Pitching 2022

PITCHING TICKETS CLOSE ON JUNE 15th

The list of agents and editors taking pitches are below.

As per the original conference rules, only those registered for the conference are eligible to apply for a pitch session. After you have registered for your Core Conference ticket, you will be sent a link where you can request your pitching preferences. As always, first in will get their desired preferences and this will be based on your ticket number, not on completion of the form. This link will not be sent until after early bird ticketing closes on the 15th June. There will be a limit of three tickets per member.

Email pitch@romanceaustralia.com if you have any concerns.

THE 2022 PITCH TAKERS ARE:

Agents:

Danielle Binks – Jacinta di Mase Management (AUS) Local Agent

Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based author and a literary agent with Jacinta di Mase Management. Her debut middle-grade book The Year the Maps Changed wasa bestselling 2021 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Notable Book, and her first YA novel The Monster of Her Age is a queer-romance for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Nina LaCour. In 2022 Danielle is teaching fiction writing in the Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing program at RMIT University.

The minimum word-count Danielle requires? Initial reading-material can be between 2000-5000 words if they’re doing electronic submissions. If I request a full-manuscript to read, I’d expect a minimum fiction word-count of 60K. 

Sub-genres or genres Danielle is not looking for? No medical-romances, ‘chook-lit’ (rural romance), or memoir/biography please.

Genre or sub-genre Danielle is particularly keen to see? I do love contemporary romance (Mhairi McFarlane, Sally Thorne, Helen Hoang, Lyssa Kay Adams, Kim Lock, Jasmine Guillory, Kylie Scott, Talia Hibbert, and Alice Clayton). My heart always comes back to historical (Kerrigan Byrne, Tessa Dare, Alyssa Cole, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Joanna Shupe). I adore young adult romances done right (I represent the likes of Kay Kerr, Jenna Guillaume and Sara Haghdoosti – so yes, total sucker for a great YA romance!). And I like more literary “chick-lit” romances too (Toni Jordan, Emily Henry, Beth O’Leary, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Katherine Center etc.) On the paranormal/urban fantasy more ~genre~ front, I won’t deny they’re harder to get up in Australia but if I was to come across something that hit the right note, I’d love to champion (I’m obsessed with; Ilona Andrews, Brigid Kemmerer, Patricia Briggs, Laura Thalassa, Amanda Bouchet, and Thea Harrison.)

Personal favourite genre? Don’t make me pick one! … I swing wildly between contemporary and historical romance. It’s the fan in me that got hooked on romance via those genres, and books by Melina Marchetta and Diana Gabaldon. I can’t shake them, and wouldn’t want to. 

Danielle’s major turn-off in a book? I can’t stand being introduced to a truly vile, awful character first thing. They may well be the antagonist or villain (or a hero whose arc we’re about to see play out), but I don’t want my very first introduction to a book being *pages and pages* of having to slog through someone I’m bound to hate. Just … this is still a genre about fantasy, and it’s a big ask to get me to sit through too much of that *first thing* and upfront. The other big turn-off is when not a lot happens for the first 10-pages (that’s a sure-fire sign that those pages should be cut!) All of that is to say; I’m not someone who DNF’s romance books because – *egads!* – there’s cheating. Fine by me (I actually love the *messiness* of that as a plot-point) but I think there’s a way to introduce plots like that where the author can set-up the protagonist as a loveable underdog, someone to root for – or yes, embrace the chaotic mess to set things aflame. 

What is likely to really knock Danielle’s socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? I like to see a writer’s longevity. That it’s not just *this one manuscript* they’ve worked on for 10-years … but that they’ve thought about having a career in books. I don’t need piles of manuscripts ready to go. But I need to see a thoughtful desire to pursue more stories in future. I love contemporary and historical romances, so of course I’m a sucker for a saga and expanding universe that take secondary characters (or family’s!) and give them their turn in the spotlight (I’ve loved this recently in the Bromance Book Club and reading Helen Hoang’s final book in her trilogy, I binged Joanna Shupe’s Uptown Girls over lockdown – and yeah, the Bridgerton of it all is wonderful to build anticipation). My literary agency has this saying that we’re not in the business of representing one-off books, we’re in the business of representing *authors* … so we want creatives who intend to dig in and make a real go at this, and they have a list of book ideas piling up in their head (what author Beverly Jenkins once described as story-ideas waiting to take off like they’re planes at LAX and she’s in the control-tower choosing which one goes next up the runway). 

Advice to Danielle’s potential pitchers? Relax. Breathe. What happens here isn’t the be all and end all, I am just one person – and as a fan of romance (I’d hope!) you know that there’s a romance book/trope/pairing out there for *everyone* and just because a manuscript or idea doesn’t work for me personally, doesn’t mean it’s a personal knock to your career or talent. It’s just *me*. 

LIVE PITCH

Nicole Resciniti – The Seymour Agency (USA) Int Agent

After a series of careers that ranged from motorcycles to marine science, Nicole found her calling while interning with Mary Sue Seymour. She maintains that there was no better mentor–or person–than Mary Sue. After becoming an agent, Nicole hit the ground running, helping dozens of debut authors to achieve their publishing dreams. Fast forward a decade, and those same authors are bestsellers, continuing to top the charts, many having published 30, 40 and 50+ books. It’s been an incredible journey!

Great books are always the highest priority. And Nicole focuses on taking great books beyond the shelves into: tv/film, audio, gaming, comics, and foreign, carving subsidiary rights opportunities for her clients and remaining agile in an ever-changing publishing climate. 

She is thankful for the privilege of working with her talented authors, the chance to play a part in bringing wonderful books into the world, and for her incredible team at The Seymour Agency. 

The minimum word-count Nicole requires? It is dependent on the genre. For single-title, 75-100k; 50-65k for category; 30-80k for middle grade; 80-140k for YA Fantasy; up to 200k for high fantasy; under 1000 words of picture books, etc. There are a lot of resources for writers, so if you aren’t sure, maybe check out SCBWI, RWA, Mystery Writers, Horror Writers, etc.

Sub-genres or genres Nicole is not looking for? I’ll take a look at most anything EXCEPT poetry.

Genre or sub-genre Nicole is particularly keen to see? I’m always looking for great YA, thrillers, fantasy and romance. I’m especially wanting books or series that have a big hook and that feel innovative. We do a lot in the tv/film space, so if a project feels like it has the kind of logline that can sell for film, I’m all-in! ALSO, please be sure to look at the other agents at TSA (www.theseymouragency.com). I’ll gladly accept pitches on their behalves and for kid’s lit in particular, we have an incredible team for PB, MG, Nonfiction, Memoir, etc.

Personal favourite genre? I like things that are commercial, but not wholly dependent on genre. So if it’s a mashup–I’m intrigued. A slasher horror doesn’t interest me, but something dark and eerie and character-driven…yes, please! These days, the bar is so high to entertain readers with something new, so I love authors that are fearless and natural storytellers. I’m not worried about any supposed ‘rules.’ What is my favourite–anything that feels like it belongs on Netflix or as a feature in a movie theatre. 

Nicole’s major turn-off in a book? Predictability. While it’s true that every story has been told, no two stories should be told the same way. I look for fresh perspectives, new takes on old tropes, concepts that have disruptive qualities or that can start a conversation. If a book feels too familiar to something that has already been done, it’ll be hard to get editors or film execs excited for it. 

What is likely to really knock Nicole’s socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? Something high concept that feels unique but also commercial and accessible. I love a great logline. A great logline or high concept hook can sell a project. 

Advice to Nicole’s potential pitchers? Don’t be nervous. Agents are partners. We want to find talented authors–and we want to work for you. A pitch is just meant to capture the essence of the project and to show how it fits into the marketplace–because that’s what an agent needs to do: sell your work. Be able to speak to the basics: title, hook, genre, word count, comp authors. Show your enthusiasm for what you’re writing. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the writing, so while a pitch is important, the actual story is what matters most. 

LIVE PITCH

Clare Forster – Curtis Brown Australia

Clare Forster is based in Melbourne. She comes from a background in book publishing including University of Queensland Press, Penguin and HarperCollins. She has worked with a wide range of authors and creators, representing narrative nonfiction across memoir, history and science; children’s books and YA; and award-winning literary fiction and best-selling crime, mystery, historical and general fiction.

Minimum word-count required?  Curtis Brown is looking for full-length works, in the region of 70-110 000 words.

The sub-genres or genres Clare is not not looking for? Not looking for fantasy, sci-fi, horror, erotica or category.

Genre or sub-genre Clare is particularly keen to see? Curtis Brown works with a wide variety of authors across contemporary women’s fiction, bookclub fiction, mystery/suspense/crime, rural romance, historical and dual timeframe historical.

What is likely to really knock Clare’s socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? A kernel of little known-history/true story/personal experience can be a wonderful way into a book.

Clare’s advice to potential pitchers? Please relax and let’s enjoy the conversation!

Online Pitch Saturday 27th August

Alex Adsett – Alex Adsett Literary (AUS) Local Agent

Alex Adsett is a literary agent and publishing consultant with 25 years’ experience working in the publishing and bookselling industry. She has managed Alex Adsett Literary since 2008, and has helped hundreds of authors review and negotiate their publishing deals. As an agent she represents more than 45 authors of all ages and genres, including Melissa Lucashenko, Sasha Wasley, Jodi McAlister, Leisl Leighton and many more.  She regularly speaks on copyright and contracts around Australia, is an alumni of the Australia Council Arts Leaders Program 2019, and serves on the board of the Small Publishers Network.  

What is the minimum word-count your agency takes, or your publishing house requires? Single Title 65k and upwards

 What sub-genres or genres are you not looking for? I am not looking for traditional urban fantasy or paranormal romances, unless coming from an amazing new #ownvoices perspective. I am also not looking for parody, satire, category romance, Australian historicals (1788 – 1945s), Mind Body Spirit, or memoir. 

 Is there a genre or sub-genre you’re particularly keen to see? Murder mystery romances, rom coms, science fiction romance, historical romances with a difference (eg. 1920s Egypt, Norse mythology), any kind of romance (even urban fantasy) from Asia Pacific region, especially Pacifika authors. 

 What genre is your personal favourite? Science fiction and fantasies are my first love, but at present I’m also loving rom coms (eg Charm Offensive, Battle Royal), 1920-30s murder mystery romances (especially KJ Charles’ Slippery Creatures series. Sulari Gentill’s Rowly Sinclair series, Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey). I’d love to see a great queer historical adventure – think spies, pirates or swashbucklers. 

 What is your major turn-off in a book? I am not a fan of dubcon, silly heroines without any agency, humour at the expense of plot, or romance plot lines that could be resolved with one honest conversation. 

 What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book? Empowered intelligent heroines and vulnerable heroes. Stakes that matter. Stories by underrepresented authors (eg BIPOC, LGBTIQA+, neuroatypical), And always, an amazing plot. 

 Any advice to your potential pitchers? Come along and tell me about what you are writing. Be yourself, and try not to stress too much. Please do not sign up to pitch unless you fit some of the criteria I’m looking for, and have a finished manuscript or are at least close to finishing.    

Online Pitch

Editors:

Anna Boatman – Little Brown Book Group, Piatkus

What is the minimum word-count you require? I generally am looking for full length, over 80,000, but there isn’t a minimum word count as our publishing house has such a range of different lists. If something was brilliant but 60,000 words, or a selection of short stories, I would still look at. If I request a sample it wouldn’t have a minimum wordcount, but the first three chapters please!

What are the sub-genres or genres you are not looking for? I’m not looking for anything very literary, but other than that I am open!

What genre or sub-genre are you particularly keen to see? I LOVE all things romance, and am particularly a fan of romantic comedies with big love and big laughs. I also love cross genre reads and am looking for romance fantasy at the moment. I’m also keen to find a big new Historical voice – someone who can deliver great characterisation and evocative time periods (and ideally also a great love story) in one book

What is your personal favourite genre? I really, really don’t have one! I love certain consistent things in a book: a really strong character arc – I love when you’re desperately rooting for a character to be their best self, I love humour when it comes from dialogue and characters, and I have a weakness for anything dystopian that also celebrates the unique creativity and delight of being human.

What is a major turnoff in a book? When it feels as though the writer isn’t enjoying themselves in the story – as though they are trying to deliver a particular sort of read, rather than inhabiting the characters fully.

What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book? Humour. Every time. Also great sex scenes with proper build up (one of my favourite ever is still the lift kiss in The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

What advice would you give to potential pitchers? You don’t need to be certain about every word you’re going to say – I want to know about your characters, your hopes for the book and what you love about it – it’s our job to work out the details of the exact pitch and we can give advice on genre etc at the time. I want to hear who you and your characters are, more than anything.

Live Pitch

Cassandra Di Bello – Simon & Schuster Australia Publisher Commercial Fiction

Cassandra Di Bello is the commercial fiction publisher at Simon & Schuster Australia. She joined the team in 2020 after making her mark in the UK publishing industry where she worked with big brand authors such as Diana Gabaldon, Harlan Coben, E.L. James and Lisa Jewell. She currently publishes Australian superstars Anita Heiss, Tania Blanchard and Lauren Chater and is keen to cultivate homegrown talent.

Simon & Schuster Australia

Minimum word-count required?  75K

The sub-genres or genres Cass is not not looking for? Paranormal/SFF, YA, literary, erotica.

Genre or sub-genre Cass is particularly keen to see? Commercial rom-coms, up-lit and historical.

Personal favourite genre? I love them all, but I am partial to fantasy.

Cass’s major turn-off in a book?  A slow start, overwritten and two-dimensional characters.

What is likely to really knock Cass’s socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? A killer hook and an author that knows how to promote themselves!

Cass’s advice to potential pitchers? Short and sweet! Really hone your elevator pitch and know where your book fits in the market.

Live Pitch

Deb Werksman – Sourcebooks

Deb Werksman has been at Sourcebooks for the past twenty-three years, before which she had her own publishing company. She is the editorial director of romance fiction and acquires single title romance in all subgenres. Sourcebooks publishes 6-8 romance titles per month, in print and ebook formats simultaneously. We are the country’s largest woman-owned independent publishing house. We’re known for our sales and marketing, as well as our focus on building authors’ careers.

What is the minimum word-count you require? 80,000

What are the sub-genres or genres you are not looking for? May I skip this question? It always backfires on me…

What genre or sub-genre are you particularly keen to see? Romance fiction, romantic women’s fiction, fiction with family themes, millennial fiction, commercial/literary fiction, commercial fiction with speculative elements.

What is your personal favourite genre? As long as there’s a happy ending, or a deeply emotionally satisfying ending, I love all the different genres.

What is a major turnoff in a book? Slow pacing/starting with setup or backstory—in this market, readers want you to bring them right into the story.

What is likely to really knock your socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? A hook I can sell with 2-3 sentences, and a first paragraph that pulls me right into the story.

What advice would you give to potential pitchers? Think about the marketplace, because that’s what the person you’re pitching to has to do. Start with your category (romance, women’s fiction, commercial fiction, etc.) and the hook. Do not do a plot summary.

Online Pitch. 23rd- 26th of August

Rachael Donovan – HQ

Fifteen years ago, I started in book publishing in sales and marketing with Little Brown, a division of
Hachette Australia before moving into editorial and publishing. In 2015, I joined HQ as a
commissioning editor where I discovered how genre and commercial fiction can reach out to
entertain, start conversations and change minds. Now a publisher, I love connecting readers with
remarkable stories and talented voices.

Looking for: Genre fiction with fresh voice or surprising layers that wow (If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane and The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary are some favourite recent reads). Character-driven women-centric contemporary fiction, book club fiction and family dramedy, especially if it has an edge to it, a touch of dry humour, or hot button issue at its core (Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, or The Dressmaker by Rosalee Ham). And hooky adventure or thriller, with strong women in the driver’s seat (High Noon by Nora Roberts).

What is the minimum work cound you are looking for?

Single title only (80k and upwards)

 What sub-genres or genres are you not looking for?

Erotica, historical romance, paranormal, sci-fi & fantasy, horror and YA.

Is there a genre or sub-genre you’re particularly keen to see?

Being Conference time, I’m thinking a lot about genre fiction. So I’m particularly submissions for well-written romance that celebrates its subgenre but brings a freshness to it. Any kind of setting will do – contemporary, rural, suburban – but an Australian hook is always a benefit. Sweet slow-burn romance or some heat in there is fine, but not to the point of erotica. It can be relatable, funny or touching and bittersweet, but I love stories that say something about who we are and how we live our lives.

I’m also looking for mystery, and adventure thrillers that are fast-paced and surprising, with characterisation so absorbing the real world melts away. In particular, I’m interested in when a mystery or crime crosses into the domestic space (though prefer to avoid domestic violence as the sole topic). Think stories that at their core question women’s experience in our world. Or perhaps have a psychological bent or intriguing relationship unfolding between its investigative duo.

What genre is your personal favourite?

 There are too many to count! Like most readers, I read widely.

What is your major turn-off in a book?

Our lead character not being in the driver’s seat. When I run into that in a submission, the chances are the character has slipped into passively telling us of the events unfolding around them, rather than having a depth of motivation and personality to enact change.

What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book?

Something that shows you more about the world around us or the universality of human experience without you even realising it as we’re too engrossed by the characters.

Any advice to your potential pitchers?

Easy to say, but don’t be nervous. We’re looking for books to publish from new Australian writers, so I want to hear about you and your story.

Online Pitch 22nd and 26th of August

Nicola Robinson – HQ

For many years I worked on children’s and educational books, specialising in Indigenous education, and including a two-year stint as senior editor at Walker Books. I joined HarperCollins in 2015, editing adult fiction (Dervla McTiernan, Tara Moss) and non-fiction (Jimmy Barnes, Nikki Gemmell), and discovered editing ‘grown-up’ books is equally fulfilling (although I miss the plush toys). A love of genre fiction and author collaboration brought me to HQ in 2019 and I have been happily commissioning ever since, and working with authors including Alison Stuart, Sarah Barrie and Meredith Appleyard.

What is the minimum word-count your agency takes, or your publishing house requires?

Single title only (80k and upwards)

What sub-genres or genres are you not looking for?

Rom-com; Rural romance; Historical romance

Is there a genre or sub-genre you’re particularly keen to see?

Looking for: Spine-tingling crime and thriller, thoughtful contemporary women’s fiction; lush historical adventure and romance, engaging mainstream narrative non-fiction.

What genre is your personal favourite?

Crime

What is your major turn-off in a book?

Unconvincing dialogue

What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book?

Fresh ideas; innovative plotting

Any advice to your potential pitchers?

Don’t be anxious. I’m nice, I promise!

Online Pitch 22nd and 26th of August

Jo MacKay – HQ

Jo Mackay is Head of Publishing at HQ, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. Formerly a nonfiction publisher with ABC Books and HarperCollins, she fell head over heels in love with publishing commercial fiction when she became publisher at HQ (then Harlequin) in 2014.  

She loves original voices, meaningful stakes, layered depths, dry humour and female agency, preferably all in one book. She publishes gifted authors Diane Armstrong, Karen Brooks, Tea Cooper, Cassie Hamer, Penelope Janu, Victoria Purman, Anna Snoekstra and Tricia Stringer, and many more emerging and debut authors for an ever-growing list in a relatively young publishing division.  

Looking for authors keen to develop their writing and their careers, under-represented authors, literary/commercial crossover, crime, suspense and thriller, deeply researched mythological or historical novels, particularly those that retell stories from the perspective of someone on the margins.

What is the minimum word-count your agency takes, or your publishing house requires?

Single title only (80k and upwards)

What sub-genres or genres are you not looking for?

Erotica, horror, category, paranormal or fantasy, children’s or young adult

Is there a genre or sub-genre you’re particularly keen to see?

I have just been reading novels that rewrite women’s voices back into mythological stories – Women of Troy by Pat Barker, Circe by Madeleine Miller, Electra by Jennifer Saint so would love to see one in my pitch list. An original, beautifully crafted story that is both love story and family saga, such as Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand that First Held Mine or After You’d Gone would be wonderful. An Australian modern murder mystery would be wonderful – one with a strong narrative arc and pace – or a nerve jangling thriller or twisty crime that does something a little different.

What genre is your personal favourite?

I tend to go through phases. At present, it is murder mysteries. But I like any genre where the author brings an original voice and a fresh take to it and makes me love it all over again

What is your major turn-off in a book?

Feeling as if I’ve read it before when I’ve not. So, I think that translates into predictable plots, clichés and hackneyed language, thin world-building, flimsy characters and no sense of authorial voice. Or feeling as if I’m reading a first draft – overt exposition, research dumps and clumsy dialogue as well as chronological errors are a giveaway there.

What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book?

Being sucked into a story and not being pushed out again – those novels where you feel you have walked into a tale that is already unfurling and you are caught up straightaway. If I am no longer conscious of the act of reading, this means (for me at least) that the writing – world creation, plot, characters – is highly successful.

Any advice to your potential pitchers?

I love to know what you are reading and which novelists you love. I am always interested to hear which other books you think readers of your manuscript might read.

Live Pitch

Johanna Baker – HQ


I started my career in publishing seven years ago and now work at HQ, where I commission romance for digital and print. There’s nothing I love more than compelling genre fiction with a well-executed trope and a happy ending. I am keen to acquire more authors, and I particularly enjoy working with rising-stars to develop their manuscripts.

Looking for a wide range of romance that represents all sectors of society, such as Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown or Morgan Roger’s Honey Girl; clever romantic comedies such as Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare; and fast-paced romance with beautifully realised tropes such as my author Alyssa J. Montgomery’s Five Dates with a Billionaire.

What is the minimum word-count your agency takes, or your publishing house requires?

Category length (45k-55k)

What sub-genres or genres are you not looking for?

I’m not currently acquiring non-fiction, fantasy, science fiction, paranormal or YA romance.

Is there a genre or sub-genre you’re particularly keen to see?

I am passionate about own-voice romance: differently abled heroes and heroines, queer love stories, and characters of all ethnicities. I particularly enjoy contemporary romance, everything from romantic comedies to billionaire romance, and also love romantic suspense and cop romances.

What genre is your personal favourite?

I have a particular soft sport for romantic comedy, especially ones that feature characters who are dealing with complex issues beyond just finding love.

What is your major turn-off in a book?

When the only thing keeping a couple apart is miscommunication! It’s far more interesting when there are actual stakes involved preventing our OTP from being together.

What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book?

Any story where the characters’ experiences feel authentic, or stories that have expertly executed a well-loved trope (forced proximity, enemies to lovers and grumpy/sunshine are just a few of my personal favourites!).

Any advice to your potential pitchers?

Alongside your plot summary, I want to hear about why you wrote this particular story, and why you think your readers will love it!

Live Pitch

Annette Barlow – Allen and Unwin

Annette Barlow has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years, in bookshops, in sales, in editorial and for over twenty years as a publisher at Allen & Unwin, Australia’s largest and most successful independent publishing house. Her list comprises fiction titles including many talented Australian writers of commercial fiction such as Kate Morton, Fleur McDonald, Karly Lane, Maya Linnell, Leonie Kelsall, Nicole Hurley-Moore and Charlotte Nash. Her nonfiction titles are mostly memoir and include journalist and television presenter Jessica Rowe’s four books. Annette is a publisher, teacher and mentor and loves bringing new voices to the Australian market

What is the minimum word-count you require? Depending on the genre but generally 70,000-100,000 words

What are the sub-genres or genres you are not looking for? Category romance, chick lit, science fiction or fantasy

What genre or sub-genre are you particularly keen to see? Rural romance/suspense/crime, commercial women’s fiction, historical drama

What is your personal favourite genre? What a question! I love so many of the books I publish, it’s impossible to pick a favourite.

What is a major turnoff in a book? An unclear purpose or intention; a dull writing style.

What is likely to really knock your socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? Whatever the genre, a ms that compels me to keep turning the pages no matter what else I’m supposed to be doing will be a standout for me. 

What advice would you give to potential pitchers? No need to be nervous, I want you to succeed!

Live Pitch.

Ali Watts – Penguin Random House Australia

For over twenty-five years Ali has worked as a publisher and editor with one of the world’s largest trade publishing houses. In that time she has produced a vast number of fiction and non-fiction titles across all genres with some of Australia’s most beloved and successful writers. She has a particular passion for commercial fiction, and her authors include Monica McInerney, Fiona McIntosh, Kyle Perry, Megan Goldin, Katherine Scholes, Meg Bignell, Sandie Docker, Josephine Moon and Anthea Hodgson. Ali has a BA in English Literature from Melbourne University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing from RMIT.

What is the minimum word-count your agency takes, or your publishing house requires?

Single title only (80k and upwards)

What sub-genres or genres are you not looking for?

Fantasy/sci-fi/YA

Is there a genre or sub-genre you’re particularly keen to see?

Romantic comedy, tear-jerkers, romantic suspense, contemporary women’s, family drama, rural, novels centred around real historic events, WWII.

Seeking authors of all ages, including young and diverse writers.

What genre is your personal favourite?

Romcom with a really unique and catchy premise, and anything that makes me cry!

What is your major turn-off in a book?

Not enough story power. I am looking for novels that have very strong plot drive, and unique story hooks that grab you on the first page.

What is likely to really knock your socks off beside an engaging voice and well-written book?

A fabulous author with an interesting back story or particular area of expertise that complements the genre they are writing in. 

Any advice to your potential pitchers?

I am more interested in hearing about you as an author and your writing background, rather than a blow-by-blow summary of the plot.

Live Pitch

Charlotte Ellis- Harlequin UK

Charlotte Ellis is an Associate Editor on the Harlequin Presents team. And lives in hope of one day meeting her very own Greek billionaire (it did almost happen once on the London tube – minus the billionaire part…). After completing a degree in Sociology from Durham University and trying her hand at being a sports teacher and coach, she joined Harlequin in September 2016 after quickly realising that working with books was her dream job! She loves nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of red wine, by way of a game of netball. Charlotte acquires books across the Harlequin Presents, Romance, Medical and Historical series. You can find her on Twitter @cellisharlequin.

What is the minimum word-count you require? That completely depends on the Harlequin series you’ve chosen to target. Some series have a word count of 50k, others have a word count of 75k. The best thing to do is review the series guidelines on Submittable for the series that you’re looking to target: https://harlequin.submittable.com/submit.
And if you’re not sure which series is for you, check out the Write for Harlequin website: https://www.writeforharlequin.com/write-for-harlequin/which-series-are-you/.

What are the sub-genres or genres you are not looking for? I’m not looking for stories that aren’t category/series romances.

What genre or sub-genre are you particularly keen to see? I’ll be focused on seeing pitches for our Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Romance, Harlequin Medical Romance and Harlequin Historical lines. But happy to answer any questions about any the other series, if I can.

What is your personal favourite genre? Romance, of course! You can never go wrong with the perfect HEA. I’m always excited by the twists and turns of how two protagonists find their way to one another. And that moment where they finally get to be together… *Swoon*

What is a major turnoff in a book? Moving too quickly between each character’s POV. I really love to be able to get inside each character’s head to try to figure them out. And to understand the intensity of the moment for them, in that moment.

What is likely to really knock your socks off besides an engaging voice and well-written book? A first meeting between the central couple that immediately throws me into the intensity of their instant connection – and attraction! Don’t be afraid to get your characters on the page together. The quicker the better, I say.

What advice would you give to potential pitchers? Don’t hold back! Put everything into your submission and write the story that you want to write. That’s when your voice and your passion for your work and your characters will really shine through.

Online Pitch. 22nd – 26th August