WriteNOW! 2024 Friday Faculty

PitchNOW!EditNOW!CraftNOW! Workshop!

What is a pitch?

A literary pitch is a brief and captivating presentation of a book or story idea to agents, publishers, or readers. It aims to generate interest by providing a concise overview of the work’s genre, setting, characters, and conflict. A successful pitch grabs attention with a hook, conveys the unique aspects of the story, and leaves the audience wanting more. It should also demonstrate market potential and understanding of the target audience. The key is to be clear, passionate, and confident while highlighting what sets your work apart from everyone else’s. Practice and refine your pitch to make it engaging and memorable.

What is a PitchNOW! Session

PitchNOW! is a one-on-one session with an industry agent. You will have 10 minutes to pitch your novel, and you may get feedback from the agent, or they may ask you to submit your manuscript. To prepare: practice, practice, practice!

PitchNOW! Faculty

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Cole Lanahan

Cole Lanahan, Agent

As an agent, Cole possesses many skills to offer her authors. Aside from being a published author of eight novels, Cole holds a degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State. Her past experiences include lobbying the United States Congress for better mental health initiatives, leading a multimillion-dollar mental health nonprofit, creating strategic corporate partnerships, and implementing large-scale marketing campaigns.

Cole is actively looking for all genres of YA, all genres of adult romance, psychological suspense in the vein of The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, and thrillers in the vein of Verity by Colleen Hoover and I’m thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. In nonfiction she is looking for humor, business, self-help, lifestyle, and arts and crafts books.

Twitter @LanahanCole


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Elizabeth Kracht

Elizabeth Kracht

Elizabeth Kracht joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates in the fall of 2010 and is the author of The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript. She represents both literary and commercial fiction, as well as nonfiction, and brings to the agency her experience as a former acquisitions editor, freelance publicist, and writer.

Elizabeth’s career in publishing took root in Puerto Rico where she completed her BA in English and worked as a copyeditor and proofreader for an English-language newspaper. When she returned to the mainland, she found her “vein of gold” in book publishing. She thrives on working closely with authors to build their careers, and is currently in graduate school earning her MFA in creative writing at San Jose State University.

Elizabeth’s eclectic life experience drives her interests. She appreciates writing that has depth, an introspective voice, and is thematically layered. Having lived in cities such as New York, San Francisco, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, she is compelled by multicultural themes and characters and is drawn toward strong settings.

For Fiction, Elizabeth represents literary, commercial, women’s, thrillers, mysteries, historical, and crossover YA.

For NonFiction, Elizabeth is interested in high concept, health, science, environment, prescriptive, investigative, true crime, voice- or adventure-driven memoir, sexuality, spirituality, and animal/pet stories.



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Melissa Rechter

Melissa Rechter, Editor

Melissa is an editor at Crooked Lane Books and Alcove Press. She joined in 2019 and has had the pleasure of working with ITW nominees, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling authors, as well as a myriad of talented writers.

For Crooked Lane, Melissa is looking for cozy mysteries, domestic suspense and psychological thrillers, horror, and historical mysteries with a feminist bent (from the ’20s, Victorian era, and late Regency). She’d love to find the next Cassandra Khaw, T. Kingfisher, Lucy Foley, Alyssa Cole, or Jennifer Hillier. She loves books that deal with cults, complicated family dynamics, twisted female friendships, poisonous plants, small-town secrets, and locked-room mysteries.

For Alcove Press, Melissa is interested in book club fiction that sparks conversation, historical fiction, speculative fiction, and magical realism (grounded in reality). She’d love to see more magical realism in the vein of Isabel Allende and Alix E. Harrow. She’d love to find anything in the vein of Practical Magic and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. She’s also looking for novels that center around found families and overcoming generational trauma.


What is an EditNOW! session?

EditNOW! is an asynchronous (offline) assessment/developmental edit of the first three chapters, approximately 25-30 pages, of your manuscript by a professional editor. Your registration is a placeholder. After registration, you will receive instructions on where and how to submit your manuscript. The editor will return it, with comments and suggestions, by mid-October.

Submitted manuscripts do not have to be complete, but should follow these guidelines:

    • Times New Roman, 12 pt, double spaced as an attached Word doc
    • 25-30 pages or the closest natural break (scene or chapter); max of 50 pp if you need to
    • Include a genre description
    • Include the word count
    • Optional (but helpful): Include a 2-3 paragraph synopsis or a query letter

EditNOW! Faculty

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Jay Hartman

Jay A. Hartman, Publisher

Jay A. Hartman is a 30+ year veteran of the publishing industry with experience in both selling and producing. He started as a Waldenbooks store manager in Brunswick, Georgia, and was previously the Content Editor for KnowBetter.com, one of the Internet’s oldest sites reporting on ebooks and epublishing. In addition to his years of writing material for KnowBetter, Jay graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Literature and has worked in the retail management sector for over 30 years. Early in his career he was an on-air journalist for WVFS radio in Florida, and writer for the Florida Flambeau newspaper.

Jay founded publishing house Untreed Reads and served as its Editor-in-Chief for 13 years before the company was acquired by another entity. His newest venture, publishing house Misti Media, is now running and open for submissions.

Jay is known as a respected innovator in the ebook industry—constantly ahead of the curve. Because of his expertise and instincts, he is a regular speaker and interviewed expert—at conferences, in person, and online—on ebooks and all things in the ebook industry.



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Anna Michels

Anna Michels, Editor

Editorial Director: Poisoned Pen Press (Sourcebooks): Anna Michels has been at Sourcebooks for over a decade and is Editorial Director of Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press, overseeing the nonfiction and mystery imprints. She worked as an historical interpreter, Norwegian tutor, farmhand, and waitress before building a career in the publishing industry.

Some of her favorite authors she didn’t publish include Nevada Barr, Tana French, William Kent Krueger, Gretchen Rubin, and Daniel Pink. She is always on the lookout for savvy authors with a clear understanding of the audience they are writing for, a story she has never heard before, and unparalleled writing.

Fiction Anna is looking for: Crime fiction (everything from cozies to thrillers), including crossover literary (think Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger) and anything that fans of Tana French, Louise Penny, or Laura Lippman would devour.

Nonfiction Anna is looking for: A wide variety of prescriptive and narrative nonfiction across categories. Smart, practical nonfiction with a unique, commercial hook and prescriptive elements in self-help, parenting, psychology, health and wellness, and more—particularly books that champion marginalized voices and that will change hearts and minds. On the narrative side: history, true crime, compelling deep dives into fascinating topics, and memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling. I have a personal weakness for travel books and outdoors-related content.

Please do not submit: Romance, YA, children’s books, or poetry.



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Anne Rainbow

Anne Rainbow, Author/Editor/Mentor

UK-based Anne Rainbow, aka ScrivenerVirgin and RedPen mentor, spent decades working in IT and Education and textbook publishing before turning to fiction in 2009, when she first took part in NaNoWriMo and became ML for Devon and Cornwall in 2010.

In 2018, together with Christine Cooke, Anne set up the Wednesday Writers, a creative writing group. In 2020, lockdown pushed the group onto Zoom and now Anne, together with presenter Kerry Hadley-Pryce, offers creative writing workshops throughout the year. Anne hosts a writers’ retreat each March and November in Devon, UK and, recently she began hosting the radio show ‘Artists on Air’ for two hours on Monday mornings every four weeks.

In theory, Anne is long-since retired, but her days are still spent encouraging other writers to achieve their publication dreams while advocating they use Scrivener for all their writing and apply her RedPen Editing strategy. She’ll apply her RedPen Editing process to your submission.


CraftNOW! Workshop!

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Jane K. Cleland

Jane Cleland, Author/Teacher

Beat the Bots: A Writer’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Age of AI

You have a story to tell, an important story, your story. Getting that story down on paper is hard, though. We writers have to be good at so many different things, from coming up with worthy ideas to developing a twisty and clever plot, creating relatable characters, choosing intriguing settings, generating believable dialogue, and writing evocative prose — six crucial elements.

With ChatGPT and other bots taking over the writing market, authors worry they’ll become irrelevant in the not-too-distant future. The answer isn’t to surrender to the doom and gloom predictions. On the contrary, it’s time to lean into your humanity, to do what artificial intelligence can’t. This webinar shows you how to harness your innate creativity because if you bring your creativity, your individuality, and your judgment to your work, you’ll out-write a chatbot all day long.


Networking Social

Plans for a Friday evening in-person networking social are underway. We’ll post a separate sign-up for this event once the details are complete, but please indicate your interest in attending by selecting the checkbox on the registration form.

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