Meet Spring/Summer Intern and First Reader: Carrie Gao!

This spring, Jennifer has been working with UC Berkeley sophomore Carrie Gao. Carrie is double-majoring in Public Health and English.


She tries to participate in National November Writing Month every year, resulting in a load of unfinished manuscripts that take up too much space in her head (and hard drive). Carrie loves reading all kinds of fiction and her favorite authors include Mila Kundera, Mindy Kaling (yes, the actress), George Orwell, and Rainbow Rowell.

Carrie’s great eye and ear for story-telling and sharp feedback on potential projects has been a great asset to Jennifer and Fuse Literary. Thank you Carrie for all your hard work and we look forward to continuing to work with you!

New Client: Cori Salchert Signs with Fuse Literary!

I am honored to announce that Cori Salchert has signed with Fuse Literary! Cori is originally from Salt Lake City, UT. She has lived in Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and Pennsylvania before settling in Sheboygan, WI with her husband Mark and their eight biological children. Cori is a registered nurse and also a perinatal bereavement specialist. She worked at St. Nicholas Hospital and also founded the Hope After Loss Organization (HALO) in 2007.


Cori takes care of “hospice babies,” babies with life-limiting medical conditions and diagnoses. The Salchert family first started taking care of these babies in August 2012, with the arrival of Emmalynn who, despite her diagnosis, lived for fifty amazing days and went to Heaven on September 27, 2012. Charlie arrived on the scene in October of 2014 at four months of age. He was officially adopted in December of 2015.

As Cori states, “I am an ordinary wife and mom. I don’t necessarily have special qualifications to do what I do other than being willing to stay. To be present. To do what’s hard and sacrificial. I don’t go out with girlfriends. I don’t take vacations. My greatest and deepest joy is to day by day do the next thing when it comes to caring for Charlie and others like him. What they need most is the basic cares afforded to babies. Diapers, feeding, cuddling, singing, and being present and available.”


Cori and her family are very active in the Sheboygan community and Crossroads Community Church. Currently her household numbers ten, not including the therapists, nurses, doctors, and friends and family who are always coming in and out of their doors.

Jennifer will be working with Cori to publish her inspiring and faith-centered story in book form. You can read more about Cori at her website:  and on various national and local news media outlets, such as and Sheboygan Press, including a feature in this week’s People Magazine (Nancy and Ronald Reagon on the cover, on sale through 3/25/16). Thank you Cori for all that you do!


New Client: Mary Katherine Backstrom Signs with Fuse!

I’m very excited to announce that writer and essayist Mary Katherine Backstrom has signed with Fuse Literary! Mary Katherine will be working with Jennifer on her debut collection of essays.


A bit more about MK: Mary Katherine is originally from Sweet Home Alabama. She is founder of Mom Babble, a community of moms trying to make sense of the nonsense. As a Southerner, she believes in good manners and the power of kind words. This philosophy inspires her parenting essays, which can be found on Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, Washington Post, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and Today Parents. Mom Babble is also on Instagram, Twitter, and FacebookY’all should be friends.

Stay tuned for more news and congratulations MK!

Welcome Winter Intern and First Reader Derek McDow!

Jennifer is very happy to announce that she’s currently working with Derek Anthony McDow this winter. Derek currently resides in the Sacramento area. Here’s a bit more about Derek:

Recovering bibliomaniac & perfervid reader, Derek Anthony McDow is excited to join Team Fuse as an intern and first reader. Derek has finally nestled into the philia phase of his bookish passions after recently jettisoning hundreds of books to his local Friends of the Library in a purge that could be referred to as Renton-esque. With a penchant for poetry and literary fiction, some of Derek’s favorite authors include David Foster Wallace, Cormac McCarthy, J.M. Coetzee, Louise Glück & Zadie Smith. Derek has a B.A. in English Education and M.A. in English from California State University (Sacramento).


Derek McDow

Jennifer appreciates Derek’s sophisticated reading taste, honest opinions, and and cogent assessments of materials in her query box. Derek will work closely with Jennifer on scouting, evaluation of queries, submissions, and all things that entail agenting. Welcome Derek!


Happy Pub Day to Jamey Stegmaier, author of A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide!

I’m so happy to announce that today is the publication date for Jamey Stegmaier’s book on Kickstarter and crowdfunding, entitled A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide: Build a Better Company by Building Community (published by Berrett-Koehler). Jamey Stegmaier is president and co-founder of Stonemaier Games, and has successfully raised over $1.4 million on Kickstarter. The core message of the book is that crowdfunding isn’t about the money, it’s about building a community of supporters who believe in you. Here’s a description of the book:

Jamey Stegmaier knows crowdfunding. He’s a veteran of seven successful Kickstarter campaigns (and counting) that have raised over $1.4 million, and he’s the proprietor of the widely read Kickstarter Lessons blog. In this book he offers a comprehensive guide to crowdfunding, demonstrating that it can be a powerful way for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by building community and putting their customers first.

This book includes over forty stories of inspiring successes and sobering disasters. Stegmaier uses these examples to demonstrate how to (and how not to) prepare for a campaign, grow a fan base, structure a pitch, find new backers, and execute many other crucially important “nuts and bolts” elements of a successful crowdfunding project.

But Stegmaier emphasizes that the benefits of crowdfunding are much more about the “crowd” than the “funding.” He shows that if you treat your backers as people, not pocketbooks—communicate regularly and transparently with them, ask their opinions, attend to their needs—they’ll become advocates as well as funders, exponentially increasing your project’s chances of succeeding.


As of pub date, the book is the #1 book in the crowdfunding category on and also an Hot New Release. You can buy a copy on by clicking here, or if you prefer to support indie book stores, click here. You can also buy direct from the publisher by clicking here. Please consider gifting this book to the creative and entrepreneurial individual(s) in your life!

New Client: Erin P. Callahan, YA Author

I’m super excited to officially announce that Fuse Literary has signed Erin P. Callahan, a YA author! Erin grew up in New England and has written several YA books before, including the Mad World series co-authored with Troy Gardner. A bit about Erin:

Erin grew up by a small glacial lake in New Hampshire and, after brief stints in Colorado and Rhode Island, she settled back in the granite state with her husband and daughter. As a small child, she told her mother she’d defaced a wall with crayons because she’d been possessed by an imp. She’s convinced that same imp drives her to write. When she’s not at her day job or cranking out novels on her laptop, you can find her soaking in the new golden era of television, stalking her favorite musicians on Twitter, and trying not to embarrass herself on the volleyball court. She loves giant squids and the color red, hates the phrase “no offense,” and thinks birds are creepy. Once upon a time, she was a lawyer but found herself unemployed at the height of the recession. For her own sanity she started writing, and to make ends meet she took a job as a case manager at a residential program for teens. The kids she met there will forever serve as a well of inspiration for the contemporary YA she writes.


I will be representing Erin on her contemporary YA novel, ESCAPOLOGY. We are working on the pitch as we speak!

Please congratulate Erin on this next step in her career! Feel free to follow her at her website, on Twitter, or Instagram.

New Client Alert: NAHID RACHLIN, Award-Winning Author of Persian Girls

I’m very pleased to announce that Fuse Literary has signed Nahid Rachlin, the talented and award-winning author of the memoir PERSIAN GIRLS. A bit about Nahid: Nahid Rachlin went to the Columbia University Writing Program on a Doubleday-Columbia Fellowship and then went on to Stanford University’s MFA program on a Stegner Fellowship. Her publications include a memoir, PERSIAN GIRLS, and four novels, JUMPING OVER FIRE, FOREIGNER, MARRIED TO A STRANGER, THE HEART’S DESIRE, and a collection of short stories, VEILS and CROWD OF SORROWS. Her individual short stories have appeared in more than fifty magazines, including The Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Redbook, and Shenandoah. One of her stories was adapted by Symphony Space, “Selected Shorts,” and was aired on NPR’s around the country and two stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has received favorable reviews in major magazines and newspapers and is translated into Portuguese, Polish, Italian, Dutch, German, Arabic, and Persian.

Nahid Rachlin

Nahid has been interviewed in NPR stations such as All Things Considered (Terry Gross), Poets & Writers, and Writer’s Chronicle. She has written reviews and essays for New York Times, Newsday, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Other grants and awards she has received include the Bennet Cerf Award, PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. She has taught creative writing at Barnard College, Yale University and at a wide variety of writers conferences, including Paris Writers Conference, Geneva Writers Conference, and Yale Writers Conference. She has been judge for several fiction awards and competitions, including: Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction (2015)  sponsored by AWP; Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award sponsored by Poets & Writers; Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize; University of Maryland, English Dept., Teichmann Fiction Prize; and Barnard College, English Dept.

Jennifer will be working with Nahid to place her next fiction work, SYMMETRICAL LIVES, which focuses on identical twin sisters, Zarrin and Roya, born in Iran to an Argentinean mother and Iranian father. The novel is mainly set in the present day Tehran, and deals with themes of identity, self-realization, cross-cultural issues, motherhood, sisterhood, betrayal, unfathomable loss and envy, depression, marriage, impact of memories, illusion, and reality. It is an emotionally moving novel that asks: what happens when the person you know and love most in the world, your own sister, may have betrayed you? You can learn more about Nahid at her website Congratulations Nahid!

Jennifer has Joined Fuse Literary as an Associate Agent!

I am beyond elated to announce that I have joined Fuse Literary as an Associate Agent! I will be working with the best and brightest in the publishing industry, including senior agents and partners Laurie McClean and Gordon Warnock, along with my colleagues Connor Goldsmith, Emily Keyes, Michelle Richter, Sara Sciuto, and the rest of TeamFUSE! After being a sole proprietor at Penumbra Literary for almost three years, I was looking to join the right team to further leverage the opportunities available to authors today. Fuse Literary is a progressive and forward-thinking literary agency that seeks to fully exploit all the incredible opportunities open to savvy authors today. I couldn’t be happier to find my new home as an agent.

Here’s the official announcement: Fuse Literary Acquires Penumbra Literary; Adds Jen Chen Tran as Associate Agent

I will be bringing my clients from Penumbra Literary to Fuse Literary, and continuing to acquire new talent. If you are interested in querying me, please head over to the Submissions tab of my website for more information.

I would like to publicly thank my husband and family for their support and for Laurie and Gordon at Fuse Literary for making this a smooth transition. And of course, thank you dear reader, for continuing to follow me and my authors’ careers. Great things are happening!

Featured Project: Broken Homes and Gardens

A girl, a guy, a broken-down house. Not exactly on-again, off-again, Malcolm and Joanna are in-again, out-again: in love, out of each other’s arms, in an awkward co-living arrangement, out of the country. Their unconventional relationship is the only way, Joanna says, to protect herself from the specter of commitment, which inevitably leads to heartbreak.

When Harry Met Sally for the Millennial generation, set in the damp and drizzly neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, Broken Homes and Gardens is an ode to friendship, lust, and the unrelenting pull of love. The book is available now from Blank Slate Press. If you’d like to order a copy, please click here.

Featured Project: A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide

“A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide: Build a Better Business by Building Community” by Jamey Stegmaier.

As a veteran of six successful Kickstarter campaigns (and counting) and the proprietor of the Kickstarter Lessons blog, Jamey Stegmaier knows something about crowdfunding. In this book he goes beyond the nuts and bolts of how it works to a deeper level—crowdfunding not just as a cool way to raise money but as a better way to build and run a business.

This book features over forty illustrative examples of crowdfunding campaigns. Some succeeded wildly—like the high-tech cooler designer whose first attempt faltered but whose second raised $13 million. Some were sobering disasters, like the board game maker (not the author!) whose mistakes caused his project to collapse in two months, forcing him to return over $100,000. Stegmaier uses these stories to make points about topics such as preparation, timing, what kind of offers to make and what kind to avoid, what to spend money on and when, and more.

But he insists it’s not just about the money—if you follow Stegmaier’s advice, crowdfunding can enable you to build a loyal following before you even have a product. He shows that if you treat your backers as people, not pocketbooks—communicate regularly with them, ask their opinions, attend to their needs—they’ll become advocates as well as funders, exponentially increasing your and your projects’ chances of succeeding.

A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide will be forthcoming from Berrett-Koehler Publishers on September 14, 2015. If you’d like to pre-order your copy please click here.