Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 10.27.15 PMLiterary agent Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Last year she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words. She has more than 25 years public relations and marketing experience and has also worked in marketing for several Nashville non-profit organizations including the TN Assoc. for the Education of Young Children, the Nashville Area Red Cross and the YWCA. She is married and has two children.

Her primary areas of interest include: Christian and inspirational fiction and nonfiction, women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), new adult, Southern fiction, literary fiction, and young adult novels.

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 10.38.10 AM.pngAlice Speilburg is a literary agent with Speilburg Literary

Alice founded the agency in 2012, bringing with her the editorial and business expertise she had developed in previous publishing positions at John Wiley & Sons and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. She is currently building her client list and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction.

She is seeking: In fiction, she’s currently looking for character-driven novels that fall under the following genres: historical fiction, mainstream fiction, literary fiction, mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, middle grade, and young adult. In nonfiction, she’s looking for authors with established platforms who are writing books in the following categories: biography, food, gender issues, health, history, literary journalism, music, pop culture, science, travel, and relationships. Learn more about Alice here.

Tips For Pitching Your Book at the 2019 KWW

If you are coming to the 2019 Kentucky Writing Workshop, you may be thinking about pitching our agent-in-attendance or editor-in-attendance. An in-person pitch is an excellent way to get an agent excited about both you and your work. Here are some tips (from a former KWW instructor, Chuck Sambuchino) that will help you pitch your work effectively at the event during a 10-minute consultation. Chuck advises that you should:

  • Try to keep your pitch to 90 seconds. Keeping your pitch concise and short is beneficial because 1) it shows you are in command of the story and what your book is about; and 2) it allows plenty of time for back-and-forth discussion between you and the agent. Note: If you’re writing nonfiction, and therefore have to speak plenty about yourself and your platform, then your pitch can certainly run longer.
  • Practice before you get to the event. Say your pitch out loud, and even try it out on fellow writers. Feedback from peers will help you figure out if your pitch is confusing, or missing critical elements. Remember to focus on what makes your story unique. Mystery novels, for example, all follow a similar formula — so the elements that make yours unique and interesting will need to shine during the pitch to make your book stand out.
  • Do not give away the ending. If you pick up a DVD for Die Hard, does it say “John McClane wins at the end”? No. Because if it did, you wouldn’t buy the movie. Pitches are designed to leave the ending unanswered, much like the back of any DVD box you read.
  • Have some questions ready. 10 minutes is plenty of time to pitch and discuss your book, so there is a good chance you will be done pitching early. At that point, you are free to ask the agent questions about writing, publishing or craft. The meeting is both a pitch session and a consultation, so feel free to ask whatever you like as long as it pertains to writing.
  • Remember to hit the big beats of a pitch. Everyone’s pitch will be different, but the main elements to hit are 1) introducing the main character(s) and telling us about them, 2) saying what goes wrong that sets the story into motion, 3) explaining how the main character sets off to make things right and solve the problem, 4) explaining the stakes — i.e., what happens if the main character fails, and 5) ending with an unclear wrap-up.