Agents and Editors at NECRWA20
We are excited to offer several opportunities for attendees to interact with our attending agents and editor.
As always we will have pitch appointments and the Agent and Editor Panel, where there will be a moderated discussion of their current wishlists, publishing trends, and general advice on the dos and don’ts of querying.
This year, in addition to traditional pitch appointments that must be signed up for in advance, agents and editors will also be available for informal chats for those whose manuscripts may not be ready to pitch, or who would like to have a brief discussion on where their project might fit in the current market, or even get a quick pitch practice for their WIP. These chats will be first come, first serve and are intended to be brief.
Some of our most frequently asked questions from conference attendees are about agent and editor appointments. Below you’ll find answers based on our prior experiences and feedback from the agents and editors themselves.
Does my manuscript have to be complete?
In a word, yes. You should be prepared to answer questions about the full plot and give a synopsis if asked. While most publishing pros understand that you may take a couple of weeks to polish your manuscript after taking in a conference, you should be prepared to send in your submission shortly after your appointment if the agent or editor requests pages. You want them to remember meeting you and be excited about reading your work.
One of the biggest frustrations agents and editors report back to conference organizers--and this is true for almost every conference--is that so many projects that they are looking forward to seeing never land in their inboxes.
What do I say?
Much like a written query, your pitch should give your title, genre, word count and give a quick rundown of the love interests and their central conflict. Or, if you're pitching a work from another genre the agent or editor represents, the main character(s) and the conflict. Once you’ve given your pitch, you may be asked more detailed questions about subplots, secondary characters, comparable titles, etc.
Can I bring notes?
Absolutely. Pitching can be nerve-wracking! What you want to avoid is reading your full pitch straight from your notes. Practice in the mirror, with a friend, pitch to your pet—however you can—and keep your notes for reminders rather than use them as a script.
I’m not sure if this agent or editor represents my genre or sub-genre. Should I make an appointment anyway just for practice?
We strongly recommend researching the agents and editors before making an appointment. This is a big reason why NECRWA has decided to separate pitch appointment sign-ups from the registration process this year. Read their bios here, check out their agency websites, their manuscript wishlists, social media, etc. If they don’t represent or acquire your genre or subgenre, it isn’t a good use of your or their time. This is also true for manuscript length (single-title, category, novella, etc). If you’re not sure exactly where your manuscript fits for subgenre or length guidelines, check out our contest category guidelines.
Check agent and editor information carefully. If you’re still not sure, or if you’d like to find out if someone else at their agency or publisher might be a better fit for your project, the informal chats are designed with these kinds of questions in mind.
I write in multiple sub-genres or have multiple completed manuscripts. Should I pitch them all?
You should pick one completed manuscript to pitch. If it is the first in a planned series, definitely give the agent or editor that information and be prepared to give a quick rundown of where you see the series going. Feel free to mention that you have finished manuscripts or WIPs in another subgenre, but be prepared to also comment on how those other projects fit with the book you’re pitching in terms of tone, brand, etc.
What if I don’t want to send my pages after meeting with them?
Don’t feel obligated. When choosing to work with an agent or publisher, you absolutely want to make sure that you feel comfortable and that you would have a productive working relationship.
Why do you only have one agent and one editor?
The publishing landscape is always changing and our conference format has to evolve in response. Agents and editors have significant demands on their time and resources and many are limiting the number and types of events they attend. Our goal is always to give attendees productive opportunities to pitch to or interact with publishing professionals, and we believe that Stephanie Doig and Devin Ross will provide those opportunities. Unfortunately, this year proved especially challenging in schedule publishing professionals who were able to attend.
As many of you know, RWA is in tumult, and while NECRWA is committed to our goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion, some in the industry are at this time unwilling to attend chapter events and give what they feel is tacit approval to the organization at large. One of our previously scheduled agents has chosen to withdraw attendance for that reason.
Agents & Editors Taking Pitches at NECRWA20
Carina Press, Associate Editor
Stephanie began her career at Harlequin nine years ago and has been working with the Carina Press team since 2011. In her time at Harlequin she worked as a proofreader, copy editor, and author liaison before moving to the editor’s desk. As associate editor, Stephanie acquires and edits across genres, and is currently especially interested in contemporary romances with smart, sharp dialogue and a hint of humor.
Her manuscript wishlist includes contemporary romance, enemies to lovers, fake relationship, ugly cries, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, historical romance, fantasy romance, and mystery (with or without romance). She acquires LGBTQ+ romance in all of the above genres. She is not interested in inspirational romance.
Learn more about Stephanie's wishlist and about Carina Press:
New Leaf Literary & Media, Literary Agent
Devin Ross is an agent with New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. After graduating from Lawrence University, she went on to get her Certificate in Publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute. She started her publishing career at Penguin Random House, before she found her longterm home at New Leaf representing both children’s and adult titles. At this time, she is specifically looking to grow her list Contemporary Romance, Women’s fiction, nonfiction, and anything with a social justice tilt to it.
Devin would love to see more contemporary romance and rom coms. She is also looking for women's fiction, thrillers, and bookclub books. At this time, she is not looking to add any erotica or paranormal romance to her list.
Learn more about Devin's wishlist and about New Leaf Literary and Media: