Submission Guidelines


Join us on Twitter for #NLAPitch!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
9am-4pm MST

How It Works:

  1. Wednesday, June 21, between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Mountain Standard Time, tweet your pitch to #NLAPitch. No need to tweet to a particular agent.
  2. You may retweet up to three (3) different versions of your pitch, but please do not tweet more than three (3) times per completed project.
  3. If Kristin Nelson, Danielle Burby, Joanna MacKenzie, Angie Hodapp, or James Persichetti like your pitch, please send us an email to query@nelsonagency.com, formatted as follows:
    • In the subject line, write #NLAPitch and the name(s) of the agent(s) who liked your pitch.
    • In the body of the email, include the #NLAPitch that was liked plus your query letter.
    • As an attachment, send the first 50 pages as a .doc or .docx.

You may want to include one or more genre hashtags (optional): #YA = Young Adult • #MG = Middle Grade • #MT = Mystery or Thriller • #LF = Literary Fiction • #CLF = Commercial Literary Fiction • #WF = Women’s Fiction • #HF = Historical Fiction • #SF = Science Fiction • #FAN = Fantasy • #ROM = Romance

Please see below for more about what we are (are not) looking for. Good luck!


Our Regular Submission Guidelines

Submissions are accepted via email only.

  • Make sure NLA represents the type of project you’ve written. (See below.)
  • Decide which agent you want to query. You may only query one agent at the agency. Our first-round readers and agents share and discuss query letters, so a response from one NLA agent is a response from all NLA agents.
  • Open a new email and address it to the appropriate agent. (See below.)
  • 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.
  • In the body of your email, include a one-page query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript.
  • No attachments please. Because of virus concerns, emails with attachments are deleted unread.

We do not represent:

*Nonfiction     *Memoir    *Screenplays    *Short-story collections

*Poetry     *Material for the Christian/inspirational market

*Children’s picture books       *Early reader chapter books

  Currently Seeking…

Kristin is seeking voice and character driven stories well told. How you tell that story doesn’t have to fit into a neat little category:

  • Young adult & middle grade (all genres, #ownvoices, #WNDB)
  • Big crossover novels w/ one foot squarely in genre (Wool, Station 11)
  • Literary commercial novels (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet, Where’d You Go Bernadette?) 
  • Voice-driven upmarket women’s fiction
  • Select passion projects in thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, single-title romance

Danielle is seeking:

  • Middle grade and young adult (all genres)
  • Select passion projects in adult mysteries, thrillers, and women’s fiction
  • #MSWL: A strong, distinctive voice; complex female characters; quirky adventures; #ownvoices and diverse characters; complicated family dynamics; romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative but don’t dominate it; seaside novels; social justice themes; girls with swords

Joanna is seeking:

  • Character-driven and atmospheric mysteries and thrillers  – think Tana Fench, Blake Crouch and Heather Gudenkauf
  • Literary fiction – fish out of water experiences, immigrant stories, complex families – I cried my way through The Namesake and couldn’t put down The Round House)
  • Upmarket women’s fiction featuring characters I can’t stop thinking about
  • Literary young-adult fiction – I’ll Give You The Sun and Bone Gap and anything that reminds me of Veronica Mars

  How to Email Us…

Query Kristin: querykristin@nelsonagency.com

Query Danielle: querydanielle@nelsonagency.com

Query Joanna: queryjoanna@nelsonagency.com

  Response Time

Queries: We read and respond to each and every query we receive. Expect a response to queries within three weeks, though please understand that, occasionally, it may take longer. If you have not received a response after three weeks, then something might have gone astray in cyber world. Is your email account still active? Are emails to you being spam-filtered? Our reply to you might have bounced or been deleted. You might want to resend your email query.

Full manuscripts: If we have requested your full manuscript and you have uploaded it to our submission database, a response can take up to two months. As with queries, we will email a response, so keep an eye on your spam folder.

  Examples of Good Query Letters

Check out Kristin’s blog workshop on query letters. You’ll find it in the right side bar of Pub Rants. You’ll also find several query letters from NLA clients posted there, as well as some of Kristin’s submission pitch letters to editors for various NLA titles. Also check out #NLAquerytip on Twitter for additional useful information.

Several times a year, Kristin and Angie present webinars on how to nail the query pitch paragraph. Definitely worth the enrollment fee if you’re looking to master the art of the query pitch!

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