BEA Writers Conference

I have been going back and forth on whether or not to go to the BEA Writers Conference/Pitch Slam. I had just about given up on it but this post by Janet Reid (the infamous Query Shark herself)  today turned my head back around. Now I don’t know what I should do.

 I figure a round trip shot to NY with hotels and eats would run me about$1200.00 give or take, which is about the same my run to Cincinnati cost me. While that is a lot of money to throw out the window of a plane, it is doable, it’ll hurt, but it is doable. The big question is will it be worth it?

The crux is the pitch slam. For those of you who haven’t heard about this it is at the end of the conference all the agents and editors let the unwashed (or unpublished anyway) masses assault them with pitches for our books.   Obviously no deals are signed on the spot but the conference boasts several book deals a year from pitches made at the slam. The benefit is when I send my new and improved (still working on it) query letter to any of the agents I meet at the conference they might not throw it directly into the slush pile, they might actually read my first five pages, then they might actually read more (dear God let them read more.)

So there you are. Do you see my dilemma?

I put together a list of the agents who will be attending that I want to talk to about my book. (You’ll notice I have Janet Reid on there, while I’m not sure my book is her thing, her blogs, both QueryShark and her own personal blog are awesome. So if I do go, I absolutely have to meet her.) and there are alot of people who seem to be looking for my genre attending.

So how far do you go chasing rainbows?


What do you think?


MIRIAM KRISS (Irene Goodman Literary) is seeking all areas of commercial fiction including, but not limited to: mystery, romance, thrillers, YA, fantasy (especially urban fantasy), and SF.  She is also interested in narrative nonfiction and memoir.

CHERRY WEINER (Cherry Weiner Literary) handles all genres of fiction, and
specializes in science fiction, fantasy (especially urban fantasy), romance, Westerns and Native American works. Some nonfiction has even crept into the mix but she doesn’t consider poetry or children’s.

JOANNA STAMPFEL-VOLPE (Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation) represents everything from children’s books (chapter books to YA, both nonfiction and fiction), to adult fiction (speculative, romance, historical, paranormal, unique fantasy, thrillers, literary, dark comedy, dark drama, horror) and she will occasionally take on strong narrative nonfiction with pop culture, environmental or food elements.

GRETCHEN STELTER (Baker’s Mark Literary Agency) works with creators who write in the same genres she loves to read: middle grade and YA fiction, magic(al) realism, contemporary fiction, and women’s fiction. She is interested in anything with an urban fantasy touch (more Mike Carey than Maurice Dantec), and the middle grade and YA should have edgy, true-to-life characters and dialogue. The contemporary and women’s fiction should have a wide entry point for its audience but a strong hook that makes it stand out from the crowd.

GINGER CLARK (Curtis Brown, Ltd.) represents science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal chick lit, literary horror, and young adult and middle grade fiction.

STACIA DECKER (Firebrand Literary) is looking for adult narrative nonfiction in the areas of politics, history, biography, travel, memoir, current events, and pop culture. She also specializes in hard-boiled mystery and crime fiction.

LEAH HULTENSCHMIDT (editor, Dorchester Publishing) is looking to meet with authors or agents who have a completed romance manuscript of 75,000-95,000 words in the following romance subgenres: historical, paranormal, futuristic, urban fantasy, and romantic suspense.

SANDY LU (L. Perkins Agency) specializes in both quality fiction and nonfiction, with a particular interest in dark literary fiction, edgy urban fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, psychological horror, upscale women’s fiction, and multicultural fiction.  Her nonfiction categories are narrative nonfiction, history, biography, science, pop culture, and food writing.

JENNY RAPPAPORT (The Rappaport Agency) specializes in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. 

JANET REID (FinePrint Literary Management, aka QueryShark) specializes in crime fiction.  She also represents narrative nonfiction, reference and how to books.  She’s open to pitches on any topic however.  Good writing trumps all.


One Comment

  1. Lystra,
    I was in the same doubt boat, and I’m going. It is worth it. It’s worth it for the five minutes of sitting down with someone really on their game. It is hard to put yourself out there over and over, but it’s what you’ll eventually be doing promoting your book. Might as well get some practice. Besides, it will be a great chance to get your manuscript above the slush.

    Hope to see you there!

    PS The only agent on your list I’ve pitched to is Cherry. She’s very upfront. Comes across as harsh, but she’s a very pleasant person. Don’t be daunted if she criticizes right away. Just move forward and she’ll relax.

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