Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cortney Radocaj of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 5.52.12 PM.pngCortney Radocaj is a literary agent at Corvisiero Literary.

Cortney has spent her life eating and breathing literature. From the time she could hold a pen in her hand, she’s been writing everything possible, from journal entries to poetry to works of fiction. She’s devoured every book that’s come her way, and she continues to read as much as she can. When Cortney’s not working, she spends her time spoiling her Labrador-mix, Rhaegar. She also enjoys consuming copious amounts of chocolate and binge-watching TV shows (particularly “Supernatural” and “The Office”).

As a member and advocate of both the LGBT and neurodiverse communities, Cortney adores seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. For Cortney, compelling characters are what grab her the most; she loves books with strong, dynamic, complex characters that have complicated and nuanced relationships with other—especially romances! She loves romantic threads that weave in seamlessly with the plot and characters’ motivations, particularly in SFF. In regard to POVs, the closer, the better; she wants to live inside characters’ heads when she reads, and loves as little distance as possible. She enjoys when authors break stereotypes and tropes, and she loves when plots and characters surprise her, leaving her breathless on the edge of her seat.

Some of Cortney’s favorite books: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas; City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; The Shining and IT by Stephen King; Tithe by Holly Black; Skinned by Robin Wasserman; This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab.

What Cortney is seeking:

– Young adult, new adult, and adult fiction
– LGBT (particularly F/F) in any genre she represents (see below)
– Neurodiversity in any genres she represents (see below)
– Fantasy of all shades (dark, low, high, urban—ALL OF IT)
– Sci-fi (character-centered; lots of tech is fine, but focus on the characters, not the tech!)
– Steampunk (gritty and NOT inventor-centered; think aesthetic, atmosphere, and world building)
– Cyberpunk
– Mythology/fairytale retellings (BE SUBTLE)
– Gothic fiction, particularly Southern gothic
– Paranormal (but if it’s vampires/werewolves, there NEEDS to be a twist or something unique!)
– Contemporary (needs to have a STRONG, unique hook)
– Horror (more psychological than gory, think The Shining–the book, not the movie!)
– Magical realism

Cortney is NOT accepting:

– Middle grade
– Children’s/Picture Books
– Crime/detective fiction
– Mysteries
– Political/military thrillers
– Nonfiction
– Novellas, short story collections, poetry collections, or screenplays

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Britt Siess of Martin Literary Management

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 3.44.09 PM.pngBritt Siess is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management.

As a child, Britt was a voracious reader and she easily fell in love with fairytales about knights, dragons and wicked fairies. She grew up to attend the University of Washington where she earned her B.A. in both English Literature, and Cinema and Media Studies.

Britt looks for stories that are character driven and full of strong, resonating themes. She’s interested in literature that completely immerses readers into new worlds and that is imaginative and diverse. She also likes a little (dark) humor, and there must be stakes! She is particularly drawn to literature that makes us reflect on our own society and confront our choices.

She is currently accepting adult fiction submissions for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller.

Britt is specifically looking for cyberpunk, steampunk, and speculative fiction (Particularly titles like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Soulless, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Power). She seeks epic fantasy, high fantasy, historical fantasy, and retellings of myths and fairytales (such as Winter of Ice and Iron, A Darker Shade of Magic, The Night Circus, Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and The Bear and the Nightingale). Pitch her with gothic horror, and thrillers (teminiscent of The Silent Companions, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, and Sharp Objects)

​She enjoys magical realist literature (such as Wildwood and Elmet).

Britt is also accepting middle grade manuscripts with fantastical or supernatural elements. Some recent titles that have absolutely delighted her are Nightmares!, Shadow Weaver, and The House with Chicken Legs.

Britt has a strong background in publishing, having experience in both literary agencies and a book publisher. She has interned for the Taryn Fagerness Agency, Wales Literary Agency, and Martin Literary & Media Management. She comes from the sales division of The Quarto Group where she worked in domestic and foreign book sales. She’s delighted to be back at MLM as an Associate Literary Manager. Britt is a native of the Pacific North West, but has never gotten used to the rain. She usually escapes the weather by popping into her local comic book shop or settling into a cafe with an extra large coffee and a piece of cake.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 2.49.19 PM.pngGordon Warnock is a founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and Editorial Director of Short Fuse Publishing.

He brings years of experience as a senior agent, marketing director, editor for independent publishers, publishing consultant, and author coach. He frequently teaches workshops and gives keynote speeches at conferences and MFA programs nationwide. He is an honors graduate of CSUS with a B.A. in Creative and Professional Writing.

With a zest for fresh, new voices and a deep love of the classics, Gordon actively seeks out both the timely and the timeless. In that spirit, he establishes involved, long-term working relationships with talented and dedicated authors of many genres.

“I’m looking for large-platform projects in which the book represents something bigger than the book itself, of which you are the expert, the one best fit to bring it to the page. I prefer to work with socially-responsible books that raise new issues or illuminate common issues in new ways. I love books with strong charity tie-ins and celebrities coming together to promote a good cause on a large scale.”

The nonfiction categories I consider include the following:

• Memoir (Adult, NA, YA, Graphic)
• Cookbooks/Food Narrative/Food Studies
• Illustrated/Art/Photography (especially graphic nonfiction)
• Political and Current Events
• Pop-Science
• Pop-Culture (especially punk culture and geek culture)
• Self-Help
• How-To
• Humor
• Pets
• Business and Career

Some of my favorites are: Wreck This Journal, What to Drink with What You Eat, Barolo, Drinking at the Movies, and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

Fiction:

“I’m looking for fresh concepts that excite me before I even start reading and tension-filled prose that won’t let me stop. Plot is very important, as is an authentic voice that makes me believe your protagonist is a real person. I am not a big fan of paranormal or SF/F, so please, no vampires, zombies, werewolves, angels, chupacabras, etc. Novels must be completed, polished and between 55,000 and 100,000 words long. Please paste in the first chapter below your query. Unsolicited attachments and links will not be opened. The genres I consider include the following:

• High-Concept Suspense
• Literary Fiction for Adults through YA
• Graphic Novels for Adults through MG

Some of my favorites are: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, The Garden of Eden, This Is How You Lose Her, Freakboy, and We the Animals.

Not looking for:

• Religious Fiction
• Genre Fiction (Western, Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy)
• Satire
• Legal Thrillers
• New Age
• Picture Books or Middle Grade
• Novellas
• Screenplays
• Collections of essays, short fiction, or poetry (unless you also write full-length works)

Get to Know an Agent Assistant in Attendance: Rae Loverde of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 2.32.06 PM.pngRae Loverde is an agent assistant at Donald Maass Literary Agency.

At the 2019 event, she will be taking pitches at the workshop on behalf of Kiana Nguyen, a literary agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency who is seeking the following:

  • contemporary romances like Alisha Rai and Alyssa Cole
  • adult sci-fi that feels like “Black Mirror”
  • psychological thrillers
  • In YA, she’s looking for thrillers and contemporary that’s queer, POC, or features a mystery.
  • In all categories except romance, the darker, the better.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laurel Symonds of The Bent Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 1.17.41 PM.pngLaurel Symonds is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

She is seeking young adult fiction (all kinds), middle grade fiction (all kinds), chapter books, and picture books (both text only and author-illustrator work). She also seems excellent illustrators and children’s nonfiction.

She does not want pitches for graphic novels or any kind of books for adults.

“I began my publishing career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City. In the past decade, I have also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. What I love about agenting is being the author’s number one cheerleader through all these parts of the publication process!

I am seeking young adult and middle-grade fiction with earnest, engaging voices set in immersive worlds. Fantasy, contemporary, historical settings, retellings, and manuscripts with unique elements are of specific interest. In particular, I am seeking voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked. I’m also interested in middle grade that might lend itself to illustration.

“For chapter and picture books, I am seeking authors and illustrators (or author-illustrators) who bring a unique vision to their stories. In chapter books, I’m seeking sweet realistic or mystery series. My picture book tastes are diverse, ranging from sophisticated to quirky to gently humorous. I am interested in art in all mediums, but especially appreciate a smart use of color and perspective.

“In nonfiction for children and young adults, I am seeking biographies, histories, and explorations of STEM elements, especially projects with series potential. I’m also interested in prospective authors with an established expertise and/or platform that lends itself to expansion into the children’s market.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amy Levenson of Blue Heron Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.12.03 AM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Amy Levenson is the founding literary agent of Blue Heron Literary.

She represents: mainstream literary and commercial fiction, and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, narrative nonfiction, and popular culture. She is actively seeking middle grade and young adult fiction (all genres), from adventure driven and fantastical to contemporary settings exploring social issues. For new adult and adult fiction, she seeks plot-driven literary works and upmarket commercial stories with only a touch of genre. She is especially drawn to a strong voice and dynamic characters, a well-paced plot, witty or quirky humor, and am always susceptible to a good solid tug on the heart strings.

Blue Heron Literary is a boutique agency based out of Seattle that places fiction and nonfiction with major and independent publishers throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Amy, a native to the Pacific Northwest and graduate of the University of Washington, began her career at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in New York City, where she had the opportunity to work with books by some of her favorite childhood authors and illustrators.

She later returned to Seattle, selling books for becker&mayer! that focused on well-known estates and intellectual properties, including Star Wars and the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelli Martin of Wendy Sherman Associates

Screen Shot 2018-11-25 at 10.43.00 PM.pngKelli Martin is a literary agent with Wendy Sherman Associates.

She is seeking: Kelli is passionate about building the agency’s romance program, and is also excited to discover new talent and shape content in commercial women’s fiction and book club / upmarket fiction.

Kelli began her book publishing career over twenty years ago. She started at Simon & Schuster and rose up the editorial ladder at HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Amazon Publishing. At Amazon Publishing, Kelli acquired and edited some of the house’s highest selling, breakout authors and books in romance and commercial fiction; in addition, she served as a founding editor and public face of Montlake Romance as well as Executive Editor at Lake Union.

For Kelli, guiding writers, perfecting manuscripts and building a list of beloved books that satisfy publishing houses and readers are the loves of her life.