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

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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.

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Meet an Agent and Scout in Attendance: Michael Neff of AEI Films and Books

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 10.43.50 AM.pngMichael Neff is an editor and independent literary agent for AEI Films & Books.

He is seeking: speculative fiction of all kinds — including, but not limited, to: science fiction, science-fantasy, fantasy, and all sub genres.

Query reviews: While Michael is taking pitches like other attending agents and editors, he is also happy to use his 10-minute meeting slots for quick query reviews, as well, if the attendee prefers. Please note that he prefers speculative fiction to review (in terms of queries), and the critique is limited to the 10-minute time slot.

Michael Neff is an author, agent, small press publisher, and a developmental editor. He is also an executive with AEI Films and Books in Los Angeles. His greatest satisfaction stems from helping dedicated fiction writers become commercially published. As an independent agent, he is actively searching for high concept projects that can be transformed into films or books, or both.

Agent deals and commercial novels he has worked on as a development editor over the past several years include ON MAGGIE’S WATCH by Ann Garvin, MURDER AT BARCLAY MEADOW by Wendy Eckel, THE EDGE OF NORMAL by Carla Norton, THE BLACK PANTHERS by Gina Niccolo, DIE BACK by Richard Hacker, and RISE OF THE AMERICAN CORPORATE SECURITY STATE by Bea Edwards, among others. Novels ushered to commercial publication via his Algonkian-method workshops include THE MANHATTAN PUZZLE by Laurence O’Bryan, THE WISDOM OF HAIR by Kim Boykin, ORPHAN 8 by Kim Van Alkemade, DARK TURNS by Cate Holahan, THE GOAT WOMAN OF LARGO BAY by Gillian Royes, and THE FICTION CLASS by Susan Breen, among others.

His own work has appeared in many national literary publications such as North American Review, Conjunctions, Pittsburgh Quarterly, The Literary Review, and Quarterly West, and he is author of ALL THE DARK WE WILL NOT SEE (Serving House Books), primary author, editor, and creator of WAR OF THE WORLD MAKERS (Del Sol Press), and creator of MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE (Macmillan Books).

 

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.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Natalie Grazian of Martin Literary Management

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Natalie Grazian is an Associate Literary Agent at Martin Literary Management.

As the latest on staff, Natalie is eager to build her adult fiction list. She is currently accepting queries for commercial, upmarket, and literary adult fiction. Natalie would love it if you sent her contemporary fantasy (in the vein of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians). She’s drawn to dark comedy that still carries a beating heart—because at the end of the day, she turns to books to find humanity. She is highly interested in reimagined myths and fairytales from different cultures, historical fiction, and a good quest narrative in any genre. More than anything, she looks for complex characters who make the unrelatable relatable, and for a smart, distinctive narrative voice. At this time, she’s not seeking military thrillers, sports stories, or romance novels.

Natalie has a BA in English and Minor in Spanish from Santa Clara University. Upon graduating, she worked as a sales representative for W. W. Norton & Co. and interned for two literary agencies, including Martin Literary & Media Management. For two years, Natalie was the Fiction Editor of The Santa Clara Review, the oldest literary magazine on the West Coast.

She’s thrilled to join MLM and fully realize her passion for working with authors and bringing their stories to life. She has a knack for collaborative manuscript development, extensive insight into the publishing world, and an irrepressible drive to see her clients’ work at the bookstore.

Natalie grew up in sunny San Diego, which she recalls wistfully from time to time, but not too often. She’s taken to Seattle like a duck to water. When she isn’t lost in a book, she might be writing stories or doing any number of bipedal activities in the mountainous Pacific Northwest. She is distrustful of any purse that can’t fit a slim paperback. Or two. Natalie tweets at @NatalieGrazian

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management

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Adria Goetz is an associate literary agent with Martin Literary Management.

She primarily represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and is open to submissions for quirky gift/coffee table books, graphic novels, Christian devotionals, and adult nonfiction for the general market.

Her mission statement indicates that she looks for books that delight readers, that help inspire wonder and imagination, that foster deep empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings, that provide rich character representation of marginalized people groups, that take the reader on an adventure, that uncover fascinating stories from history’s footnotes, that explore issues of faith, that celebrate women and the female experience, that ask nitty gritty questions and don’t settle for easy answers, that make people disappointed when they have to close the book and go to bed, and books that add a touch of magic to readers’ lives. 

Adria is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, an intensive course on all aspects of book, magazine, and digital media publishing. She is also a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.A. in English with a creative writing emphasis.

Recently, Adria was proud to represent THE COMPENDIUM OF MAGICAL BEASTS (Running Press), RICE FROM HEAVEN (Little Bee), NOTHING (Worthy Kids/Ideals), and HOUSE WITHOUT WALLS (Yellow Jacket).

Adria lives in an old Victorian home in Tacoma, WA with her husband Alex and their two darling cats, Maple and Mulberry.

 

 

Get to Know Writing Day Workshops Coordinator Jessica Bell

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 12.15.26 AM.pngJessica Bell is the executive coordinator of Writing Day Workshops, which organizes one-day writing conferences. These events take place mostly in the U.S., but can happen elsewhere.

If Jessica could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she spends most of her time in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a 30-something Australian contemporary fiction author, award-winning poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

She started as a poet, drawing from her musical background and etching her thoughts and feelings into verse. Those stanzas soon turned into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually into published books. Her literary voice is said to overflow with “lyrical descriptions, unique metaphors, tight dialogue, and an abundance of sensory detail.” She has also been told she has the ability to take a seemingly ordinary three-chord type story and turn it into a main stage event.

In addition to her novels about unique dysfunctional families, poetry collections, and her best-selling pocket writing guides (Writing in a Nutshell series), she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia’s Cordite Review, Writer’s Digest, and the anthologies 100 Stories For Queensland and From Stage Door Shadows, both released through Brisbane, Australia’s, eMergent Publishing.

One of Jessica’s proudest moments was when, in November 2013, her poem, Sugar (which was published in a poetry anthology called Women’s Work, edited by Libby Hathorn) was broadcast on ABC National Radio’s Poetica program.

Jessica Bell is the Publisher of Vine Leaves Press, and she makes a living as a Book Cover Designer for indie authors, and an editor/writer for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

As of October 2016, she is the singer of Keep Shelly in Athens.

To see a list of awards click here.