Pitch / Critique Sessions
Present your work one-on-one to literary agents, editors, and publishing consultants.
AGENT PITCH SESSIONS
Pitching your manuscript to an agent on Kauai can be both more casual and more productive than in a more formal setting. Agents accustomed to the high pressure New York publishing scene find this event a chance to unwind, relax, and open up to the unexpected. Like all of us, agents have their preferences and their quirks. Every agent loves some books that others don’t get. The Kauai conference can be your opportunity to find the agent who is the right match for your premise and voice. We invite you to look through our agents’ websites, decide who seems the best fit for you, and sign up for one or more private sessions.
Pitch sessions are available for an additional $50.
The supportive and insightful feedback from these top literary agents will help you make your manuscript one that agents will want to read and publishers will want to publish.
Submit part of your manuscript to literary agents in advance and they’ll have a one-on-one feedback session with you at the conference. Instructions will be provided with your registration.
Up to 20 pages, double spaced. $95
The Kauai Writers Conference provides the rare opportunity to meet one-on-one with prominent editors and publishers, including representatives of major publishing houses and leading exponents of alternative publishing. You will have the opportunity to submit excerpts from your work in advance and receive personal guidance on your best path to publication from the most knowledgeable and well-connected people in the publishing world.
Up to 20 pages, double spaced. $95
Learn more about the agents …
Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC in New York, New York. Her agency is the largest African American owned agency in the country and has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. Her authors have appeared in USA TODAY, NY TIMES, and the Washington Post, as well as on Oprah, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSBNC, TV ONE, BET, and a host of others. In 2015, Publishers Weekly nominated Regina Brooks as a PW Star Watch Finalist, and she was honored with a Stevie Award in Business. Writer's Digest magazine named Serendipity Literary Agency as one of the top 25 literary agencies. Formerly, she held senior editorial positions at John Wiley and Sons (where she was not only the youngest but also the first African-American editor in their college division) and McGraw-Hill.
Prior to her publishing career, she worked as an aerospace engineer and made history as the first African American woman to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from The Ohio State University. She is a graduate of The School of the Arts High School in Rochester, NY.
She is the author of Essence Magazine’s quick pick children's book, NEVER FINISHED NEVER DONE (Scholastic), WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS 2e (Sourcebooks), and YOU SHOULD REALLY WRITE A BOOK: HOW TO WRITE, SELL AND MARKET YOUR MEMOIR (St. Martin’s Press), and a well received blogger for the Huffington Post. Brooks is also on the faculty of the Harvard University publishing program the Whidbey Island Writers MFA, Western Connecticut MFA low residency programs, Writer’s Digest University and teaches annually at more than twenty worldwide conferences. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Publishers Weekly, Forbes, Media Bistro, Writers and Poets, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Jet, Women on Writing, Writer's Digest Magazine, The Writer, The Network Journal, and Rolling Out.
She was named Woman of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women, A New York Urban League Rising Star Award winner, and a finalist for the StevieTM Award for Women Entrepreneurs. Regina Brooks is featured in books such as The Guide to Literary Agents and the NAACP nominated Down to Business: The First 10 Steps for Women Entrepreneurs, How to Build a Platform, and Bill Duke's Dark Girls. She is also listed in International Who's Who under the categories of Professional Management, Technology, Entrepreneurs, and Engineering.
In November 2010, Brooks partnered with Marie Brown, of Marie Brown and Associates, and Marva Allen of Hue Man Bookstore to launch a new publishing imprint with Johnny Temple’s Akashic Books called Open Lens.
Further, Possibiliteas is the brainchild of literary agent and tea enthusiast, Regina Brooks, who believed that tea—the world’s oldest performance-enhancing beverage—could have a beneficial effect on her clients—writers, artists, and other creative professionals who were looking for fuel for their creative fire.
She is a pilot and cofounder of Brooklyn Aviation as well as a member of the Association of Author Representatives and New York Women in Film and Television.
Ms. Brooks is the founder and co-Executive Director of Y.B. Literary Foundation, Inc. (www.ybliterary.org), a not-for-profit organization designed to kindle a passion for literature within high school students and an appreciation for the possibilities and opportunities that reading can provide.
Stephanie Cabot is a literary agent with the Gernert Company, one of the true powerhouse agencies in New York. Gernert represents John Grisham among many others. Stephanie is the agent for Priya Parmar, a member of our 2016 faculty, author of the highly-acclaimed Vanessa and Her Sister. Half French, half American, Stephanie was educated in Europe and in the US where she majored in history at Harvard. Her agenting career began in London and she spent nine years at William Morris - London, the last five as Managing Director, where she built a list of international, bestselling and prize-winning authors. She moved back to the States in 2005 with her husband and four children, joined The Gernert Company, and is now selectively adding writers from a variety of genres, including crime/thrillers, commercial and literary fiction, latte lit, and non-fiction. She is especially interested in writers who tell original stories with strong narratives and distinctive characters. She divides her time between New York and New England.
Susan Golomb is a senior agent at Writers House, representing writers of fiction and non-fiction, for both adult and juvenile books as well as illustrators. She works with literary and commercial fiction, women’s fiction, science fiction/fantasy, narrative non-fiction, history, memoirs, biographies, psychology, science, parenting, cookbooks, how-to, self-help, business, finance, young adult and juvenile fiction/non-fiction and picture books. In addition to referrals, she still takes on new clients from among the twenty to thirty unsolicited submissions that she receives daily.
Golomb graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a theatrical production coordinator and story editor before starting her literary agency in 1988. Her clients include Marisha Pessl (Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Viking, 2006), Tom Rachman (The Imperfectionists - Dial Press, 2010), Gwyn Hyman Rubio, author of Icy Sparks (Viking, 1998), and she discovered Jonathan Franzen’s first novel, The Twenty-Seventh City (FSG, 1988). She also represents Yvon Chouinard, Harry Dent, Joshua Max Feldman, Glen David Gold, Rachel Kushner, Krys Lee, and William T. Vollmann, among many others.
" Some of my books are kind of out there. They are ambitious in ways that are not the nicely crafted domestic novel. It’s hard to find assistants or interns who can pick up on the same potential that I see. I call some of the books that I represent my shaggy dogs. They’re exuberant and they try to do all kinds of things, but they may also have whole parts that need to be deleted or characters that need to disappear. They need a lot of grooming before they go out. I enjoy that process, and when I go out with those manuscripts, they’re so fresh and inventive and exciting that I do well with them."
— from Poets & Writers Magazine feature interview with Michael Szczerban
interview with Susan here:
Alia Hanna Habib is an agent at the Gernert Company, a literary agency with a client list as broad as the market, with writers ranging from John Grisham to Alice McDermott. Alia began her publishing career as a book publicist at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and her years of in-house publicity experience strongly inform how she works with her clients. She represents narrative nonfiction, memoir and literary fiction and has a particular interest in books on pressing social and political issues.
Among her authors are Nikole Hannah-Jones (the New York Times Magazine writer and recent recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award), Doree Shafrir (author of STARTUP), and John Donvan and Caren Zucker (authors of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize nominee IN A DIFFERENT KEY: THE STORY OF AUTISM.)
An active and engaged member of the publishing community, she serves on the Creative Council of Aspen Words and the board of Housing Works Bookstore/Cafe. Alia graduated from Barnard College and has a graduate degree in the nineteenth-century novel.
Roger Jellinek started his publishing career at Random House, and went on to be deputy editor of the New York Times Book Review; editor in chief of Times Books; a science newsletter editor with Columbia University; a map publisher in Honolulu; editorial director of a metaphysical publishing house on Maui; and since 2006 Executive Director of the annual Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival. With his wife Eden Lee Murray he founded Jellinek & Murray Literary Agency in Honolulu in 1995, and in addition to taking on occasional editorial projects he represents an eclectic list of literary fiction, and general nonfiction.
Elizabeth Kracht joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates in the fall of 2010 to broaden her perspective on the publishing industry. She represents both literary and commercial fiction as well as nonfiction, and brings to the agency experience as a former acquisitions editor, freelance publicist and writer.
Elizabeth's career in publishing took root in Puerto Rico where she completed her BA in English and worked as a copyeditor for an English-language newspaper. When she returned to the mainland she found her "vein of gold" in book publishing. She thrives on working closely with authors to build their careers.
Elizabeth's eclectic life experience drives her interests. She appreciates writing that has depth, an introspective voice, and is thematically layered. Having lived in cities such as New York, San Francisco and San Juan, Puerto Rico, she is compelled by multicultural themes and characters and is drawn toward strong settings.
In fiction, she represents literary, commercial, women's, thrillers, mysteries, historical, and crossover YA. In nonfiction, she is interested in high concept, health, science, environment, prescriptive, investigative, true crime, voice- or adventure-driven memoir, sexuality, spirituality, and animal/pet stories.
Dana Newman is an LA-based independent literary agent representing authors of practical and narrative non-fiction in the areas of memoir, biography, business, popular culture, current affairs, lifestyle and wellness (health, mind/body/spirit and sports/fitness), and on the fiction side she focuses on literary fiction and women's upmarket fiction. She’s always on the lookout for compelling voices, ideas and stories, and is a passionate believer in the power of books to connect and transform us.
Dana is also an attorney, focusing on publishing law and contracts. She’s a member of the California State Bar and the Association of Authors’ Representatives, and holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco. Before founding her literary agency she worked as in-house counsel in the entertainment industry.
More information about her agency is available at dananewman.com.
Andy’s agency represents books in a wide range of non-fiction genres including: narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, popular culture, and current events . They also represent literary, commercial, historical, crime, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA fiction. For non-fiction he looks for writing with a strong voice, robust story arc, and books that tell a big story about culture and society by authors with the authority to write about their subject. In fiction, he likes stories about real people in the real world. No vampires and trolls, thank you very much. He doesn’t represent poetry, science fiction, paranormal, and romance.
Authors Andy represents include: Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Anjanette Delgado, Elisa Kleven, Tawni Waters, Randall Platt, Mary Jo McConahay, Gerald Nachman, Michael Parenti, Paul Krassner, Milton Viorst, and Michele Anna Jordan.
Andy also works as a freelance editor.
Ken Sherman President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. We’re a Los Angeles based, full-service literary agency working with film, television and book writers (fiction and non-fiction). Several of his clients are Pulitzer Prize winners.
An agent for more than twenty years, Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker, having taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference and The Eugene International Film Festival where he just received a lifetime achievement award.
Since graduating from the University of California-Berkeley with a major in psychology, Ken has returned numerous times to the classroom to teach his course, “The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and the Publishing Worlds,” at both USC and UCLA. He also co-taught a screenwriting class for many years at the Eugene International Film Festival.
Ken maintains strong community involvement as well, serving as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television/Los Angeles (BAFTA), and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Science and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.
Michelle Tessler has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. Before forming her boutique agency in 2004, Michelle worked at the William Morris Agency and the prestigious literary agency Carlisle & Company (now Inkwell Management). She also spent seven years working in content and business development in the Internet industry, beginning in 1994 when she was hired by best-selling author James Gleick to help launch The Pipeline. In light of the digital opportunities that are transforming publishing, Michelle's experience in the Internet world is of great benefit to her authors, both as they navigate ebook opportunities, and as they look for creative and effective ways to market their books to niche communities that can be targeted online.
She represents a select number of best-selling and emerging authors in both fiction and non-fiction. Clients include accomplished journalists, scientists, academics, experts in their field, as well as novelists and debut authors with unique voices and stories to tell. She values fresh, original writing that has a compelling point of view. She represents, among many others, Paul Collins, Frans de Waal, Mira Jacob, Amy Stewart and Amanda Eyre Ward.
Learn more at www.tessleragency.com
… and publishing experts.
Carrie Feron's first job was at Pageant books, and there they “tested” a lot of books that others wouldn’t publish. Books set in Africa; books set in Roman Britain; books that were out of genre. Some of those books were cancelled when Pageant ended, so they never came out. But they lived on in her heart. She then worked for Loveswept with authors such as Janet Evanovich and Billie Green; then to Berkley where she worked with Laura Kinsale, Nora Roberts and Suzanne Forster. Now she’s Executive Editor & SVP at HarperCollins Publishers.
Ms. Feron has spent her entire career editing women’s voices: from crime to psychological suspense, historical fiction to commercial fiction. Among the authors she has worked on for Morrow are New York Times bestselling authors Meg Cabot, Deborah Crombie, Dorothea Benton Frank, Faye Kellerman, Laura Lippman, Elizabeth Lowell and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She has been at Morrow for over twenty years, where her paperback authors include Emily Arsenault, Sara Gruen, Kerry Reichs, Liza Palmer, Jane O’Connor, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacLean and Eloisa James.
Reserve an individual session with Carrie to discuss you manuscript.
Arielle Eckstut is co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. She is the author of nine books including She is the author of nine books including The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and The Secret Language of Color: The Science, Nature, History, Culture and Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet.
She is also an agent-at-large at the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency, where for over 25 years, she has been helping hundreds of talented writers become published authors.
Lastly, Arielle co-founded LittleMissMatched, the iconic company that sells socks that don't match in packs of three.
Kevin Larimer is the editor in chief of Poets & Writers, where he edits Poets & Writers Magazine; oversees editorial content on the organization’s website, pw.org; and directs the events series Poets & Writers Live.
He has given presentations and appeared on a number of panels on publishing at events such as the Library of Congress National Book Festival, the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, the Anguilla Lit Fest, the Slice Literary Writer’s Conference, the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Poets Forum, the Bronx Book Fair, and the Writer’s Hotel.
His poems have appeared in Poetry International, Fence, Pleiades, Verse, and a dozen other literary magazines. He has written book reviews for American Letters & Commentary, American Book Review, Chelsea, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He holds a degree in journalism and received his MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was the poetry editor of the Iowa Review. He is currently writing The Poets & Writers Guide to the Writing Life (Simon & Schuster, 2020) with his wife, Mary Gannon, executive director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses.
Reserve an individual session with Kevin to discuss you manuscript.
Lisa Sharkey, a legend in the publishing world, is a two-time Emmy Award winner and 10-time Emmy nominee. She was honored with a Peabody Award and a DuPont Award for her work at ABC covering the September 11th terror attacks.
She serves as Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development at HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, a subsidiary of News Corp. At HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, Ms. Sharkey has overseen the acquisition of numerous titles, including Here's the Story, and The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President by Mark Halperin of ABC News and Time magazine. She served as the President of Al Roker Entertainment. She served as Senior Producer at ABC's "Good Morning America" and "Inside Edition." She serves as Member of Advisory Board at The First Thirty Days, Inc.
Reserve an individual session with Lisa to discuss you manuscript.
David Sterry is co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. He is the author of 16 books on a wide variety of subjects, from memoir to middle grade fiction, sports to reference. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages, optioned by Hollywood, and appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. Before writing professionally, David was a comic and an actor. His one man show, based on his memoir, Chicken, was named the number one show in the United Kingdom for its entire run at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, Fringe by The Independent.
David Sterry will be teaching the Master Class Putting Your Passion into Print with Arielle Eckstut.
She Writes Press was founded by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner in 2012 as a response to the barriers to traditional publishing getting higher and higher for authors. Kamy’s online community, She Writes, had been founded on the principle of connecting and serving women writers everywhere, offering a community for established and aspiring writers. Brooke had been the Executive Editor at Seal Press for eight years, and was witnessing firsthand the contracting publishing environment, where she personally was having to reject beautifully written books on a regular basis because the submitting author didn’t have a strong enough author platform.
Kamy and Brooke envisioned a company where authors would be invited to publish based on the merit of their writing alone. They wanted to found a press for women writers that would be a platform—that could launch their writing careers, and where they could legitimately compete with their traditional counterparts.
In 2013, She Writes Press secured traditional distribution through Ingram Publisher Services and established itself as a real player in the hybrid publishing world. This relationship secured the right for SWP authors to submit their books for review through traditional channels, creating a more level playing field. SWP authors have been featured in O! magazine, People, and USA Today, and have been reviewed in all of the trade magazines: Publishers Weekly; Kirkus; Booklist; Library Journal; and featured on Shelf Awareness.