Las Comadres, in collaboration with Medgar Evers College, CUNY: National Black Writers Conference, the Center for Black Literature, the Foreign Language Department, and ALAS–Association for Latin American Studies present

Comadres y Compadres
Writers Conference

Access • Guidance • Community

Press Release
8:00 am to 6 pm
Date: October 6, 2012
Place: Medgar Evers College
The City University of New York (CUNY)
Academic Complex Building (AB1)
1638 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, New York 11225
(at Crown Street)
Directions: 2, 3, 4, 5 trains to Franklin Ave.
Map and directions
Click here to Register for the Conference

The Comadres y Compadres Writers Conference, which will take place at the Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York on October 6, 2012, will provide Latino writers with access to published Latino authors as well as agents and editors who have a proven track record of publishing Latino writers. In addition, the CCWC will offer an insider’s perspective on how best to navigate the particular challenges and opportunities faced by Latino writers in the current publishing landscape, as well as foster a vibrant national community of writers akin to what Las Comadres has already created with its Las Comadres international network and its Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club and Teleconference Series.

Association of American Publishers
Full Circle Literacy
Marcela Landres
PubIt by Barnes and Noble

How to Prepare for a Writers Conference (back to top)

  1. Bring business cards. If you don’t have business cards, you can create your own using templates such as those offered by Avery
  2. Wear layers. Autumn weather in New York can vary, as can the temperature indoors vs. outdoors, so please dress appropriately.
  3. Pack a writing pad and pens. Our speakers will be sharing much wisdom, and you’ll want to jot it all down.
  4. Create a plan. Carefully read the program, determine which panels offer the information you seek and/or the speakers you want to meet, and schedule your day accordingly. Click here for the program.
  5. Know who you want to know. Read the bios of each speaker to see whose experience and expertise is a good fit for you. An editor who specializes in science fiction may not be the best person to pitch if your book is a literary memoir. Click here for the One on one speaker bios.
  6. Prepare your pitch. If an agent or editor asks you to describe your work, you want to be able to do so concisely and confidently. Practice in front of a mirror and/or with an honest friend. Strive to pitch your book in a single sentence, in thirty seconds or less.
  7. Collect business cards. The conference is an excellent opportunity for you to connect with a dynamic community of like-minded people. Ask for the cards of everyone you meet, offer your own, and stay in touch because connections create opportunity.

Program (check back often for Updates) (back to top)
(Click on names for their bios)

8:00–8:45 am
On-site Registration, Coffee, and Light Breakfast

9:00–9:50 am
Welcome, Introductions, Agenda

10:00–10:50 am
Panel 1
Magazines and Literary Journals
—Being published in a mainstream magazine or literary journal is often a necessary stepping-stone to publishing a book. Magazines and literary journal editors discuss what kinds of writers and writing they seek
Panelists: Michael Archer, Writer and Editor-in-Chief/Guernica Magazine; Michelle Herrera Mulligan, Editor-in-Chief/Cosmopolitan Latina; Laura Pegram, Founder, Managing Editor/Kweli Journal
Moderator: Liz Mathews, Submission Reader/Slice Literary
Panel 2

Genre—Authors who write romance, suspense/thrillers, and fantasy/science fiction face their own challenges—and opportunities
Panelists: Caridad Pineiro Scordato, Author/The Claimed/Grand Central Publishing; Daniel Jose Older, Author/Salsa Nocturna/Crossed Genres; Sabrina Vourvoulias, Author/Ink/Crossed Genres
Moderator: Selina McLemore, Senior Editor/Grand Central Publishing

11:00–11:50 am
Panel 3
—Published poets discuss the nuts and bolts of getting your poems into print
Panelists: Melinda Palacio, Author/How Fire is a Story, Waiting/Tia Chucha; Emanuel Xavier, Author/Pier Queen/Rebel Satori; Lila Zemborain, Author/Guardians of the Secret/Noemi Press
Moderator: Rich Villar, Executive Director/Acentos
Workshop 4
Self-Publishing—Self-publishing has proven to be a viable way for a certain kind of writer to get an agent and land a book deal. Learn how to become that kind of writer
Workshop Leader: Karen E. Quinones Miller, Author/Satin Doll/Pocket

12:00–12:50 pm
Lunch, Keynote and Q&A with Sonia Manzano, Actress and Author/The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
My Publishing Story—Sonia Manzano will share the highs and lows of her journey to publication so aspiring writers can take note of what may lay ahead for them

1:00–1:50 pm
Panel 5
Writing for Children and Young Adults—The amazing success of The Hunger Games trilogy and the Wimpy Kid series has once again placed the spotlight on children’s books. Learn from the experts about what makes a children’s book successful, and how to get into this portion of the publishing business
Panelists: Nicholasa Mohr, Author/Nilda/Arte Publico Press; Sofia Quintero, Author/Efrain’s Secret/Knopf; Edel Rodriguez, Author/Illustrator/Sergio Makes A Splash/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Moderator: Adriana Dominguez, Literary Agent/Full Circle Literary
Panel 6
—Authors discuss their motivations for writing stories and articles based on real life, and what it takes to make those writings compelling enough to print
Panelists: Adriana Lopez, Author/Count On Me: Tales of Sisterhoods and Fierce Friendships/Atria, Simon & Schuster; Luisita Lopez Torregrosa, Author/Before the Rain/Houghton Mifflin; Mirta Ojito, Author/Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus/Penguin Books
Moderator: Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Author/Mexican Enough/Atria, Simon & Schuster

2:00–2:50 pm          
Panel 7
Fiction—Authors discuss how they refined their fiction-writing skills, from plot and character development to creating distinctive narrative voices, to make their stories really stand out.
Panelists: Alberto Ferreras, Author/B is for Beauty/Grand Central Publishing; Dahlma Llanos Figueroa, Author/Daughters of the Stone/Thomas Dunne Books; Jaime Manrique, Author/Cervantes Street/Akashic
Moderator:  Lyn Di lorio, Author/Outside the Bones/Arte Publico
Panel 8
Publicity—Increasingly, authors are expected to take the lead on publicizing their books. Learn the do’s and don’ts so you can avoid wasting time and money
Panelists: Fauzia Burke, President/FSB Associates; Elizabeth Garriga, Associate Director/Publicity/Hachette Book Group; Antonio Gonzalez Cerna, Associate Marketing Manager/Author Visits/Scholastic
Moderator: Marcela Landres, Editorial Consultant

3:00–3:50 pm
Panel 9
Agent/Editor Panel—Leading agents and editors discuss the Latino publishing landscape
Panelists: Johanna Castillo, Vice President & Senior Editor/Atria, Simon & Schuster; Selina L. McLemore, Senior Editor, Grand Central Publishing; Adriana Dominguez, Literary Agent/Full Circle Literary; Cheryl Klein, Executive Editor/Arthur A. Levine Books
Moderator: Marcela Landres, Editorial Consultant

4:00–4:50 pm          
Panel 10
Pitch Slam—Pitch your book in thirty seconds or less and get instant feedback from agents and editors
Panelists: Jeff Ourvan, Literary Agent/Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency; Christina Morgan, Editor/Harcourt Houghton Mifflin; Mercedes Fernandez, Assistant Editor/Dafina Books, Kensington Publishing
Moderator: Marcela Landres, Editorial Consultant
Student Open Mike
New Latino Voices Open Mic Cafe. Presented by ALAS–Association for Latin American Studies.

5:00–5:50 pm
Summary and Conclusion
Steps to Community

6:00 pm
Association for Latin American Studies presents Latino artist exhibition and reception. Artists include Minerva Diaz, Maria Dominguez, Michael Casiano, Alfonso Pastor, Luana Lozada, amongst others.
Conference attendees are welcome to attend.

Registration (back to top)

Conference and Panels

$99 for registrations before August 1
$125 for registrations on August 1 through October 5
$150 for registrations on October 6
No refunds after August 1

Click here to register for the conference

One-on-One Sessions (back to top)
(Click on names for their bios)

Starting 9:30–9:45 am; 9:50–10:05 am; etc. until 3:45 pm
Room A
Room B
Registration: To register for a one-on-one session, please e-mail Nora Comstock

For an additional fee of $30, you will have the opportunity to meet with an agent or editor for fifteen minutes. During the one-on-one session, the agent or editor will provide verbal (but not written) feedback on your writing and its potential in the current publishing landscape.

Writers are encouraged to submit a maximum of ten pages of their work by Wednesday, Septemer 19 at midnight. No submissions will be accepted after this date. You may still meet with an agent/editor to discuss your work but the conversation would be based on whatever materials you take to the session. All submissions received by the deadline will be forwarded to the agents and editors for their review; submissions received after the deadline will not be forwarded. Manuscripts must include the writer’s full name, e-mail address, and mobile phone number. In addition, please format the ten pages so they are double-spaced, preferably in Times New Roman, 12 point font, and are either a doc or pdf file.

In order to prepare for your one-on-one session, please do the following:

  1. Choose the right agent or editor. Read the bios of the agents and editors who are available for one-on-one sessions, visit their agency’s or publisher’s web sites, and Google their names to get a sense of what they do—and what they don’t do. For example, if you have written a children’s book, you may want to avoid meeting with an agent/editor who handles only books for adults. See One-on-One Session Agent/Editor Bios below
  2. Have realistic expectations. The goal of the session is to receive an honest assessment of your writing. While it is possible that you may secure representation of an agent and land a book deal on the spot, be prepared for the possibility that you may have some work to do before you can reasonably expect publication.
  3. Bring a list of questions. The fifteen minutes will go by faster than you think, and organizing your thoughts beforehand will help make the most of your time.

One-on-One Session Agent/Editor Bios (back to top)

Volunteers (back to top)

We are seeking hard-working, detail-oriented volunteers to provide service with a smile. Event planning experience a plus. In return for your time, you will have the opportunity to interact directly with the leading agents, editors, and authors in Latino publishing.
Click here to volunteer

Vendors (back to top)

Individuals and/or organizations offering a product or service of interest to Latino writers are welcome.
Click here to register as a Vendor

About Us (back to top)

The founders of the CCWC have extensive experience in and connections to the publishing industry and literary community and include:

Nora de Hoyos Comstock is the President and CEO of Las Comadres para las Americas, an international organization of Latinas. In conjunction with the Association of American Publishers, Las Comadres sponsors a national book club to promote the work of Latino authors.

Adriana Dominguez is a literary agent with Full Circle Literary. She was formerly the Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she managed the children's division of the Latino imprint, Rayo. Prior to that, she was Children's Reviews Editor at Criticas magazine, published by Library Journal. 

Brenda M. Greene is Professor of English and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York. In her role as Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature, Greene has continued the tradition of holding the National Black Writers Conferences (NBWCs) that have been given at Medgar Evers College since 1986.

Tina Jordan is Vice President of the Association of American Publishers. Previously, she was the Director of Public Relations and Special Events for BookExpo America.

Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You, publishes the award-winning e-zine Latinidad, and is an Editorial Consultant who helps writers get published by editing their work and educating them on the business side of publishing. A member of the Women’s Media Group, she has acted as a judge for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and was formerly an editor with Simon & Schuster.

Questions? Contact Nora Comstock.