Check back for updates as I catch up on backlogged queries and manuscripts, unsolicited and conference submissions both. Thanks for your patience.
- Paste your query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the word QUERY in your subject line. [J&N email is being figured out, due to some IT and medical leave hiccups.]
- I always read queries in chronological order, unless an author notifies of me an offer of representation.
- You will receive an email confirmation of receipt, and I will respond personally only if I request your manuscript.
Query Status: I have read and responded, where applicable, to queries submitted by e-mail through 01/10/2019.
[I used to track queries through QM: I have read and responded to queries submitted via QM through 02/19/2019.]
Manuscript (Partial, Full) Status
All manuscript submissions receive a response from me. If you submitted a manuscript to me prior to 9/1/2019, and have not received a response, know that it remains in the queue. Check back here for updates.
How I Read Submissions
I jump straight into your ten pages, and backtrack to your query. I am looking for distinct voices, beautiful writing, intriguing concepts, and works that leave a flutter in the heart—ah, this is new, and different, and exciting; my gut instinct here has never betrayed me.
I am also eager to build relationships with writers whose manuscripts may not be quite there but could use the editorial support of an agent (though, of course, I urge all writers to query with the best, and to find support via QueryTracker, other online writing communities, and talented critique partners).
What I Want to Represent (#MSWL)
I am not, and have never been, a single-genre reader. I am eager only for the best-told stories, building out a list of talented novelists and writers in these genres:
- young adult
- fantasy & sci-fi
- literary fiction
- commercial fiction
- women’s fiction
- crime, mystery & thrillers
- non-fiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.)
Human nature fascinates me, and I am drawn to stories that share the rawness and truth of what is and what is possible.
Beyond this, before anything else, I love clear and distinct voices (the tone, you could say, by which the story is narrated), and excellent, tight, intentional prose.
Without question, my favorite novels are also those that spark an experience in me as a reader: one of wonder, glee, childlikeness, mystery, curiosity, or deep affection; those novels that, literally, kick me in the stomach, make it hard to breathe through a scene, build a character that is so real I viscerally desire to know them in real life, and prompt a desire to bring change and love into the world.
I love beautiful writers. I love smart, quirky and genre-bending stories. I love underdogs, and stories about characters that rise above limitations. I love romance, whether genre- or element-wise, that is visceral in its rawness. I love dark contours, intense in their immediacy, and world-building that catches your breath with its precision and distinctness. I love complex, multi-layered characters, especially with an eye toward sharply imagined antagonists, who can scare the shit (excuse the language!) out of the reader; when a novel awakens deep affect, I want it. I love plots (and this goes especially for thrillers and speculative fiction) that blow my mind, deeply complex, intelligent, layered, dynamic, and dependent upon some kind of geeky trivia (think your really cool techie espionage thriller, or clever puzzle undoing, as in the Oceans series).
I am very much a reader that likes to be challenged, and expanded; very carefully constructed projects, which reveal a writer’s capacities, are most often those that awaken my heart and mind. I would prefer to work with writers eager to grow in their skill as novelists and build long-term, sustainable careers.
If you’re not sure whether you fit the categories, submit a query—it certainly cannot hurt, and I have taken risks on writers before that I did not anticipate loving.
I will not currently consider unsolicited queries for middle grade, children’s books, picture books, graphic novels, or illustrators.
See genre-specific notes here.
Note, however, that my disposition is generally, If I could have anything, I would have [fill in the blank], but I’ll also consider anything and everything, as there are things you cannot put in boxes.
- young adult
- some favorite novelists: Swati Avasthi, Kristin Cashore, Alison Croggon, John Green, Brian Jacques, A.S. King, Jandy Nelson, Edith Pattou, Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor, Angie Thomas, Markus Zusak
- wishlist: a literary sci-fi; anything within the science fantasy vein; an epic fantasy a la Croggon’s Pellinor series; v. distinct, raw male voices, on one hand (it’s so hard to nail down a good male voice, I think), and on the other, a v. strong female character, with a strength borne of an actual/intentional engagement with reality versus a faux strength or a strength performed; a contemporary that engages a contemporary issue (i.e., bioethical questions, etc.); a voice that can help define 21st-century YA fiction, a la Green or King
- fantasy, sci-fi & horror
- some favorite novelists: Robert Jackson Bennett, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert, N.K. Jemisin, Naomi Novik, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, J.R.R. Tolkien
- wishlist: a literary sci-fi; a near-future sci-fi; an epic fantasy with genre-bending world-building; anything within the science fantasy vein; anything that involves smart puzzle-solving, a la Arrival, or a play on language or storytelling or world-building; a literary horror
- literary fiction
- some favorite novelists: Anthony Doerr, Arthur Golden, Mark Haddon, Khaled Hosseini, Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Audrey Niffenegger, Flannery O’Connor, Betty Smith, Carlos Ruis Zafon
- wishlist: a novel that can make me cry; a historical based in Poland or Eastern Europe; a novel featuring a healthy marriage; a novel about a character with intellectual, emotional, or spiritual gifting (i.e., empath, high IQ, sensory and interior sensitivity, and more, etc.); a v. strong female character, with a strength borne of an actual/intentional engagement with reality versus a faux strength or a strength performed
- commercial or high-concept fiction
- some favorite novelists: Margaret Atwood, Eleanor Brown, Kathryn Stockett
- wishlist: a novel that critiques something of contemporary culture; a v. strong female character, with a strength borne of an actual/intentional engagement with reality versus a faux strength or a strength performed
- women’s fiction
- some favorite novelists: Jodi Picoult, Nora Roberts
- wishlist: a novel in 1st person, with a distinct, raw voice; a novel featuring an immigrant character; a v. strong female character, with a strength borne of an actual/intentional engagement with reality versus a faux strength or a strength performed
- some favorite novelists: Diana Gabaldon, Rainbow Rowell, Graeme Simsion, Nicholas Sparks
- wishlist: a v. smart romance, with smart humor; a novel with a super fun, quirky, or warm set-up, such as Rowell’s Attachments; necessarily multi-dimensional characters, both primary and secondary
- crime, mystery, suspense & thrillers
- some favorite novelists: Dan Brown, Gillian Flynn, John Grisham, Sara J. Henry, Laura Lippman, Stieg Larsson, Liane Moriarty, James Patterson
- wishlist: a female-driven literary and/or psychological thriller; a badass female character, such as Lisbeth in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; a v. smart thriller or crime novel relying on intellectual-type puzzles or characters, a la Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch or Elementary; an espionage thriller; a thriller rooted in good tech, medical or scientific advances, or historical research
- some favorite memoirs: Braving the Wilderness (Brené Brown), The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls), The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)
- wishlist: I want that, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard of this before, and I’m fascinated” kind of story, but given that it’s something I’ve never encountered before (mehopes!), I can’t put more words to it
- some favorite writers: Brené Brown, Christopher Dawson, Mary Eberstadt, Rod Dreher, Sue Johnson, Steven D. Levitt/Stephen J. Dubner, Donald Maass, Tim O’Brien, and Charles Taylor
- wishlist: writers with academic backgrounds or personal and professional experiences that can give rise to projects with real potential to shape the cultural, social, and political mindset on the most urgent questions, along with projects that demonstrate real creativity, innovation, depth of intelligence, and a rigorous commitment to research and advancing discourse
I am also someone who loves television shows and films such as the Anne of Green Gables series (the original), the Oceans trilogy (11, 12, 13; modern-day), the Bourne series, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Outlander, Grey’s Anatomy, Downtown Abbey, Poldark, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, and the films of Hayao Miyazaki (which, in the grand scheme of things, to be honest, have my heart beyond all hearts: The Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle especially), among others funny, intense, and able to invest your heart in the lives of its characters.
Where I and my clients agree it is necessary and good, I am a heavily editorial agent, with much experience and background in structural editorial work. This means close work on the manuscript, to prepare it, as well as marketing, teaching you the nature of the field, and placing you well for growth and success.
Six years in non-profit work that involved the organizational and logistical work for grassroots academic conferences, as well as extended work with university students and faculty departments, shaped in me a preference for local and community-based outreach, as well as out-of-the-box thinking about marketing that propels a recognition of names and a trust in product quality.
My task is also to be the expert in contracts, with the support of the agency and its multi-decade experience in high-quality negotiations; the sale of translation rights, where applicable; and working on additional dimensions rights- and platform-wise. As the publishing industry evolves and adapts to the creation and use of different platforms and media forms, it is vital for agents to be a step ahead of the industry, grasping changes, responding with innovation and creativity, and fighting to help create standards and precedents that prefer a model that respects writers who can help capture and grow lifelong commitments among readers.
Beyond this, I agent very personally: in transparency, my task is to set you up for a writing career–ideally, one in which writing full-time or part-time becomes easy and reasonable, and earns back the necessary profit.
I am also of the mind that, where there is something personally shared, we’ll love and do our mutual work with greater joy and freedom. It is not rare, and much preferred, for this work to become friendship.
Please always refer to this page for most up-to-date information regarding queries and interests, etc.
Most of the content in these still applies, even if agency or submissions-related information has changed.