Loading Events

« All Events

2023 Agents Symposium Access Pass

February 25, 2023 8:00 AM - December 31, 2023 12:00 AM CST



The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Tickets are no longer available
  • This event has passed.

Just hearing about the Agents Symposium? Don’t worry, you haven’t missed a thing!

Registration for the 2023 Agents Symposium Access Pass includes access to all ten of the literary agent presentation recordings through March 31, 2024.

The 2023 Agents Symposium was a year-long virtual experience that promised to immerse writers, month by month, in the ins and outs of publishing today. At the heart of it: Ten presentations by ten literary agents that took writers from before the agent search all the way to building a writing career (with many stops along the way).

If you’re ready to dive into the business of traditional publishing, the 2023 Agents Symposium Access Pass is for you. If you register for the Access Pass, you’ll receive links to all ten presentation recordings, which includes the literary agent presentation followed by a moderated conversation and Q&A. Each of these recordings is about 90 minutes in length and they are filled to the brim with valuable information that would benefit any writer.

Below you’ll find descriptions of each presentation and bios for the ten literary agents.


“Before the Agent Search” with Maggie Cooper of Aevitas Creative Management


In this presentation, we’ll discuss what writers can do to set themselves up for a successful agent search. We’ll consider when to start querying, how to build your list of prospective agents, and what kind of materials you should plan to share. Throughout, we’ll share strategies for preparing to navigate the logistical, creative, and emotional aspects of the process, so that you can begin your agent search feeling grounded and informed.


“The Ins and Outs of Approaching Agents” with Eric Smith of P.S. Literary


In this presentation, we’ll spend some time demystifying the querying process. We’ll unpack how to approach literary agents, including what you should do when querying, what you absolutely shouldn’t, and why putting yourself and your work out there doesn’t need to be as stressful or intimidating as you think. Because, at the end of the day, the agents you’ll be querying are in it to make books happen, they want to discover new writers, so we’ll also spend a bit of time talking about that.


“How to Set Yourself Apart in the Agent Search” with Carrie Howland of Howland Literary


In this presentation, we’ll discuss tips for setting yourself apart when querying literary agents. Every agent receives countless queries daily. What are the things an agent looks for, that catches their eye or makes them say “yes, I want to read something?” From crafting a compeling hook to building an impressive bio, you’ll learn in this session what you can be doing today to distinguish yourself tomorrow.


“Between Signing & Submission: The Agent/Author Relationship” with Seth Fishman of The Gernert Company


In this presentation, we’ll dive into what happens after you’ve signed with a literary agent. We’ll cover everything from what to expect after you’ve both said “yes!” to working together to what you can look forward to as you ready your work with an eye towards submitting to publishers, including the revision process and more.


“Comparison Titles: The Company You Will Keep” with Cherise Fisher of Wendy Sherman Associates


In this presentation, we’ll discuss why it is vitally important for authors of both fiction and nonfiction to have a keen sense of how their book fits alongside other titles. We will review why you must never ever tell a publisher “No book like mine has ever been written!;” how to distinguish between comparative and competitive titles, and how to use comparison titles to position your book for success.


“Understanding Publishing Contracts” with Lauren E. Abramo of Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret


In this presentation we’ll review the most important document in the publishing journey (besides the book itself!): the author contract. From financial terms to legal obligations to the editorial process to the distribution of rights, it’s both a roadmap to the publishing experience and an outline of worst-case scenarios. While contracts vary from publisher to publisher and deal to deal, this presentation will walk you through the basics so you know what to expect when you sign on that dotted line.


“The Submission Process: Finding a Publishing Partner” with Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Literary Services


In this presentation, we’ll spend time discussing what happens when your book is ready to go on submission to editors inside publishing houses. We’ll walk you through the range of what happens after you hand over your completed manuscript to your agent, including how your agent works to ensure your manuscript finds the perfect home and what you can expect during this process.


“From Acquisition to Publication” with Chad Luibl of Janklow & Nesbit


In this presentation, we’ll look at all aspects of the publishing journey beginning with acquisition all the way to publication day. We’ll walk you through what you can expect once your manuscript has been acquired by an editor at a publishing house, including everything from editing to self-promotion, and all the key decisions in between that (hooray! pop the champagne!) lead to a successful book launch. (What’s a “successful book launch?” Great question! We’ll talk about that, too.)


“Publication Day and Beyond” with Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group


In this presentation, we’ll dive into what happens after the big publication day. Your book is on the shelves, now what? We’ll talk about publicity & marketing, sales, and more. Plus, when is it time to start working on the next project (and talking about the next project with your agent and editor) and other ways to put your time and energy to best use once your book has officially launched.


“Building a Writing Career” with Julie Stevenson of Massie & McQuilkin


In this presentation, we’ll dive into what it means to build a sustainable and satisfying writing career. Of course, a successful career is not one-size fits all, it looks different for everyone. And building one that lasts takes time, dedication, fortitude, a clear understanding of the publishing world, and often some luck. This presentation will offer guidance and perspective on what it takes to go from publishing one book to building a career.

Featured Presenter(s)

Maggie Cooper is an agent with Aevitas Creative Management, representing fiction and select nonfiction animated by imagination, empathy, and joy. She is actively seeking genre-bending literary fiction; beautifully told queer stories; and smart, feminist vacation reads. Her other passions include unclassifiable book projects, food and cookbooks, and well earned happy endings—particularly for characters underrepresented in mainstream publishing. After working in the worlds of small presses, academic publishing, and literary journals, Maggie came to Aevitas in 2018. Based in Boston, she holds a degree in English from Yale University, attended the Clarion Writers Workshop, and earned her MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as an editor for The Greensboro Review.
Eric Smith is a literary agent and Young Adult author from Elizabeth, New Jersey. As an agent with P.S. Literary, he’s worked on New York Times bestselling and award-winning books. His recent novels include the YALSA Best Books for Young Readers selection Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press, 2020), You Can Go Your Own Way (Inkyard Press, 2021), and the anthology Battle of the Bands (Candlewick, 2021), co-edited with award-winning author Lauren Gibaldi. His latest book, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel, was written with Alanis Morissette, Academy award-winner Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard, and is an adaptation of the Grammy and Tony award winning musical.
Carrie Howland founded Howland Literary, LLC in 2018, after thirteen years as an agent, most recently at Empire Literary. Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and magazines. She attends several conferences, both nationally and internationally, throughout the year. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and is an active member of the Junior League. Her passions include music, pop culture, and the Midwest. She has been featured in several publications discussing her work as an agent including Poets & Writers, SCWBI insight, Akashic Books, and Slice Magazine.
Head of the Los Angeles office, Seth Fishman is a Vice President and agent at The Gernert Company, which he joined in 2010 after beginning his career as an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. Born in Midland, Texas, he graduated from Princeton University and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. His interests are wide-ranging, but in particular he's looking for the new voice, the original idea, the entirely breathtaking creative angle in both fiction and nonfiction. He represents adult and kids books, as well as illustrated. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children, and is the author of the award-winning picture book, A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars, along with Bad Drawer and several other picture books.
Cherise Fisher began her career in publishing more than 25 years ago. Over the course of her career as an acquiring editor at Simon & Schuster and Editor in Chief of Plume (an imprint of Penguin Random House), she has edited and published several national bestselling and award winning authors. As an agent, she is interested in working with novelists who have multiple compulsively readable yarns in their head (both historical and contemporary), memoirists who showcase the diversity of human experience, and non-fiction writers who seek to provoke, inspire, and educate. Her intention is that all the books she helps bring into the world are relevant, enduring, and help readers maximize their life.
Lauren E. Abramo joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2005 after getting degrees in English at NYU and Irish Studies at NUI Galway. As VP and Subsidiary Rights Director for the agency she maintains a small client list and sells foreign and audio rights. She’s eagerly looking for middle grade (contemporary, fantasy, and adventure), contemporary YA, and smart, accessible adult fiction in a variety of categories, including literary, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction. She’s also interested in adult narrative nonfiction, especially pop culture, psychology, pop science, reportage, media, humor, and contemporary culture, primarily where those areas intersect with social justice. In all categories she’s especially interested in underrepresented voices. Born in New York City and raised not far outside it, she now lives in Brooklyn.
Saba Sulaiman is an agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She holds a BA in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago, where she studied modern Persian literature. Being an immigrant who is constantly negotiating her own identity and sense of belonging in a place she now calls “home,” she is committed to championing books by writers from marginalized communities with compelling stories to tell; stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exist in this world, and address urgent and often underexplored issues in both fiction and non-fiction with veracity and heart. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @agentsaba and learn more about her at sabasulaiman.com
Chad Luibl received a BA in English at Lynchburg University before moving to Eastern Europe to teach English for several years. While in Krakow, Poland, he got his MA in European Studies at Jagiellonian University, with a focus in Comparative Literature. He went on to get his MFA in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was also the coordinator of the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, an intern in the Literature Department at the National Endowment for the Arts, and an editor at Blackbird and Broad Street literary journals. Chad comes from the workshop model of creative writing and has a hands-on editorial approach to agenting. He is interested in narrative nonfiction with a strong emotional pull from journalists and writers who challenge the status quo. For fiction, he is particularly drawn to novels that are more character or plot-driven, thrillers that are as inventive as they are suspenseful, speculative and historical fiction that offer a nuanced perspective on place, and graphic novels that push the boundaries of the genre.
Mark Gottlieb is a highly ranked literary agent, both in overall deals and other individual categories. Using that same initiative and insight for identifying talented writers, he is actively building his client list of authors. Mark Gottlieb is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available at Trident Media Group. Through his work at Trident Media Group, Mark Gottlieb continues to represent numerous New York Times bestselling authors, as well as major award-winning authors, and has optioned and sold books to film and TV production companies. He previously ran the agency’s audiobook department, in addition to working in foreign rights. In his free time, Mark Gottlieb tutors free English language classes to adults from low-income immigrant families, via the Literacy Volunteers program at Family Centers, a nonprofit organization offering education, health and human services. He is also the Founder and President of the Stamford Literature, Arts & Culture Salon (SLACS). Mark Gottlieb is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres and looks forward to bringing new and established authors to the curious minds of their future readers.
Julie Stevenson is a literary agent with Massie & McQuilkin in New York. She represents literary and upmarket fiction, suspense, memoir, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, young adult fiction and children’s picture books. She is drawn to storytelling with unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, and a strong sense of narrative tension. She looks for work that both entertains and explores the depths of human experience, particularly the many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and regional backgrounds. She’s agented books that have won the Pulitzer Prize, the MWA Edgar Award, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Caldecott Honor. Before she became an agent, Julie worked in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York.


February 25, 2023 8:00 AM CST
December 31, 2023 12:00 AM CST
Event Categories:


Online via Zoom