F209. Unpublished Writer to Author: Get from Agent to Book Deal to Career as Author

Oregon Ballroom 203, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Friday, March 29, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


The road from unpublished writer to author is long and filled with potential pitfalls. What should you do before approaching an agent? How do you get one interested in you? What are do’s and don’ts while working with an editor? Should you hire an independent publicist? How do you give a good reading? These seasoned authors who have successfully navigated this rocky terrain talk about their experiences with different agencies and publishing houses, and share their top tips and hard-earned advice.



Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the award-winning novels Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in eighteen countries and is taught in schools across the world. She has spoken at Harvard, Columbia and many other schools and venues.

Julia Fierro is the author of the novels The Gypsy Moth Summer and Cutting Teeth. She founded The Sackett Street Writers' Workshop in 2002, home to over 5,000 writers in NYC, LA and online, named "New York City's Best Writing Class" (TimeOut NY) and "Top Alternative to MFA" by Poets & Writers.

Juan Martinez is an assistant professor at Northwestern University. Best Worst American, his story collection, was released in 2017, and his work has appeared in Huizache, Glimmer Train, McSweeney's, Ecotone, Selected Shorts, and elsewhere.

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Touch and I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, and the chapbook Notes from Mexico. Her book reviews and essays on the writing life have been widely published in outlets such as The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Tin House, Electric Lit, and Buzzfeed.

Barbara Jones is an executive editor at Henry Holt & Company, where she acquires and edits fiction, memoir, and narrative nonfiction. She was previously the editorial director at Hyperion Books, and previous to that, a longtime magazine editor, at Harper’s Magazine, Vogue, Real Simple, and elsewhere.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center