PTP Attendee Interview

Push to Publish 2015

Good morning everyone!

Unfortunately the 2015 Push to Publish conference has come to an end. Thank you to everyone who made it! It was a wonderful experience and very informative when it came to the writing and publishing world. To those of you who couldn’t make it, have no fear, keep a close eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and website to sign up for next years conference.

Apprehensive about spending the money to attend a conference? It is worth it. But don’t just take our word for it. Below is a short interview with Larry Loebell one of this year’s PTP atendees and one of the prize winners of the McGlinn fiction contest. See what he had to say about his time at this years conference.

What do you write?

I write plays, stories (short and longish – I just finished a 17,000 word novella), and I am at work on a novel.  I have written for screen as well.

What brought you to Push to Publish this year?

Although I have been writing for a long time, I have only been writing fiction seriously for about the past 18 months.  I wanted to meet writers working in the Philadelphia area and learn about the book and magazine publishing world, and try my pitch on an agent and editor or two.

What were some of the highlights for you as a writer?

I was one of the prize winners of the McGlinn fiction contest, so it was an honor to be at the award dinner and meet the McGlinn family and Robert Johnson (the contest winner) and hear the kind things Bonnie Jo Campbell had to say about my story. I also took Bonnie’s master class and found her quite inspiring – not to mention fun and funny.  I’ve since read three of her books.  Always a pleasure to be turned on to an author I haven’t read before whose work I instantly love.

I also learned a great deal preparing for and then delivering my agent pitch.

What do you find most valuable about Push to Publish and other writing conferences?

This is my first conference of this type.  I have a lot of experience with play-writing and theater conferences but am new to the world of fiction writing.

What advice would you offer other writers about making the most of their writing conference experience?

I always feel that I can learn new things.  Since I had no specific expectations I found most of the sessions interesting and thought-provoking.

Interview with author Karen Pokras

Interviews, Push to Publish 2015

With less than a week until the 2015 Push to Publish conference, the preparations begin for an exciting and informative day. There is still time to register! Click here for more information.

In the meantime, check out an interview between published author Karen Pokras, a panelist at the conference, and Philadelphia Stories intern Raven Eckman for some fun writing tips!

Karen Pokras writes both middle school and contemporary fiction. She has won several writing awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her books include the Nate Rocks series and The Whispered Wishes series. For more information about Karen, check out her website here.

Why Middle Grade Fiction and Contemporary Adult Fiction? They seem like such different genres. Do you favor one more than the other?

Yes, they are very different! My mind is constantly coming up with story ideas — some for children, some for adults. I enjoy writing for both genres, and love that I don’t have to limit myself to being just a children’s writer or just an adult fiction writer. It can be tricky shifting gears since I tend to jump quickly from one project to the next, and they are often so different. For example, I wrote two middle grade stories this summer and am now working on a legal thriller. However, I think I would get bored doing it any other way.

How do you know you’re finished with a book? Does it just feel right?

After I finish what I feel is a decent self-edited draft, it goes out to a group of beta readers who I hand pick. These are people whom I trust will give me honest opinions (ie – not my mom). Based on their notes, I will often make several rounds of revisions until I feel I’ve polished the story to meet their concerns. It then goes to my editor who works her magic. After another round of revisions, I can usually rename my document FINAL and feel confident about the finished product.

When was the first time you felt like you would make it as a writer?

A few months after I published Nate Rocks the World, my first book, I decided to enter it into a literary contest, not expecting anything to happen. To be honest, I forgot all about it. About six months later, I received an email saying I’d both won first place in the Children’s Chapter Book category and the Grand Prize overall. I sent the email out to my publicist at the time because I thought for sure I had read it wrong. Not only was this my first self-published book, but it was one that had been rejected by more agents that I cared to admit. It was a great feeling to know that maybe I actually could write something decent.

What was the most difficult of your books to write? The least difficult? Why?

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name was my least difficult book to write. I really connected to Millie right out of the gate, and I think it shows. She is my best selling book and my favorite character (sorry Nate!). The words really flew while writing her story. That book was supposed to be a one and done, but I get a lot of requests for a book two, so I am hoping to put out a second book next year.

The most difficult book to write was Holly’s Wishes, the second book in my Whispered Wishes romance series. I re-wrote it start to finish EIGHT times. As the second book in a four book series, I wanted to make sure it had enough to keep my readers interested enough to keep going. That’s a lot of pressure!

How do you manage to make your stories different and stand out?

I’m not just a writer; I’m also an avid reader, so I try to write things that I’d want to read. I hope that others will as well.

What is your best marketing tip to writers who are looking to get published?

Social media is a place to be social. Interact with your readers on a friendly basis. Get to know them. Think of it as a huge cocktail party. Talk about what you’re working on, but don’t shove “buy my book” down their throats. It’s a huge turn off. If you can build up your fan base before you publish, you’ll be amazed at the support (and sales) you get when your big day finally arrives.

What is the most important thing to remember when you are writing?

For me, if I feel myself getting stuck, I tell myself to just walk away. I know it will come — even if it’s at a time when I can’t sit down and work, I can still usually stop and jot down some notes. I’ll never try to force a story out. Nothing good ever comes out that way.

What is your favorite book? Did it help to inspire you to begin writing?

I don’t know that I have a favorite book. I love to read and love so many books. Judy Blume was and still is a huge inspiration for my middle grade books, and my desire to write books that encourage children to read more.

If you had to describe the entirety of your writing career in just a sentence what would it be?

An amazing experience that’s only just beginning.

How important are names in your book? How do you go about naming your characters?

I love names! When I picked my title Nate Rocks the World, I was inspired by the movie Good Will Hunting. I loved how the character’s name (Will Hunting) was used in the title but not necessarily as his name. In Nate Rocks, my main character is Nathan Rockledge, but he becomes Nate Rocks when he daydreams himself as a super hero. I knew I had to play on that in the title. I did something similar with Chasing Invisible (my main character is named Chase and was originally James until my publisher and I came up with the title) and of course Millicent Marie is not my Name is an obvious play on Millie’s name (which was completely random.) A lot of times when I get stuck on picking a character’s name, I’ll turn to Facebook, pick a friend and look through their friend list to find names. I’ll often mix and match first and last names … so watch out … you could be my next character!

Do you plot out your stories or write as you go?

I’ve tried to plot, but I’m definitely more of a write as I go writer. I think it’s more exciting that way, and I get to experience my book the same way a reader will.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got two projects going at the same time, both very different. I’m about ¾ done with the second book in a middle grade mystery that I started at the beginning of the summer, but I put it to the side to begin a legal thriller that I felt compelled to write. It’s also about ¾ done at this point, and I hope to have the first draft done in the next month or so. Welcome to my crazy brain!

Any advice you want to give inspiring writers that you wish you would have known when you started out?

I was very fortunate to meet some extremely helpful folks right at the outset who helped me get started. I learned that in this industry most authors are generous and happy to pay it forward. Readers are willing and able to buy more than one book. We are not competitors, but rather in this together – to both learn from each other and help boost each other up. I highly recommend joining the Indie Author Group on Facebook. It’s a great group filled with resources to help writers of all levels.

Meet the Panelists 2015

Push to Publish 2015

Meet the Panelists Coming to Push to Publish

Whether you are an established writer or just getting started, this one-day workshop will provide valuable resources you can use to get your work in print and online.

Meet the panelists joining us for the 2015 Push to Publish conference on October 10, 2015!


Ed Briant is the author and illustrator of over a dozen books, including picture books, early readers, graphic novels, and young adult novels. He illustrates the Petal and Poppy graphic novels with his wife Lisa Jahn Clough for Houghton Mifflin’s Green Light series, and he writes and illustrates the weekly web comic, Tales from the Slush Pile, for Publisher’s weekly. He was received a Flying Start Award from Publisher’s Weekly for his picture book Paper Parade, and was noted as a Newcomer to Watch by the Horn Book for his picture book Don’t Look Now. He teaches Illustration Practice at MICA in Baltimore, and Writing For Children at Rowan University in New Jersey. Read more about his work at

Gregory Frost is the author of eight novels including the Shadowbridge series (Del Rey) and Fitcher’s Brides (Tor). His short stories have appeared most recently in Asimov’s Magazine, Out of Tune (Jonathan Maberry, ed.), and Happily Ever After (John Klima, ed.). He’s director of the fiction writing workshop at Swarthmore College. Check out more on his blog at

Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts is a writer, educator, and publisher. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Kentucky, an M.B.A. from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh-Dickinson University. Most of her work as a writer probes the intersection of faith/spirituality with culture and social issues such as race, class, and gender. In addition to authoring eight books, including her most recent, The Search for Susu, Tracey has written about business, education, publishing/writing, and parenting for numerous online and print publications. She is the former Managing Editor at CLC Publications, a PA-based religious publisher. Her company, NewSeason Books, publishes what she calls “transformational literature” from authors who are looking to launch their work via e-publishing formats. She is an English professor at the Community College of Philadelphia, but also serves as a Thesis Mentor in Rosemont’s Graduate Publishing program. Find her online at

Thomas V. Hartman has nearly 20 years of experience in publishing and digital communications as an acquisitions editor, Web designer, writer/photographer, and literary agent. He has been a Commissioning Editor at Elsevier Science and a Senior Editor at John Wiley and Son. Formerly he was Poetry Editor and Web Editor at Painted Bride Quarterly and Manager of the Book Publishing Program at the American College of Physicians. Professor Hartman is an editor, with Michael A. LaComb, MD, of In Whatever Houses We May Visit (ACP Press, 2007), an anthology of poems about illness and healing. His writing or photography has appeared in The Photo ReviewPif; the Philadelphia InquirerPhiladelphia Business Journal; N + 1;, and more. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. cum laude, English) and Columbia University (M.A. History of Art); and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing from NYU. Professor Hartman is a former Writing Center Associates Fellow at Georgetown University.

Merry Jones is the author of the Elle Harrison suspense novels (THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE, ELECTIVE PROCEDURES), the Harper Jennings thrillers (SUMMER SESSION, BEHIND THE WALLS, WINTER BREAK, OUTSIDE EDEN and, this November, IN THE WOODS), the Zoe Hayes mysteries (THE NANNY MURDERS, THE RIVER KILLINGS, DEADLY NEIGHBORS, THE BORROWED AND BLUE MURDERS). She has also written humor (including I LOVE HIM, BUT…) and non-fiction (including BIRTHMOTHERS: Women who relinquished babies for adoption tell their stories.) Jones’ work has been translated into seven languages, and has appeared in CHILD, AMERICAN WOMAN, and PHILADELPHIA and GLAMOUR, where she was a regular contributor. Currently, she leads workshops in Suspense Writing. She is a member of the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Philadelphia Liars Club. Visit her at

Erin Entrada Kelly is the author of BLACKBIRD FLY and THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN GIRLS, both with HarperCollins. BLACKBIRD FLY is a 2015 Junior Library Selection, SIBA Best Book of the South, and a nominee for the Kirkus Prize and the ALA Notable Children’s Book Award. In addition to writing for children and young adults, Kelly has published more than 30 short stories in publications worldwide and is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her third novel, VIRGIL AND VALENCIA, will serve as her MFA thesis for Rosemont College and will be published in March 2017. Learn more at

Janet Spencer King is an independent book editor working with fiction and non-fiction writers, both first-time and experienced. She is also a self-publishing director, guiding authors through the entire process, from cover design to printed book and final e-book distribution. To help authors get their book “out there,” King provides them with marketing starting strategies, the steps necessary to create an author’s platform. She lives in New York City. Check out her website at

Helen W. Mallon’s new book is The Beautiful Name: Four Short Stories, published by a small independent press. She is a regular contributor of book reviews to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and has had reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle and Fiction Writers Review. Her writing has won awards from Philadelphia Stories and Relief: A Christian Quarterly. Helen is a writing coach for private client and groups, helping each writer to take advantage of the uncertainties of the writing process to develop confidence in their own voices. Her MFA is from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Corinne Liccketto Moulder joined Smith Publicity in 2007. As Director of Business Development, her consultative approach, insightful recommendations, and tireless work ethic make Corinne a valuable part of Smith Publicity’s clients’ success as she develops aggressive, “out of the box,” creative, and successful media outreach plans. Corinne earned a degree in English from Ursinus College, with minors in Communications and Creative Writing.

Karen Pokras writes adult contemporary and middle grade fiction under the names Karen Pokras and Karen Pokras Toz. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of the Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen’s books include Chasing Invisible and The Whispered Wishes series. For more information, please visit

Lynn Rosen has many years of experience as an editor at publishing houses including Ballantine Books and Running Press. For eight years she ran the Leap First Literary Agency. Currently she is director of the Open Book program, dealing with classes and author events, and the new indie Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park, PA. She was previously Editorial Director of Book Business magazine, and Director of Graduate Publishing Programs at Rosemont College. She is the author of Elements of the Table: A Simple Guide for Hosts and Guests.
Miral Sattar is CEO of Bibliocrunch, an award-winning platform that matches authors with trusted, prescreened book publishing professionals. Members of our community have worked for some of the largest publishing houses in the world, including Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. Bibliocrunch has helped numerous authors hit the Amazon best-seller list. Miral has worked in the media industry for 11 years, most recently at TIME where she launched several digital initiatives including an iPad and mobile site, mobile apps, a video and podcast channel, blogs, and SEO. She and her writing have been featured in numerous media outlets including BusinessWeek, BBC, TIME, Forbes, Money Magazine, Consumer Reports, PBS, and other media publications. She has a MS in Publishing (NYU) and a BS in Computer Engineering (Columbia). You can follow Miral on Twitter @bibliocrunch or @miralsattar.

Curtis Smith has published over one hundred stories and essays. His work has been cited by The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best American Spiritual Writing. He is the author of five story collections, three novels, and two essays collections. His most recent books are Beasts and Men (stories, Press 53) and Communion (essays, Dock Street Press). Next year Ig Publishing will release his next book, a series of essays inspired by Slaughterhouse-Five.

Anne Converse Willkomm has served as Rosemont’s Director of Publishing Program since 2012. Prior to that she served as the Program Advisor and taught developmental writing at Philadelphia University and Rosemont. She is also a writer and a freelance editor, where she works with both corporate clients and emerging writers on novel-length work. Her own creative writing has appeared in The Medulla Review, Postcard ShortsFiction365, Sybil Magazine,, and The Midwest Coast Review. Several longer works of her fiction were twice named semi-finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition.

Meet the Editors 2015

Push to Publish 2015

Meet the Editors Coming to Push to Publish

Whether you are an established writer or just getting started, this one-day workshop will provide valuable resources you can use to get your work in print and online.

Meet the editors joining us for the 2015 Push to Publish conference on October 10, 2015!

COURTNEY K. BAMBRICK is Philadelphia Stories’ poetry editor. Her poetry has appeared at The Fanzine, Apiary, Certain Circuits, Dirty Napkin, Philadelphia Poets, Mad Poets Review, and Schuylkill Valley Journal. She judged the 2015 poetry contest for the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. Courtney teaches composition, creative writing, and literature at Holy Family, Delaware County Community College, Widener, Rosemont, and others. Courtney will be reading poetry.

Janet Benton is a writer, editor, and teacher of writing with three decades of experience. She has written and/or edited works for many audiences, from mass to scholarly, including books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, journal articles, documentaries, web sites, speeches, novels, short stories, and dissertations. For two years she served as a script consultant and a co-writer for a documentary series on Philadelphia history, The Great Experiment. Her editing has brought many works from rough to exceptional to even prize-winning; her mission is to craft powerful communications and to give others the tools, awareness, and support they need to do the same.  With a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in English from U. Mass. Amherst, Benton has an avid interest in women’s history and is working on a historical novel.  Janet will be reading fiction or nonfiction.
Jon Busch lives in Philadelphia where he works in editing and writes during the evenings. He is the Assistant Fiction editor at Cleaver  magazine and Production Assistant at Philadelphia Stories Magazine.

 Rosemary Cappello’s poetry has appeared in Voices in Italian Americana, Poet Lore, Iconoclast, Avanti Popolo, Sweet Lemons 2, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Poetry Ink, Autumn Sky, and many other publications from 1971 to the present. Rosemary’s most time-consuming work is that of editing and publishing the annual literary journal, Philadelphia Poets, which she founded in 1980, and planning and presiding over readings in connection with that publication. Rosemary’s most recent chapbook is San Paride, named for the patron saint of Teano, Italy. She is currently working on a collection of love poems. Rosemary will be reading poetry.

Julia MacDonnell Chang has been teaching writing at Rowan University for the past 23 years.  Her second novel, Mimi Malloy At Lastwas published by Picador in April 2014 to rave reviews in the national press, including three out of four stars in People Magazine. Her short story, Dancing with NED, was published in the spring/summer issue of Alaska Quarterly Review.  She is also the nonfiction editor of Philadelphia Stories, a quarterly magazine of literature and art in both print and online formats. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American Literary Review, Happy, Mangrove, Briar Cliff Review, Paper Street, North Dakota Quarterly, The Larcom Review, Heart Quarterly, and Many Mountains Moving. Her first novel, A Year of Favor was published by William Morrow & Co. and is available through the Authors Guild Back in Print program and iUniverse. MacDonnell earned a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and one in English Literature and Creative Writing from Temple University. Julia will be reading nonfiction.

Anna M. Evans’ is the founder of Barefoot Muse Press. Her poems have appeared in the Harvard ReviewAtlanta ReviewRattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of Fellowships from the MacDowell Artists’ Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers’ Choice Award, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Stockton University. Her sonnet collection, Sisters & Courtesans, is available from White Violet Press. She blogs at will be reading nonfiction or poetry.

Alison Hicks is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops. She has also been a writing coach for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She is the author of a full-length collection of poems, Kiss (PS Books, 2011), a chapbook, Falling Dreams (Finishing Line Press, 2006), and a novella, Love: A Story of Images (AWA Press, 2004), and an anthology, Prompted (PS Books, 2010). Her work has appeared in Broad River Review, Crack the Spine, Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, Licking River Review, The Ledge, Louisville Review, Permafrost, Sanskrit, Whiskey Island, and other journals. Awards include the 2011 Philadelphia City Paper Poetry Prize and two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships. Allison will be reading fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

Stephen Kolter is a founding editor for the micro-press, Creeping Lotus. Creeping Lotus specializes in redemptive literary and musical undertakings. They promote various types of art that deal with themes of transcendence from darkness into light. Whether the artist’s ascension is implied from their biography or dealt with directly within the work, the creations we seek to promote will inspire the audience and support them in their own battle with the ills of life.

Peter Krok is the editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal and serves as the humanities/poetry director of the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center where he has coordinated a literary series since 1990. He also is the editor of Because of his connection to Philadelphia, he is known as “the red brick poet.”  His book Looking For An Eye was published by the Foothills Press. One of his special responsibilities is particularly to choose all the nonfiction articles in the SVJ. Peter will be reading nonfiction.

Bernadette McBride serves on the poetry board of Schuylkill Valley Journal. Her full-length collection of poems is entitled Waiting for the Light to Change (WordTech Editions, 2013). A former Poet Laureate of Bucks County, PA, she has taught Creative Writing at Temple University, and conducts poetry and fiction writing workshops in the Bucks County region, often on the intersection of art and writing. Her poem “Flying Lessons” was  read by Garrison Keillor for NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” (October, 2013). Visit her blog at Bernadette will be reading poetry.

Prize-winning author Fran Metzman is the fiction editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal. She writes articles about opening greater vistas for the elderly and women’s issues (as well as those for men) for various journals. They include all aspects of society influences on relationships. Her short story collection, THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES, Wilderness House Press, was published in 2012 and was nominated for a Dzanc Books award, “Best of the Web” in 2009. In addition to publishing twenty-six short stories in various hard copy literary journals (as well as a novel she co-authored, UGLY COOKIES), she has most recently published two short stories in Wilderness House Literary Review online, editions 5/3 and 6/2. For the last six years she has taught creative writing/memoir workshops at Temple University/OLLI’s adult school. At Rosemont College, she taught publishing skills to grad students. She is a graduate of the Moore College of Art and received her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Fran will be reading fiction or nonfiction.

Diane O’Connell is the author of The Novel-Maker’s Handbook: the no-nonsense guide to crafting a marketable story, winner of the Independent Publisher’s Award for best writing/publishing book of 2015. A former editor at Random House, she is currently editorial director of Write To Sell Your Book (, a full-service author resource located in New York City. While her author-clients have achieved international publishing success, she continues to speak and conduct highly praised workshops around the United States. She makes her home in New York. Diane will be reading fiction or nonfiction.

Marlo Scrimizzi is Assistant Editor at Running Press Kids.

Mitchell Sommers is the Fiction Editor and a member of the Board of Directors of Philadelphia Stories.  He has been published, in addition to Philadelphia Stories, in PHASE, The Big Toe Review, iPinion, The Philadelphia Inquirer, APIARY, Burlesque Press, and the F&M Alumni Arts Review. He is an attorney in Lancaster and Ephrata, PA, concentrating in the field of bankruptcy and debtor/creditor law, and has been a panelist at bankruptcy law seminars. He is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, received his law degree from Penn State Dickinson School of Law, and his MFA from the University of New Orleans. Mitch will be reading fiction.

Tiffany Sumner is a writer and the managing editor of Rathalla Review. She is enrolled in Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing program, where she is writing her first novel. She holds a MS in Publishing from NYU and a BA in English from VCU.

Carla Spataro is the editorial director and co-founder of Philadelphia Stories magazine and PS Books. She is a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship recipient for fiction. Her work can be read in Painted Bride QuarterlyWild River ReviewXConnectMason’s RoadThe Baltimore Review, and others. She is the program director of Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing and has taught English and creative writing courses at a number of Philadelphia area colleges. Carla will be reading fiction.

Joe Samuel Starnes’s newest novel, Red Dirt: A Tennis Novel, was published earlier this year by Breakaway Books. He has published two previous novels, Calling (Jefferson Press, 2005), which was re-issued last year as an ebook by Road, and Fall Line (NewSouth Books, 2011), selected to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Best of the South” list. He has had work appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and various magazines, as well as essays, short stories, and poems in literary journals. He works in the administration and teaches at Widener University. A native of Georgia, he lives in Haddon Township, New Jersey. For more, visit Sam will be reading fiction and nonfiction.

Donna Talarico is an independent creative professional and the founder/publisher of Hippocampus Magazine. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University and an MBA from Elizabethtown College. From 2010 to 2015 was the director of integrated communications at Elizabethtown College. She still speaks regularly at industry higher education web/marketing conferences, and she authored a chapter in mStoner’s Social Works: How #HigherEd Uses #Social Media to Raise Money, Build Awareness, Recruit Students, and Get Results. Prior to working in higher education, Donna had careers in eCommerce and radio. Also, for 11 years, until she relocated, she was a correspondent for a daily paper and alternative weekly in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. area. She loves tasting microbrews, eating cheese, enjoying local arts and culture, traveling to national parks, and playing Scrabble. Donna will be reading nonfiction.

Meet the Agents 2015

Push to Publish 2015

Meet the Agents Coming to Push to Publish

Whether you are an established writer or just getting started, this one-day workshop will provide valuable resources you can use to get your work in print and online.

Meet the agents joining us for the 2015 Push to Publish conference on October 10, 2015!

 Jordy Albert is a Literary Agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She is looking for stories that sink their teeth in, leave the reader wanting more, and gives her all the feels. She loves books that make her laugh out loud, cry, or even want to throw the book! Jordy is interested in fun, witty Middle Grade. Contemporary or action/adventure (think awesome 80s movies), YA contemporary romance, Sci-fi, fantasy and thriller/suspense – MUST have romance, and more! Also of interest are smart, sexy contemporary romances that leave her breathless, where the chemistry between the characters sizzles right off the pages. She is on the lookout for Historical Romances (she has a soft spot for a fantastic Regency). Jordy is a sucker for a happy ending. She is always looking for strong, intelligent characters (snarky, but likable). Jordy loves an awesome kick butt hero/heroine, especially when they have to work their way out of a tight spot.

Please note: that while it isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, Jordy tends to shy away from novels with trigger topics, such as suicide and any type of abuse.

Sheree Bykofsky, AAR, represents over 100 book authors in all areas of adult non-fiction as well as literary and commercial fiction. Among Sheree’s nonfiction clients are Jane Eldershaw, Bill Walsh, Margo Perin, Albert Ellis, John Carpenter (first millionaire on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”), Bill Baker (President of Channel 13, PBS in NYC), Supermodel Roshumba, and Richard Roeper (of Ebert and Roeper). In the area of fiction, Sheree’s clients include Donna Anders and Leslie Rule. Sheree is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Publishing at New York University and teaches at SEAK’s conferences for doctors and lawyers. Sheree is very proud to represent her latest author, Philadelphia Stories‘ essay editor Julia MacDonnell, author of MIMI MALLOY AT LAST (Picador), whom she met at Push to Publish!

Sheree represents 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 over 15 years of experience in publishing, most recently as Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she managed the children’s division of the Latino imprint, Rayo. Prior to that, she was Children’s Reviews Editor at Criticas magazine, published by Library Journal. She is a member of the Brooklyn Literary Council that organizes the Brooklyn Book Festival, and one of the founders of the Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference in New York City. Adriana joined Full Circle in 2009, and is based on the East Coast.

Adriana is interested in children’s picture books, middle grade novels, and literary young adult novels. On the adult side, she is looking for literary and women’s works of fiction that feature characters with unique voices telling unforgettable stories. In the area of non-fiction, she seeks pop culture, and how-to titles geared toward women of all ages, written by authors with rock-solid platforms. Adriana welcomes submissions that offer diverse points of view. 

Please note: Adriana is not accepting short stories, poetry, romance, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, paranormal, or Spanish language only submissions. 


Marie Lamba ( is author of the picture book Green, Green (Farrar Straus Giroux, ’17), and the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head, and Drawn. Her work appears in the short story anthology Liar Liar (Mendacity Press), the anthology Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing), and her articles are in more than 100 publications including national magazines such as Writer’s Digest and Garden Design. She has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, and a book publicist, has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion, and belongs to The Liars Club. Marie is also an Associate Literary Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in NYC (, where she represents picture book writers and illustrators, middle grade, YA and adult fiction, plus memoir.

Marie is currently looking for young adult and middle grade fiction, along with general and women’s fiction and some memoir.  She is open to submissions from picture book authors or illustrators who are already established, or whose work she has requested through conferences.  Overall, books that are moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome.

 Please note: she is NOT interested in genre science fiction or high fantasy (though she is open to speculative elements and loves a good ghost story), category romance (though romantic elements are welcomed), non-fiction, or in books that feature graphic violence. 


Jennifer Mishler is an avid reader and has always wanted to be involved with books . To her, nothing is better than falling in love with strong characters and getting lost in an interesting plot. Jennifer looks for dark humor, romance, and world building when reading manuscripts. Her favorite stories are The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Jennifer enjoys reading strong, interesting characters who are made up of shades of gray. Her biggest pet peeves for writing include: weak dialogue, info dumping, and an imbalance of showing vs. telling.

Please note: Jennifer is no longer accepting paranormal, sci-fi submissions. She is looking for YA Thrillers, YA Contemporary Romance, and New Adult.

Gina Panettieri is President of Talcott Notch Literary Services, a 5-member boutique agency representing a full range of fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. A 25-year veteran of the publishing industry, she’s placed hundreds of books with publishers such as Berkley, McGraw-Hill, Wiley, Macmillan, and Adams Media. The agency website is

Gina is seeking edgy, darker Young Adult, adventurous or humorous Middle-Grade fiction, all genres of adult fiction, and nonfiction genres like business/career/investing, cookbooks, crafts, self-help, memoir, travel, popular science, history, true crime and gift books. She is also always on the hunt for projects for her agency colleagues, and has brought home a number of projects from conferences and contests that have been signed and sold that way.

A literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Katharine Sands has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books. Highlights include Spiritual Pregnancy: Nine Months that Change Your Life Before You Give Birth by Dr. Shawn Tassone and Dr. Kathryn Landherr; Loglines by Lane Shefter Bishop; Talk to Strangers: How Everyday Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income and Life by David Topus; The New Rules of Attraction: How to Get Him, Keep Him and Make Him Beg for More by Arden Leigh; Stand Up for Yourself: Resolve Workplace Crises Before You Quit, Get Axed or Sue the Bastards by Donna Ballman; Health and Beauty Bullet Points with Dr. Oz guest, Dr. Pina Loguidice; Dating the Devil (producer: Vast Entertainment) by Lia Romeo; XTC: SongStories; Chasing Zebras: THE Unofficial Guide to House, MD by Barbara Barnett of Let’s Talk TV; CityTripping: a Guide for Foodies, Fashionistas and the Generally Style-Obsessed; Writers on Directors; Ford model Helen Lee’s The Tao of Beauty; Elvis and You: Your Guide to the Pleasures of Being an Elvis Fan; New York: Songs of the City; Taxpertise: Dirty Little Secrets the  IRS Doesn’t Want You to Know; The SAT Word Slam, Divorce After 50; Trust Your Gut; Make Up, Don’t Break Up with Oprah guest Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil to name a few. She is the agent provocateur of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye, a collection of pitching wisdom from leading literary agents.

Actively building her client list, she likes books that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. She is also looking for compelling reads in fiction, memoir and femoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed; for fiction, she wants to be compelled and propelled.

Eric Smith is an author, blogger, and literary agent with P.S. Literary, happily living in Philadelphia. An author of Young Adult fiction and humor, his books have been translated into six languages. Before becoming an agent, he spent several years at a wonderful publisher, Quirk Books, where he handles marketing for many bestselling titles. He can be found writing for places like BookRiot, Barnes & Noble, Paste Magazine, and The Huffington Post. Locally, he’s the co-founder of Geekadelphia and the Philadelphia Geek Awards.

Eric Smith is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary, with a love for young adult books, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction.