions.
- Dress professionally, as if you were giving a presentation.
- Act confident, but not arrogant.
- Present yourself so the agent thinks of you as someone he or she would enjoy representing. Can he or she see you as someone who could pull off a book signing?
- Know your genre, market, and targeted age group.
- Introduce yourself and exchange pleasantries. Keep it short.
- Plan about a three-minute presentation about your manuscript or idea. This will leave time for feedback from the agent or publisher.
- Consider writing a one-line summary (a log line) for your opening statement in the form that follows: My work is a ____________(genre) about a ________ (name type of character) who _________(action verb) while _________________ (name situation). Example: My book is a sci-fi thriller about a zombie princess who discovers a strange new land while roaming through the forest.
Example: The novel is a family saga about seven generations of Alex Hailey’s family from rural Africa in the 1700s to America in the 1960s. (Roots by Alex Hailey)
- Present two to three sentences that describe your book clearly and briefly.
- Consider making three points: the setup, hook and resolution.
- Be ready to explain how your book is different from similar books in your genre.
- Visit the agent or publisher web site before conference day.
- Practice, practice, practice until you deliver your pitch smoothly.
- Be open to constructive criticism. You are there to present your idea, but also to learn.
- Be honest about your stage of writing: an idea, a partially-completed manuscript, or a finished work.
- If your work is non-fiction, you may want to have a book proposal prepared, but do not offer the agent a paper copy during the pitch. The library carries books on how to write a book proposal.
- Do not offer to send the agent a synopsis, a chapter, three chapters, or a manuscript. If the agent is interested, he or she will ask you to send specific material.
Flyer on Pitch Suggestions