2018 Manuscript and Query Critiques
Special Guest Agents
Ben Grange, L. Perkins agency
Sharon Pelletier, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Tracey Adams, Adams literary
Peter Knapp, Park literary
Pam Victorio, D4EO agency
Special Guest Editors
Krista Marino, executive editor, Delacorte/Random House
Jason Kirk, editor, Amazon
Kathy Jenkins, Covenant
Liz Alley, Deseret Book
Heidi Taylor, Shadow Mountain
McKelle George, Flux
Due to changes in AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives) guidelines, Storymakers will no longer be offering traditional pitch sessions, but will instead give attendees options for individual critique sessions with agents and editors. These sessions include a query + first page of the manuscript critique, or a ten page manuscript critique.
All critique sessions are fifteen minutes, and cost $15. Attendees who are interested in participating in a critique may enter a lottery.
If you can no longer make your critique session, please let us know so we can give your spot to the next person on the waiting list. Remember, there are no refunds for critique sessions.
* Registration opens 10 AM MDT, January 23, 2017 *
Due to the limited amount of critique sessions available and the high demand, we will be implementing a lottery system for the openings. All attendees to register for a critique session during the lottery period will be pooled together and then openings will be assigned through a random selection process. If you are chosen for a spot, you will be notified by email and given 48 hours to pay the additional fee. If you decline or neglect to pay, you will lose your critique slot and it will be given to another.
The lottery period runs from 8 a.m. MDT on January 23rd to 10 p.m. MDT on January 30th. You will be notified by January 31st if you received a spot. If you did not, you will be automatically placed on a waiting list and notified in the event of an opening.
- Register for the Storymakers Conference. Check out to complete your registration.
- AFTER REGISTRATION IS COMPLETE, you will be given the option to select up to four query or manuscript critique options in your order of preference. The cost is zero at this time. You will only pay for a critique session if your name is chosen from the lottery.
- Although you may select up to four query or manuscript critique options, it’s important to note that you will only be eligible for one critique session with an agent or editor, so research your options well and choose wisely. Please only choose agents or editors you would be happy working with, as we cannot switch your registration after the lottery has opened.
- You may want to pick a mix of manuscript and query critique sessions, as there are fewer manuscript critiques available and they will thus be harder to get into.
- Those whose names have been drawn will be notified by January 31st.
- If you are notified that you have received a critique session, you will be sent an email with instructions on how to pay within 48 hours.
These fifteen-minute critique sessions provide feedback on the first ten pages of the manuscript. The agent will not be providing feedback on the query, though authors may bring a copy of the query letter to the critique session to help the agent understand the story. The agent/editor will pre-read the pages before the critique and offer detailed feedback.
Pages are due to the agent co-chairs by March 2, 2018.
You will need to submit the first ten pages of your manuscript as a single attachment (.doc or .docx). The pages should be formatted as follows:
- double spaced
- 12 point, Times New Roman font
- one inch margins
- Include the title of your book, your first name, and the genre of your book on a title page or on top of the first page. (The title page does not count toward your ten pages).
In the email subject line, please write: Manuscript Critique for [AGENT or EDITOR name here] (example: Manuscript Critique for Tracey Adams).
We send all of the critique pages as a batch to the agent/editor, so it is critical that you get the manuscript to us by the deadline. We will contact you closer to the assignment with the time and room assignment for the critique session.
Manuscripts will be sent to one of the agent co-chairs: Rosalyn Eves, Brittany Larsen, and Rachel Larsen. Once agents and editors have been announced, we will update with information as to which co-chair to send pages to.
In these fifteen minute critique sessions, the agent or editor will provide feedback on the query and first page of the author’s manuscript. These pages will not be sent to the agent or editor in advance, but will be critiqued during the session.
Authors will need to bring a polished copy of the query letter and first page to the critique session. While the query letter may be single spaced, it should not be more than one page; the first page should be double spaced, with 12 point, Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins.
Why is the cost/approach different this year than previous years?
Due to changes in AAR rules (that agents cannot charge for pitch sessions) we have done away with pitch sessions and instead implemented one-on-one critiques. The fee for the critique sessions goes to overhead admin costs, rather than directly to agents, in keeping with AAR rules.
What happens if I don’t win the lottery?
If you don’t win the lottery, your name will be put on a waitlist in case of openings (as people cancel or change their minds). In the (unlikely) event that an agent or editor’s critique sessions don’t fill, they will be offered to other attendees after the lottery period.
What if I can’t get a session with the agent/editor of my choice?
Most visiting agents and editors accept queries from conference attendees. Information on how to submit to the visiting agents and editors will be available after the conference.
When will I find out the time for my critique session?
The agent/editor co-chairs will be contacting authors with critique session times one week before the conference.
What if my critique session conflicts with my schedule?
The co-chairs will have your registration information and will not schedule the critiques during intensives or classes authors may be teaching. If there are other conflicts (not classes you want to attend, but extreme circumstances), please contact the co-chairs as soon as possible (see “Manuscript Critique” above for contact information).
Can I transfer my critique?
No. If you can’t make it to your critique session, please contact one of the agent/editor co-chairs (listed under “Manuscript Critique” above) to let them know that you cannot make your session. They will then offer that spot to someone on the waiting list.
Can I get a refund if I can’t make my critique session?
How can I prepare for my critique session?
- Submit the best possible work: have beta readers give you feedback and revise and polish before submitting/appearing at the session. Make sure that the work fits the agent/editors wish list.
- Arrive a few minutes early to your appointment (we suggest 10 minutes). It’s better to take the time to catch your breath and steady your nerves before you’re in the spotlight.
- Dress professionally.
- Take your time. Settle in, set down your bag, introduce yourself, take a deep breath.
- If you are doing a query critique, give the agent your query and first page.
- Come prepared with questions (about your query, the manuscript idea, the market, etc.) in case you have extra time at the end of the session.
- Please do not bring extra materials (sample chapters, etc.) to give to the agent/editor. Each agent/editor is seeing about 25 people so it would be a lot of paper for him/her to haul back on the plane. All of them are willing to look at submissions after the conference. This is standard conference protocol. The agent/editor will also give you additional instructions if needed.
2018 Agents & Editors
Tracey Adams, Agent
Tracey Adams co-founded Adams Literary in 2004, after running the children’s division of McIntosh & Otis and working at Writers House. Prior to agenting, she was in marketing and editorial at Margaret K. McElderry Books and Greenwillow Books. Tracey is a member of the SCBWI, the AAR, and a founding member of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) chapter in Charlotte, NC.
Tracey is eager for timeless and timely “unputdownable” middle-grade and YA novels featuring strong characters from all backgrounds who will make her laugh, cry, cheer, and learn new perspectives.
Ben Grange, Editor
L. Perkins Agency
Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Ben worked all over the publishing industry. He started out at a small publishing company in Salt Lake City and proceeded to do internships at three literary agencies before his most recent position as the assistant at JABberwocky Literary Agency. He decided he wanted to be an agent after his first internship, and is excited to start actively pursuing clients.
His tastes gravitate towards middle grade fiction of all types, and he is particularly on the lookout for exceptional author-illustrators who write middle grade or young adult. He has a penchant for young adult science fiction and fantasy, particularly weird or slightly dark stories (à la The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Thanks to his time at JABberwocky, he loves epic fantasy and science fiction, and although his focus is on middle grade and young adult, he won’t say no to a great fantasy or sci-fi. He is also interested in pop culture non-fiction for authors with established platforms.
Jason Kirk, Editor
Jason Kirk is the Senior Editor for 47North and Skyscape, two imprints of Amazon Publishing. He has edited a 2016 Philip K. Dick Award finalist (PJ Manney’s (R)evolution), received the 2016 Utopia Award for Best Edited Book of the Year (Amy A. Bartol’s Darken the Stars), and is currently looking for adult and YA SFF and YA/NA contemporary novels. He’s especially keen to find new fantasy authors at Storymakers, having worked with Charlie Holmberg, Emily R. King and Jeff Wheeler.
Peter Knapp, Agent
Park Literary & Media
Fueled by the thrill of reading a new story for the first time, Peter works creatively with his clients and the Park Literary & Media team on marketing, branding initiatives and promotions to get great books into the hands of readers. Before joining PLM, he was a story editor at a book-scouting agency working with film clients, and he continues to look for new ways to partner with Hollywood on adaptations and multimedia properties. His clients include Soman Chainani, Melanie Conklin, Lindsay Cummings, Brenda Drake, Anna Michels, Emily Bain Murphy and more. Find him re-watching Studio Ghibli movies, playing board games with friends, or reading through his submissions—he’s ready to add more authors to his growing client list!
Peter is always seeking middle grade and young adult stories with big questions at their centers, irresistible concepts, and unforgettable characters. He likes high concept stories or stories that employ great narrative devices (such as the tapes in Thirteen Reasons Why). He is always on the lookout for contemporary realistic novels that explore issues of identity, culture and community—conversation starters like Wonder, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, etc. Some other favorite titles that represent what he’s eager to find in his inbox include When You Reach Me, Savvy, Slob, The Secret Tree, The Graveyard Book, We Were Liars, Love Letters to the Dead, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Endangered, I’ll Give You the Sun, Ember in the Ashes, and Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—just to name a few!
Krista Marino, Executive Editor
Krista Marino is a Senior Executive Editor at Delacorte Press. Some recent titles from her list include New York Times bestsellers One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus and Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. Other books you might recognize from her list are #1 New York Times bestselling author James Dashner’s Maze Runner series, Brandon Sanderson’s bestselling Reckoners series, and Jason Segel’s Nightmares! series, as well as the young adult works of Matt de la Peña, Jennifer Donnelly, and Frank Portman.
Krista acquires both middle-grade and young adult fiction and is looking for stand-out contemporary fiction, speculative fiction, heart-pounding thrillers, mind-bending mysteries, and historical fiction that resonates with young readers. She gravitates toward strong voices and compelling stories, but she’s always happy to find adventures driven by magic and fantasy.
Sharon Pelletier, Agent
Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Sharon Pelletier joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2013 after working for Europa Editions, Vantage Press, and Barnes & Noble. At DG&B, in addition to growing her own client list, Sharon oversees digital projects and social media. While her interests are broad, Sharon’s list focuses on upmarket commercial fiction, including suspense categories and book club fiction, and voice-driven nonfiction.
Right now she is eager for smart, hearty women’s fiction and book club fiction that explores career, family, or social issues with depth (not just relationships!). She would love to find unexpected suspense fiction, whether something twisty and upmarket or a procedural that finds something fresh to do with the tropes we know and love. On the nonfiction side, she is seeking compelling reported narrative nonfiction and voice-driven nonfiction from emerging writers with a growing platform—topics that especially interest her include social justice, feminism, religion, sports, and current events. While there’s always an exception, in general right now she is not seeking picture books, graphic novels, cookbooks, poetry, or memoir, and she takes on YA, MG, romance, SFF, and historical fiction very, very rarely.
Pam Victorio, Agent
Pam Victorio started her literary career as an assistant to an agent in early 2012. By April, Pam was promoted to Associate Agent. In her first two years as an agent, Pam brokered 24 deals, with such publishers as Knopf, Scholastic, NAL, ACE, Grand Central, and others.
She joined D4EO in June 2014, where she continues to build her list. She has a passion for genre fiction as well as children’s lit.
Liz Alley, Editor
Liz Alley has been with Deseret Book for the past seven years. She graduated from Brigham Young University with an undergraduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and from Westminster College with a Master’s of Business Administration. Liz is a product director for the Deseret Book Imprint in the areas of children, teen, fiction, and non-fiction where she works one-on-one with authors to acquire and develop their manuscripts from conception to publication.
Her wish list includes: LDS Fiction, LDS historical fiction, female inspiration, cause to act books, female youth author, LDS history/bio and nonfiction book of interests.
Heidi Taylor, Editor
(Friday Only) Heidi Taylor has been with Deseret Book for the past nine years. She graduated from the University of Utah where she had the opportunity to study English and Creative Writing with some of the best minds in the business. Heidi works as a publishing manager for the Shadow Mountain imprint of Deseret Book. She publishes children, teen, and young adult fiction and non-fiction, and manages the Proper Romance brand – Shadow Mountain’s line of clean romances. She has had the pleasure of working with New York Times Bestselling author, Brandon Mull, and his Candy Shop War series, Christmas Jar’s author, Jason F. Wright, as well as the award-winning Julianne Donaldson. Her job allows her to work one-on-one with authors to acquire and develop their manuscripts from conception to publication. She loves searching for diamonds in the slush pile!
Things she is looking for:
- Clean romances
- Children’s fantasy and science fiction
- Teen and Young adult
- Historical Fiction
- Christmas Novellas
Kathy Gordon, Editor
(Saturday Only) With forty-four years of professional experience in corporate and internal communications, public relations, media relations, marketing communications, and publications management, Kathryn Gordon currently serves as the managing editor at Covenant Communications. Prior to her current position, she was press secretary for a U.S. Congressman; vice-president of Aspen West Publishing Company; manager of strategic communications for software manufacturer Novell, Inc.; director of public relations at Westminster College, a private college in Salt Lake City; and held communications management positions at a variety of national and international corporations.
Former president-elect of the Association of Utah Publishers, she was also on the board of directors of the Mental Health Association of Utah County and the Constitutional Principles Policy Council. She has held membership in the Consortium of Utah Women in Higher Education, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the International Association of Business Communicators, the National Association of Earth Science Editors, and the National Association of State Poetry Societies. She was president-elect of the Republican Women of Utah County and was actively involved in political campaigns at the state and national level. A former member of Sigma Delta Chi, she was named an Outstanding Young Woman of America.
She is the author or co-author of more than seven dozen published books, most of them in the health and wellness field. She wrote an award-winning book-length poetry manuscript recognized by the governor of Utah and is the author of the regional bestseller, Butch Cassidy and Other Mormon Outlaws of the Old West. She and her husband, Glenn, are co-presidents of the Association for Mormon Letters.
Kathryn is looking for exceptional writers for the LDS market. She is particularly interested in inspirational nonfiction from an LDS point of view and intriguing fiction, especially in the categories of suspense, mystery, historical fiction, romance, and historical romance. She is not interested at this time in middle-grade fiction, science fiction, or fantasy.
McKelle George, Editor
After working as an acquisitions editor at Jolly Fish Press (ushering in great titles like Jerkbait, Mia Siegert, and Songbyrd, by Anna Silver), McKelle George now works as an editor with Flux Publishing, an exclusively YA imprint known for launching the careers of authors like Maggie Stiefvater and A.S. King. Some of her recent acquisitions include: Welcome Home: An Anthology on Adoption, edited by Eric Smith; Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood; and Brave Enough, by Kati Gardner.
Her current wishlist includes engaging historical and alternative historical fiction, as well historical fantasy. She’s actively looking for unconventional love stories, LGBTQ books, high concept retellings, and anything with monsters or gangsters. She’s particularly interested in diverse books with characters who struggle with dualities of nature and/or culture; characters who straddle two different worlds, villain origin stories, and books that explore faith/religion in a new way.