Once again, StokerCon® 2022 will offer an opportunity for attendees to pitch their projects directly to publishers, editors, and agents!
What Is a Pitch?
A pitch is a concise, engaging description of your project meant to pique the interest of the person to whom you are pitching your story. Make your pitch short—two or three sentences at most—and be prepared to answer questions.
What Should I Pitch?
Pitch finished projects. Do not pitch ideas. Make sure your work is error-free and ready to submit. If someone shows interest in your work, they will ask you to submit it once StokerCon has ended.
To Whom Should I Pitch?
Choose pitch takers who actually represent your project. If you’ve written a Young Adult Horror novel, make sure the person/people to whom you want to pitch represent/publish YA Horror. This is a critical part of the pitch process—do your homework before you decide to whom you wish to pitch. You have one shot with this person. Make sure it counts.
How Do Pitch Sessions Work?
There are a limited number of pitch sessions for each publisher, editor, or agent assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, in the order the requests are received. When you preregister for a pitch session, list up to three of your preferred pitch takers. This helps your chances to get at least one of your favored choices.
We will announce when you can sign up for pitch sessions in the coming weeks.
What to Expect at a Pitch Session
Pitch Sessions will happen Saturday, May 14th, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Four Square Ballroom. Kristin Nelson’s Pitch Session will occur Friday, May 13th, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., in the Marco Polo Ballroom. Cherry Weiner will be taking pitches for only the first hour of the Saturday Pitch Sessions.
Pitch sessions typically last five to ten minutes, but the person to whom you are pitching is in control of the meeting. When they inform you the pitch is over, please respect their decision. Your pitch taker likely has another pitch scheduled right after yours and needs time to make notes. If you miss your scheduled appointment, we will not be able to reschedule it.
The Pitch Takers
Jennifer Barnes – Editor, Raw Dog Screaming Press
Jennifer Barnes is managing editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press which has been publishing off-kilter books for more than two decades. She spent four years as an editor for The Dream People Literary Magazine. Her children’s book, Better Haunted Homes and Gardens, illustrated by Kristen Margiotta, is a seasonal favorite. Jennifer graduated from The University of Maryland with a BA in English and a concentration in poetry. She is also an accomplished graphic designer.
RDSP is looking for dark, speculative novels and novellas of 85,000 words or less, as well as book-length poetry collections that do not rely heavily on rhyme. Authors desiring a collaborative approach, who want to take an active role in promoting their works, are preferred. We are particularly interested in writers from underrepresented groups with unique perspectives. RDSP publishes works with a literary bent that take new approaches either to form or subject. We are not interested in standard tropes from a traditional perspective.
Chelsey Emmelhainz – Agent, Copps Literary Services
Chelsey Emmelhainz joined Copps Literary Services as a literary agent after a decade as an editor of upmarket adult fiction and nonfiction. She got her start in publishing at HarperCollins and was most recently a senior editor at Crooked Lane Books where she worked with horror authors including Damien Angelica Walters, Jo Kaplan, and Melanie Golding.
Chelsey is most often drawn to horror of the soul: psychological and supernatural horror that evolves from what we fear most but seems to exist just outside our periphery. She is especially interested in stories that marry the known and the unknown, taking us from a place of familiarity to a waking nightmare, and those that approach horror tropes in fresh, terrifying ways or consider well-known themes through a new lens. With a focus on traditionally underrepresented and up-and-coming voices in the horror space, Chelsey is looking for upmarket projects that sit at the intersection of horror and suspense, appealing to savvy genre readers and mainstream audiences alike.
If your work is for fans of authors like Shirley Jackson, Paul Tremblay, Alma Katsu, Carmen Maria-Machado, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, or inspired by media like Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House, Midsommer, Hereditary, The Lodge, Annihilation, The Witch, or Triangle she’d like to hear about it.
Chelsey is not looking for projects featuring sci-fi or fantastical elements (i.e. robots, demons, zombies, vampires, etc.), monsters (i.e. Bigfoot, chupacabras, etc.), humor, or gratuitous violence.
Angie Hodapp – Director of Literary Development at Nelson Literary Agency
Angie Hodapp is the Director of Literary Development at Nelson Literary Agency. She will be taking pitches on behalf of agents Kristin Nelson and Joanna MacKenzie.
LOOKING TO ACQUIRE FOR NELSON LITERARY AGENCY: High-concept, twisty, voice-driven horror that stands alone or that intersects with women's fiction, thriller, science fiction, or fantasy. Tales of toxic relationships and family dynamics. Atmospheric, mystery-driven horror set it close-knit communities—extra points for stories set on creepy islands or in the Midwest. Upmarket, character-driven novels with one foot set squarely in genre. Humorous horror. Young adult horror or thrillers. NOT LOOKING FOR: Poetry, scripts/screenplays, short-story collections, nonfiction, middle-grade fiction, early reader, or picture books.
Becky LeJeune – Agent, Bond Literary Agency
Becky LeJeune is an associate agent at Bond Literary Agency, a Denver-based agency run by Sandra Bond. Prior to joining the agency, Becky spent time working as a bookseller, a freelance cookbook editor, and an acquisitions editor for a small, regional press. She is a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute.
Becky is actively building her client list, and is interested in cookbooks and YA and adult submissions in the following genres: horror, mystery/suspense/thriller, historical fiction, sci fi, fantasy, and general fiction. She enjoys plot driven narratives with unique settings, strong world building, and well-developed characters.
Kelly Lonesome – Senior Editor, Tor Nightfire
Kelly joined Tor in 2019, following a stint as an indie bookseller in California, and careers at Orbit Books and Harper Voyager/William Morrow. She is actively acquiring adult horror for Nightfire, and is searching for unique stories to keep her up at night.
Kelly would really like to see submissions from writers of color, and she wants to promote and champion multicultural stories rooted in experiences and worlds that may be otherwise marginalized.
She loves cleverly subverted horror tropes with contemporary twists. She’s seeking speculative fiction with a dark bent, and thrilling stories that turn malicious. She wants creatively reinvented nightmarish fairytales and folklore — and she is prioritizing those not from Western canon! Her favorite themes and tropes include class & power imbalances, hauntings, false prophets, company towns, toxic relationships, meta horror, body horror, and psychological terror.
She is excited to see what new horror stories are out there, but she’s especially eager to be surprised by manuscripts that blow away all her expectations. If it doesn’t fit neatly into a category, it’s probably right for her!
Kristin Nelson – Agent and Owner, Nelson Literary Agency, LLC
Kristin established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade and a half of her career, she has represented over forty-five New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers. One of her client’s books, Bird Box, is a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock and Trevante Rhodes. Her goal as an agent is simple: she wants every client of hers to make a living solely from writing and 90% of her clients do just that. Those clients include Marie Lu, Stacey Lee, Josh Malerman, Jamie Ford, Hugh Howey, Gail Carriger, J.D. Barker, Richard Chizmar, E.R. Ramzipoor, Ally Carter, Swati Teerdhala, Scott Reintgen.
She is currently looking for literary/commercial novels that tackle timely issues or complicated relationship dynamics, high concept, character-driven novels with one foot squarely in genre, absolutely delightful and emotional engaging novels that can be read over and over again, character-driven novels in the thriller, speculative or science fiction and fantasy realm, historical novels that feature a narrative voice and story that is under-represented in history, young adult novels that pack a serious or a delightful emotional punch.
Alec Shane – Agent, Writers House Literary Agency
Alec Shane majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stuntman. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency and is now aggressively building his own list.
On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. In fiction, Alec is looking for mystery, thrillers (though he’s experiencing terrorist fatigue at the moment), suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and middle grade and young adult fiction.
In the horror genre specifically, Alec would love to learn about monsters, legends, and evils from other cultures; he's not opposed to the occasional vampire or demon story, but that isn't his focus right now. He's also on the lookout for a female serial killer (or just female villains in general), haunted houses, abandoned asylums, and towns harboring secrets. In juvenile horror, if it's fast-paced and features a group of kids biting off more than they can chew - not to mention creepy crawlies that can just as easily chew them - he's in.
He doesn’t want Romance, straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, or travel memoir.
Cherry Weiner – Agent, Cherry Weiner Literary Agency
Cherry Weiner grew up in Australia, lived in Europe for three and a half years and moved to America when she married her husband Jack. She has been agenting since 1977, when she was fired by her boss, the well-known Robert P. Mills.
Mills’ famous clients (she will not any drop further names, but might tell you about it, if you ask her), took two years to convince her to open her own agency. They did this by inundating her with new authors and their manuscripts.
She started out by handling science fiction, fantasy, and horror. She now handles all genres. Among the *all genres* she handles a good number of fairly well-known authors in the field of Horror, Romance, Mystery, Westerns, Native American novels and Historical novels covering all the various genres Only once in a while has non-fiction crept into the mix but no poetry, no children’s fiction and almost no Young Adult works. If there is Y.A., then it is science fiction, fantasy or horror, and only by the authors she already handles in adult fiction.
Michael Bailey – Senior Editor, Book Creators
Michael Bailey and Shanna Heath of Book Creators are taking pitches for writers and editors interested in steady, part-time income as either Developmental Editors or Revisions Editors. Book Creators specializes in mentoring and coaching writers through the creation and improvement of manuscripts to prepare writers for publishing. This includes all genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, memoirs, nonfiction, and poetry collections. These remote positions (which include paid training) vary from 10 to 20 hours per week on average, depending on how many writers potential editors can help, all from a healthy and fun team environment. Manuscripts average 30,000 – 50,000 words, sometimes longer, with reviews focused on the writing fundamentals. Work with incredible writers from around the world who are compelled to tell their unique stories. Stop by for a quick meet-and-greet to learn more. Never edit alone. Never write alone.
Maeve MacLysaght – Literary Agent, Copps Literary Services
Maeve MacLysaght is an agent with Copps Literary Services. She represents BIPOC, Queer, and marginalized creators writing commercial genre fiction across MG, YA, Adult, and Graphic Novel. Her particular weaknesses are genre-blending SFF, horror, and anything with murder or making out (ideally both).
Some things Maeve is looking for:
Rich and subtle world building
Normalized trans and non-binary existence in worldbuilding
Queer cozy mysteries
Silk punk, Asian attitudes, historical revision that doesn’t think Europe invented the world
Sexy, dark, magical horror
Queer romance with high stakes
F/F romance, friendship, and intersectional girl gangs against the world
Locked room mysteries
Queer coded villains