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Agents and Publishers attending this year’s conference

August 19, 2012

Each year, the faculty for the Florida Writers Conference shines as one of its greatest assets. The past few years, Mary Lois Sanders has taken on the heavy work of recruiting the faculty, including the publishers, agents, and editors that attend the conference. Today, she provides us a brief summary of the results of her hard labor in recruiting agents and publishers! And don’t forget that we’re introducing a new faculty member each night. 

This year, the FWA Conference Industry Professional Faculty includes agents, traditional publishers and subsidy publishing companies. We’ve been asked why we invite subsidy publishers as faculty, and the facts are that many members like to self-publish (they don’t want to wait to see their books in print). Others want to publish more traditionally and don’t mind the query-submission-contract-editing-publication process (2-3 years sometimes).

So, who are our IPs (Industry Professionals)? Read on!

The Agents

 Amy Boggs (Donald Maass Literary); Judith Engracia (Liza Dawson Associates); Dawn Frederick and Jennie Goloboy (Red Sofa Literary); Saritza Hernandez (Corvisiero Literary); Nicole Resciniti and Mary Sue Seymour (The Seymour Agency). These agents represent a wide spectrum of genres. Read about them in the “Complete List of Faculty” on the conference web page. One of our agents may just be your guide through the traditional publishing maze to success.

Note: These agents do not work with subsidy publishers.

The Publishers:

 Publishers are divided into two main groups, which have sub-groups. This is where the publishing industry gets complicated. Knowing what these sub-groups are and how they function is important.

Traditional Publishers – Large Houses and Independents.

Large Publishing Houses: These are the BIGs – the ones that say “agented manuscripts ONLY” on the door. There are those cases where a Query Letter peaks an interest and a manuscript is requested, but mostly the BIGs don’t even want those. You have to read the fine print on their submission pages to know. However, when an editor from one of the BIGs attends a conference to hear pitches, go for it! And remember, they pay advances and royalties and YOU DON’T PAY THEM! FWA has one Large House publishing company at this year’s conference:

  •  Tyrus Books (F&W Media), Benjamin LeRoy,  Publisher/Acquisitions Editor – If you write crime and dark literary fiction, don’t miss the opportunity to pitch to him! Go to his website to read more.

The Independents: These are small houses or boutique publishers with a traditional operating style, i.e., like the BIGs, you don’t pay them, they pay you…royalties (although they may not pay advances). Often an independent will specialize in a particular genre(s): romance; mystery/crime/thriller/intrigue, inspirational/spiritual, war/adventure, nonfiction, etc. One advantage of working with independents is the one-on-one interest they take in marketing your books (with good cooperative distribution apparatuses, in conjunction with other independents). Perhaps the best working relationships between writers and editors are at these small houses, which take pride in finding new authors and publishing the best books possible. The Independent Publishing Houses at this year’s conference are:

  •  Double-Edge Press – Rebecca Melvin (President/CEO) and Neal Melvin (Acquisitions and Steering, CIO). This boutique housepublishes Action and Espionage, Historical Romance, Biography and Autobiography and all with Christian values. BTW, Double-Edge published three books this summer from FWA members.
  •  Behler Publications – Lynn Price, Acquisitions Editor.Behler, a boutique house, looks for books where readers say, “I’m a better/more thoughtful/smarter person for having read this book.” Bestsellers include Jan’s Story by CBS journalist Barry Petersen; and Throwaway Players: The Concussion Crisis from PeeWee Football to the NFL by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers president Gay Culverhouse.

Subsidy Publishing – Otherwise known as self-publishers. These companies fall into several categories:

  •  Vanity – You pay for a package of formatting, book cover design help, and a pre-determined number of books published. The house does little in the way of editing or even proofing…that’s up to you.
  • Fee-based – You buy one of several publishing packages, which may include editing (from line editing to full book editing) and the book production staff does everything from formatting to cover design to marketing plans. Many of these houses are quite large and may lock you into long-term contracts. Others are “boutique” style houses that work with you one-on-one to get your book published the way you want it. In either case the fees charged vary. The marketing from a fee-based house varies from basic (puts your book on Amazon and other online booksellers’ websites) to advanced (runs an online bookstore and actively markets through brochures and catalogues).
  • Do-it-yourself – You do all or most of the work (editing, proofing, formatting, cover design, etc.) and upload your PDF files to the website. These houses may also have a la carte services, e.g., formatting, cover design, editing. Once your book is published, you are charged a base price for the books you order. Some DIYs have web bookstores. Most will set you up on and other distributors and you earn royalties based on online sales. Most of your earnings will depend on your own marketing activities.

FWA Subsidy Press Faculty:

  • Perfected Pen Publishing – Sabrina Carpenter, Owner/Publisher – Boutique Fee-based.
  • – Rik Feeney, Owner/Publisher – Boutique Fee-based.
  • Peppertree Press – Julie Ann Howell, Publisher – Boutique Fee-based.
  • Scriptor Publishing (e-books) – Dakota Balmore [Eugene Orlando], CEO – Boutique Commission-based (no upfront fees).

Note: FWA has no vanity or DIY presses on our faculty.

The Florida Writers Conference will be held October 19-21, 2012, at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. Click here for details.

What are your publishing goals? Which kind of publisher best suits you?

Mary Lois Sanders is a freelance writer with non-fiction articles in Cobblestone, Calliope and other periodicals. Her short stories have appeared in Boy’s Life and several anthologies. She’s working on two novel series for young adults and middle grade readers. She’s a member of SCBWI, Florida Writers Association, and Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). She’s also Publisher/Managing Editor of Creative Writer’s Notebook, a monthly newsletter for writers, and Owner/Publisher of Court Jester Publications. Visit her blog –


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