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Thursday, April 21, 2011

WVW 2011 Summer Conference Pitch Session Information

On the morning of Saturday, June 11th, West Virginia Writers, Inc., will kick off a day of extreme opportunity with an open discussion forum titled "Agents and Publishers: what you need to know NOW." The Cedar Lakes assembly hall will still be buzzing with Saturday Registrations, but center stage will take precedence as we proudly bring you:

Katharine Sands: A literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Katharine has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books. Highlights include XTC: SongStories; Chasing Zebras: THE Unofficial Guide to House, MD; Make Up, Don't Break Up with Oprah guest Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil; Playwright Robert Patrick's novel, Temple Slave; The Complete Book on International Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Child; Hands Off My Belly: The Pregnant Woman's Survival Guide to Myths, Mothers, and Moods; Under the Hula Moon; Whipped: A Professional Dominatrix's Secrets for Wrapping Men Around Your Little Finger; The Gay Vacation Guide; 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; The Complete Book of Bone Health; The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery, 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, life challenges or popular culture. When reading fiction she wants to be compelled and propelled by urgent storytelling, and hooked by characters. For memoir and femoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed.

Benjamin LeRoy is the Publisher of Tyrus Books, an independent press known for its crime and dark literary fiction. Before starting Tyrus Books in the summer of 2009, he was a founder and Publisher of Bleak House Books. In 2008, Publishers Weekly selected LeRoy as part of their "Fifty Under Forty" series. Novels published by Bleak House and Tyrus have been nominated for and/or won most of the major awards in crime fiction including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, and the Barry. Other accolades include Lambda Award nominations, a Florida Book Award, and a Southern California Independent Booksellers Association nomination. He is at work on a novel and a variety of media projects using words, audio, and video as part of The Bagmen Collective. He is particularly interested in crime and literary fiction as well as novels set in non-metropolitan pockets of America that deal with regular people having to make sense of the world, usually after a crime.

These two industry pros will be fielding pitches in the afternoon of Saturday, June 11th.

Each individual pitch session will cost $10 and will be timed to precisely five minutes and we will have an intern on the clock. So if you must script and rehearse your pitch to hit this five minute window, by all means do so (usually 2.5 double spaced pages equals 5 minutes, if you're memorizing).


When you arrive for your appointment in the Assembly Hall, you must check in with the Appointment Coordinator designated for the agent or publisher that you're scheduled to pitch to. If your appointments are made with both the agent and publisher, please check in with each coordinator so that they can mark that you've arrived. This will help keep us on track. If you miss your scheduled appointment time, the appointment cannot be rescheduled if there are no available time slots. No refunds will be issued.

Pitch sessions are limited for our agent and publisher, so early reservation is recommended.

  • To sign up for your PITCH SESSION(S) with: Katharine Sands or Ben LeRoy send an email to Susanna Holstein. You may reach Susanna at:
  • The cost of each session is $10 per FIVE MINUTE PITCH. No allowances will be made for anything longer than five minutes so please rehearse. The cost of these pitches will help offset the agent/publisher expenses for WVW.
  • In order to participate in these Pitch Sessions, you must register and pay for at least the day of Saturday, June 11, of the Conference.
  • Registered attendees may schedule an appointment with both the agent and the publisher; however, separate appointments must be made for each pitch and the $10 fee is required for each one.
  • Please pay for the pitch session(s) at the conference. Do not send money prior to the conference day. You will receive a reservation card with your time slot on it on June 11.
  • You will sign up for your time slot when you make payment at the conference. It’s first come, first served.
  • A HOW TO session on giving pitches by Christine Witthohn can be found via the WV Writers Podcast Episode #34. There will also be a Saturday morning workshop on the topic of pitching at our conference.
  • If necessary, we will offer a wait list in the event the slots are filled and there is a cancellation. Please check back at the registration table to see if a slot has opened.
  • Reservations will be taken until noon Saturday.
  • Only those attendees who have an appointment are allowed in the pitching area. This is to help ease noise levels and crowding issues. We thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding.

PLEASE don’t pass up this incredible opportunity; these folks are aggressively seeking new authors. If you would like to verify what they publish, take a look at their websites.

Katharine Sands:

Ben LeRoy:

And just so you know…… The appearance of Katharine Sands and Ben LeRoy is due to the incredible efforts of Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency. Books Cents has become an outstanding advocate to the writing community in West Virginia and Kentucky. Much thanks to our good friend, Christine!

For conference registration information: