Editors and Agents Pitches

Know what to pitch—and to whom

Your RWNZ 2018 Conference Pitching Opportunities

Weekend conference attendees who’ve registered, paid and indicated on their booking form they’d like a pitch appointment will be contacted by our Pitch Co-Ordinator (via the email address supplied with your booking).  Appointments are on a first come, first served basis and whilst we will strive to meet your pitching choices, due to the demand and timing we cannot guarantee you will see all your choices. So get in quickly with your conference booking!

I’ve never pitched before, what do I do?

After the details of the pitching line-up (below) there is a guide with links to help you with your preparation. RWNZ recommends reading Kristin Nelson Agent’s blogs on pitching. The key thing to remember is these great people are wanting to love your book as much as you do. Read more about pitching here….

How do I book pitches?

You book your pitch at time of registration. You can update your registration at any time by logging into the website and visiting the My Account in the top right of the homepage. If you do change your pitching options please email the pitch coordinator to let them know.

The Pitching Line-Up

Leah Hultenschmidt -Editor Forever lines, Grand Central

Leah started her publishing career at age four at her local library, where she insisted on “helping organize” the children’s section…by color.  She’s currently the Editorial Director of Grand Central Publishing’s Forever and Forever Yours romance lines, part of the Hachette Book Group.  Her current authors include New York Times bestsellers Grace Burrowes, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Jamie McGuire, Carolyn Brown, Helena Hunting, and Katie MacAlister, among a number of others.

Leah’s particularly on the hunt for commercial women’s fiction, contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Lizzie Poteet – The Seymour Agency


Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Poteet attended Colby College where she majored in English and Religious Studies. While studying at St. Andrews, she realized that though she enjoyed Shakespeare and the Dead Sea Scrolls, she preferred reading stories with a little more heat and heart. Lizzie took her passion for romance and turned it into a position with RT Bookreviews as a romance reviewer. In 2011, she joined the editorial team at St. Martin’s Press where she worked with romance, YA, nonfiction, and women’s fiction. Then in 2015, Lizzie became the e-book original coordinator for SMP Swerve, helping launch the digital only romance imprint.

Lizzie is always looking for a good love story. She loves classic romance tropes, strong dialogue, sassy heroines, witty banter, and good old fashion romance. She’s actively seeking inspirational romance, cozy mystery, New Adult, YA, romantic suspense, historical and contemporary romances, and loves anything with a happy ending.

Kathleen Scheibling – Executive Editor Harlequin Global

Kathleen Scheibling has worked in publishing for more than twenty years and is currently Executive Editor of Harlequin Series in the Toronto office. She has worked with many New York Times bestselling authors from imprints such as Blaze, Western Romance, and most currently, Heartwarming. Harlequin has not only taught her all she needs to know about rugged cowboys and reclusive billionaires, it has also allowed her to work with the most professional, intelligent and inspiring group of authors in the business. Kathleen heads up the company’s newest global series, Harlequin/Mills & Boon DARE.

Kathleen is mainly interested in pitches for their newest, sexiest line of red-hot contemporary romances, Mills & Boon DARE. These books are published globally so we’re really looking for an international angle. Find information here.

She will also be representing the whole of Mills & Boon and Harlequin series so will take pitches for popular lines such as Mills & Boon Modern, which are pure romanctic fantasy, glitz and glamour. Find information here.

Kathleen is looking for feel-good contemporary romances with a range of sensuality – super hot for our Mills & Boon DARE line, more about sensual tension for Modern, and a bit on the sweeter side for Mills & Boon Forever Romance. We are not currently doing much acquiring for family romances set in small towns or with western settings.

Jo Mackay – Publisher Editor Harlequin Australia

Jo heads the local lists for Mira and HQ at Harlequin Australia, commissioning fiction and nonfiction. A passionate advocate for her authors, Jo firmly believes good writing can change lives. She loves true stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, historical novels, suspense, psychological thrillers, romance set in close-knit communities and stories she can’t put down after the first page. Jo has worked in publishing for more than 20 years. Originally from the UK, she began her career as a journalist in London before training as a book editor. Since then she has worked in Australia for several trade publishing houses in senior editorial roles, including six years as a Commissioning Editor at ABC Books and three years as an Associate Publisher at HarperCollins Publisher.

Check below for two different pitching options.

1.Which areas/imprints are you actively acquiring for?

Mira and HQ imprints

Mira, core romance category

HQ, diverse fiction for smart curious women

Also listening to pitches for our digital first imprint, Escape.

  1. What subgenres are you currently seeking?

Rural (or small community) romance, layered and compelling women’s ‘life lit’, family sagas, Australian or NZ historical (especially 19th and early 20th Century), domestic noir, romantic suspense

  1. What kind of writing will especially pique your interest?

Recognisable genres with an original spin, unforgettable characters, strong flawed feisty female leads, distinctive narrative voice, pace and form in perfect harmony, clever (and clear) plotting, rich settings, Australian and NZ hooks. Upwards of 90k words preferred.

  1. What are you not looking for, so we don’t waste your time and ours?

Anything under 80,000 words  (except those pitching to the Escape line) or previously published. Category (see Allison Carroll), young adult, fantasy, horror, erotica, paranormal, regency, contemporary romance set overseas, anything without an Australian or New Zealand hook

  1. What would you love/hate to see pitched to you?

Love: any manuscripts that takes the genres above and makes them fresh and original again, with an Australian or New Zealand hook. Love family sagas, Australian and new Historical, suspense and psychological thrillers.

Hate: manuscript that is obviously first draft and feeble heroines

  1. Which areas/imprints are you actively acquiring for?

Escape Publishing

  1. What sub-genres are you currently seeking?

Contemporary romances (billionaires, single dads, royals, clean and wholesome), LGBTQI, Interracial and diverse characters, historical, paranormal, suspense, rural

  1. What kind of writing will especially pique your interest?

Pacy, great character development, and fantastic dialogue.

  1. What are you not looking for, so we don’t waste your time and ours?

Escape is currently NOT looking for fantasy, YA, or submissions of less than 45000 words. Escape does consider previously published manuscripts, but does not accept mid-series submissions.

  1. What would you love/hate to see pitched to you?

Love: hot, sweet, strong stories with an emotional punch and memorable character