Okay, so that title is a bit misleading. It would be incredibly hard for me to squeeze in  all the conference-y goodness that I experienced in Seattle this weekend. In fact, I suspect there will be a few posts in the weeks ahead showcasing bits and bobs from the two day event.

…Like how honest and genuine author Matt de la Pena is.

…Like how eye opening Author Bruce Hale’s keynote was.

…Like what agents and editors had to say about the viability of their roles in today’s publishing world.

However, I know when I was on the agent hunt, I found it so very helpful when someone would spill what everyone was looking for, so that’s what I’ll do here.

If you write for Children or Young Adults, sink your teeth into this!


Jenny Bent (The Bent Agency) said she likes stories that make her feel something ‘big’–either laugh or cry, and to have a strong concept or big idea. She says that authors who write for both YA & Adult are a good fit for her, too.

Eddie Gamarra (The Gotham Group) loves natural storytellers that can compel an audience through all types of mediums–ebook, print and screen.

Tricia Lawrence (Erin Murphy Literary) [who is so nice and genuine and enthusiastic!] loves stories where the character is struggling with something. She likes the theme of identity crisis, because it’s so real and true to the age group. Plot is important, but character is HUGE. She wants to see writing that the author has poured all their passion into. She’s actively seeking clients and a variety of MG & YA genres.

Rubin Pfeffer (East West Literary) wants to see the OMG factor. Because of the mediums out there for stories, he looks at a manuscript as ‘content’ not as a ‘book’. He feels there are so many opportunities for content to be manipulated today through enhancements, and so he keeps this at the forefront when he reads manuscripts.

Chris Richman (Upstart Crow Literary) sometimes will skip the query pitch to get right to the writing. When considering a client, he’s looking ahead at a career relationship, not just focused on one single book or project. He especially loves books for boys (MG & YA), and loves a strong voice and a big concept he can get excited about.


Susan Chang (Tor) says no picture books, but yes to MG & YA. She’s seduced by a great idea and loves books that have an emotional range that can make her laugh and cry. She admitted that she also has a thing for ‘bad’ characters. In a workshop with Susan, she also said that she likes books that can’t quite be categorized and fit into the ‘weird or strange’ zone.

Nancy Conescu (Dial Books for Young Readers) loves a great voice, and really pays attention to the writer’s skill with words. If a project you have isn’t quite right but she sees something special in your writing, she’ll want to see what else you have. For picture books, she wants to see stories that have great illustrating possibilities.

Andrew Karre (Carolrhoda Books, Carolrhoda Lab & Darby Creek) For fiction, PBs have to be story driven. He likes books that could be categorized as ‘weird or strange’.

Andrea Welch (Beach Lane Books) is looking for stories that offer something new, zippy, and unexpected. Also, she would love to get her hands on the ‘next great horse book’.

Hope this info helps some of you on the agent and editor hunt! Everyone on the faculty was friendly and forthcoming, and clearly are passionate for what they do. It was a wonderful conference and great to meet so many enthusiastic writers and industry folk all in one place! These are very ‘loose’ sounds bites of what each wants, so before you query, read up on these people to make sure they are open to submissions. Do your research and make sure they accept your genre and age group!


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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19 Responses to SCBWI WWA Conference RECAP

  1. Thanks so much! Appreciate this. 🙂

  2. Pk Hrezo says:

    Thanks for the great scoop!!!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these insights! I’m taking notes. . .

  4. Thanks for the info!!

  5. I feel guilty for not sharing this info about the agents and editors I met at SCBWIEPA. Hmm…

  6. This is fantastic! Great information!

  7. Wowza!! Great stuff, ladies. 🙂

  8. Ooo, thanks for all this great information!

  9. You must have been at this conference while the New England one was going on – fun!

  10. Thanks for this great information.

  11. Kirk Kraft says:

    This was a fabulous conference. Thanks for recapping, Angela. Good stuff!

  12. Weird or strange for Tor? Fits.

  13. Great tips. Sounds like it was a great conference.

  14. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing all this great info. It sounds like it was amazing!

  15. Leslie Rose says:

    Thank you for the specifics and insights. I’ve a huge Matt de la Pena fan. Great to hear he’s wonderful.

  16. Julie Musil says:

    Wow, this is great stuff. I’m tweeting also!

  17. Great stuff! I wish I still lived in Seattle. We could’ve hung out.

  18. SA Larsenッ says:

    Amazing, amazing stuff!! Tweeting this!

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