Does a Writer's Background Influence an Agent's Decision? + News, Latest Deals and New Clients ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏


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- The New York Times ran an excellent article on THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin and listed it in Staff Picks From the Book Review. Book One of The Broken Earth series, THE FIFTH SEASON, made USA Today's Best-selling Books List.

- Nalini Singh's ARCHANGEL’S VIPER was the subject of Heroes and Heartbreakers' newsletter. It also made the Best of the Month list on Goodreads.

- One of the recipes Cherie Calbom’s SOUPING IS THE NEW JUICING made the front cover of the September 18th issue of Woman's World magazine.

- I WISH YOU HAPPY by Kerry Anne King is a $1.99 Kindle Monthly Deal through the end of September.

- WICKEDLY SPIRITED by Deborah Blake received a fantastic review by The Reading Café.

- FINDING EMMA by Steena Holmes is only $1.99 until the end of the month.

- Faith Hunter's BLOOD OF THE EARTH is $.99 today on Nook and Kindle.


Tricia Tyler's DARK WATER, about a Cajun psychic and a fish-out-of-water FBI agent forced to work together to bring down a serial killer using the bayou as his personal hunting grounds, to Candace Havens at Entangled Amara by Elaine Spencer

Korean rights to Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin's BROKEN EARTH Trilogy (THE FIFTH SEASON, THE OBELISK GATE, THE STONE SKY), to Minumin, in a nice deal, at auction by Duran Kim at Duran Kim Agency on behalf of Lucienne Diver

Dutch rights to N.K. Jemisin's BROKEN EARTH Trilogy, to Maarten Basjes of Luitingh-Sijthoff, in a nice deal by Philip Sane of the Lennart Sane Agency on behalf of Lucienne Diver 

Kara McDowell's debut, JUST FOR CLICKS, about a teen social media darling who begins to question the cost of internet fame—especially when she unearths the secret her mother has spent the last seventeen years hiding—to Dayna Anderson at Amberjack, in a nice deal by Kristy Hunter 

Annabeth Albert's MAY YOU ALWAYS, in which a stranded soldier playing Santa is adopted for the season by a younger man determined to give him a good holiday of his own, to Sarah Lyons at Riptide Publishing (for Riptide's annual charity bundle, with a percentage of proceeds going to charity), by Deidre Knight

Hungarian rights to N.K. Jemisin's Hugo Award-winning THE OBELISK GATE, to Agave Konyvek, in a nice deal by Peter Bolza of Katai & Bolza on behalf of Lucienne Diver 

Turkish rights to Ramez Naam's NEXUS, the first book in the Nexus trilogy, to Panama, in a nice deal by Kayi Literary Agency on behalf of Lucienne Diver

Susan Meier's next three books, to Nicola Caws at Harlequin, in a nice deal by Melissa Jeglinski 

Kimberley Troutte's new PLUNDER COVE series, in which a corporate pirate seeking redemption for past crimes entices his grown children back to Plunder Cove to convert the family mansion into a luxury resort, to Stacy Boyd at Harlequin Desire by Elaine Spencer

Heatherly Bell's STARLIGHT HILL series, to Nicole Op Den Bosch at Audible, by Elaine Spencer

Nalini Singh's next two books in her GUILD HUNTER series, to Ron Formica at Tantor Audio by Nephele Tempest

Heatherly Bell's new WILDFIRE RIDGE series, featuring military heroes and the strong women who love them, to Megan Broderick and Tahra Seplowin for Harlequin Special Edition, in a three-book deal by Elaine Spencer 

Barbara Hancock's next shifter romance, to Megan Broderick at Harlequin Nocturne, in a nice deal by Lucienne Diver 

Aimie Runyan's GIRLS ON THE LINE, about a brave young woman who defies convention and her family's wishes to serve as an operator in the US Army Signal Corps during the final year of World War I, to Chris Werner at Lake Union Publishing by Melissa Jeglinski 

Amy Jarecki's HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN, the next in The Lords of the Highlands series about powerful Scottish Jacobites and their spirited women as they battle through perilous encounters with red-coated dragoons, to Leah Hultenschmidt at Grand Central in a two-book deal by Elaine Spencer

Nalini Singh's next two titles in her New York Times bestselling Guild Hunter series, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a good deal by Nephele Tempest

Brooklyn Ann's next three titles in her Hearts of Metal series, set in the world of heavy metal music, to Chris Keeslar at Boroughs Publishing by Nephele Tempest 

Jules Bennett's contribution to the 2018 Texas Cattleman's Club Continuity to Stacy Boyd at Harlequin by Elaine Spencer

Erin Bartels's THE BONE GARDEN, about a Detroit-area journalist whose investigation into her own family's secrets leads her back to the Civil Rights movement, the Civil War, and finally to her own complicated present-day relationships, to Kelsey Bowen at Revell in a nice two-book deal by Nephele Tempest

Aimee Aristotelous and Kathleen Paulson, M.D.'s THE WHOLE PREGNANCY, featuring a gluten-free nutrition plan for preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum weight loss, with over 100 gluten-free recipes that are catered to both non-vegan and vegan lifestyles, to Leah Zarra at Skyhorse by Pamela Harty

Two-time Golden Heart Finalist Melonie Johnson's debut, SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SEXY SCOT, featuring an up-and-coming Chicago journalist who locks lips with a hot Highlander only to discover she's the unwitting star of an Internet prank and now must keep “the kiss that launched a million clicks” from sinking her career, to Jennie Conway of St. Martin's in a nice three-book deal by Pamela Harty

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vivian Ho’s THOSE WHO WANDER, an exploration of America’s lost street youth and the impact on their communities, to Carmen Johnson at Little A, in a nice deal, at auction, for publication in 2019, by Travis Pennington


Round Table

How much of an influence does a writer’s background—including their education, culture, religion, age, or personal experience with the manuscript’s topic—have on you when considering representation?

Pamela Harty

Of course this differs with fiction and nonfiction.  For nonfiction, platform—which does include education and experience—is very pertinent.  For fiction, it is always all about the writing for me. 



Nephele Tempest

In general, none of those things really influence my decision regarding representation in that I won’t rule out anyone’s work based on their background. I’m looking for strong writing and someone I feel like I can work with on a long-term basis. Also, I represent fiction, not nonfiction, so “platform” doesn’t play a huge role in my decision. A personal link of some kind to the material can be helpful, but it’s not a deal breaker if that doesn’t exist. That said, I’m very aware of issues regarding appropriation and focusing on “own voices” with stories that have strong cultural ties, and I will definitely have a discussion with an author if the material might prove problematic in that respect.

Janna Bonikowski

It isn’t an amount I can quantify, but I do consider an author’s background before making my decision. I look at how their background can benefit the book in terms of marketing and sales, and how it shapes the books they write.

I enjoy working with authors who are intrinsically familiar with their topic, who can speak to the issues in their book because they are personally relevant. Those books have a particular resonance. This doesn’t mean that just because of the author’s background I would turn down a well-researched story that accurately represents the chosen topic. That’s only one of many factors that goes into my decision.

Travis Pennington

A lot of it depends on the genre. For sci-fi, fantasy, or horror, it won't be as important. But if the story is something more contemporary, like an inner-city teen dealing with bullying or gang-related violence, it could be helpful if the author went through something like that growing up.


New Clients on the Block

 Julia Watts


Julia Watts is the author of over a dozen novels, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning Finding H.F.., the Lambda Literary and Golden Crown Literary Society Award finalist The Kind of Girl I Am, and the Lambda Literary Award finalist and Golden Crown Literary Award-winning Secret City. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Tennessee, an M.A. in English from the University of Louisville, and  an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. She lives in Knoxville and teaches at South College and in Murray State University's low-residency MFA in Writing program.  

Ann Aquirre

Website  Twitter  Facebook

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature. She lives in sunny Mexico with her family and writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.


Kelly Powel


Kelly Powell is a Young Adult writer living outside Toronto. She spends most of her time holed away in coffee shops, dreaming up stories of magic and monsters.



Kechi Okwuchi

Twitter  Facebook

When she was eighteen years old, Kechi Okwuchi was one of only two people who miraculously survived the Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 plane crash. She's had more than a hundred surgeries since, but that hasn't stopped her from spreading messages about hope through singing.

She was a finalist on this year's America's Got Talent.


J.A. Stone

Website  Twitter  Facebook

J.A. Stone has worked most of her life as a technical writer. She takes great pride in this writing, even if people rarely, if ever, enjoy reading it. However, writing a novel was always her dream.

When she got serious about writing a novel, she realized the process she'd used for technical writing was the same she needed to write fiction: planning, organization, and hard work.

Elizabeth Mowers

Elizabeth Mowers is living the dream life out in the country with her husband and children. A performer at heart, she now funnels her creative energy into writing romance novels and plays.




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