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January 2019
A Message from Kristin Nelson

2018 End-of-Year Stats

Kristin Nelson

Welcome to the New Year!

What am I most excited about? Our move to QueryManager! Many of you are probably already familiar with QueryManager, since lots of other agencies use it, too. Here at NLA, we’re especially excited about its ability to help us track our numbers: submissions received (and in which genres), responses sent, requests made, offers of representation, etc. QM will give us one-click access to all things query next year at this time when I’m compiling our 2019 stats!

Interested in submitting a query to us? Here’s a handy link to our brand-new submission guidelines. From there, you can learn more about what each of our agents is looking for this year as well as how to send your query. Please remember that we share queries, so choose only one agent to query. Good luck, if querying is part of your new year’s goals!

As a reminder, we do not represent screenplays, poetry, short-story collections, picture books, early-reader chapter books, or material for the Christian/inspirational market; we also don’t represent most nonfiction (only Quressa is open to reviewing NF submissions).

Now…the moment you’ve been waiting for: NLA’s 2018 end-of-year stats!

4 : Number of agents at NLA 

442 : Number of full manuscripts requested and read 

110 : Number of manuscripts we requested that received offers of representation, either from us or from other agents/agencies.

14 : Number of new clients who signed with NLA (2 for Kristin, 5 for Danielle, 5 for Joanna, 2 for Quressa)

21 : Number of book deals done (6 for Kristin, 5 for Danielle, 3 for Quressa, 7 for Joanna)

44 : Number of career New York Times bestsellers for Kristin (up from 41 last year). Her latest, Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, hit the list for the first time after the release of the film on Netflix.

1 : Movie released (Bird Box of course!)

9 : TV and major motion picture deals (8 for Kristin, 1 for Quressa)  

35 :  Books released in 2018 

20,000+ : Queries read and responded to (estimated)

64 : Foreign-rights deals done 

7 : Conferences attended by Kristin, including ALA Midwinter, RWA, Lighthouse Writers, SCBWI Rocky Mountain, Dallas Fort-Worth Conference

155 :  Physical holiday cards sent

835 : Electronic holiday cards sent (up from 788 in 2017)

Not telling it’s so embarrassing : Eggnog chai lattes consumed during November and December

Lots : Late nights reading on my living-room chaise with the very senior and snuggly lady Chutney

All : Great days loving my job!

Recent News
Think Like an Agent

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

By Quressa Robinson

Happy New Year! Hopefully we are all coming back to our routines refreshed and energized. Burnout is something that publishing professionals and writers have to watch out for. So what are some things you can do to keep moving forward with optimism while not overwhelming yourself?

Get Rid of Guilt. Whether you make resolutions or just plan out goals you’d like to achieve, it’s okay if you don’t conquer them all. Maybe you want to finish that novel. Or finally start querying. Or even get published. If those things don’t happen this year, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that they will never happen. There is no reason to feel bad if the outcome isn’t what you desired.

Make Attainable Goals. It’s also a good idea to manage your expectations. Start with the goals you know you can achieve easily on your own. Have a mini celebration every time you accomplish one. Next, make a list of goals that are more challenging but still possible to achieve. These can be goals that you tackle on your own or that require teamwork. For example, you can set a goal to find a critique group or beta readers.

Remember to Have Fun. You don’t want writing to become a chore or something you dread. This year, I’ve promised myself to make time for pleasure reading. Not only will it remind me why I chose to work in this industry, but it will also give me a chance to decompress and have a stronger perspective. I would encourage you to do the same. Make time for pleasure reading—in the genre you write in as well as other genres. Giving yourself the space to fall in love with reading will also give you the space to fall in love with writing.

It’s Okay to Take a Break. Working on back-to-back projects and consistently working on the same project can lead to fatigue. When you don’t give yourself a chance to set aside and process your work, you lose the ability to see your work subjectively. Writers need to develop a discerning eye, and the best way to do that is with their own work. Being a good self-editor leads to being a better writer. After all, you can’t rely on your beta readers to find the all the plot holes or issues with characterization that are cropping up in your novel. Give yourself the chance to see your work with a clear head.  

Find Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable. It can be easy to fall into bad habits. Nothing wrong with taking a break, but you should have a clear timeline for it. Maybe it’s hard to motivate yourself after a long day working at your day job or dealing with family. Find a writing group. When I was still working on a novel, I often found it hard to focus when I was writing alone in my apartment. Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be done in isolation. So I found a group of writers who regularly met to write together. We’d all show up to a coffee shop, find a large table, take out our laptops, and write for an hour or two. Sometimes it was the only time I wrote anything that week. Making sure to, at the very least, attend this group meet-up made feel like I wasn’t slacking and was truly taking my writing seriously. I held myself accountable.

As the year progresses, when you start feeling overwhelmed, remember to pause. The best way to beat burnout is to take a break when you start feeling the effects. You can’t achieve your goals if you aren’t following steps on a healthy, optimistic path.

Kristin's Book Club

Here is what I discovered about our next book-club pick: The booksellers at the Tattered Cover are huge fans. When I approached the reference desk and asked, “Do you have Roz Chast’s…,” three booksellers popped up to help me locate the title on the shelf. At check out, the bookseller at the register and I spent 15 minutes chatting about how much he enjoyed the work. I, of course, was buying the book so had no opinion to share!

So I think we have a winner on our hands. It’s the very first graphic novel my book club is tackling in our 20+ years together. The adventure of a new format! We are in! This memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, has earned quite a few accolades and covers a topic that most of us are currently facing: aging parents. 

#1 New York Times Bestseller

2014 National Book Award Finalist

Winner of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award 

Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better Life Award

Winner of the 2015 Reuben Award from National Cartoonists Society

Summary: New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents. An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can.

New Releases

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (10th Anniversary Edition)

by Jamie Ford



In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II.

As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s—Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors.

Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel’s basement for the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.

Buy It Here:


On This, the Day of the Pig

by Josh Malerman



Jeff looked over his shoulder back to the hidden pigpen.

Pearl was all he could see. Pearl. Sitting on his ass like a person might, his front hooves limp at the sides of his belly, his head was cocked slightly to the side, his pink ears straight high above his head. His bad eye looked dark, hidden, but his good one was fixed on Jeff.

In it, Jeff saw an intelligence that scared him.

A half smile appeared under the pig’s snout, or maybe it was just the way his lips naturally curled up at their ends.

Jeff fingered the latch. Pearl watched him. Staring. Assessing. Planning?

Jeff pulled his fingers away. A streak of shame ran down his back, like he’d come close to letting something very bad out of the pen…


Only available here.

Buy It Here:

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