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.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zabé Ellor of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Zabé Ellor is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Zabé joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in August 2018, after previously interning at the agency and at Inklings Literary, and serving as a Publications Assistant at IOP Publishing. He graduated from Cornell University in 2016 with a dual degree in biology and English. An avid reader and writer, his non-literary interests include running, travel, and finding the perfect dim sum.

He is seeking:

Middle Grade: I’m now open to MG and excited to find clients writing exciting, adventurous, hilarious books for preteens! My favorite middle grade books weave voice, whimsy, and heart together to meet young readers where they are, instead of talking down or patronizing. I love all things speculative, from wild new worlds to small hints of magic, and my dream would be to find something that innovates at world building how Gregor the Overlander does. I also love stories grounded in the contemporary world, but prefer humorous tones to the very serious. Projects with graphic elements always welcome. I’m especially interested in seeing submissions from diverse voices.

Young Adult: I love all genres of YA: swoonworthy romances, electrifying thrillers and mysteries, heartbreaking contemporaries, and SFF that sweeps me off to a new world. Whatever you’re writing, give me flawed characters who struggle with the complexities of growing up and tangled networks of relationships binding them together. Books with messy, real, and consuming emotions are my kryptonite; recent favorites include Three Dark Crowns, Burning Glass, The Astonishing Color of After, When Dimple Met Rishi, Eliza and her Monsters, When the Moon was Ours, and The Love Interest.

Adult Fiction: My first love is adult SFF, in which I’m drawn to expansive worlds inhabited by unforgettable characters. Favorites of mine include the Emberverse series, The Broken Earth trilogy, An Unkindness of Ghosts, and Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels. I’m also looking for commercial and upmarket contemporary fiction, especially projects that contain elements of literary mystery and thriller, or voice-driven projects that would make a fun beach—think Little Fires Everywhere, Crazy Rich Asians, or Big Little Lies. Any project that involves rich people, secrets, and tragicomic misbehavior is quick to catch my eye!

Graphic novels: I’m interested in graphic novel projects for all age groups. Give me children’s projects that will make me laugh, cry, or both: think The Prince and the Dressmaker, The Witch Boy, or anything by Dav Pilkey. Give me adult projects that can ONLY be told in graphic novel format—stories like Saga and Low where the art creates the world. Author/illustrators strongly preferred.

Nonfiction: In nonfiction, I want proposals for books about science and history that teach and entertain in equal measure. If you want to dive deeply into an intriguing quirk of our world—and can do so with voice, wit, and an eye for the human—I want to see your proposal! As a former evolutionary biology/Renaissance literature major, my interests are wide, but I’ll always be interested in projects about fossils. Show me your platform and your passion for the subject

Diversity is incredibly important to me. I strongly encourage marginalized authors to self-identify, if they are comfortable, especially if their identity is related to their project.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jared Johnson of Olswanger Literary

Jared Johnson is a literary agent with Olswanger Literary.

“I am a recovering academic and love engaging with unique and excellent writers. I hold a Masters in medieval studies and spent several years working toward a PhD before leaving to pursue a career in publishing.”

In fiction, he seeks:

“My fiction is also a bit all over the place. I have a strong interest in speculative fiction, especially when those stories don’t feel the need to explain the “why” of the speculative elements. Favorite recent reads in this vein would be Nothing to See Here and Piranesi, which explore difficult topics through an ethical (i.e. how they relate to those around them) lens.

“I also love mystery and thriller with main characters who simply find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m also hoping to add some thought-provoking upmarket horror to my list. I am also a huge fan of genre-bending stories that have upmarket or literary elements to the writing.

“I love encountering new, vibrant worlds that feel like they extend beyond the borders of the page without detracting from the central narrative. I am drawn into a story by parent/child relationships (especially with adult children or non-traditional families), themes of reconciliation and redemption, strong non-romance relationships (especially where you would expect romance), and misunderstood rivals. Really, I am taken in by deeply ethical stories; i.e. stories that foreground how characters relate to one another and how those connections situate them in their world. Also heists… I want to read all the heists.”

In Nonfiction he seeks:

“My list is fairly broad at the moment.  I am looking for narrative-driven books. I am drawn to popular cultural topics (music, fashion, biography, science, history) with an academic approach. I especially love projects that engage with current social issues, ones that address the origins of cultural values, especially in matters of race, gender and sexuality, religion, and language. In particular, I am interested in works that challenge long-held cultural narratives. I am always on the search for books that call into question cultural myths or the continuity of ideas.

“I want to read works that make me view an old concept in a new way. More recently, I find myself being drawn strongly to narratives about people who have caused a positive impact or left a positive legacy in the world or their community.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Pam Gruber of Irene Goodman Literary

Pam Gruber is a literary agent with Irene Goodman Literary.

Pam is looking for adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction with literary voices and commercial hooks. She is particularly interested in layered fantasy, speculative fiction, fantastical realism, rom-coms, and coming-of-age stories with a twist. She is also open to middle grade and YA graphic novels, as well as select narrative non-fiction on lesser-known subjects. Pam would not be the best fit for prescriptive non-fiction, anthologies, potty humor, paranormal, or erotica.

Pam began her career in publishing as an editor, working for over ten years at Hachette Book Group with a number of acclaimed authors and illustrators. From there, she went on to serve as the Editorial Director at children’s media startup Rebel Girls, where she saw first-hand how a great book can expand into other entertainment mediums.

Pam joined Irene Goodman in 2020 after she realized her favorite part of the publishing business was working directly with authors and artists, helping them to shape not only their stories, but also their careers. She looks for work that is gripping from page one, whether it makes her break out in a smile or gives her goosebumps (from excitement, not fear!). She loves complicated female protagonists, innovative twists on old tropes, and getting swept away by fully realized worlds—be they portraits of the next town over or an imagined universe unlike our own.

Originally from Philadelphia and raised by two artists, Pam knew she wanted to work in publishing from a young age. She brings an inscrutable eye for detail to every book she gets her hands on, and her experience at a publishing house gives her insight into how editors think, and what they’re looking for.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Darlene Chan of Linda Chester Literary Agency

Darlene Chan is a literary agent with Linda Chester Literary Agency.

Darlene is the newest member of the Linda Chester Literary Agency. A veteran of the film industry, she served as an executive for Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures (both times under Jeffrey Katzenberg), Davis Entertainment and as an independent producer. Among the titles she has been associated with are Grumpy Old Men, Beverly Hills Cop, Thing Called Love and Shattered.

In 2009, Darlene established Darlene Chan PR, which specializes in web PR and social media for authors. Among her PR clients are Live Talks Los Angeles, Daniel H. Wilson, Joe Ide, Elizabeth Brundage, Tara Ison, and Denise Hamilton.

Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC, women’s fiction, literary fiction, chick lit/rom-com, crime fiction, pop culture, narrative nonfiction, and nonfiction books on film and the entertainment industry.

She’s not seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, family saga, children’s/YA or screenplays that have been turned into novels.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Renee Fountain of GH Literary

Renee C. Fountain is a literary agent, publishing industry veteran, a reviewer for Kirkus and New York Journal of Books, and a book scout for The CW Network. She is the president of GH Literary.

During her almost decade-long tenure with major houses such as Harcourt Brace and Simon & Schuster, Ms. Fountain had the great fortune of working with some of the best writers and illustrators in the publishing world.

Additionally, with more than ten years of licensing and branding experience, she has been involved in creating book-related merchandise including iconic favorites such as Raggedy Ann and Nancy Drew; as well as brokering film and television options.

Renee is looking for all types of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction. She prefers: thrillers, horror/dark fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, humor, science fiction, pop culture, memoirs, and narrative/commercial.

She does NOT represent screenplays, previously published books (including self-published), Westerns, Hard Science Fiction, Space Opera, Middle Grade, Picture Books, Erotica, Poetry, Novellas or Short Story Collections.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jenni Ferrari-Adler of Union Literary

Jenni Ferrari-Adler is a longtime agent at Union Literary.

She is seeking: ​absorbing reads; character-driven literary / mainstream / upmarket novels with care to language. ​She adores narrative nonfiction, too, as well as story collections, cookbooks, and memoirs.

Recent sales include debut novels ALL THE SECRETS OF THE WORLD by Steve Almond, TELL ME HOW TO BE by Neel Patel, HOW TO BE EATEN by Maria Adelmann, and WHITE IVY by Susie Yang; the young adult novels FORGIVE ME NOT by Jenn Baker, and UNDERCOVER LATINA by Aya de Leon, the story collection CAT PERSON by Kristen Roupenian, the memoirs MAYBE IT’S ME by Eileen Pollack. and ARTIFICIAL by Amy Kurzweil; and the cookbooks BAKING BY FEEL by @thesweetfeminist Becca Rea-Tucker, and YOGURT AND WHEY by Homa Dashtaki.

Jenni is drawn to distinct voices, engaging storytelling, and insight into the human condition. She works closely with clients on each step of the publishing process, and on their career as a whole, including handling film and television, foreign, and magazine sales. She is an editor, mediator, advocate, handholder, explainer, bad cop, good cop etc. etc.

Born and raised in NYC, she holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan and a BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College. She edited the anthology ALONE IN THE KITCHEN WITH AN EGGPLANT: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone (Riverhead), and has published her own work in Glimmer Train, Bellevue Literary Review, New York Magazine, and Tin House.

She has taught Fiction at the University of Michigan and The Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and worked as a reader for The Paris Review and as a bookseller at Housing Works (where she met her husband). She lives in Brooklyn.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sarah Fisk of Tobias Agency

Sarah N. Fisk is a literary agent with The Tobias Agency.

Sarah is a former mechanical engineer who made the switch to publishing in 2011. They have worked in the publishing industry as an editorial assistant, author’s assistant, publicist, and art director. Sarah is a former Pitch Wars mentor, board member, and Agent Liaison. They host the podcast Queries, Qualms, & Quirks and have a passion for spreadsheets.

Sarah loves books that challenge societal norms, especially gender norms. They have a personal interest in stories featuring queer characters or characters with disability, neurodiversity, chronic illness, or mental health challenges. Great or complicated sibling relationships are their kryptonite. They also enjoy intriguing villains, mysteries woven into other genres, characters they can’t get out of their head, and smart heroines.

They are interested in Young Adult fiction of all genres as well as Adult Romance. They especially enjoy anything under the speculative fiction umbrella and high-concept contemporary or historical stories with a strong hook. Hardcore horror is probably not right for them.

Sarah is on the lookout for young adult and middle grade of all genres, adult romance, and adult science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. No hardcore horror.

Particular areas of interest include atmospheric fantasies, speculative mysteries, books that challenge societal norms, especially gender norms. They also have a special interest in stories featuring queer characters and those with disability, neurodiversity, chronic illness, or mental health challenges. Other areas of interest are small or midwestern town settings, and complicated sibling relationships.

Sarah does not represent hardcore horror, stories that center around who gets to rule an empire, stories that center around sexual assault or have on-the-page rape scenes or any adult genres not listed above.