Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Friday, September 25, 2015

Picture Books: Visual Treats for Halloween

It Eye Candy Palooza in my town! The picture book section at my local bookstore featured a pile of visual treats, so of course I want to share them with you.

Jampires by Sarah McIntyre and David O'Connell. It's the great doughnut mystery! The jam has been sucked out of Sam's doughnuts. Who's the culprit?
And if the illustrations don't push you over the edge to want to own this book, read the cute opening:
“THERE’S NO JAM!” yelled Sam. “This doughnut is wrinkly! This doughnut is jamless and dry!
Someone has got to this doughnut before me and sucked out the jamminess! WHY?”

TheLittlest Mummy by Brandi Doughtery

“Mae is the littlest mummy in the Spooky Wood.
Too little to moan, groan, and look scary.
Too little to shuffle and wear wrappings.
Too little to dance at the big Halloween bash.

But she's not too little to make a friend.”

Creepy Carrots by (author)Aaron Reynolds and
(illustrator) Peter Brown.
You've probably heard of this one, it won a Caldecott Honor after all.
"Jasper Rabbit loves carrots—especially Crackenhopper Field carrots. 
He eats them on the way to school.
He eats them going to Little League.
He eats them walking home.
Until the day the carrots start following him...or are they?
     Celebrated artist Peter Brown’s stylish illustrations pair perfectly with Aaron Reynold’s text in this hilarious picture book that shows it’s all fun and games…until you get too greedy."

I could spend an hour enjoying the cute and clever details in this book featuring the lost creatures who show up after Julie hangs a welcome sign.
When Julia and her walking house come to town, she likes everything about her new neighborhood except how quiet it is! So Julia puts a sign up: "Julia's House for Lost Creatures." Soon she's hosting goblins, mermaids, fairies, and even a dragon. Quiet isn't a problem anymore for Julia...but getting her housemates to behave themselves is!
The simple, sweet text of this picture book by New York Times Best-Selling Zita the Spacegirl author/illustrator Ben Hatke is perfectly balanced by his lush, detailed, immersive watercolor illustrations."  

MAX the Brave by Ed Vere

Max is adorable, and so is every action and illustration in this book. You'll enjoy the page turns as Max the Brave hunts for Mouse.
"Max the Brave is a brilliant new picture book from Ed Vere. This is Max. Max the Brave, Max the Fearless, Max the Mouse-catcher... But, in order to be a Mouse-catcher, Max needs to know what a mouse is, so off he goes to find out. This hilarious new picture book from the phenomenally-talented Ed Vere introduces a new and lovable character, with Ed's trademark bold illustrations and clever story. Other Ed Vere titles to look out for: Banana; Bedtime for Monsters; Mr. Big; The Getaway Ed Vere studied fine art at Camberwell College of Art and has been writing and illustrating children's books since 1999. He is published in both England and the US. Ed is also a painter, working from his studio in east London and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles. After a year and a half living in Barcelona, Ed now lives and works in London."

You can't help but laugh and feel nostalgic when you see the familar-ish cover (and title) of Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex
“Goodnight monsters everywhere, in this parody romp with its own special twist!
Goodnight tomb. Goodnight goon. Goodnight Martians taking over the moon.?
It?s bedtime in the cold gray tomb with a black lagoon, and two slimy claws, and a couple of jaws, and a skull and a shoe and a pot full of goo. But as a little werewolf settles down, in comes the Goon determined at all costs to run amok and not let any monster have his rest.
A beloved classic gets a kind-hearted send up in this utterly monsterized parody; energetic art and a hilarious text will have kids begging to read this again and again.”

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY BRAINS A ZombieCulinary Tale by Joe McGee Pictures by Charles Santoso
Here’s another picture book I could look at over and
over again. And it's a perfect fit for this generation of zombie lovers, plus the pictures are hilarious.
“Reginald isn’t like the other zombies who shuffle through Quirkville, scaring the townspeople and moaning for BRAINSSSSS! The only thing Reginald’s stomach rumbles for is sticky peanut butter and sweet jelly. He tries to tell his zombie pals that there’s more to life than eating brains, but they’re just not interested. Will Reginald find a way to bring peace to Quirkville and convince the other zombies that there’s nothing better than PB&J?

Debut author Joe McGee and up-and-coming illustrator Charles Santoso have created a delicious tale about being true to yourself that will make readers hungry for more.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

National Book Award Longlist, Young People's Literature

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Longlist: Young People’s Literature

  • M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history—almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and—eventually—one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory. This is the true story of a city under siege: the triumph of bravery and defiance in the face of terrifying odds. It is also a look at the power—and layered meaning—of music in beleaguered lives. Symphony for the City of the Dead is a masterwork thrillingly told and impeccably researched.”

  • Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing) The Newbery Honor-winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure. Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom. His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.”

  • Laura RubyBone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books) “Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.”

  • Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press). “Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's a pack of lies--after all, his father's been murdered, his mother's been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There's no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm's efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he's found is only an illusion--and that he can't run forever. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.”

  • Neal ShustermanChallenger Deep (HarperCollins Children's Books)Caden Bosch is on a galleon that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench. Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior. He is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images.  Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head. He is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny. He is torn. He is dealing with schizophrenia... and as fantasy and paranoia begin to take over, his parents have only one choice left.” (Update: Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature!)

  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children's Books). “Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. Andher unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fast Five Interview with Agent Deborah Warren of East/West Literary Agency

Fast Five with Agent Deborah Warren, East/West Literary
Deborah Warren is an agent and the founder of East/West Literary Agency. She is also on the faculty for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the SCBWI fall conference scheduled September 19-20, 2015. Registration available on walk-in basis for a few remaining spots. Details here:  Follow this link or type in: https://rmc.scbwi.org

DEBORAH WARREN founded East/West Literary Agency LLC, after 17 years at Harcourt. With over 35 years of experience in the publishing industry, and over 15 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck, Anna Dewdney, Kimberly and James Dean, Gianna Marino, and Antoinette Portis, she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established--in the board book, concept, illustration, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.
In all categories, she’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, accessible and compelling MG and YA fiction.
The Agency is particularly invested in finding and nurturing new talent (or should we say advocating “debuts” into new categories). 
1.      ICE BREAKER: Congratulations to Kwame Alexander for winning the Newbery Medal! Did you celebrate with a cocktail, cake or something else (details, please J)?

DW: THANK YOU!   I celebrate each and every one of my clients’ successes – starting with each book’s birthday. (As a Leo, it lets me celebrate all year long!)  But for sure, this was a cross-o-ver of huge magnitude!
I won’t go into it now, but remind me to tell you about shopping for the Newbery dress. (It’s kinda how I “go shopping” for new talent:  I don’t necessarily know what I’m looking for, but I know it when I see it!) You see, I’m open to falling in love with that perfect (or should I say “write”) fit that I’m not looking for or even know that I want.  It’s all about the connection with me.
That said, if you’ve written a Downton Abbey for MG or YA, we need to talk immediately!  I also love the look and feel and concept of classic Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes … so I’m up to see anything in that genre. Battlestar Gallactica was one of my favorite shows, and I’m still upset that it was cancelled. OH; and I love re-imaginings of fairy tales, too, like Beauty and the Beast and The Princess Bride.

OH; and don’t even get me started on The Walking Dead!

BTW, with Anna Dewdney’s new book, LLAMA LLAMA GRAM AND GRAMPA debuting on the NYT list (the week of 9.20), along with James Dean’s PETE THE CAT:  FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS, I’m celebrating again!

2.      Authors often talk about nailing the writing on the first page. What must a writer achieve on the first page to get you to read the rest of their submission?  

DW: I was recently on a panel with Laura Whitaker (formerly an editor at Bloomsbury) and she came up with this “killer first pages” graphic.  I couldn’t have said it any better myself!

 Wow! That graphic does say it all.

3.     Authors/Illustrators are anxious to hear back on their submissions; some are even frustrated without realizing how busy busy an agents life can be. Please give us the inside scoop—a brief glimpse of the activities of your day or week:

Deborah Warren and Erin Dealey
DW: Well, here’s the GOOD thing:  the only “typical” thing about each and every day is that it’s crazy!  It's all about selling, advocacy, and communications: spearheading the process through answering emails, making calls to editors and clients, developing pitches, shopping projects, researching the market, promoting our authors and illustrators and list, (though someone else – Erin Dealey in particular – tweets for me), keeping up with who's going where and who's acquiring what ... generally, juggling about 100 balls at once.  On top of that, there’s the editing/reviewing/shaping/revisiting of manuscripts & submissions/ and fielding of rights.
As to the frustration (and YES – it can be one LONG food chain!): I suggest that you trust the process.  It’s been said that "perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth." Sometimes the timing of the project and the zeitgeist is off. Sometimes editors’ move or publishers and imprints change their direction or ed boards don't greenlight a project, regardless of the passion of the editor.  When you boil it down to its essence, this business is so very subjective:  each agent and/or editor has her or his own perspective and either the work ‘clicks’ almost immediately and/or with revision … or it doesn't.  OH; and there’s the timing issue, too!
When the feedback from publishers overwhelmingly indicates that revisions are necessary, we discuss making those changes with the client. And you know, it works the other way, too:  either the feedback 'clicks' with the client or it doesn't. Regardless, if we cannot champion a project wholeheartedly, we will not take it on. And since we are so choosy about taking on projects/clients, and we are relentless in our perseverance, we typically find that ‘write’ fit ... even if it does take twenty times.
Remember that agents and/or publishers reject a manuscript; they don't reject you. We all have our special talents and I thank you for being authors and illustrators.  I appreciate what you do.  I'm so honored to be in this industry and to represent your best interests!
Best friends appreciate, and are attracted to, each other’s strengths.  Likewise, they overlook, or compensate for, each other’s weaknesses. The same is true here. I could never be a writer...but I love the chess game of being an agent! 

4.  What hooks you in a manuscript?

DW: Anything that is well-written, has a unique voice, presents the subject matter with a fresh and new perspective, is carefully researched as to its competition, and is saleable as to its format is more than welcome!

I’m attracted to passionate, creative, fresh, innovative, flexible clients who keep reading, writing, rewriting, and revising. I love authors and illustrators who will surprise, delight, inform, amuse, and engage my imagination. 

I’ll immediately want to know more if:

1)     You have a referral from one of our existing clients.
2)     You have a strong “sell and tell” elevator pitch
3)     You refer to the Work of one of our clients as being similar to yours or with a similar market reach.

We agents are a lot like matchmakers–we’re creative matchmakers, but we make matches just the same. We prefer to bring clients into the agency with whom we share a common career-building goal, so I’m also impressed when clients have an appreciation for, and knowledge/patience about, the industry; in particular, about the acquisition process.

The good news: 95% of our children's clients are members of SCWBI. It’s the best organization out there for meeting 100% of our authors’/illustrators’ needs.  And if someone who has been referred to us indicates their membership in SCBWI when submitting a manuscript, we know that they have done their due diligence.

Indeed, at one of the last SCBWI conferences where I was on the faculty, I signed up a client on the spot (well, after the first pages session).  Hello, Peggy Janousky – and I’m so looking forward to your first picture book coming out next fall!

5.      What turns you off when reading a manuscript?

DW: Here’s my pet peeve:  Your writing must be as close to polished as possible before it goes to the publisher – or even to your agent.  Take care to submit your work in its best possible shape, after work-shopping it, for example. Your agent will help you develop it, but we no longer can expect the editor to do the heavy editorial lifting.  Editors have less and less time to work on manuscripts.  They have to have that almost immediate connection, too.

In general, a large group of people will work on your book:  the agent, editor, copyeditor, proofreader, managing editor, art director, production manager, design department, marketing department, sales staff, warehouse personnel and subsidiary rights.  Your book needs to be printed (probably overseas, especially if it’s a picture book) and shipped to stores.  Publicity efforts may include sending out review copies, printing up posters or bookmarks, taking out ads in review journals, and sending the sales staff to book conventions.  But it starts, and ends, with YOU!

Submission Guidelines
The submission guidelines below come from East/West’s website, however guidelines often change, so please visit the website to check for updates. Currently East/West Literary Agency only accepts submissions from either (1). authors and illustrators who come by way of referral from an existing client or (2). from the folks Deborah meets at conferences.
*The most productive query will include a marketing "handle" or description of your book in sound bites that are clear, compact and commercial along with a "jacket flap" summary.  Sell us, don't just tell us!  Include your credentials, any publishing history, and how you were referred to us; if you are querying several other agencies simultaneously, we ask that you mention this in your query letter.
 *If you are a novelist, you may include the first three (3) chapters of the work; please do not submit the entire work unless specifically requested.
*If you are a picture book writer, you may include two (2) manuscripts; please do not submit any additional manuscripts unless specifically requested.
*If you are an illustrator, please include information regarding website portfolio links, if applicable; otherwise, attach a limited sampling of pieces; please do not send original artwork under any circumstance; we do not take responsibility for damage or loss of any original artwork that may be sent to us.
*If additional work is requested following the query letter, we prefer exclusive consideration of the requested work for one (1) month.
*Unsolicited e-mail query letters or submissions may not be responded to. While we have always striven to provide the courtesy of a response to all queries, you will hear back from us only if we're interested; we're not responsible for manuscripts submitted without regard to this policy, which supersedes any information listed in writers' guides or on other websites.
You'll be best served by an agent/agency who feels as passionate about the Work as you do--a necessary requisite of the book's best advocate–and we hope that'll be us!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fast Five with Agent Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

Fast Five with Agent Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

Kristin Nelson is the president and founder of Nelson Literary Agency. She is also on the faculty for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the SCBWI fall conference scheduled September 19-20, 2015. Registration can be found here:  Follow this link or type in:https://rmc.scbwi.org
Hi, Kristin.
Thank you for serving on the faculty for the upcoming RMC SCBWI fall conference and for agreeing to this interview. I want to let our participants feel like they know you before you pull into the Marriott’s parking lot, so thank you again for taking time to answer the following questions:
Here’s some info I hijacked off Kristin’s website:
Kristin Nelson
Being an avid reader practically since birth, I’m equally happy reading a Pulitzer prize-winning literary novel for my book club as I am reading a sexy historical-romance. I established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade+ of my career, I’ve represented over thirty-five New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers. Although I’m a very nice Midwesterner, I’ve heard through the grapevine that editors call me “a hard-working bulldog agent that will fight for you.” What a compliment!
When not busy selling books, I’m quite sporty. I attempt to play tennis and golf. I also love playing Bridge (where I’m the youngest person in the club). On weekends my husband Brian and I can be found in the mountains hiking with our 12-year old rat terrier, Chutney.
I’m looking for a good story well told. How you tell that story doesn’t need to fit in a neat little category. For specifics, check out the examples on the SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES page, follow the clear directions posted there, then submit a query directly to:
You can read about Kristin’s latest sales at Publishers Marketplace
Kristin was one of the first agent bloggers, and her blog PubRants is still going strong. You can visit her site at: http://nelsonagency.com/pub-rants/
ICE BREAKER: Where is your favorite hiking spot in Colorado (and does Chutney love it, too)?
Kristin and Chutney
KN: Ha! If I revealed it, then it would probably no longer become a favorite spot! J However, I can say that I love the country and the hikes around Crested Butte. Everywhere you look, it’s scenic. And there are literally a 100 hikes to do and all worthy.

1.     On your blog PubRants, you post an article titled #querywin A Middle Grade Novel Sparks Memory. You talk about how you requested a full manuscript from an author, because you were instantly captured by the voice of the narrator. You say, “As I was reading, it made me recall exactly the way I thought when I was that character’s age. And I had forgotten that I had felt that way when I was that age. Right there, that’s brilliant writing at work.”  I assume that voice was in the few pages of the manuscript submitted, not in the query itself. Am I correct? KN: This is kind of a yes and no question. Because for our submission guidelines, we ask for a query letter and the first 10 pages of the manuscript within the query email itself. That way if the query captures me, I’ll read the opening pages. If the opening pages grab me, then I’ll request the full. So it was the sample pages within the query that caught my attention.
Secondly, what are a few additional #querywin tips? I know your blog covers query tips in depth (everyone should read Kristin’sblog!) and you tweet tips regularly at #NLAquerytip, but for purposes here, please provide a few of your favorite quick pieces of advice beyond rookie stuff like spelling (Kristin, not Kristen), personalization (Dear Kristin, not Dear Agent), and how authors should please (PLEASE) read submissionguidelines
KN: My pleasure! Here is my quick and dirty secret to writing a terrific query letter.
1.     Nail the pitch.
2.     Know that the pitch is not a summary of your entire novel. In fact, you only need to look to the first 30 pages of the manuscript to craft your query pitch paragraph. The writer’s inciting incident should happen within those first 30 pages. [The inciting incident is the plot element that happens that starts the story forward. Without it, there would be no novel. Note I say it’s a plot element. Not a theme. Not a character.]
3.     Craft the pitch paragraph around that inciting incident.
4.     Last but not least, the pitch should read like a teaser blurb you’d find on the back cover of a book jacket (or on the inside flap if reading a hardcover).

2.     You have been an early pioneer in many activities—taking your agency paperless (before it was the
This month's featured digital book
cool thing to do), blogging, tweeting—those activities may be common now, but you were one of the first. It seems you’re a trailblazer again with the digital arm of your agency. Please give us a brief education about this direction.
KN: The short story: in 2011, several of my authors were having their rights reverted to them and wanted to get the material back out there but didn’t have an easy avenue to do so. That’s originally why we created NLA Digital LLC. It’s a supported environment that helps our clients self-publish their backlist content. In the last couple of years, that platform has now morphed to help our clients self-publish frontlist materials—some of which were shopped to traditional publishers and weren’t bought.

In 2014, we expanded NLA Digital LLC once again to allow successful indie authors such as Carly Phillips and Ava Miles to come on board as guest clients and have access to the lucrative Library market through NLA Digital.

One key difference to know is that NLA Digital is not a publisher. Authors and clients are not granting any rights to us. They maintain full control of their rights at all times. We simply provide access and a supported environment to digitally self-publish and to have a Print-on-Demand edition available.

Our clients and guest authors, on average, make $3000-5000 a month in royalties from self-publishing through NLA Digital. Some make over 10k a month.

Nice work if you can get it, right? It’s a solid living completely outside of traditional publishing.

Misty The Proud Cloud
by Hugh Howey
3.   Your client list in the children’s category shows you represent writers of Young Adult and Upper Middle Grade novels (and you do not take queries for nonfiction or for memoirs).
SHIFT by Hugh Howey
If you have a client who writes YA and picture books, would you represent those picture books, or would that client find a different agent for those sales? KN: I would definitely rep them and have done so. Hugh Howey did a picture book last year. It’s just that I won’t take on a NEW client with that project.

How many queries did you receive last year, and of those, how many new clients did you sign?
KN: Over 36,000 queries last year. I only took on one client. But this year, I’ve taken on three so far.

4.     How much importance do you place on authors needing a social media platform, and if you consider a platform extremely important, which forms of social media do you recommend? KN: For me, it’s all about the writing. If the writing is wonderful, it’s easy enough to help someone to build a platform or social media presence. That part is not rocket science. J

5.     I recently attended the SCBWI International conference in California where Wendy Loggia peppered a panel of editors with a series of questions (you may have a leg up on these questions, since you were in the audienceJ). I’m asking you and all members of our RMC faculty to pretend they’re on that California panel—picture Los Angeles, the sun warms your face, and you’re about to dash out to the pool bar and order something exotic, but first you must dazzle the audience with answers to the following questions:
a.       What hooks you in a manuscript? KN: Losing myself in the writer’s unique voice.

b.     What turns you off when reading a manuscript? KN: Writing that isn’t quite ready for an agent to read. And remember, I’m not saying the writer won’t ever be ready, just that he/she isn’t there quite yet. Writing is a craft and can take years to master.

c.      What’s on your #MSWL (for those of you on Twitter, #MSWL is where agents and editors post their Manuscript Wish List)? KN: I honestly have no idea. Not until I start reading that special novel. Then wham, the realization hits that this is the one I’ve been waiting for. For example, when I took on Stacey Lee for UNDER A PAINTED SKY, I certainly didn’t have in mind that I needed a young adult historical western with two girls cross-dressing as boys to disguise themselves on the Oregon Trail. That would never have come up on a #MSWL! I didn’t know I wanted it until I started reading. Then I couldn’t live without it.

From Kristin’s website:  Here’s what she’s currently seeking...
Kristin is looking for a good story well told. How you tell that story doesn’t need to fit in a neat little category. For those looking for more specifics, the below might be helpful:
  • Young-adult and upper-level middle-grade novels in all subgenres
  • Big crossover novels with one foot squarely in genre
    (Wool, The Night Circus, Gone Girl)
  • Literary commercial novels
    (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Art of Racing in the Rain)
  • Upmarket women’s fiction
    (Keepsake, My Sister’s Keeper, Still Alice)
  • Single-title romance (historicals especially)
    (Ravishing The Heiress, The Ugly Duchess, The Heir)
  • Lead title or hardcover science fiction and fantasy
    (SoullessGame of ThronesOld Man’s War)
Please remember that I do not look at submissions for nonfiction, memoir, screenplays, short-story collections, poetry, children’s picture books or early reader chapter books, or material for the Christian/inspirational market.
For a list of recent sales, please visit Kristin’s page at Publishers Marketplace.
Submission Guidelines
Please note that NLA’s submission guidelines have changed!
Please remember that submissions are accepted via email only. Because all queries and submissions are tracked (in case a response needs to be resent), no queries by snail mail, phone, in person, or through social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
How to submit your email query:
1.     Start by making sure NLA represents the type of project you’ve written. See details outlined below.
2.     Open a new email and address it to querykristin@nelsonagency.com.
3.     In the subject line, write QUERY and the title of your project. This will help ensure that your query isn’t accidentally deleted or caught in our spam filter.
4.     In the body of your email, include a one-page query letter about your project followed by the first ten pages of your manuscript.
5.     No attachments please! Because of virus concerns, emails with attachments are deleted unread.

How to Send to Kristin

Submit a query directly to: querykristin@nelsonagency.com

  Response Time

I read and respond by email to each and every query sent to me. Expect a quick response to queries (within 5 days). Occasionally, it may take longer.
If you have not received a response after two weeks, then something might have gone astray in the cyber world. Is your email account still active? Are emails to you being spam-filtered? My reply to you might have bounced or been deleted. You might want to resend your email query.
If you have submitted sample pages to our submission database per our request, please remember that a response can take up to two months. As with queries, I will email my response to sample pages electronically, so keep an eye on your spam folder.

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