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Agents & Editors (2023)

Pennwriters offers many ways for our attendees to meet and get feedback from agents and editors in the publishing industry.
  • Pitch Sessions: One-on-one agent/editor appointments are available at no additional fee. You must have a finished manuscript to sign up for a pitch session. Spots are limited and are filled on a first-registered, first-assigned basis. Sign up for 8-minute pitch sessions when you register for the conference. Please note: A pitch session does not guarantee publication.
  • Agents will also be leading workshop sessions and participating in panel discussions. Bring your questions about the publishing process and hear these experts talk about the state of the industry.
  • Agents and editors are also part of our Friday night read-and-critique sessions, where you can get feedback on your writing from industry pros.

Agent and Editor Pitch Sessions

Lauren Bieker, Agent
FinePrint Literary Management

After a brief career in the fashion industry, Lauren made her move to publishing as an intern for agent Paige Wheeler.  She moved to FinePrint to assist with day-to-day administrative tasks, but is now an agent and has been actively developing her client list.

Lauren is looking for commercial and upmarket women’s fiction and some well-crafted and differentiated YA novels. She is also open to select science fiction, as well as high concept and literary fiction works. She appreciates great storytelling and is a “sucker” for outstanding writing and convincing characters. While primarily interested in fiction, she will consider nonfiction proposals. She is looking for #ownvoices stories, Feminist lit/#MeToo stories, and LGBTQIA+ authors in both fiction and nonfiction. Her goals is to "hold the mic" for authors to tell their stories and be a helpful support system.

Lauren writes during her free time and has been published on various online platforms. She has attended many writing workshops and intensives, including the National Academy of Writing’s intensive at Cambridge University in the UK.

Alyssa Jennette, Agent
tonesong Literary Agency

Alyssa Jennette joined Stonesong in June 2015 after interning at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Illustration in 2010. As a result, she has unique insight and expertise when it comes to design-heavy or illustrated works. Alyssa is a very editorial agent; she finds a lot of joy in shaping stories alongside the author and delights in building long-term partnerships. In her spare time, she's the co-founder of a three-year-old book club called #readmorewomen, and a snuggler of cats.

Alyssa Jennette represents children’s and adult fiction and picture books, graphic novels, and select pop culture nonfiction. She values diversity and inclusion; in fiction she enjoys ensemble casts with distinct voices, stories about poor characters and communities, and formats that are specific to a story and give it its own context. Alyssa is particularly interested in art/art history/art conservation, archaeology, mythology, language/translation, and criminal justice reform. Her client list includes sex educator and GIRL SEX 101 author Allison Moon, illustrator Jessica Roux, internet storyteller Mollyhall Seeley, middle grade authors Chris Negron and Brandon Hoang, and more. 

Cathy Teets
President, Headline Books

President of Headline Books, Inc., Cathy Teets has been publishing books since 1985. Her company's first title, Killing Waters: The Great West Virginia Flood of 1985, was named a Best seller by USA Today and sold over 100,000 copies. Headline Books is the 2020 Independent Publisher of the Year and was named 2014 Outstanding Independent Publisher of the year by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Headline Books has over 500 titles in print and won 898 National Awards and that include, Mom’s Choice Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Creative Child Magazine Awards, Eric Hoffer Awards, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year, and others. 

Cathy is also the Founder of Zoom Into Books, an international video marketing program that reaches over 380,000 people around the globe per month. Hosting award-winning and New York Times Best Selling Authors, Actors, Musicians (including the lead singers from The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Platters and The Drifters), Scientists and a series of writing and marketing workshops put together in YouTube video playlists and markets them to libraries, book clubs, schools, homeschools, waiting areas, and more. Zoom Into Books allows us to take the authors and their books directly to the customers and the program continues to grow daily.

Cathy's new endeavor is Headline Design and Marketing, a professional design company that takes a raw manuscript to a finished book and includes a one year marketing program with a top notch PR firm.

Uwe Stender, Agent
Triada US Literary Agency

Triada US President and Literary Agent Dr. Uwe Stender is a Full Member of the AALA (Association of American Literary Agents). He is interested in all kinds of non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction, he is completely open to any project, from Memoir (writers with huge platform only for memoir), Pop Culture, and Health to How-to, Gardening, History and everything in between, including non-fiction for children. In Children's fiction, he is looking for YA, Graphic Novels, and MG. In adult fiction, his tastes trend towards Women's Fiction, Psychological Suspense, and Mysteries.  As an immigrant to the USA himself, he is always eager to bring projects from underrepresented voices into the world. So surprise him, his tastes are eclectic, and he may just love what you wrote!

His favorite six books right now are: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Field Notes On Love, The Underground Railroad, Der Blutrote Teppich, Olympia, and Americanah.

Attending Virtually

Amy Giuffrida

Agent, Belcastro Agency

After Amy earned her BA at the University of Kutztown and a M.Ed. from Lock Haven University, she incorporated her love of reading and books with being a middle school teacher. Amy’s biggest joy was to put the perfect book in the hands of a teen and change their minds about reading. Amy turned this love into a career by reading romance slush for a publishing company, then interned for various literary agencies, until she became an associate literary agent in 2020. In her spare time, you can find Amy either listening to, reading, or talking about books. She also loves binge-watching teen and reality TV shows—all while snuggling with one or more of her three rescue dogs.

Some of Amy’s favorite books: It by Stephen King; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; Looking for Alaska by John Green; Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston; The Grace Year by Kim Liggett; The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid; The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab. Her favorite TV shows are Buffy, The Boys, Schitt’s Creek, Stranger Things, and anything remotely like Married at First Sight.

Melissa Keir
Chief Operating Officer, Inkspell Publishing

Growing up in a small town, Melissa created stories in her head and lived them out with her sisters. They climbed through the quarries, built forts among the leaves and pretended they were their favorite television heroines. 

Always trying to spread joy and happiness, Melissa has written over 30+ stories of couples who eventually find their Happily Ever After. Her award winning and best-selling books are filled with broken heroes and heroines who overcome real-life obstacles and come out stronger than ever. Her children’s books (written under her childhood name- Missy Watling) feature endearing tales infused with important lessons about self-acceptance.

As the Chief Executive Officer of Inkspell Publishing, Melissa has worked with over fifty authors to bring their amazing books to life. Inkspell authors have gone on to become best-selling and award-winning authors in their own right. Inkspell Publishing began as a dream and now shares outstanding contemporary and paranormal romances with readers. The hands-on approach and small publisher experience creates a family among the Inkspell authors. Melissa enjoys helping others reach for the stars. 

Escaping the cold Midwest winters, she and her husband, along with furbabies enjoy the beaches of South Carolina and can be found talking to the gators and turtles. She posts photos of her gator friends as well as other wildlife. After all, sometimes they have the best advice!

She’d love to hear from you!

Courtney Stevenson
Quill Tree Books

Courtney joined the Quill Tree Books team in 2016, and has been lucky to work on such amazing books as The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day, and Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, as well as many new editions of titles on the team’s rich backlist. She is proud to have on her own list That’s What Friends Do by Cathleen Barnhart, Midnight at the Shelter by Nanci Turner Steveson, and Money Out Loud by Berna Anat.

Courtney is most excited by young adult and middle grade manuscripts that have a literary bent, clever voice, diverse cast of characters, and perhaps some vibrant historical details. You can find her on twitter at @courtney_ps