Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sandra O’Donnell of RO Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 5.49.11 PM.pngSandra O’Donnell, Ph.D. is a literary agent & founding partner of RO Literary.

In fiction, she’s looking for stories with compelling characters that jump off the page — historical fiction, courtroom dramas, upmarket fiction and historically-based conspiracy thrillers that keep her up all night.

For nonfiction, she seeks narrative nonfiction, memoir, cultural studies, popular culture, history, and religion/spiritual.

Currently, she is not accepting submissions for poetry, science-fiction, fantasy fiction and non-fiction titles on the topics of military and political science, or books on business.

Sandra has been involved in the writing community and the business of books for over twenty years. “A Walk on the Moon is one of my favorite movies,” she says. “And not just because there is an incredible scene in it that involves Viggo Mortensen and a waterfall. I love this movie primarily because of the last scene where Marty, Pearl’s husband asks her the quintessential question that we will all ask ourselves someday if we don’t write the book that is begging to be written, ‘Who stopped you?’ ”

She studied writing at the graduate level at the University of Utah while working on her master’s. While there, she taught writing in the Writing Program and learned as much from teaching as she did from her classes. After her Master’s Sandra went on to ghostwrite, edit and co-author a number of books for the academic market. She also earned her Ph.D. in History from Arizona State.

In 1996, Sandra and a partner formed Snowgoose Cove a boutique publishing company. As a publisher, Sandra learned what it takes to make a title successful by guiding authors through the editing, launch, and marketing of their books. For Food Talk: A Man’s Guide to Cooking and Conversation Sandra and her team arranged a 12 state book/PR tour, selling out of the first edition of the book within six months.

For the past few years, Sandra has been working with authors to take them from draft to polished manuscript. Many of the authors she’s worked with have gone on to find excellent agents, editors, and publishers. However, many projects have languished once they have left her charge. Frustrated authors asked her time and again why she couldn’t be their agent. Why Sandra couldn’t guide them through the next stage with the love and care she’d used shown during the development phase of their books. After much consideration and discussion with her partner Laura Rothschild, RO Literary was formed.

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 12.24.27 AM.pngMoe Ferrara is a literary agent with BookEnds Literary.

Moe is interested in books for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers in most genres–especially science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and light horror. The right contemporary or paranormal romance (sans-vampires of course) will spark her interest. She’s LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket!

At this time she’s not looking for nonfiction, women’s fiction, or cozy mysteries.

Becoming a literary agent was fitting for the girl who, as a small child, begged her dad to buy her a book simply because “it has a hardcover.” Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine, and instead tackled Tom Clancy or her mom’s romance novels. Though her career path zigzagged a bit—she attended college as a music major, earned a JD from Pace Law School, then worked various jobs throughout the publishing industry—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent and the subsidiary rights director.

A Pennsylvania native, she is the former mum of a rambunctious guinea pig who was a master at stealing treats. When not reading, she is an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin’s Creed release.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nikki Terpilowski of Hollway Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.07.42 AM.pngNikki Terpilowski is a literary agent and founder of Holloway Literary.

After receiving a B.A. in English, Nikki worked in the marketing communications field for several years as a writer and editor. Deciding she wanted to align her professional career with her lifelong passion for reading and writing, she interned at the Elaine English Agency based in Washington, DC, and then moved into literary management, representing a small group of women’s fiction and romance writers, that has expanded to include a list of YA, literary, historical, southern, mystery and thriller authors. Nikki loves all types of fiction, but is particularly interested in finding fresh Southern voices and ethnically and culturally diverse fiction. Books she’s represented have been nominated for RITA awards, RT Book Review top picks, Starred Publishers Weekly reviews, bestsellers, and Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees.

When she’s not working or wrangling her three sons, she enjoys traveling to the beach, mountains and all historical sites in between.

Nikki is currently accepting pitches for:

  • Southern fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Young adult
  • Women’s fiction
  • Literary fiction
  • Mysteries
  • Thrillers
  • Romance – Contemporary, historical and romantic suspense
  • Cozy mysteries – Written in the vein of Ellery Adams, Eva Gates, Amanda Flower, Bailey Cates, Leslie Budewitz,, with book, food and beverage (wine, beer, coffee, tea, etc.), gardening/herbs, historical society/museum themes or magical realism.
  • Science Fiction – Including Afrofuturist fiction, written in the vein of Nnedi Okorafor and Octavia Butler
  • African-American – Fiction of all types that explore the African diaspora or African-American experience in a new or interesting way that goes beyond a focus on racism or oppression.
  • Nonfiction related to mindfulness, healthy eating (Paleo, gluten-free, etc.), regional/ethnic/fusion cookbooks, foodie subjects, travel, alternative simple living, i.e. homesteading, minimalism, etc, interesting self-help (personal and professional), military experiences, Civil War, Southern living, etc.
  • Key words that interest Nikki in pitches: North Carolina, Virginia, New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, Outer Banks, Napa, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Antartica, Mars, African-diaspora, Caribbean, African-American, Gullah, Native American, Indian, Japan, Food, Wine, Coffee, Beer, Bakery, Farms, Civil War, Revolutionary War, Southern, Mountains, Beach, Magical Realism, Spies, Espionage, DARPA, Treasure, Secret Histories, Aliens, Military, Conspiracy, Organic, Mindfulness, Yoga.

Do Not Pitch:

  • Stories that focus on chronic illness or dying
  • Erotica
  • Graphic horror (light elements of horror are acceptable)
  • Stories with graphic sex scenes
  • Police procedurals
  • Stories in which children are abused
  • Stories that explore sexual abuse and its effects
  • Stories in which racism or discrimination are the focus (unless it is historical non-fiction)
  • Fiction set in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Susan Velazquez of JABberwocky Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 1.05.08 PM.pngSusan Velazquez is a literary agent with JABberwocky Literary Agency.

Susan is looking for fantasy, science fiction (preferably speculative/near-future), literary/upmarket fiction, narrative non-fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and YA.

Susan was born and raised outside of Dallas, Texas, but strangely enough, has no strong opinions on football or country music. Much to her family’s dismay, she left the South to live amongst the Yankees. She received a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in Gender Studies from SUNY Oswego in 2016. Susan speaks fluent Spanglish and just mastered the art of cooking Mexican rice.

Before joining JABberwocky, Susan interned at Foundry Literary + Media, Coral Press, and Folio Literary Management.