Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rick Lewis of Martin Literary Management

Rick Lewis is a literary agent at Martin Literary Management. ​

Rick represents authors of Graphic Novels with Illustrators (he grew up reading and loving them) as well as speculative fiction titles in the Adult and YA categories, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magical realism.

Rick is looking for novels that feature complex, realistic characters in highly imaginative worlds. Give him genuine emotions and meaningful struggles, but also at least a touch of science, magic, or the supernatural that captures the imagination while illuminating the real world. 

​Before joining Martin Literary Management, he was editor-in-chief at Uproar Books, where he worked closely with debut authors to edit and launch award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels such as the gothic fantasy Asperfell by Jamie Thomas, the dark sci-fi comedy Always Greener by J.R.H. Lawless, and the YA contemporary fantasy Foretold by Violet Lumani.

Before joining the literary world, Rick spent nearly two decades as a professional writer, first in television news and then in marketing. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he lived for 25 years before recently moving to Charlottesville, VA., with his spouse and two children. 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kaylee Zou of Williamson Literary

Kaylee Zou is a literary agent with Williamson Literary.

Kaylee graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a double major in Writing Seminars and English in May of 2020. Since graduating, she has worked as a Technical Writer in the DC area. Recently, she left the corporate world and began pursuing writing her first novel full-time. Currently, she lives in Arlington with her roommate–but best friend first–Kinsey, who is Kaylee’s writing accountability and reads all her drafts of everything.

Kaylee joins Williamson Literary out of her passion for literature and writing while she continues to work on her manuscript. To many’s dismay, one of Kaylee’s favorite activities is spoiling movies and books for herself, and as such Wikipedia is her most visited website. Her favorite genre of content to consume is sad–anything tragic will do. Kaylee loves reality television, taking naps, and promenading around the ton like they do in Bridgerton. Having recently quit coffee, she promptly entered an identity crisis but found herself again in green tea. So it is with a belly full of green tea that Kaylee supports Williamson Literary as Associate Agent. 

What the agency represents:

Nonfiction: history, sports, science, environmental, biographies, travel, culture, adventure, educational, motivational (i.e. work that informs or inspires social change or advocates for women and BIPOC). Give thought to your author platform and develop a strong marketing section for your book proposal.

Adult Fiction:  upmarket, contemporary, literary, and commercial; character-driven women’s fiction, book club fiction, domestic suspense, adventure, international, upbeat, feel-good, dark and dangerous, fiction with fantastical elements or magical realism, poignant social commentaries, humor, satire, new takes on old tropes. Pitch us writing that sings rather than tells, take us on an emotional journey, build vivid scenes for us, craft strong voices and unusual and unforgettable settings (we love stories where place is a character too). Any subject is welcome.

What we do Not represent:

The heavily partisan, inflammatory, or hateful
Children’s picture books, Middle Grade or Young Adult
Genre Romance or Erotica
Horror (as a strict genre, but we like classic horror elements)
Hard Science Fiction and High Fantasy (again as a strict genre, but we love out-of-this-world stories)

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kiele Raymond of Thompson Literary Agency

Kiele Raymond is a senior literary agent with Thompson Literary Agency

She is seeking: bold new voices in literary fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Her list includes critically acclaimed and award winning writers such as Lee Matalone, Tana Wojczuk, Ari Braverman, Peace Adzo Medie, Nichole Perkins, Destiny O. Birdsong, and Candice Wuehle. Kiele received her B.A. in Anthropology and English Literature from Johns Hopkins University and her M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago before launching her publishing career as an editor at Simon & Schuster. Her studies in modernism, sociolinguistics, and affect theory continue to influence her reading tastes and she treats each project with great editorial care. Kiele is open to queries and particularly interested in narratives set in and around the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the American Southwest.

Her list includes Reese’s Book Club pick and NYT Notable Book of 2020 HIS ONLY WIFE by Peace Adzo Medie, THE BALLAD OF BIG FEELING by Ari Braverman, HOME MAKING by Lee Matalone, LADY ROMEO by Tana Wojczuk, and SOMETIMES I TRIP ON HOW HAPPY WE COULD BE by Nichole Perkins, among others.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennifer Chen Tran of Folio Literary Management

Jennifer Chen Tran is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management.

With over a decade of experience in publishing, Jennifer is passionate about nurturing and championing authors and their creative lives. She represents a wide range of talent, including journalists, physicians, entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, chefs, and graphic novelists, among others.

Prior to joining Folio, Jennifer was a literary agent at several west-coast literary agencies and served as Of Counsel at The New Press. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law in Boston, MA, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an attorney in good standing in New York and California.

Recent nonfiction titles Jennifer represented include Stuart Palley’s memoir Into The Inferno; 101-year old physician and mother of holistic medicine Dr. Gladys McGary’s The Well-Lived Life: A Centenarian Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Any Age; Kate Oliver’s The Modern Caravan; contributing cartoonist for The New Yorker and BuzzFeed, artist Natalya Lobanova’s Everyone is Awful, a debut collection of darkly humorous comics; and clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk’s Living in the Moment.

Recent fiction titles Jennifer represented include author Kristen Kiesling’s The Harrowing, a YA graphic novel about a psychic teen girl who is forced to use her powers to track down killers, until she discovers her boyfriend is her next target; Lily Quan’s middle-grade novelization of Disney-Pixar movie Turning Red; and Rebecca Kelley’s contemporary novel No One Knows Us Here.

Jennifer is an editorial agent who believes in the art of collaboration and works closely with her authors from concept, to proposal, to publication, and beyond. As a person of color and daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Jennifer is committed to amplifying voices from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Her ultimate goal is to work in concert with authors to shape books that will have a lasting positive social impact on the world – books that illuminate, entertain, and inspire.

Genres represented:

  • Non-Fiction
  • Cookbook
  • Memoir
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Neurodivergent
  • Prescriptive Non-Fiction
  • Middle Grade
  • YA
  • Graphic Novels
  • BIPOC
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Bookclub Fiction
  • Commercial Fiction
  • Women’s Fiction

What I’m looking for:

For nonfiction: narrative or memoir (with a platform) that sheds light on an unseen corner in society or history. Prescriptive non-fiction with practical takeaways, cookbooks with a unique angle or narratives centered on culinary life (see David Chang’s Eat a Peach), lifestyle titles (see Kate Oliver’s The Modern Caravan), humorous or visually-driven projects, and business books that read like memoir. Big idea books that shift how we perceive or navigate the world.

For fiction: middle-grade and Young Adult with heart and humor or visually-driven elements (see Remy Lai’s Pie in the Sky), contemporary fiction that braids together issues of social significance and identity (see Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek).

 What I’m NOT looking for:

No: Science-fiction, fantasy; romance; screenplays.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Caroline Trussell of Metamorphosis Literary Agency

Caroline Trussell is a literary agent with Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Caroline has a background in editing, writing, and communications and has worked as an agent assistant, editorial assistant, journalist, and communications consultant. She is passionate about finding writers with unique voices and points of view and is looking for steamy romances, out of this world fantasies, and YA and MG that touch on vital topics that can’t be ignored. She’s also a self-published young adult author, a Columbia Publishing Course graduate, and a mental health advocate.

She is seeking:

  • Romance (especially romantic comedies, enemies to lovers, and fake dating)
  • Fantasy (particularly magical realism and urban fantasy)
  • Young Adult (contemporary romance and mental health driven storylines)
  • Middle Grade (with lots of heart and that discusses tough topics in an age appropriate way)
  • In any genre, stories that feature dynamic characters with non-visible disabilities and/or mental illness

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Keir Alekseii of Azantian Literary Agency

Keir Alekseii is a literary agent with Azantian Literary Agency.

Keir is an educator and anti-GBV activist born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country in the West Indies. Keir is a writer, gamer, lover of folklore, and former research scientist. As a neurodivergent, queer woman of color, Keir is invested in discovering engaging work with similar representation, and is passionate about creating space for voices not often recognized. She is especially interested in stories from BIPOC who are born and raised in the Global South.
Wishlist

Keir is seeking YA & Adult SFF and YA contemporary. She is ONLY open to receiving queries from writers who identify as belonging to a marginalized or underrepresented group such as (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, ND, folks who speak English as a second language, and DIS people.

Her favorite traits and tropes include:

  • Found family
  • Protags that are too smart for their own good
  • Stories about embracing your identity and finding your path
  • Stories that center BIPOC and queer happiness
  • Enemies to friends/unlikely friendships
  • Grump & sunshine/stabby & cinnamon roll pairings
  • Femme villains corrupting cinnamon rolls/himbos
  • Non-white power couples/non-white love interests
  • Sapphic everything
  • Enemies to lovers & friends to lovers
  • Slow burn & second chance romance

In YA contemporary, she is looking for books in the vein of TJ Powar Has Something To Prove where the romance is secondary but identity and self-love are primary. Keir would also love work like Icebreaker, with queer love and found family.

She has a fondness for disaster bi/pan characters, being one herself, and appreciates seeing diverse representations of queerness. She’d also love to read more books with nonbinary characters and love that runs deep even without a romantic element (yes, that means aro characters and stories with friendships that don’t turn romantic are welcome).

In fantasy, she loves immersive worlds that pull her in from the first page, like The Daevabad Trilogy and particularly enjoys secondary worlds that are based outside of western cultures like The Jasmine Throne. You’ll be even more likely to catch her eye if you’re West Indian or West Indian diaspora, drawing from Caribbean culture and mythology. In general, Keir would love to see more fae books with BIPOC leads that use fae and folktales from non-western cultures, like Trese.

She particularly enjoys characters with strong internal conflicts, like in The Sun Sword series and Gearbreakers, who wrangle with the consequences of others’ actions while fighting for (or maintaining) their autonomy. She also loves adult characters who must clean up generational messes, thereby healing from generational traumas or otherwise breaking cycles.

Keir loves complex, smart, emotional characters that aren’t afraid to take on oppressive systems, like in Kaikeyi, and who find their voice and a purpose by the end of a story, like in Raybearer. She would love to see more books with unapologetic characters like in Iron Widow.

Retellings or reimaginings with these characteristics are welcome, especially those which draw from underrepresented cultures.

In science fiction, Keir is primarily interested in seeing SF settings that force us to explore the human condition, like the Xuya Universe or The Space Between Worlds. She also likes to keep it weird with works like Snowcrash and is always intrigued by how the alternate lives/worlds offered by gaming, virtual and augmented reality might inform our future. Though Keir’s SF tastes do lean toward Adult, she would welcome YA that explores these ideas and makes her crave adventure.

Keir likes science fantasy as well, enjoying both the setting of sprawling space and powerful magic offered by Warhammer 40K, and the grounded, emotional connection provided by The Broken Earth Trilogy.

If you are pitch her Adult SF/F with a steamy element, Keir appreciates work that is kink- and poly-positive.

Keir’s hobbies, background and identity also deeply inform what she loves. In general, you’re likely to catch her eye if:

  • You’re burning down the patriarchy and/or destroying colonizers
  • You’re reversing or reimagining colonialism
  • You’ve got DnD or other TTRPG Easter eggs, or inside jokes for games like Hades, Devil May Cry, or Final Fantasy.
  • Your story has the emotional resonance of games like Gris or Old Man’s Journey
  • Your story has the political complexity and ethical realities of anime like Gundam or Full Metal Alchemist

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: James Mustelier of The Bent Agency

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

“I’m looking for a range of commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction. In all genres (but particularly in literary fiction) I prize economical prose, complex characters, steadily building tension, narrative gravity, and the momentary relief of dark humor, even (or especially) amid dire circumstances.

“In commercial fiction I’m looking for compact horror and mysteries with big hooks and intricate plotting. In sci-fi and fantasy I’m drawn to stories that are grounded in reality and have high stakes that touch on contemporary issues — more speculative fiction and alternate histories than high fantasy or space opera.

“In nonfiction I’m looking for books that give me a vivid look into subcultures and events I might not otherwise have had the chance to explore. Much of my favorite nonfiction melds a distinct narrative voice with rigorous research.

“In young adult and middle grade I’m interested in epic fantasy, grounded sci-fi, and irreverent retellings of fairy tales, classic myths, and historical events. I’m specifically seeking stories written from diverse perspectives that draw from underrepresented cultures.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Callie Deitrick of Wendy Sherman Associates

Callie Deitrick is a literary agent with Wendy Sherman Associates.

Callie graduated from Hamilton College in 2016 with a major in creative writing and a minor in art and completed the Columbia Publishing Course in 2017. Professionally, she has worked as a publicity and editorial intern at Europa Editions, as an editorial intern at Henry Holt, where she illustrated the cover of Number One Chinese Restaurant, and as a bookseller at Little Joe’s. She has been working at Wendy Sherman Associates since the fall of 2018 and is taking on clients.

Callie is interested in books that change the way we look at the world, whether that is through magical realism, investigative research, or unique perspectives. In whatever she reads, Callie is drawn to strong and unusual voices and thought-provoking and moving stories. She is most excited by contemporary fiction with a solid plot and a fresh hook. She is primarily interested in adult literary or upmarket-commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. A few books Callie loved reading recently were Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson, Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, and Made for Love by Alissa Nutting.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Leticia Gomez of Kensington Books and Dafina

Leticia Gomez is the editorial director for Kensington Books and Dafina.

Leticia is the Editorial Director for Dafina Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., which focuses on high-quality fiction and nonfiction that centers on race, identity, and its impact on our experiences. Dafina’s carefully curated list is a home for dynamic stories that innovate and amplify voices too long ignored through books that entertain, challenge, and inspire.

Launched in 2000 as the first African-American imprint, Dafina has led the market for more than twenty years in highlighting voices of color. Leticia is actively seeking to acquire multicultural fiction and nonfiction of all genres, including literary fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery, and narrative nonfiction of all genres with a focus on authors of color (BIPOC) hailing from all walks of life, as well as specific nonfiction projects for marginalized communities.

In addition to her role at Kensington, Leticia is a prominent literary/film/television agent who specializes in bringing culturally diverse voices to the forefront. She has helped her clients secure deals with the largest publishers in the world and has seen several of her projects successfully optioned for TV and film rights. As a literary agent, she has placed nearly 200 books with independent and mainstream traditional publishers. In January of 2007, Leticia launched Savvy Literary Services, becoming one of a highly select group of agencies in the world that specializes in the Latino book market.

Savvy Literary is now an industry leader specializing in Self-help, Narrative Non-fiction, Memoir, True Crime, Spiritual/Inspirational, Political/Current Affairs, Suspense/Thriller, Family Drama, and the Young Adult market. Championing the work of minority writers continues to be a top priority for the agency. Blending her experience as an author, literary/film/television agent and acquisition editor, she is truly excited to spearhead her very own Hispanic book imprint Café con Leche Books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary.

Eva  was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Houston, Buenos Aires, San Juan, and Boston before settling down outside of Binghamton, New York. She has been reading romance since the fifth grade when she discovered the Sweet Valley High series. On inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage Harlequin Romances, she set a goal to someday finish reading them all on top of her already massive TBR.

Eva has a B.A. in the Humanities from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. Since graduating in 2002, she has spent her career in scholarly publishing, working for Houghton Mifflin, Blackwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, and Cornell University in a variety of roles. She has been with Speilburg Literary since 2013, and started accepting clients in 2017. Eva is a member the AALA (formerly AAR), RWA, and SCBWI.

In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance (all subgenres but inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction.

Fun Fact: My name is not pronounced with a long E sound. I’m of Puerto Rican, Lebanese, and Spanish descent.