Stuff in the ‘Joelle Delbourgo’ Category

3 March, 2015

A Writer, A Literary Agent and An Editor Walk into a Bar…

Not exactly, but it is that time again, when I am looking forward to spending a week at one of North America’s premier spas, Rancho La Puerta, where together with two esteemed publishing colleagues, I will lead workshops on reading, writing and publishing.  Perhaps you can join us during the week of Saturday May 30-June 6.  The program is below, and there is a link to registration.  Rancho La Puerta appears year after year in lists of “best spas” on the continent, indeed worldwide.  A place of incomparable beauty, it is a retreat where one can relax, pursue healthy living and recharge the battery.  It is also a mecca of continuous learning where one meets the most interesting and engaged people.

Rancho La Puerta Reads & Writes 2015 | Leslie Levine, Joëlle Delbourgo & Brenda Copeland

Rancho Reads & Writes Opening Panel Discussion
During this dynamic opening panel discussion the speakers will be introduced and discuss what they will be teaching and what you will learn; Q & A included.


Leslie LevineLeslie Levine has more than 20 years of public relations and communications experience. As an accomplished publicist, she has secured media placements in a variety of outlets, including CNN, Parade, Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, Politico, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Fox News, Dennis Miller Radio Show, National Public Radio, Chicago Public Radio and many others.  In addition, Leslie is the author of three nonfiction books, including Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home? Simple Advice for Settling In After You Move (McGraw-Hill), Ice Cream for Breakfast: If You Follow All the Rules, You Miss Half the Fun (McGraw-Hill), and Wish It, Dream It, Do It:  Turn the Life You’re Living into the Life You Want (Simon & Schuster). Her articles have been published in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Woman’s Day, and others. Leslie has lectured extensively through various programs sponsored by the University of, Wisconsin-Madison (Writers’ Institute, School of the Arts in Rhinelander, Write-By-The-Lake Retreat), Rancho La Puerta, Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row, The Learning Annex (NYC), American Society of Journalists & Authors, Lake Austin Spa Resort, Parent University, Off-Campus Writers’ Workshop, The American Club, Illinois State Library, Harper College, Oakton Community College, and others, including schools and libraries.  Leslie earned a B.A. in English/Humanities from Ohio Wesleyan University, an M.S. in technical writing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A. in marketing from Marymount University. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors.


Joelle DelbourgoPublishing professional and former book publishing executive, Joëlle Delbourgo, heads her own agency, Joëlle Delbourgo Associates, representing authors.  Founded in 1999, the agency’s goal is to identify and develop literary talent. Joëlle and her team work with experts in a wide range of fields to write and sell adult nonfiction books, as well as with storytellers crafting adult, young adult and middle grade fiction.  Her authors include international bestselling authors Simcha Jacobovici (The Lost Gospel), Dr. Susan Forward (Mothers Who Can’t Love) and Ashley Rhodes-Courter (Three Little Words);  New York Times bestselling authors Ben H. Winters (The Last Policeman trilogy) and Missy Chase Lapine (The Sneaky Chef); award-winning journalists Ellen E. Schultz and Geeta Anand;  historian and novelist Philip Freeman, thought leaders Dr. Michele Borba, Pamela Slim and Thomas Armstrong. Joëlle started her career as an editor at Bantam Books and went on to hold executive editorial and publishing positions at Random House and HarperCollins for more than two decades, where she worked with such authors as Dr. Dean Ornish, Barbara Tuchman, Robert Massie, James McPherson, Jim Davis, Karen Armstrong, and Lee Smith.  She is a graduate of Williams College and holds a Master of the Arts in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.


Brenda CopelandBrenda Copeland is an Executive Editor at St. Martin’s Press where she publishes a vibrant mix of fiction and nonfiction, from the commercial to the literary. Over the course of her career she has published a diverse group of bestselling authors such as Dean Koontz, Ann Leary, Matthew Dicks, Captain Rich Phillips, and Kerry Cohen. Brenda looks for strong stories told with a strong voice, and believes that, whether fiction or nonfiction, a book must have the power to change at least one person’s life–or just a rainy afternoon. Brenda teaches book editing at New York University and has a weakness for cheese.


Writing Workshops | Leslie Levine, Joëlle Delbourgo & Brenda Copeland

Writing Your Life: Memoir Workshop with Brenda Copeland
Everyone has a story to tell.  But where to start? Veteran editor Brenda Copeland will introduce you to the principles of memoir. She will help you to think about your life as story, and encourage you to begin that story by keeping your reader in mind. Most memoir writers get bogged down by the weight of events and the burden of personal history.  Brenda will show you how to avoid these pitfalls by making the right choices about what to include and what to exclude, with a view to crafting a true and artful shaping of your life. Whether you’re just thinking about writing a personal essay or putting the final polish on a manuscript, Brenda will help you write the story of your life.

The Confident Writer with Brenda Copeland
Writing is hard. The process is fraught with uncertainties. And everybody knows that writers are anxious souls.  Still, if you want to write well, you have to learn how to keep your doubts from showing up on the page.  To do that, you need to recognize those insecurities and the way in which they manifest themselves in your writing. Brenda Copeland will help you identify the hesitation marks of insecure prose, those little (and not so little) tics that betray your lack of confidence.  Because whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you need to know it’s The Confident Writer that attracts readers.

Pathways to Publishing with Joëlle Delbourgo
An introduction to the myriad paths to getting published today, from traditional to self-publishing and new hybrid models.  We’ll cover the process including:  the role of agents; the query letter; the elements of a winning book proposal; differences in submitting fiction, memoir and nonfiction; the importance of the author platform.  The session will culminate in pitcharama, in which we’ll create and react to brief pitches.

Reading and Writing in the Age of New Media with Joëlle Delbourgo
Some have said that the current rapid-fire technological revolution will someday be seen as having as much impact on culture and society as the invention of the printing press.  The changes in how we read and write, what we read and write, when we read and write, and how we receive and experience the written word, are transformative.  We’ll explore how these changes are providing a crucible for how we relate the written word.  From the digital revolution to new delivery systems, such as mobile technology, and the seemingly seamless confluence of media:  written, spoken, visual, to the dynamic relationship between writers and consumers/readers, we’ll examine some of the latest trends and how they are reshaping the publishing industry and the very definition of what is a book.

The Ingredients of Fiction with Leslie Levine
In this session, we will explore character, plot, sense of place, imagination, voice, and point of view in a hands-on workshop for writers of all levels. You’ll learn how to develop your characters, how to create a real sense of place, how to mine your own life for stories.  Participants have a chance to read their pieces out loud, demonstrating in action how voice, imagination, and point of view come into play when writing fiction. We’ll also talk about out what publishers are looking for and how to get your work in front of the right people.


Interviews | Leslie Levine, Joëlle Delbourgo & Brenda Copeland

Interview with the Agent: A Conversation Between Leslie Levine and Joëlle Delbourgo
Writer Leslie Levine and Joëlle Delbourgo, her agent extraordinaire, will have a lively discussion about the best ways to find an agent, how to be a “good” client, and other insider information about the author/agent relationship followed by Q&A.

Interview with the Editor: A Conversation Between Leslie Levine and Brenda Copeland
Writer Leslie Levine will have a lively discussion with the talented and accomplished Brenda Copeland about the ways that book editors work with writers. How exactly does a book get edited? What if the writer and editor disagree? These and other compelling issues will be discussed followed by a Q&A.


Rancho Reads & Writes Book Group Selection | Joëlle Delbourgo

Rancho Reads & Writes Book Group Selection — Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Once again, literary agent extraordinaire Joëlle Delbourgo will lead a dynamic discussion on this wonderful novel that will be available for sale in the Mercado (but we recommend you read the book prior to your visit; there are so many activities/spa treatments to fit in . . . ).
In a tiny town on the Italian coastline, a young man dreams that one day, his handkerchief-sized inn will become a major tourist attraction. When a beautiful American woman—a movie star—no less, emerges from a boat to stay at his hotel, everything changes. Decades later, in Hollywood, an aging, once-powerful film producer and his ambitious, talented assistant wait for a pitch that can reverse their fortunes. A wannabe screenwriter who has disappointed everyone in his life including himself has an incredible story to pitch, one that can either be viewed as laughable or a game-changer. In Seattle, a middle-aged musician with a penchant for dark comedy, tries to make a come-back. Their fortunes converge in hilarious and improbable ways in this “high wire-feat of bravura storytelling” (The New York Times) dubbed “a literary miracle” (NPR’s Fresh Air) by “one of our great comic writers” (Salon). From the set of Cleopatra to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this continent-hopping novel is full of surprises. A #1 New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Ruins is a work of breathtaking originality about people chasing their dreams and sometimes making them come true.


– See more at:

12 July, 2013

Joëlle Delbourgo, President and Founder

Joëlle Delbourgo is President and Founder. She represents a broad range of adult nonfiction and fiction.

Her authors include New York Times bestselling fiction writer Ben H. Winters, winner of both the Edgar Award and the Philip K. Dick Award; Jim Obergefell, named plaintiff in the Supreme Court marriage equality case (Obergefell v. Hodges), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Debbie Cenziper and Dale Russakoff; Dr. Michele Borba, award-winning educator and parenting contributor to The Today Show; the late Dr. Susan Forward, memoirists Ariel Burger, Ashley Rhodes-Courter, and Israel Meir Lau (former Chief Rabbi of Israel);  historians Philip Freeman and Elizabeth White; true crime writer James Renner;  novelists Marilyn Simon Rothstein, Julie Valerie, Marj Charlier and Lindsey J. Palmer, among many others.

What Joelle would like to see more of right now:  history and science (especially neuroscience) that tells a great story or is cutting edge, nonfiction and fiction with a strong voice or point of view, lifestyle books with an innovative twist, out of the box thinkers, diverse and own voices, literature in translation.

Prior to founding  the agency, Delbourgo was a senior editorial executive at HarperCollins and Ballantine Books, a division of Random House for more than two decades. Among the authors she worked with are Ken Davis, Abraham Verghese, Lee Smith, Barbara Tuchman, Carl Sagan, Robert Massie, James P. McPherson, Jim Davis, Sophy  Burnham, Delia Ephron and Margaret George.  She began her editorial career at Bantam Books, where she discovered and launched the Choose Your Own Adventure series for kids, which sold millions of copies worldwide.

Joëlle is a member of AALA (Association of American Literary Agents), an industry organization that upholds ethical standards.

She holds a Master of the Arts in English and Comparative Literature with Honors from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of the Arts from Williams College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a double concentration in History and English Literature.  Joëlle is as sought-after speaker, panelist, workshop leader and instructor at writing conferences.  She has taught publishing and editing at Rutgers University to graduate students.  She has lived on three continents, is fluent in French, and considers herself to be a citizen of the world.  The proud mother of two, she is an ardent student of Latin and ballroom dance and a dedicated home baker.

To reach Joëlle:

You can also follow her  Facebook,, and see her latest sales on her Publishers Marketplace page