5 Reasons to Attend Push to Publish

Push to Publish

Still looking for reasons to attend the Push to Publish conference on October 8? Here are a few:

  1. Speed Date: Yes, we have plenty of agents to meet with if you have a finished novel ready to pitch (find their bios here), but we also have some great editors, including Tiffany Hill, Acquisitions Editor at Quirk Books (cookbooks, craft books, and other nonfiction); Christine Neulieb, editorial director of Lanternfish Press (“looking for smart but offbeat literary fiction”), and Tara Tomczyk, editor in chief at Blydyn Square Books (literary, character-driven fiction). PLUS, there will be poetry/nonfiction/fiction editors from Painted Bride Quarterly, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and, of course, Philadelphia Stories! Many Push to Publish attendees have had their work discovered through their dates with editors!

2. New panel discussions for 2016: The day’s informative program includes a new hands-on PR workshop, tips for crafting a novel, how to find the best publisher for your work, and writing diverse characters. We’ll also host our popular and lively “meet the agents” closing panel discussion. Bring your questions and ideas!

3. Inspiring keynote speaker: Bestselling author Robin Black will discuss craft, the roller coaster ride that is the writer’s life, and more. She’ll also lead a “Point of View Bootcamp” master class the day before the conference. (You can read our interview with Robin here.)

4. Meet New Friends: Push to Publish is a great way to expand your professional learning network of colleagues who share your passion for writing. Network over breakfast, lunch, and our closing happy hour and expand your creative support group!

5. Because you deserve it: We all know how hard it is to carve out time for our passion, but don’t you deserve a day on the beautiful Rosemont College campus to nurture your craft? Join the hundreds of writers who have found inspiration at Push to Publish, now celebrating its 10th year! As one attendee wrote: “I love being a part of this event. The fact that the conference draws so many people who care about writing every year is a testament to PS’s positive and affirming style!”

Find the complete program here: http://tinyurl.com/PushtoPub2016

Push to Publish Sessions Cover Wide Range of Publishing Trends

Push to Publish

The Push to Publish one-day writing conference is more than just an opportunity to speed date with an agent or editor (though that’s great, too: check out the list of participants here). It’s a chance to learn about some of the hottest trends in publishing as well as tips for fine-tuning your craft. Take a look at what’s coming up on October 8:

Today’s Publishing Options: Self-Publishing, Small/Indie Press, or Traditional Publisher?
The traditional large publishers still exist, but there are also a number of fine independent presses putting out work from new, exciting voices, and the advent of self-publishing has brought a DIY ethos to scene. The authors on this panel will share their experiences to highlight the pros and cons of each of these avenues of publication. Panelists include: Janet Spencer King (Independent Book Editor/, Self-Publishing Project Director), Karen Pokras (self-published author), Julia MacDonnell, and Kelly Simmons (authors); Moderator: Curtis Smith (small press author).

Tips for Promoting Your Book Before AND After Publication
Join this hands-on workshop to learn about book marketing and promotion initiatives to help create awareness about your book and author brand, before and after launch. Sandra Poirier Smith and Dan Smith from Smith Publicity, a premier book marketing agency that since 1997 has helped thousands of authors and publishers promote their titles, will: lead attendees through an overview of book publicity trends today; share action items authors can implement now to promote upcoming or already published books, and; select several attendees to share their titles, topics, and platform, brainstorm book marketing ideas, and open the floor to questions for group discussion.

Finding the Right Home for Your Work: Tips from the Editors  for Making the Most of Your Submissions
Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, these literary magazines editors have tips to help you find a home for your work. Panelists: Nathan Long (PS editor, fiction/flash), Donna Talarico (nonfiction; Hippocampus Magazine), Mitch Sommers (PS fiction editor), Courtney Bambrick (PS poetry editor). Moderator: Marshall Warfield

Trends in Children/YA Literature
Does your YA novel have to take place in a Dystopian future? Are vampires required to sell your manuscript? Hear from two authors and a children’s literature agent about what’s hot now–and what’s not. Panelists: Ed Briant (children’s book illustrator), Catherine Stine (YA author), Adriana Dominguez (children’s author literary agent)

Writing Diverse Characters
There’s been a lot of heated discussion lately about who’s “allowed” to tell stories of marginalized characters. Candlewick, for example, pulled When We Was Fierce just two days before its release date because of outcry from diverse authors — despite its many starred reviews. So … who has the “right” to tell which stories? (Can a straight person write a legitimate LGBT novel? Can a white woman write non-white characters?) Join this discussion with these successful authors. Panelists: Lori Tharps (author, educator), Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts (writer, educator, editor), Erin Kelly (YA author)

Crafting a Novel
How do you get organized to write a novel? Where do these big ideas come from?  What do you do when you’ve hit page 100, or 150, when you’re right in the middle of it and then, whammo, no more ideas, no more momentum, and you start asking yourself: why the hell am I doing this? These authors have been there and pushed through. Find out how. Panelists: Authors Gregory Frost, Jon McGoran, Merry Jones; Moderator: Carla Spataro

Join the conversation! Click here to register.

Philadelphia Stories Selects 2016 Winner of National Short Story Contest

Magazine News

September 2016, Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Stories, a non-profit literary magazine, has chosen local author Kate Blakinger as the winner for its eighth annual Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction.

Board members pored over more than 300 submissions, narrowing the stories down to just 9 finalists which were then reviewed by renowned author and 2016 judge, Robin Black. Black chose Blakinger’s “The Hothouse Lounge,” saying she was impressed with how the story “knocked me down with its blade-sharp expressions of grief, of caring, of desire, all leaping out from the familiar feel of daily sadness, daily love, daily hope.”

This year’s second place winner is Dana De Greff, a freelance arts journalist and Master in Fine Arts candidate in fiction at University of Miami. Black said of her story “How to Make a Baseball Player Cry”: “This powerful response to Roberto Clemente’s life and tragic death has an energy to it and a heart as well that carried me through, engaged and moved, tangled in a respectfully revived sadness from many decades ago. A study in the need for and limits on empathy, ‘How To Make A Baseball Player Cry’ is a lyrical, affecting story that has stayed with me. Beautifully done.”

Third place is awarded to full-time author Charlie Watts, for his story “Found Wanting.” Black said of his winning piece: “Sometimes a stranger comes to town, and sometimes you are the stranger who steps into an unfamiliar place. ‘Found Wanting’ with its almost hallucinatory quality takes a man on a gritty journey from his life in powerful language and with unforgettable images, unforgettable lessons too in the tight circles people draw, sometimes unimaginably, around themselves. A terrifically absorbing story.”

The contest finalists (in no particular order) are:

  • Claire Luchette, “Tenders”
  • Robert Sullivan, “Short-Term Solutions to Uncomfortable Arm Syndrome”
  • Vanessa Brown, “Reckoning”
  • Diana Xin, “Some Kind of Grace”
  • William Pei, “Two Lives” and “Once a Cellist”


Blakinger will be honored at an awards dinner to be held at Rosemont College on Friday, October 7, 2016, followed by Philadelphia Stories’ annual Push to Publish Conference on Saturday, October 8, 2016. The annual conference will be held for on the campus of Rosemont College, which offers an MFA in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, and has actively supported the writing community through events like Push to Publish. Black will deliver the keynote address at the event.


Kate Blakinger lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son. Her short stories have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Harpur Palate, The Iowa Review, and other magazines. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she received the Meijer Postgraduate Fellowship. She has also received fellowships from the Elizabeth George Foundation, Jentel, the MacDowell Colony, and Penn State Altoona.

Dana De Greff grew up between Miami, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon and has taught English in Albacete, Spain and Patagonia, Chile. Currently, she is a Master in Fine Arts candidate in fiction at University of Miami. She also writes book reviews for The Miami Herald, is a freelance arts journalist, teaches poetry with O, Miami to children in Liberty City, and is working with Voice of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA/Voices) in community outreach.

Charlie Watts was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up on the campus of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, and a family farm in Freedom, NH. He earned both his BFA (1986) and MFA (1992) from Brown University in Providence, RI, studying with writers including Meredith Steinbach, Robert Coover, John Hawkes, Edmund White, and Michael Ondaatje. Charlie, who returned to writing in 2013 after a long detour into communications consulting, has published work in Clerestory Journal and Carve magazine. He also has work forthcoming on The Drum, an online audio journal, and Narrative magazine. His story, Arrangements, won the 2015 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. Charlie was also a finalist in the 2016 Hemingway Shorts contest sponsored by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park. He and his wife, a chaplain, have three grown children and live in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

This annual national short fiction contest features a first place $2,000 cash award and invitation to an awards dinner on Friday, October 7th, on the campus of Rosemont College; a second place cash prize of $500; and third place cash prize of $250. The first place story will be published in the print issue of Fall 2016 of Philadelphia Stories; the second and third place winning stories will appear in the Fall 2016 online issue. The Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction is made possible by the generous support of the McGlinn and Hansma families.

For more on the Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction, go here

Meet the Agents Coming to Push to Publish

Push to Publish

Have a novel to pitch? Join us for Push to Publish on Saturday, October 8, on the campus of Rosemont College just outside Philly. Here’s a list of the agents who will be there for the “speed date” and what they’re looking for:

JUST ADDED! Kelly Peterson is a Junior Literary Agent with Corvisiero Literary. SEEKING: middle grade (fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi); young adult — fantasy and all its subgenres, steampunk, sci-fi, paranormal, historical (19th century and earlier with strong heroines), dystopian (hold the cyborgs, the scorch, and diseases, please), sword and sorcery, a very selective few for Contemporary Romance, and any combination of the above with strong, female main characters; new adult — fantasy, paranormal, romance (Cowboys, anyone? Sexy and somewhat geeky entrepreneur? Celebrity? Yes?), historical romance, or any combination of the above; Adult fiction in the genres of fantasy and romance.

Jordy Albert is a Literary Agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. SEEKING: fun, witty middle grade; contemporary or action/adventure; YA contemporary romance; sci-fi, fantasy and thriller/suspense;  historical romances.

Lucinda Blumenfeld founded Lucinda Literary in 2011, which brings publicity and online marketing expertise to writers represented by the agency. SEEKING: commercial business, psychology, and lifestyle nonfiction, memoir and narrative nonfiction, and emerging voices in literary and upmarket fiction.

Sheree Bykofsky represents over 100 book authors in all areas of adult non-fiction as well as literary and commercial fiction. SEEKING: literary and commercial fiction. Her nonfiction specialties include popular reference, business, health, psychology, poker, spirituality, self-help, humor, cookbooks, pop culture, biography, women’s issues, decorating & crafts, music, and much more.  

Adriana Dominguez has 20 years of experience in publishing, most recently as Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Adriana joined Full Circle in 2009, and is based on the East Coast. SEEKING: children’s picture books, middle grade novels, and literary young adult novels.

Marie Lamba is an an acquiring Literary Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. SEEKING: young adult and middle grade fiction, along with general and women’s fiction and some memoir.  She is also open to submissions from picture book authors or illustrators who are already established, or whose work she has requested through conferences. 

Rita Rosenkranz founded Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in 1990 after a career as an editor with major New York houses.  SEEKING: health, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, spirituality, and general interest titles. 

Eric Smith is an author, blogger, and literary agent with P.S. Literary. SEEKING: young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction.