Pitch Sessions 2019

Once again, StokerCon™ will offer an opportunity for attendees to pitch their projects directly to publishers, editors, and agents!

What Is a Pitch?

A pitch is a concise, engaging description of your project meant to pique the interest of the person to whom you are pitching your story. Make your pitch short—two or three sentences at most—and be prepared to answer questions.

What Should I Pitch?

Pitch finished projects. Do not pitch ideas. Make sure your work is error-free and ready to submit. However, do not bring the manuscript with you. If someone shows interest in your work, they will ask you to submit it once you return from StokerCon™. 

To Whom Should I Pitch?

Choose pitch takers who actually represent your project. If you’ve written a Young Adult Horror novel, make sure the person/people to whom you want to pitch represent/publish YA Horror. This is a critical part of the pitch process—do your homework before you decide to whom you wish to pitch. You have one shot with this person. Make sure it counts.

How Do Pitch Sessions Work?

There are a limited number of pitch session for each publisher, editor, or agent assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, in the order the requests are received. When you preregister for a pitch session, list up to three of your preferred pitch takers. This helps your chances to get at least one of your favored choices.

What to Expect at a StokerCon™ Pitch Session

Pitch Sessions are scheduled for Saturday, May 11thfrom 3 pm to 5 pm in the Pantlind Ballroom of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Prior to the pitch sessions, publishers, editors, and agents taking pitches will appear on a panel to discuss the best ways to pitch your project, what they are looking for in a pitch, and what not to do while pitching. Anyone scheduled to give a pitch is strongly advised to attend this panel. Each pitch lasts ten minutes. You will have five minutes to pitch your project, and an additional five minutes for question-and-answer. At the ten-minute mark, you will be notified that your pitch session is over. At that time, smile, thank the person across from you, and exit the ballroom. We typically have over sixty pitch sessions scheduled, and timing is critical. Any holdup throws the whole schedule off. Also, please report to the Pantlind Ballroom at least fifteen minutes before your scheduled pitch time to guarantee your place.

What If You Dont Get a Pitch Session with Your Top Choice?

Demand is high for pitch sessions. It is possible you may not get your top choices. Don’t despair! Most agents and editors attend the full StokerCon™ weekend and are willing to chat with you at other times during the convention—as long as you approach them in a polite, professional manner. Maybe offer to buy them a drink at the bar. But most of all, be considerate, be concise, and don’t take up too much of their time. 

Our Pitch Taker Line-up:

Jennifer Barnes

Editor, Raw Dog Screaming Press

Jennifer Barnes is managing editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press and has been publishing for more than 15 years. She spent four years as an editor for The Dream People Literary Magazine. Her children’s book, Better Haunted Homes and Gardens, illustrated by Kristen Margiotta, is a seasonal favorite. Jennifer graduated from The University of Maryland with a BA in English and a concentration in poetry. She is also an accomplished graphic designer.

RDSP is looking for dark, speculative novels of 90,000 words or less, as well as book length poetry collections that do not rely heavily on rhyme. Authors desiring a collaborative approach, who want to take an active role in promoting their works, are preferred. We are particularly interested in writers from underrepresented groups with unique perspectives. RDSP publishes works with a literary bent that take new approaches either to form or subject. We are not interested in standard tropes from a traditional perspective.

Leza Cantoral

Editor-in-Chief, CLASH Books

Leza Cantoral is the Editor-in-Chief of CLASH Books. She is the author of Planet MermaidCartoons in the Suicide Forest, and Trash Panda. She hosts the Get Lit With Leza literary podcast, where she talks to cool-ass writers, and is the editor of Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @lezacantoral.

CLASH Books is an independent, intersectional press based in New Hampshire that publishes powerful and diverse voices in all genres. Leza looks for unique voices, language that stands out, and characters that compel her. In particular, she is interested in stories involving women, POC, and LGBTQ.

Lesley Conner

Editor, Apex Publications

Lesley Conner is the managing editor of Apex Publications and Apex Magazine, as well as a writer and a Girl Scout leader. Her first novel, The Weight of Chains, was published by Sinister Grin Press in September, 2015. She is the co-editor, along with Jason Sizemore, of Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1 and Do Not Go Quietly. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and is currently working on a new novel. To find out all her secrets, you can follow her on Twitter at @LesleyConner. 

Apex Publications is looking for novellas between 30,000 and 40,000 words in length, as well as novels up to 120,000 words. We want novels that are dark, but that don’t fit comfortably within genre boundaries. We want novels that blend sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, ones that dabble in the weird and surreal, as well as the literary. We are not looking for books that are straight sci-fi, fantasy, or horror. If your novel doesn’t have a dark element to it, then it isn’t an Apex book. We are also not currently open to short fiction collections or anthology pitches. 

Don D’Auria 

Executive Editor, Flame Tree Press

For fifteen years, Don D’Auria directed Leisure Books’ horror line, which Rue Morgue magazine called “the champion of paperback horror.” Don went on to launch and direct for six years Samhain Publishing’s horror line, described by Famous Monsters as “one of the premiere lines in the genre.” During his career, he has been fortunate to work with some of the leading talents in the field, including Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Jonathan Janz, John Everson, Brian Keene, Graham Masterton, Thomas Tessier, Douglas Clegg, Hugh B. Cave, and William F. Nolan. He is the recipient of an International Horror Guild Award for his contributions to the genre. Don D’Auria is Executive Editor at Flame Tree Press, editing horror, science fiction, crime, and fantasy. He is looking for novels in those genres between 70,000 and 120,000 words in length. He is not looking for nonfiction, YA, novellas, or short stories.P

Kate Jonez

Editor, Omnium Gatherum

Kate Jonez is the Chief Editor at Omnium Gatherum. Omnium Gatherum publishes horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction. In the 5 years the press has been in operation, several titles have been nominated for awards. This year, John Claude Smith’s Riding the Centipedeand and Ian Welke’s End Times at Ridgemont High are shortlisted for a Bram Stoker Award®.

Kate is looking for novels (50k words or more) or novellas (17,500 – 50k words) that are complete. She is also interested in series if the first book is complete. Omnium Gatherum publishes stories that twist the conventions of horror, fantasy, or weird fiction in new and interesting ways. Stories with settings other than the US and UK, characters not often featured in fantasy/horror/weird fiction, and supernatural beings other than werewolves, vampires and zombies have the best chance of acceptance. If your story is too quirky, odd, or disturbing to share with the folks at your day job, Omnium Gatherum might be the publisher for you. Adult fiction with a strong voice and sense of place is preferred. YA of interest to adult reader may be considered. http://omniumgatherumbook.com

Kate is not looking for collections or anthologies at this time.

Johnny Worthen

Acquisitions EditorOmnium Gatherum

Johnny Worthen is an award-winning, best-selling, multiple-genre, tie-dye wearing author, voyager, and damn fine human being! Trained in stand-up comedy, modern literary criticism, and cultural studies, he writes upmarket fiction—long and short—and mentors where he can. He is a Utah Writer of the Year and President of the League of Utah Writers. When not writing or haunting conferences and conventions, he is a writing instructor at the University of Utah.

As an acquisitions editor for Omnium Gatherum, Johnny is looking for dark fiction with literary depths, with a  particular interest in completed series.

“I like truth wherever it takes us. Thematic questions and directions. The promise of unbridled expectation, turned and twisted to inevitable surprises. Well written stories that challenge and entertain. I like philosophical themes, occultism, inclusion, exploring the human condition. I’m not a big fan of splatter porn or unnecessary gore, but if it serves the story, okay. Young adult and above.”

Christopher C. Payne

Publisher, JournalStone Publishing

Christopher C. Payne is JournalStone’s owner and publisher. Chris is open to mostly all sub-genres of horror, with a particular fondness for gothic, body, psychological, and weird, and he especially loves reading about diverse protagonists from diverse authors. He is not looking for YA, zombies, or paranormal romance manuscripts at this time.

Norman Prentiss

Editor, Electronic Books Division, Cemetery Dance Publications

Norman Prentiss is Editor, Electronic Books Division, with Cemetery Dance Publications. He is the author of Odd Adventures with your Other Father, Life in a Haunted House, and The Apocalypse-a-Day Desk Calendar. He won a Bram Stoker Award® for his first book, Invisible Fences. Other publications include The Book of Baby Names, Four Legs in the Morning, The Fleshless Man, The Halloween Children (with Brian James Freeman), and The Narrator (with Michael McBride), with story appearances in Dark Screams, Postscripts, Black Static, Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and five editions of the Shivers anthology series. 

Visit him online at www.normanprentiss.com.

Norman’s emphasis for Cemetery Dance is eBook only, open to dark suspense and horror (sci-fi or fantasy elements are a tough sell for him). He will definitely consider novellas and short story single-author collections, since they work well in the eBook format.

Cherry Weiner

Agent, Cherry Weiner Literary Agency

Cherry Weiner grew up in Australia, lived in Europe for three and a half years, and moved to America when she married her husband, Jack.  She has been agenting since 1977, when she was fired by her boss, the well-known Robert P. Mills. Mills’ famous clients (she will not drop any further names, but might tell you about it, if you ask her), took two years to convince her to open her own agency. They did this by inundating her with new authors and their manuscripts. She started out by handling science fiction, fantasy, and horror. She now handles all genres of fiction. She handles a good number of fairly well-known authors in the field of Horror, Romance, Mystery, Westerns, Native American novels, and Historical novels covering all the various genres each category can break out into. Only once in a very special situation has non-fiction crept into the mix but no poetry, no children’s fiction and no Young Adult works. If she handles any Y.A., it’s science fiction, fantasy, or horror, and only by the authors she already represents in adult fiction.

Pitch session signups will start after the full Stokercon™ 2019 programming has been published and will be announced on both the StokerCon™ and the Horror Writers Association’s Facebook pages.