Pitch Madness is a contest where you can win a request from one or more amazing agents. To get all the rules, see the Pitch Madness Page.
The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST until 11:59PM EST on February 24. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. Please note: All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted.
Sixty finalists move to the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult completed and polished fiction, novel length manuscripts only. No non-fiction. One entry per writer.
For details about the contest and how to enter, go to Announcing Pitch Madness 2017…Candyland Edition!
Good luck! All the twitter fun will be happening on the hashtag #PitchMadness!
And here are the 2017 Pitch Madness agents!
Lara Perkins – Andrea Brown Literary
Lara represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She has been with Andrea Brown since 2010 and is also the agency’s Digital Manager.
In picture books, Lara is actively seeking picture book author/illustrators who bring unique perspectives to their work, particularly perspectives that have been historically underrepresented in children’s literature. She is drawn to bold art, a playful use of media and format, and kid-appealing humor.
In middle grade, Lara is drawn to fresh, unexpected fantasy and light fantasy, clever mysteries, and vivid contemporary realistic fiction, all with a strong sense of place and exceptional character development. Character-driven humor always catches her eye, and she loves friendship stories (especially friendship “break up” stories), multicultural family stories, and non-traditional family structures.
In young adult, Lara is seeking transformative, page-turning, character-driven fiction in any genre: fantasy, science fiction, contemporary realistic, historical, mystery, etc. She gravitates towards an unexpected premise that makes her do a double take (example: assassin nuns!), an evocative and richly described setting, and fully realized, complex characters. She’s looking for authors who wield language intentionally, and manuscripts that she can’t put down because she’s swept up in the high stakes, the compelling voice, the original world building, and/or the character-driven humor. As a more specific wish, Lara grew up in Los Angeles and would love to find a middle grade or young adult novel set in the real, diverse LA (not Hollywood).
Heather Flaherty – The Bent Agency
Heather Flaherty represents children’s, middle-grade, and young adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as select adult fiction and non-fiction.
From Heather: I grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and worked in New York City as a playwright during college. After a lot of country-hopping in my early twenties, I began my publishing career in the editorial department at Random House UK. I then became a young adult and children’s literary scout, advising foreign publishers and Hollywood on the next big books. Now, as an agent, I’m thrilled to focus on helping authors find that same success.
I’m looking for YA fiction across the board, especially issue-related YA with humor and heart—but not depressing or mopey. I also love hard, punchy contemporary YA that doesn’t hesitate when it comes to crazy! I want to see contemporary stories with sci-fi or fantasy elements, as well as straight-up YA fantasy. I’m also a sucker for clever retellings of classic fairytales, myths, and folklore. Finally, I’m looking for really good horror and ghost stories—not gory for gory’s sake, but dark, twisted, and even lovely. The one thing I love above all else in a YA novel is a strong and specific character voice: a real person, not another “everygirl.”
As for middle-grade, I want it stark, honest, and even dark; contemporary or historical, as long as it’s accessible. Coming-of-age stories, dealing-with-difficulty stories, witness stories about adult issues seen through a child’s eyes, anything that makes you want to hold the narrator’s hand… for your own comfort, as well as theirs. These stories can have magical or fantasy elements as well.
And on the adult side, I’m looking for female-centric thrillers and commercial women’s fiction with solid storytelling and strong voices. I’m also always on the lookout for fantastic upmarket projects that bridge the gap between commercial and literary lists.
Christine Witthohn – Book Cents Literary
Christine Witthohn is a U.S. literary agent and the founder of Book Cents Literary Agency (opened in 2006), as well as the U.S. Sales and Licensing Agent for Spanish publisher, Grupo Edebé (Barcelona, Spain). She is a sponsor of the International Women’s Fiction Festival held annually in Matera, Italy and she teaches brainstorming, branding, and social media classes in various cities around the U.S., U.K., and Italy (adding France and Germany next year). She is member of AAR, RWA, MWA.
Rena Bunder Rossner – Deborah Harris Agency
In general, I represent Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thrillers, Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am always looking for Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction and Picture Books. I am open to representing Non-Fiction and Cookbooks, but it would have to be the right project for me – I love Science Writing and Literary Non-Fiction.
I am desperately seeking Middle Grade! I am also very much looking for Picture Books. I am always looking for beautiful literary fiction.
I’m a poet, and I think the best novelists were poets first, so novels in verse, novels with poetic language and writing, are totally things I am always looking for.
I am very interested in representing Fantasy and Science Fiction of all types, I am always looking for Israeli and Middle Eastern Science Fiction and Fantasy, and also SciFi/Fantasy with Jewish content and themes. This includes Adult/Middle Grade/Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
I also represent Young Adult contemporary novels. I would love to find a New Adult or Adult novel written about the Israeli army (LGBQT also!) I would love to represent historical fiction set in Ancient Israel, or historical fiction with Israeli/Jewish content and themes – for Adults/Middle Grade/Young Adult.
I love all types of historical fiction, in all genres. I’d love to see literary novels set in the Middle East – historical fiction, fantasy, and especially multicultural romances.
Amy Bishop – Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret
Amy Elizabeth Bishop joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret after being a DG&B intern in the summer of 2014 and then continuing to hang around until after she graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Creative Writing. She grew up in upstate New York and has now made the traitorous switch to downstate living. Reading-wise, she is interested in both commercial and literary women’s fiction, fiction from diverse authors, historical fiction, and contemporary YA. In terms of nonfiction, she’s compelled by personal narratives, biographies, and anything with strange facts. She is also a poet and reads for The Rumpus in her spare time.
Amy wants to see more…commercial women’s fiction and romance.
Lindsay Mealing – Emerald City Literary Agency
Lindsay has been writing stories since she could first hold a pencil. It wasn’t until she sat down to edit a manuscript for the first time she realized her true love was not on the writing side of the publishing industry, but the business side. She began interning for Mandy in early 2015 and quickly realized agenting was what she wanted to do forever more.
Lindsay is a self-proclaimed nerd, loving everything science fiction and fantasy – from epic tomes to gaming. She fell head over heels with the SFF genre when she read KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey (she even has Phedre’s marque tattooed on her back).
Erin Harris – Folio Jr.
From Erin: I’m an agent who loves to champion the careers of debut and established authors. I represent YA, literary and upmarket commercial fiction, and narrative non-fiction.
My life in publishing began in 2007 when I interned for the literary agent William Clark of WM Clark Associates. In 2008, I joined the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency, where I first experienced the thrill of advocating for books I believed in and writers I admired.
Early on, it became apparent to me that there was a need for agents who could think like writers. I’d studied literature at Trinity College (Hartford, CT), but I was eager to hone my creative and editorial skills. This desire led me to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at The New School. I now see myself as a kind of interpreter, an agent conversant in both the language of the writer and the language of the industry, whose job it is to help you navigate publishing’s shifting landscape.
Outside of the office, I’m an active participant in New York’s literary community. I’m a member of PEN American Center and Women’s Media Group, as well as a founder and host of H.I.P. Lit, a literary event series based in Brooklyn.
Penelope Burns – Gelfman Schneider / ICM Partners
Penelope Burns is the newest member of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. She came to the agency as an intern after graduating from Colgate University and attending the Denver Publishing Institute in 2012. Currently, as an agency assistant, Penelope is looking to a build a list of her own. She is interested in Literary and Commercial fiction and non-fiction, as well as a variety of Young Adult and Middle Grade.
Andrea Somburg – Harvey Klinger Literary Agency
A literary agent for over fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects for adult, young adult and middle grade audiences. Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Literary Agency in the spring of 2005. Her clients’ books have been NYTimes and USABestsellers, as well as nominated for The Governor General’s Award, the Lambda Award, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Andrea also teaches courses for MediaBistro and Writers Digest, on topics such as nonfiction, memoir, mystery and thrillers, fantasy and sf. Her client list is quite full, however she is always actively looking to take on new authors who write in the following categories: Fiction: literary, commercial, book club fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, new adult, middle grade. Nonfiction: memoir, narrative, popular science, pop-culture, humor, how-to, parenting, self-help, lifestyle, travel, interior design, crafts, cookbooks, business, sports, diet, health & fitness.
Stefanie Lieberman – Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Stefanie seeks to represent authors who write upmarket commercial fiction, and she would likewise welcome young adult and romance submissions that feel fresh to the reader. She is particularly energized by manuscripts that feature strong female characters and voices that sparkle off the page.
Stefanie joined the agency’s Legal & Business Affairs Department as Senior Counsel in 2005.
Liza Flessig & Ginger Harris-Dontzin – Liza Royce Agency
Liza Fleissig, with her partner Ginger Harris-Dontzin, opened the Liza Royce Agency (LRA) in early 2011. Their goal was, and remains, to represent authors in all stages of their careers, from the most established to those developing their craft, as well as debuts. Both former partners in NYC based litigation law firms, Liza and Ginger bring a combined 40 years of negotiating experience to the field. This background, along with connections rooted in publishing, movies and television, allowed them to focus and build on a referral based clientele.
From picture books through adult projects, fiction and non-fiction, LRA welcomes strong voices and plot driven works. Their inaugural books became available in stores January 2013. Their first was an Edgar nominee, another was an Indie Next Pick, and two others were optioned for film. LRA’s success began right out of the gate.
Here’s to more great books!
Kathleen Ortiz – New Leaf Literary
As the Director of Foreign Rights at New Leaf, Kathleen regularly attends book trade shows around the world to sell titles to translation publishers and looks for new medium opportunities for our clients’ books. She is also a Literary Agent actively seeking to sign more authors and illustrators, specifically fresh, new voices in YA and animator/illustrator talent. In YA she gravitates more toward beautiful and exceptional world building as well as contemporary stories whose main characters stay with the reader far beyond the pages. She would love to see a beautifully written YA set within other cultures and experiences. On the illustration side, she loves animator/illustrators and their unique way of storytelling. Kathleen is not currently seeking middle grade, screenplays, or adult projects not listed above.
JL Stermer – New Leaf Literary
JL is adding to her non-fiction list in both YA and adult categories with smart pop-culture, comedy/satire, fashion, health & wellness, self-help, and memoir. She’s also growing her fiction list (a bit more selectively) and is looking for adult and some YA coming-of-age, humor, dark and edgy stories, and new and original voices in commercial and upmarket. She also thinks graphic novels are really cool.
JL is looking for voices that reflect the world as it changes, stories that share the human experience of life, love, growth, and achievement. And they don’t have to all be serious–having fun is important! Some of her favorite reads include: The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll,Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood by Janet Mock, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, French Milk by Lucy Knisley, Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis, and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
A born and bred New Yorker, JL has lived in Manhattan her whole life and is a lover of all things arts & culture, people watching, and doughnuts.
Jaida Temperly – New Leaf Literary
Jaida’s primary focus is Adult Fiction, with a special affinity for literary fiction, magical realism, historical fiction, upmarket fiction, horror, and speculative. Jaida also loves stories that shed light on marginalized experiences and question the “status-quo”, as well as titles that include #OwnVoices themes, international settings, political commentary, conspiracy theories, and alternate histories. Some of her all-time favorite Adult Fiction titles include: THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang, THE SELL OUT by Paul Beatty, THE DINNER by Herman Koch, JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, and A THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon.
Prior to joining New Leaf Literary, Jaida studied Biology at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and briefly attended medical school, before moving to NYC and interning at Writers House. She loves art history, traveling, logic puzzles, secret societies, antiques, and numerous other topics that come in handy for Trivia Night and crossword puzzles.
Suzie Townsend – New Leaf Literary
Prior to joining New Leaf, Suzie graduated film school, earned her Masters of Education, taught high school English, and coached a swim team. In her spare time, she read everything she could, which prompted her move to publishing. She got her start as an intern at FinePrint Literary Management where she was hired as an assistant before making the move to literary agent. She’s been part of the team at New Leaf Literary & Media since its inception in 2012.
Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She loves women’s fiction, all subgenres of romance, fantasy, and crime fiction. On the children’s side, she particularly loves YA and MG. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories.
Peter Knapp – Park Literary & Media
Fueled by the thrill of reading a new story for the first time, Peter works creatively with clients and the PLM 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. Find him re-watching Studio Ghibli movies, playing board games with friends, or right here to submit a new fiction query—he’s ready to add more authors to his growing client list!
Abigail Koons – Park Literary & Media
Always eager to travel the world, meet new people and learn about other cultures, Abigail began her career working for the multinational corporation, EF Education. After realizing that books were her passion, she joined the foreign rights department at the Nicholas Ellison Agency where her prior experience in international business combined with her outgoing, adventurous nature proved invaluable to building relationships with co-agents and publishers. After joining PLM in 2005, Abigail expanded her roster of clients and today, in addition to her role as the Executive Director of International Rights, she represents both emerging and established authors, including Emily Anthes, Catherine McKenzie, Emily Voigt, Martin Michaud and Diana Yen. Although her projects—and tastes—run the gamut from popular science and narrative nonfiction to commercial fiction and thrillers, all her clients’ work share elements of adventure, surprise and the unexpected.
Blair Wilson – Park Literary & Media
A contract master, Blair works alongside our co-agents to negotiate publishing agreements outside of the United States with a focus on Eastern Europe, South Korea and the Baltic states. After a day of executing foreign taxes for authors or assisting with submissions, you might just find this North Carolina native teaching textile arts classes at the American Folk Art Museum and Textile Arts Center in New York City. This creative studied Victorian Literature but has truly fallen in love with the voices of new and emerging authors, making PLM a perfect fit for her. She is actively building her own list of clients in the areas of middle grade and young adult fiction and adult non-fiction with a focus on D.I.Y., lifestyle, pop culture, pets, and books dealing with issues of sexuality, identity and culture.
Eric Smith – PS Literary, Associate Agent
Eric Smith is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. He began his publishing career at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, working social media and marketing on numerous books he absolutely adored. Eric completed his BA in English at Kean University, and his MA in English at Arcadia University. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books appear on BookRiot, The Huffington Post, and more. A published author with Quirk Books and Bloomsbury, he seeks to give his authors the same amount of love his writing has received. Which is a lot. If you would like to send a query to Eric, please click or tap here to review our Submission Guidelines.
Thao Le – Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
Thao Le is a literary agent at the Dijkstra Agency since 2011. She also handles the agency’s financials and select contracts.
Thao is looking for: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Picture Books by author/illustrators, Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and is selectively open to Romance.
In the Adult and YA Sci-fi/Fantasy realms, she enjoys stories rooted in mythology, fairytales, and legends with atmospheric settings and strong world building. Particularly stories that are inclusive and multicultural. She’s also a fan of magic realism.
In contemporary YA, she’s seeking witty, heartfelt writing with an authentic teen voice. Especially stories about family and friendships. Think Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, or Sarah Dessen.
And in Middle Grade, she’s looking for fantastic adventures and clever protagonists the likes of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, and Soman Chainani’s School of Good and Evil.
In the picture book arena, she is only currently taking on author/illustrators, however she’s a fan of Jon Klassen, Kate Beaton, Cale Atkinson, and Liz Climo and would like to add projects in the same vein to her list.
In Romance, she’s drawn to heroes/heroines who turn stereotypes and tropes on their heads (such as heroines in typically male roles and sensitive heroes who aren’t necessarily alpha, but just as swoonworthy). She enjoys historical romance the likes of Julia Quinn, Courtney Milan, and Eloisa James, speculative romance similar to Gail Carrier’s Parasol Protectorate series, and contemporary romance that is as addictive as Sonali Dev’s Bollywood series.
In general, she loves beautiful literary writing with a commercial hook. She is most excited to add more writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her client list.
Saba Sulaiman – Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC
From Saba: I was drawn into the world of literature by default when my sister’s growing collection of books in our tiny room began to overflow onto my bed. Bewildered by her fascination with these musty, decaying volumes, I decided to experience them for myself—and instantly fell in love. Born to Pakistani expatriates in Sri Lanka, and knowing how to express myself only in English for the first fifteen years of my life, I found comfort in reading about other culturally displaced people, unable to communicate in their native tongues, and hesitant to assert themselves in environments where there were few examples of people like them. Moving to Pakistan and absorbing what it meant to be an educated woman in a traditional Islamic society contributed greatly to my desire to learn more about similar narratives, especially from other women. In an effort to understand how it felt to be surrounded by other ambitious women with the desire to shatter patriarchal restrictions, I enrolled as an undergraduate at Wellesley College. And the rest, as they say, is history
After double majoring in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies at Wellesley, I studied modern Persian Literature at the University of Chicago, where I got involved with editing our department’s academic journal. And it finally hit me—working closely with writers to hone their craft; seeing a piece of writing from its inception through to its eventual publication; and advocating for what I believed was stellar prose worthy of recognition—this was my calling. So I interned at various newspaper and magazine publications, worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, and then wound up at Talcott Notch, where I’m excited to begin my career as a literary agent.
I’m currently open to the following genres:
Adult: up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir.
Young Adult: all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. I’m particularly interested in contemporary realistic YA — anything with heart, humor, and personality. But if you’ve got a fast-paced, chilling mystery, I’m all ears.
Middle Grade: anything that’s smart, accessible and written with flair. Whether it’s quirky and funny, or just plain sweet and heartwarming — it’s no big secret that this is my favorite category. Also, I’d love anything Roald Dahl-esque.
Lauren Spieller – Triada US Literary Agency
Literary Agent Assistant Lauren Spieller comes to TriadaUS with a background in literary scouting and editorial consulting. She has a sharp editorial eye, and is passionate about author advocacy. Lauren is seeking Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as select Adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about finding diverse and underrepresented voices.
In MG, she’s drawn to heartfelt contemporaries, contemporary fantasy and magical realism, and exciting adventures. Some of her recent favorites are Rules for Stealing Stars, George, The Thing About Jellyfish, Wonder, Hour of the Bees, and Rooftoppers. In YA, she’d love to find authentic teen voices in any and all genres. She is especially fond of fantasy, magical realism, and space operas; contemporary stories with a hook; and anything with a feminist bent. A few favorites include Dumplin’, Scorpio Races, An Ember in the Ashes, OCD Love Story, Six of Crows, The Raven Boys, and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.
In Adult, Lauren is seeking commercial fiction, particularly female-driven psychological thrillers (a la Lauren Beukes and Gillian Flynn), and immersive literary fantasies, such as The Night Circus, The Miniaturist, and A Darker Shade of Magic. She is also interested in female-driven Upmarket General Fiction, especially if it’s funny or has a touch of magical realism (note that she is NOT looking for Romance), and unique non-fiction with an existing platform. She’s particularly hungry for counter culture books, cocktail books with a twist/theme, or narrative nonfiction with a unique hook (if you’re the next Lindsey West, Roxanne Gay, or Lauren Duca, she wants to hear from you).
Thank you to our Pitch Madness 2017 agents! We hope you all find some manuscripts to love!
Here’s the schedule for Pitch Madness …
February 24: Pitch Madness submission window opens for 24 hours
February 24 – March 5: Pitch Madness Slush Readers sort the entries
March 6: Pitch Madness Draft – Hosts pick their top entries
March 6 – 14: Hosts coach their teams
March 16 – 17: Agent Round
March 23: #PitMad Twitter Pitch Party (Even if you made it in, didn’t make it in, or didn’t enter Pitch Madness, #PitMad is open to everyone!)