2022 Conference 10-Minute Agent/Publisher Pitches

The 10-minute elevator pitch provides the chance to present the idea of your book the way you would if you were on a slow elevator ride with an agent or publisher. Your job is to learn how to pitch so compellingly that the agent or publisher tells you to send the entire manuscript for consideration of representation.

Conference attendees have the opportunity to sign up for two 10-minute pitch sessions FREE of charge. Slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to members of Hampton Roads Writers. Golden Ticket attendees will be allowed to pitch to all agents/publisher if so desired. Come prepared to pitch your project.

Literary Agents and Publisher

Kelly Thomas, agent at Serendipity Literary agency, brings seventeen years of sales and business expertise to the literary world as a champion for writers. Kelly is a Certified Copy Editor who has a Bachelor's degree in English (Literature) from Pace University. She is an associate member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and a member of the Editorial Freelance Association. Prior to joining Serendipity, she provided manuscript analysis for the D4EO literary agency. Kelly is a published poet with publications in 'Tales for the Disenchanted' (2008) and 'Penumbra Art & Literature' (2015). She has served as an editor for the literary arts magazine Pen & Brush and as a writing coach for the academic consulting company Brattlestreet. Kelly works as a freelance editor and ghostwriter in her free time. She is a ferocious reader and has a passion for reading and writing. Kelly is eagerly building her client roster and is actively seeking the next bestselling author!

What She's Looking For:

Kelly considers herself a generalist who is drawn to lyrical writing and strong voices. She is interested in nonfiction (narrative nonfiction, memoirs, true crime), and adult fiction (psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense, comedies).  She also represents children’s books including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. She enjoys fast-paced, plot-driven fiction with twists, turns, and jaw-dropping moments. She is drawn to stories about leadership, overcoming adversity, and beating the odds. Stories that are told from a unique psychological vantage point are always of interest. The truth is often stranger than fiction, so Kelly is actively looking for the next great true crime manuscript with a murderous and methodical plot. She loves multi-layered protagonists who struggle between what is right and wrong, and anti-heroes who are villainous but endearing at the same time. Some of her favorite books that perfectly master this include Dearly Departed DexterYouAmerican PsychoFight ClubPsychoInterview With a VampireDracula, and My Sister the Serial Killer.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children's, Commercial, Crime, Horror, Humor, LGBTQ, Mystery, New Adult, Picture Books, Thriller, Women’s Fiction
Non-Fiction: Biography, Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Sports, Travel, True Crime

Cate Hart joined Harvey Klinger Literary Agency in 2019 after 5 years with a New York agency where she represented Middle Grade to Adult fiction. She specializes in Historical, whether in Young Adult, Women’s Fiction and Romance, or narrative non-fiction. She is particularly drawn to oft forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. She also loves high-concept fantasy in YA and Adult fiction. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, studying Theatre and History, Cate currently lives in Nashville with her children.



  • Narrative
  • History
  • Film/TV/Theatre
  • Pop Culture
  • Music


  • Historical
  • Commercial
  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Psychological Thriller
  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult

Jonathan Rosenliterary agent at The Seymour Agency, is also the author of several Middle Grade books, and has spent the last few years working as a freelance writer and editor. He goes into agenting with a knowledge of what it’s like to be on the author side of the trenches, to help guide writers along on their path to publication. He has a passion for books and wants to help as many people as possible get published. Being of Jewish-Mexican descent, he will always have an eye out for diverse voices, and in particular ones that reflect his background.

He is actively seeking Projects in the following categories:

Kidlit: YA, Graphic Novels, non-fiction, and will consider PBs and Chapter Books. (Not looking for MG at this time)

YA and Adult Fiction: Mysteries (All types), Thrillers, RomComs, Historical Fiction, Sports, Romantic Comedy, and anything with humor.

Non-Fiction: Biographies, Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Science, Entertainment, Humor, Sports, Travel, True Crime, and Journalism, among many others.

John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, a righter of wrong, defender of ladies’ virtues, and some people call him Maurice, for he speaks of the pompatus of love. He is also the award-winning author of the urban fantasy series The Black Knight Chronicles, the Bubba the Monster Hunter comedic horror series, the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter dark fantasy series, and many other projects. He is also a cast member of the role-playing podcast Authors & Dragons, where a group of comedy, fantasy, and horror writers play Dungeons & Dragons. Very poorly.

In 2016, John teamed up with several other publishing industry professionals to create Falstaff Books, a small press dedicated to publishing the best of genre fiction’s “misfit toys.” Falstaff Books has since published over 150 titles with authors ranging from first-timers to NY Times bestsellers, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. In February 2019, Falstaff Books launched Con-Tagion, which has very quickly morphed into SAGA – THE Professional Development Conference for Genre Fiction Writers, held in Charlotte, NC every year. In his copious free time John enjoys long walks on the beach, rescuing kittens from trees and playing Magic: the Gathering. John’s pronouns are he/him.

What we are looking for: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Weird West, and, of course, misfit toys. Our Falstaff Crush line specializes in romance but should include elements of the other genres as well. No Young Adult, Middle Grade, Chapter Books, or Picture Books please. We are not set up to market to these audiences. Also no Erotica; though we do accept work that has erotic elements, they can’t be the focus of the story/narrative itself—even in the Falstaff Crush line.

Novels — Falstaff Books prefers novel-length submissions in the range of 60,000 to 110,000 words.

Novellas — Falstaff Books considers novellas in the 30,000 to 40,000 words across various genres.