Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michelle Jackson of LCS Literary

Originally from Jamaica West Indies, Michelle Jackson is a literary agent with LCS Literary.

An educator for over 20 years, Michelle is also a published author, writing professionally as Michelle Lindo-Rice for Mira and Harlequin Special Edition and Zoey Marie Jackson for Harlequin Love Inspired. She has earned educational degrees from New York University, SUNY at StonyBrook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University.

“I look forward to bringing adult fiction and select non-fiction of new authors work out there, especially BIPOC and underrepresented authors. I am also a content editor and love developing and working with new authors to help them hone their craft. I am looking for stories with strong character arcs and hooks. Intriguing plot lines that keep me up at night until I get to the last page. Romances that make my heart swoon, thrillers that keep me guessing and heartwarming, uplifting tales. Stories about sister friends, mother-daughter relationships. Stories with themes of friendship, forgiveness, love and second chances. I have a soft spot for fellow educators who are writers and for stories featuring educators. I also am looking for those who want to write category romances – I also love Amish romances!”

Fiction: Commercial, Historical, Humor, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Women’s Fiction.

​Sub-genres: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, Psychological Thrillers, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense.

Nonfiction: Biography, True Crime, Self-Help, Relationships, Cookbooks, Narrative, Spirituality.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lane Clarke of Arthouse Literary

Lane Clarke is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary.

Lane earned a Bachelors’ degree in English Literature from Virginia Tech, and a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School. She is a Young Adult author and works as an attorney in Washington, D.C. As the creator of the #BVM hashtag for Twitter story pitch events, and the co-founder of #PitBLK, a pitch event highlighting Black writers, she is committed to making sure marginalized voices have a space in traditional publishing.

She is seeking:

Lane is looking for an array of genres in Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult. In all age groups, she would love to see stories by underrepresented and marginalized creators. If your book takes on an old genre with a new point of view (Netflix’s THE HARDER THEY FALL), I want to see it!

In Middle Grade, she is looking for adventure stories and big emotions. Think a middle school version of National Treasure. She loves inquisitive middle grade books that ask big questions. She would love to see horror stories with a historical lens, contemporary books that push against the status quo, and fantasy that takes on underrepresented mythology.

In Young Adult, she is looking for contemporary stories that pack an emotional punch. Coming-of-age stories. She would also love historical fiction similar to Stacey Lee and Ruta Sepetys (certain to make her cry). She is looking for speculative contemporary fiction similar to Adam Silvera and Justin A. Reynolds. Worlds where there is something just a little bit off. She is also looking for books with interesting narrative structures, similar to ILLUMINAE and SLEEPING GIANTS. Multiple POV books should be well-balanced. She is looking for smart YA that takes on cultural issues from the point of view of messy teenagers. She is also looking for college stories, freshmen coming-of-age stories, and books about teens who do something other than college as their next step. She loves found family books! She would love to see Graphic Novels from writer/illustrators.

In Adult, she is looking for romance with lots of tension! Slow burns are her absolute favorite. She is looking for heroines and love interests who do not often get the spotlight – heroines and love interests of color, neurodivergent, disabled, etc. She is also looking for literary fiction that are generational sagas (think PACHINKO) or societal commentary (think SUCH A FUN AGE and THE VANISHING HALF). She is looking for epic fantasy with a strong cultural point of view (THE POPPY WAR and CITY OF BRASS). She would love smart horror that reveals inner demons (STRANGER THINGS SEASON 4 – Max). She would love adult fiction that addresses societal issues (Alyssa Cole’s WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING). Books that elicit strong emotional reactions.

In Nonfiction, she is looking for little known historical figures who made big impacts (like BASEBALL’S LEADING LADY) in all age groups MG and above. She is looking for humorous essay collections that address societal issues and personal growth (HERE FOR IT). She would love to see memoirs about the immigrant experience.

What She Doesn’t Want: Chapter books, erotica.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stacey Graham of 3 Seas Literary Agency

Stacey Graham is a literary agent with 3 Seas Literary Agency.

Stacey has worked both sides of the literary door as a humor writer with the wickedly funny Zombie Tarot, screenwriter, ghostwriter, short story writer, and specializes in offbeat nonfiction. She loves working with writers at all stages of their careers, representing talented authors and illustrators from around the globe in picture books, middle grade, romance, graphic novels, and nonfiction. She is a member of the Association of American Literary Agents.

Her current wishlist includes:

  • Adult — Romance
  • Nonfiction — I’m looking for fun, quirky, fascinating topics with strong commercial appeal and a great platform. Specifically looking for how-to books, antiques, craft books, cook books, lifestyle and pets
  • Graphic novels — YA/Adult
  • Mystery
  • Commercial Fiction
  • Humor
  • Pop culture

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Taj McCoy of Rees Literary

Taj McCoy is a literary agent with Rees Literary.

Taj (she/her) has a law degree from Southwestern Law School and a bachelor’s degree in Business Law from California State University, Northridge. Taj trained as an agent under Fuse Literary, and has previously served as a Pitch Wars mentor and as co-program manager for Diverse Voices, Inc.’s DVdebut program. Her Adult Fiction is published through Mira/HQN.

Taj is building her list in Adult Fiction and Nonfiction, Young Adult, and Middle Grade, as well as looking for illustrators. She’s passionately seeking BIPOC and queer creators who highlight parts of their cultures and experiences. She is an advocate for body positivity in publishing, and loves to highlight intersectionality. Taj aims to widen the entryway for marginalized authors into the publishing industry, and to normalize Black joy, fat joy, celebrations of culture, and love without limitations.

In Adult Fiction, she is searching for:

  • Steamy romance
  • Comedy-forward rom-coms
  • Exciting mysteries (cozy or otherwise) which include a romantic element
  • Family sagas and strong, character-driven commercial fiction with a clear character arc
  • Powerful women’s fiction
  • Main characters who are members of underrepresented groups in publishing
  • Cinnamon roll love interests, intergenerational family dynamics, and masculinity that isn’t toxic

In Young Adult, she’s searching for:

  • Angsty, emotional love stories
  • Rom-coms
  • Challenging coming-of-age stories
  • Exciting mysteries and thrillers
  • Witty teens who embrace their cultures and differences

In Middle Grade, she’s looking for:

  • Adventure stories
  • Thrilling fantasies which help kids explore their identities
  • Mysteries that allow readers to explore intersectionality and inclusivity
  • Romance/romcom: first crushes, first kisses, acknowledged feelings

In Nonfiction, she’s searching for:

  • Adult biographies and memoirs which shed light on people and parts of history that are often erased or forgotten
  • Self-help collections focused on empowerment
  • Cookbooks that highlight family traditions and culture
  • YA and MG nonfiction that highlights historical figures and innovators who aren’t included in today’s curriculum
  • Nonfiction picture books
  • Interesting gift/survey/table books––including illustrations or photography
  • Humorous pop culture books

Taj is also looking for illustrators who can work across age groups (picture books, chapter books, MG and YA).

She is NOT currently looking for:

  • Unsolicited fiction picture books
  • Chapter books
  • Adult sci-fi, fantasy, and horror
  • Romance with alpha males
  • Erotica

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dani Segelbaum of the Carol Mann Agency

Dani Segelbaum is Vice President, Literary Agent, and Subsidiary Rights Director at the Carol Mann Agency.

She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction. Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks.

In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Dani is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication where she studied journalism and political science. She has been a voracious reader for as long as she can remember. Dani began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins Publishers, focusing primarily on highly designed non-fiction titles. She previously worked as a literary assistant at New Leaf Literary & Media, working with established and debut authors.

A few books she loves… Horse by Geraldine Brooks, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein, Coming To My Sense by Alice Waters, Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco.

Dani spends her free time walking her Aussiedoodle named Dottie and trying new restaurants. Her guilty pleasures include cookbooks (seriously, she has way too many), reading the newspaper in the middle of the night, and baking dozens of delicious baked goods for friends and family (she does use the cookbooks).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Bethany Jett of CYLE Literary

Bethany Jett is a literary agent with CYLE Literary.

“I’m Bethany, a former youth minister’s wife and high school cheerleading coach turned author, speaker, and business owner. This year I graduated with my Masters of Fine Arts in Communication, where I concentrated on marketing and public relations. My goal is take those skills and apply them to writers, authors, and brands.

“I’m hooked on stories written in extremely deep POV and I appreciate writing that provides just enough information to the reader while letting their imagination take over…very ‘Master of Suggestion’ Alfred Hitchcock-esque, if you will …and I adore an unreliable narrator…or two.

I’m looking for adult fiction books within these genres:

  • Commercial, Upmarket, and Literary Fiction.
  • Historical.
  • Time travel and time slip (but not sci-fi or time travel into the future). I loved the time travel element of 11/22/63 by Stephen King (probably the only book by him that I could handle).
  • Romantic Comedies. Low spice. Slow burn. Sweet. HEA. (see Amazon categories like Clean & Wholesome Romance).
  • Cozy Mysteries with depth.

Regarding cozies: please make sure that your cozy mystery is actually a cozy mystery before submitting it. If you’re not sure, please check out this article: “What is a Cozy Mystery?” to ensure you’re hitting the crucial elements that set cozies apart from other mysteries.

In fiction, I am NOT a good fit for vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake, grimdark, science fiction, erotica or sex “on the page,” extreme violence, or horror (with the exception of MG). I appreciate trigger warnings in the query for suicide. Manuscripts filled with the f-bomb are not my cup of tea.

In Picture Books, she seeks:

I’m open to both text-only manuscripts and author-illustrator. I’m open to PBs of all kinds but am specifically looking for: holiday, bilingual, Where the MC has a disability but it does not define who they are, books that provide back matter (like Stella’s Stellar Hair), and STEM, STEAM, SEL.

In middle grade and young adult, she seeks:

Everything listed in the adult fiction genres above, as well as:

  • Horror (MG only) Think The Clackity by Lora Senf.
  • Cozy Fantasy / Magical Realism.
  • I love stories where magic and the supernatural permeate our own world.
  • Within fantasy: Noblebright, Nobledark, Grimbright

In kidlit, she is NOT interested in: books where the comps are LOTR, ACOTR, or anything by Rick Riordan. I loved The Cruel Prince series by Holly Black, but it’s at the upper echelon of my comfortability level with teen “romance.” Not looking for Grimdark stories or any science fiction elements.

In Nonfiction, she seeks:

As a traditionally published nonfiction author, I know firsthand the weight of “platform-platform-platform.” And yet, here I am on the agent side, still saying, “Platform. Platform. Platform!” That said, I am looking for career-driven individuals who are living out their message and not waiting for the book to jumpstart their marketing efforts.

I’m looking for books within these categories:

  • COOKBOOKS!!!!!
  • How-to
  • Self-help
  • Christian Living
  • Lifestyle
  • Home & Garden
  • Business
  • Leadership
  • Inspirational/Gift
  • Devotionals
  • Bible studies

In nonfiction, she is NOT interested in: memoir or narrative, devotionals that don’t have a strong thread running throughout, projects that don’t have a tie-in to the author’s credentials or platform, sports, science / technology, or politics.

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.

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