2015 James River Writers Conference – One-on-Ones with Literary Agents


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A one-on-one sessions with a literary agent offers you the chance to present the idea of your book the way you would if you were on a quick elevator ride—so compellingly that she says, “Send me the manuscript.” As an alternative, we are also offering a session with the Book Doctor, David Henry Sterry, who will chat with you about your project and provide expert advice on writing and publishing–from the idea to the pitch to publicity and everything in between.

The one-on-one sessions will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis until all slots are full. The meetings are free-of-charge for conference participants but registration is required. Each attendee is limited to one meeting with an agent. Agent meetings fill up quickly. Please be sure to rank your preference on the registration form in case your first choice is not available.

If you have registered for the conference and signed up for a one-on-one meeting with a literary agent, you can see what time your meeting will take place by downloading the master schedule (in PDF format). We will update this document periodically between now and the conference, so if you’ve registered within the past few days, the latest file might not yet include your name. Click here to download the master schedule (last update 10/15/15).

If you are registering October 15 or later and are interested in an agent meeting, please check at the conference for availability. We do still have a few slots left, but we are no longer pre-assigning them.

   Literary Agent Biographies
Literary Agent Helen Heller Based in Toronto, Helen Heller represents such literary luminaries as #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns), Bruce Holsinger, and Edgar-nominated thriller writer Becky Masterman (Rage Against the Dying, Fear the Darkness). Helen has spent her career in publishing and specializes in thrillers and major front-list fiction. She likes a big story well told and handles a number of internationally bestselling and multiple-award-winning authors. Helen is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.
Literary Agent and Author Rebecca Podos Rebecca Podos is a graduate of the MFA Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College, whose debut YA novel The Mystery of Hollow Places is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray. Rebecca is interested in Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, particularly books about complex female relationships, beautifully written contemporary, genre novels with a strong focus on character, romance with more at stake than “will they/won’t they,” and LGBTQ books across all genres.
Literary agent Linda Camacho with Prospect Agency Linda Camacho joined Prospect Agency in 2015 after nearly a decade in publishing. After graduating from Cornell University, Linda interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin before happily settling into children’s marketing at Random House. She has an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Unofficially, Linda loves chocolate, travel, and far too much TV. In terms of submissions, she’s pretty omnivorous. Linda is currently seeking: Adult, middle grade, and young adult fiction across all genres (romance, horror, fantasy, realistic, light sci-fi, and graphic novels). Select literary fiction (preferably with commercial bent) and picture books (both writers and illustrators welcome). Select narrative nonfiction and memoir. Diversity of all types (ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.). Linda is NOT seeking: Early readers/chapter books, screenplays, poetry, and short stories.
Literary Agent Heather Flaherty Heather Flaherty represents authors who write children’s, middle grade, and young adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as select new adult fiction, and pop-culture or humorous non-fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and started working in New York City as a playwright during college. This pushed her towards English as a focus, and after a lot of country-hopping in her early twenties, she began her publishing career in editorial, specifically at Random House in the UK. There, she became a YA and Children’s Literary Scout, which finally landed her back in NYC, consulting with foreign publishers and Hollywood regarding what the next big book would be. Now as an agent with the Bent Agency, she’s thrilled to turn her focus on growing authors for that same success.
Literary Agent Beth Phelan with the Bent Agency Beth Phelan is originally from Massachusetts but now lives in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of New York University, lifelong reader and dog person. After holding positions at Waxman Leavell Literary (then called the Scott Waxman Literary Agency) and Howard Morhaim Literary, Beth joined the Bent Agency in 2013 where she is continuing to build her list. She can be found at bethphelan.com, thebentagency.com, and on Twitter at @beth_phelan. She is currently looking for young adult fiction of any genre; contemporary adult romance; suspense, thrillers, mysteries; and general commercial and literary fiction, including women’s fiction. In nonfiction, Beth is focusing on cookbooks.
Literary Agent Maria Ribas with Stonesong Literary Agency New Agent, Added 8/11/15! (She is only available for one-on-one appointments on Saturday, 10/17.)
Maria Ribas is a Literary Agent at Stonesong, specializing in nonfiction in the areas of food, interiors, business, health/diet, personal development, psychology, and memoir. She began her career on the editorial side, first at Simon & Schuster and Harlequin Nonfiction, then at Adams Media, where she was an associate editor before becoming a Literary Agent. As a former editor, she has a keen sense of what editors are really looking for, and she has years of experience building lasting relationships with authors. For practical nonfiction, she enjoys working with bloggers, experts, business owners, and media influencers who understand how a thoughtfully produced, proudly promoted book can grow their brands and their businesses. For narrative nonfiction, she’s looking for journalists, bloggers, and writers who understand how to bring a subject to life in unexpected ways. She writes about platform-building, publishing, books, and what she’s cooking at www.cooksplusbooks.com.


   One-on-One First Pages with JRW Co-Founder David L. Robbins
Novelist David L. Robbins ***All available slots have been filled***

Take advantage of this opportunity to sit down with your book’s first pages as popular creative writing professor and best-selling novelist David L. Robbins offers you his personal insights to help make your first pages shine. When filling out the conference registration form, let us know that you would like to take advantage of this FREE, value-added opportunity at the conference. Sign up will be in the same section as the one-on-ones with agents. In late September, we will let you know if you were selected and your assigned time. Please arrive with two copies of the first five pages of your novel.

Please Note: This will not conflict with Sunday’s First Pages panel, so signing up for this will not affect your participation in Sunday morning’s event. Also, you may sign up for this opportunity and a one-on-one meeting with an agent. If you’ve been selected for a one-on-one meeting with David, you can see what time your meeting will take place by downloading his meeting schedule (in PDF format). Click here to download David’s meeting schedule (last update 10/6/15).


   One-on-One with the Book Doctor
Author and Book Doctor David Henry Sterry Based in Toronto, David Henry Sterry is the co-author of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published, plus sixteen other books, the last of which appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. His books range from memoir to middle-grade fiction, from sports to reference. He is also the Co-Founder of The Book Doctors, a company that’s helped hundreds of authors get successfully published.

* Panels and panelists are subject to change without notice.