Pitch-O-Rama 2019: Agents & Publishers

WNBA-SF Pitch-O-Rama: Meet the Agents & Editors, March 31, 2018

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    Includes Continental Breakfast and early morning coaching on how to pitch, one-on-one pitch session, plus a panel discussion.
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    Includes Continental Breakfast and early morning coaching on how to pitch, one-on-one pitch session, plus a panel discussion.
    Includes Continental Breakfast and early morning coaching on how to pitch, one-on-one pitch session, plus a panel discussion.
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Women’s Building

Meet the Agents and Acquisition Editors!

Pitch-O-Rama 2019,
Saturday, March 23, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm.

These impressive publishing professionals bring years of experience, and will provide advice, direction, and next steps for your literary project! 

Whatever your genre, you’ll find an agent or editor to fit your project: from prestigious agencies that represent fiction of all genres, including YA and children’s books, to non-fiction and New Age titles. There are publishers that specialize in eBooks, in hybrid business models, and a non-profit publisher with a local focus. 


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Lisa Abelisa-abellera-200llera joined Kimberley Cameron and Associates in 2013 with a background in management, marketing, and finance. Lisa responds to well-crafted prose with strong hooks and high personal stakes, to idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, to a tangible sense of place, to multicultural aspects and international settings, to page-turning twists, and to emotionally immersive fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships. She is seeking to represent upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery/suspense/thrillers (especially if it has a dose of science or the supernatural), science fiction, fantasy, most speculative fiction except for paranormal fantasy (no demons, angels, vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.), romance if it’s an element or part of another genre, NA, YA and middle grade.



Emmerich Anklam is assistant to the publisher and an editor at Heyday, a Berkeley-based house that has been publishing award-winning books about California for forty-five years. He joined Heyday in 2015. For Heyday he is looking to acquire nonfiction for a general, national audience in the following subjects: history, social justice, nature, and California Indian studies (with a strong preference for Native authors). Recent Heyday titles include The California Field Atlas by Obi Kaufmann, Biddy Mason Speaks Up by Arisa White and Laura Atkins, Bird Songs Don’t Lie by Gordon Lee Johnson, and Foucault in California by Simeon Wade.


 Jim Azevedo is the marketing director at Smashwords, the largest distributor of self-published ebooks, serving over 130,000 independent authors, publishers, and literary agents. Since 2008, Smashwords has helped authors around the world release more than 470,000 titles and distribute their work globally to top ebook retailers, subscription services and public libraries. Prior to joining Smashwords in 2011, Jim built his career in marketing & PR for high-tech companies. Although Smashwords is a self-publishing platform, Jim loves helping authors sharpen their pitches and book descriptions. He credits his journalism education when it comes to guiding authors, and himself, to “get to the point” with messaging.



Peter Beren, Literary Agent and Publishing Consultant, is a member of AAR. Formerly publisher at Insight Editions, Sierra Club Books and VIA Books, he has also been an acquisitions editor for Jeremy Tarcher. He specializes in nonfiction in the categories of self-help, pop culture, body, mind, spirit, how-to, illustrated books (art or photography) and narrative nonfiction. His best-known clients include: photographers Art Wolfe (Earth is my Witness) and Frans Lanting (Into Africa), graphic novelist Jack Katz (The First Kingdom), Chakra expert Anodea Judith (Eastern Body, Western Mind), and Taoist Laurence Boldt (Zen and the Art of Making a Living). He is also the author of seven books, including The Writers Legal Companion, California the Beautiful and The Golden Gate. He has nearly 50 years experience in the publishing industry as a Publisher, Marketing Director, Author and Agent. www.Peterberen.com


Michael Carr is a literary agent with a background in editing and writing, working from a home base in San Francisco. He represents writers in a variety of genres, with a special emphasis on historical fiction, women’s fiction, mystery and suspense, and science fiction and fantasy. Michael works carefully with clients to produce the cleanest, most professional manuscripts and enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. He speaks Spanish and conversational French and before joining Veritas had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.



Associate Agent Karly Caserza was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Northern California as a child. She obtained her Business Marketing degree and has been a Freelance Graphic Designer for over 10 years. In addition to designing a wide range of print and web promotional material for clients, Karly creates book covers for Short Fuse and promotional graphics for Fuse authors. Professionally, Karly began her career in the publishing industry as a reader for Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary. Her responsibilities quickly grew and she was promoted to Literary Assistant, a role that also included a spot on the production team of Short Fuse. Karly is also the Marketing Coordinator of the San Francisco Writers Conference. In her spare time, Karly is an Adobe Technical Trainer, freelance graphic designer, Young Adult author, video game geek, and art noob. Karly has a deep love for characters with a strong voice and seeks out stories she can get lost in. Diversity in genre fiction is a major bonus. She specializes in middle grade and young adult genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary).

Cristina Deptula is a former science and technology reporter and also the publisher of Synchronized Chaos Magazine, which showcases art and writing from around the world. Literary publicity is a way for her to serve others while satisfying her implacable curiosity! Authors, Large and Small helps authors to find their audience where the people already gather and reach them how they already communicate. We develop individualized outreach plans for each author’s project and continue working until we land mutually agreed-on results. As a large, national team we welcome all genres of writing and work with both traditionally published and self-published authors over traditional and social media. 

 Suzy Evans is a literary agent, attorney, and author who holds a Ph.D. in history from UC Berkeley. In the adult market, she’s looking for narrative nonfiction, history, science, big idea books on controversial social issues, riveting, elegantly-written memoir (recent favorites include Barbarian Days and When Breath Becomes Air), self-help, parenting (bonus points for humor!) and small quirky books that make her smile and think about the world in new and surprising ways. On the children’s front, she’s seeking MG nonfiction, YA fiction that tackles difficult issues in bold, daring ways, and graphic novels that bring history, literature, and fascinating historical figures (think Socrates! Machiavelli! Hamilton!) to life. She’d also love to find a thriller that has “MOVIE!” written all over it. As an author herself, her books include Machiavelli for Moms (Simon & Schuster) and Forgotten Crimes: the Holocaust and People with Disabilities. She’s also a ghostwriter for a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 25 million copies in print and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Parade, Forbes and The London TimesSandra Dijkstra Literary Agency 


Nancy Fish

Nancy Fish: In her long career in publishing, Nancy Fish has worked in almost every iteration of the book business. Having been publicity and marketing director for major houses including  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, HarperCollins and Pereus as welll as small indies, freelance publicist and copywriter, and bookseller at legendary shops on both coasts, Nancy now manages the Path to Publishing Program, and all the writers programs, at Marin County’s three-store treasure trove, Book Passage. Ask her about them. 



Tory Hartmann is the force behind Sand Hill Review Press, an award-winning small publisher. SHRP is currently looking for mystery, historical fiction and literary fiction with religious themes. www.SHRPress.com

Sand Hill Review Press is an off-shoot of The Sand Hill Review, a literary magazine published in Palo Alto, California for the last 16 years. They are royalty publishers who give authors much leeway in the creative process, cover design and content.



Brenda Knight began her career at HarperCollins, working with luminaries Paolo Coelho, Marianne Williamson and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Knight was awarded IndieFab’s Publisher of the Year in 2014 at the ALA, American Library Association. Knight is the author of Wild Women and Books, The Grateful Table, Be a Good in the World, and Women of the Beat Generation, which won an American Book Award. Knight is Editorial Director at Mango Publishing and acquires for all genres in fiction and nonfiction as well as children and photography books. She also serves as President of the Women’s’ National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter and is an instructor at the annual San Francisco Writers Conference.



Georgia Kolias is an Associate Acquisitions Editor with New Harbinger Publications, the foremost publisher in proven-effective psychology and personal growth books for adults and teens. Before joining New Harbinger, she worked in nearly every other aspect of the book world, including: literary management, publicity, book selling, the public library system, and teaching creative writing. She is actively acquiring books in the areas of psychology, self-help, spirituality, and social justice. She is always interested in work from authors who are emerging leaders in their fields and actively engaged with their potential readers. She welcomes proposals from LGBTQ+ queer, POC, and all other underrepresented voices interested in making positive change. Georgia holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Advocate, Role Reboot, The Manifest-Station, and various anthologies.


Michael Larsen Michael Larsen co-founded Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in 1972. Over four decades, the agency sold hundreds of books to more than 100 publishers and imprints. The agency has stopped accepting new writers, but Mike loves helping all writers. He gives talks about writing and publishing, and does author coaching. He wrote How to Write a Book Proposal and How to Get a Literary Agent, and coauthored Guerrilla Marketing for Writers. Mike is co-director of the San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. An update is at larsenauthorcoaching.com/



 Dorian Maffei began https://larsenauthorcoaching.com/at Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in 2013. She has since become a junior agent and is now actively building a client list of her own. She is interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, literary science fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling. She values work that provokes a deep-rooted connection after the last page and explores the peculiar within the mundane.


Andy Ross Andy Ross opened his literary agency in January 2008. Prior to that, he was the owner for 30 years of the legendary  Cody’s Books in Berkeley. The agency represents books in a  wide range of subjects including: narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, religion,  children’s books, young adult,  middle grade, literary and commercial  fiction, and cooking. However, he is eager to represent projects in most genres as long as the subject or its treatment is smart, original, and will  appeal to a wide readership. In non-fiction he looks for writing with a strong voice and robust narrative arc by authors with the authority to write about their subject. For literary, commercial, and children’s fiction, he has only one requirement– simple, but ineffable–that the writing reveal the terrain of that vast  and unexplored country, the human heart. (AAR).  www.andyrossagency.com,  www.andyrossagency.wordpress.com  


JenniferSoloway Jennifer March Soloway is an Associate Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, an agency that specializes in children’s literature. She enjoys all genres and categories of children’s literature, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. Although she mostly represents children’s literature, she is also open to adult fiction. Jennifer adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries or conspiracy plots. But her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary people, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. Prior to joining ABLA, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations. With an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, she was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, their two sons, and an English bulldog. http://www.andreabrownlit.com/

What to do after pitching to agents and acquisition editors?

What to do after pitching to agents and acquisition editors?

Coach Teresa here… to say “I’m sorry that I’ll have to miss being with you at WNBA-SF Chapter’s signature event on March 24, 2012.  Special thanks to WNBA-SF Chapter fellow pitch-coaches Mary E. Knippel and Tanya Egan Gibson, program chair Lynn Henriksen and co-president Linda Lee for providing  bios of the agents and acquisition editors so that I was able to create handout material for tomorrow, and Mary E. Knippel and co-president Linda Joy Myers for taking care of duplicating material and bringing to event tomorrow.”

“I wish my colleagues, all the authors who will be pitching, agents and acquisition editors, and luncheon keynote speaker Meg Waite Clayton a most wonderful day at our signature event ‘Meet and Speed Date with Agents and Acquisition Editors.’”

After you pitch . . .

What to do if an agent or acquisition editor has asked you to send a portion of your full manuscript or the entire manuscript?

If he/she has asked you to email the submission:

  • Make your email subject line” to the point”  (Example:  follow-up on our meeting at WNBA event on March 24      Another example:  Thank you for asking me to send my manuscript)
  • Use salutation; pitch in 1 to 3 sentences (do not assume that agent/ acquisition editor remembers everything you told her/him); state what you are attaching  (first 3 chapters?  first 50 pages?  book proposal? (for a how-to book also known as prescriptive nonfiction);  ask when you can expect a reply;  your “thank you”; signature block with your full name and contact information and website/blog/facebook/twitter/YouTube address.  Be sure to use paragraphs in the body of your email so that your message doesn’t look like a block of text.  Email yourself to preview.
  • The attachment—use industry standard format (Cover page showing your book title; genre; word count; your full name; your contact information.  Manuscript pages — 1” margins; double spaced; 12-pt. font; header on each page contains book title and  your full name; each page numbered)

Multiple agents and/or acquisition editors have asked to read a portion of your manuscript or the entire project?

  • Show your professional self.  If more than one person asked to read a substantial portion of your manuscript (investing their time),  you be honorable–give one agent an exclusive reading period (typically 2 to 3 weeks); let that agent know that other agents are waiting to read.

What to do if no agent or acquisition editor has asked to see your work?

Despair not.  Polish your pitch and query other agents.  How do you find other agents?  Read acknowledgment pages of books similar to yours; authors usually thank their agents and editors.  Go to Association of Authors’ Representatives’ website and search in their database.

Books that can help you refine your pitch and/or build your writer’s platform:

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

Break Through the Noise: 9 Tools to Propel Your Marketing Message by Elisa Southard

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW by Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Cheering for you!


Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Coach Teresa says: “Reach out, not stress out, to materialize your dearest dreams!”




Yes, I do mean pitch. It may seem a little premature because the WNBA-SF March 24 Meet-the-Agents event is weeks away, but polishing your pitch takes lots of practice. Don’t miss your chance to get individual coaching this Thursday, March 1st at  our Member’s Gathering at the San Francisco Main Library where we will focus on preparing your pitch. Mentor Mary E. Knippel, encourages participants to RSVP (maryeknippel@gmail.com) and come prepared to have fun learning how to pitch to agents and acquisition editors.

Meet the Agents Testimonials

Agents and Editors:
“I had a great time, met a few excellent prospects and thank you for so much hard work in getting it together.” -Alan Rinzler, Alan Rinzler Editorial

“The venue was great, well organized.” -Brooke Warner, Seal Press

“Thanks for including me, this was a great event!” -Amy Burkhardt, Kimberley Cameron & Associates


“Last March I joined a hundred other men and women from the WNBA San Francisco Chapter at Sinbad’s Restaurant for its annual Meet the Agents event.  From the windows, views of the Bay were the blue of dreams, and expansive enough to calm the most nervous.  I won’t say I wasn’t a little jittery as I looked around the room, at the agents waiting. The hours were so learning-intensive and fun, and I called an agent I met, to whom I felt connected, and within a few days we were literary representative and client… some six months later, I signed the publisher’s contract.” -Mary Jo McConahay, WNBA member
“Thank you so much for organizing the Meet the Agents event last month.  Nervous as I was when I went in, I had a great time, and made some wonderful contacts.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I prepare submissions.
Your efforts and creativity in making this happen are much appreciated!”
-Elaine Elinson, WNBA member

“Event was pleasant and not overbooked, given a good chance to talk to all the editors and agents.” -Birgit Rodstein, WNBA member

“A great event! So glad I joined WNBA!” -Kate Britton, WNBA member
“MTA was excellent!” -Ricky Weisbroth, WNBA member

“Thank you so much for this event. Very constructive!” -Juliane Cortino, WNBA member

“Relaxed atmosphere to meet agents, great feedback!” -Tifin Kutch Dillon, WNBA member
“Great agents available!” -Bob Quinlan, WNBA member

“[I valued] the decency and professionalism of the agents and their candid feedback.” -Rob H.

“Well worth the time.” -Jeff S.
“Well organized.” -Jan W.

“The face to face experience, the gentle comments, some exchanges with other writers were also helpful.” -Eddi D.
“Great event! Thank you for organizing it!” -Valeria M.

“Glad for the large turnout of agents!” -Margaret B.

“[I liked] meeting other writers and hearing about their book projects.” -Jan W.
“I thought it was well structured, large enough to offer many opportunities, but still very accessible and not overwhelming.” -Michelle M.