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September 2017
A Message from Kristin Nelson

The Power of a Blog

Kristin Nelson

Over the eleven years I’ve been blogging at Pub Rants, many have told me what a valuable resource it is and have thanked me for my posts. Positive feedback is always nice to hear! But I didn’t assume that my blog had the power to bring about real change.

Until a month ago.

On March 14, 2017, I posted about how Iran didn’t recognize international copyright law, so titles published there are often published sans license, and authors never receive a dime. It was simply a post about the way of the world—meant to be informational rather than a condemnation.

Yet as a result of that post, an Iranian publisher reached out and offered to officially license several NLA titles.

I was floored and honored to create a partnership with Iran’s Houpaa Books, which will be releasing an official Persian-language edition of Marie Lu’s Warcross and Josh Malerman’s Bird Box (with special content from the authors so fans can identify the “official” edition). This is a terrific start to a new business relationship, and I hope to see many more of NLA’s books licensed in this market.


Pub Rants University

Perfecting the Query Pitch – a 2-Part Webinar Intensive 2017-09-20

Learn to Write the Perfect Query Letter

Wednesday, September 20 at 6:00 - 8:00 PM MT

Sessions: 2 consecutive Wednesdays, September 20 and 27, 2017

Class Limit: 15

Please note: This Webinar is primarily a workshop and does not constitute a query letter submission to Nelson Literary Agency. Only fiction submissions are eligible for this Webinar (no memoirs or non-fiction works, please).


Most writers will tell you that writing a good query letter is more difficult than writing the whole manuscript. How do you distill the essence of a 300+ page novel into one pithy pitch paragraph for your query? In this 2-Part intensive, you’ll find out.

This Webinar will be taught by Agent Kristin.

In part one on Wednesday, September 20, Agent Kristin will walk you through how to write a standout query letter pitch while avoiding common pitfalls. After learning the inside scoop, participants will have a chance to revise their query letter pitch for part 2 of the Webinar. Participants will also be paired with a fellow participant critique partner. Teamwork will help to create the best possible query letter.

In part two on Wednesday, September 27, Agent Kristin will do a live reading of your revised pitch query letters. Nothing speaks louder or more directly to your query letter’s effectiveness than the on-the-spot feedback of an agent, so don’t miss this opportunity.

What You’ll Learn:
•    How to compose a basic, four-part query letter.
•    How to distill your novel into a clear, concise pitch paragraph that will inspire agents to request sample pages.
•    How to position yourself in the current market in terms of word count, genre, and comparable titles or authors.
•    The truth about why so few query letters lead to requests for sample pages.
•    How to revise your pitch.

•    Agent Kristin will be on video as well as audio.
•    Attendees are welcome to ask questions throughout the Webinar.
•    Attendees will have access to the video recording of the Webinar for six months.

Who should attend? Writers who:
•    Have completed a novel and are ready to begin their search for an agent. (Please note that this Webinar is not for writers of memoirs or works of nonfiction.)
•    Have already been querying but have gotten no requests for sample pages.
•    Will be attending a conference soon where they will be pitching to an agent.

Register Now
Recent News
Think Like an Agent

NLA Welcomes Quressa Robinson

By Kristin Nelson

NLA is pleased to welcome new agent Quressa Robinson. Interested in submitting? Find out what she’s looking for and how to send your query.

I’ve been an avid reader as long as I can remember. My oldest grudge stems from third grade, when the librarian’s daughter beat me out of a first-place gold medal in the summer reading challenge by two books. I was robbed! Needless to say, my competitiveness and love for books are a great match for my chosen profession. Despite originally wanting to become a pediatrician, and then a biochemist, I quickly discovered that math was my greatest nemesis and that there was an industry I could join completely devoted to books. Thus began my journey into publishing, first by getting an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia, and then by spending five years as an editor, mostly at a Big Five publisher. I joined NLA in September 2017 after spending close to a year at another agency.

I’m originally from San Francisco, but have been living in New York City for over a decade. I’m a West Coast New Yorker! I still say hella! As a New York based agent, I’m eager to build my YA and Adult lists. When I find a great book I get very invested. I fall in love. The characters begin to feel real and familiar. The story becomes a treasured member of my family (and library). It owns my heart. I have very eclectic tastes and represent a wide range of genres. I am most drawn to literary voices in commercial packages, wonderfully realized characters, untold stories from underrepresented communities, immersive world building, and complex narrative approaches/plots. Also, I am most drawn to character-driven stories and love strong voice as well. I am a huge romantic and don’t mind romance subplots outside of the romance genre.

When not curled on my couch reading, I play video games, enjoy too much TV—mostly Sailor Moon and Harry Potter (Slytherin!)—eat delicious things, drink champagne, hang out with my very clever husband, and add another “dramatic” color to my lipstick collection. So, give me stories that will make me geek out. If you can make me have an epic fangirl squee—have stories featuring fairies and warrior princesses with afros and rainbow dreads or envision winter elves inspired by an Asian or Latinx culture—then we are definitely a match. I’m also looking for stories with best friends like Molly and Issa on Insecure, enemies to lovers, coming-of-age stories, The Breakfast Club with a twist, family drama, witches (!), and alpha heroes paired with witty heroines. If you have bold, fresh, or quirky stories, they will be right up my alley. I’m also looking for stories that feel timeless and timely, despite the current climate or when they were originally written. I’m a huge re-reader. Or give me something I didn’t know I desperately needed. Above all, give me stories I can become deeply passionate about.

Visit me at Publishers Marketplace, check out my submission guidelines and #MSWL, and follow me on twitter @qnrisawesome.

Kristin's Book Club

Makers & Takers - An Upper Echelon Casino

Book club is back in session. On the docket, Rana Foroohar’s Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street. Our takeaway? An upper echelon of financial people is basically playing casino with a lot of people’s mortgages and money. Ultimately, the everyday person pays the price via our tax dollars with government bailouts, etc.

Also, corporations are becoming themselves bankers. Interested in the stock price bottom line and beholden to stock holders, they no longer innovate or invest profit into R&D, which is what actually creates jobs. If you’re looking for insight into the 2008 financial meltdown, this book will give you a succinct view of some very complicated events.

Up next: Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Personally, I think if we had done this one for our summer read, we might not have gone on hiatus. There’s a reason that the term “summer beach read” is alive and well!

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different. When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. 

New Releases


by Marie Lu

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Buy It Here:



by Scott Reintgen

“A high-octane thriller . . . Nyxia grabs you from the first line and never lets go.” —Marie Lu,#1 New York Times bestselling author of the Young Elites series

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.


Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Buy It Here:


Love and Other Consolation Prizes

by Jamie Ford

From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle’s epic 1909 World’s Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But only once he’s there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off—a healthy boy “to a good home.”

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known—and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he’s always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion—in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.

Buy It Here:


Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed

by John Keyse-Walker

Sun, Sand, Murder by John Keyse-Walker is a winner. It is written with the coral clarity of a Caribbean atoll, and evokes an edgy rhythm that suits the protagonist, Teddy Creque, and his wholly authentic domain, the Virgin Islands.”―Randy Wayne White

After barely surviving the first criminal investigation in living memory on the sun-drenched British Virgin island of Anegada, Constable Teddy Creque has spent the past six months trying to weather the aftermath, and move on with his life. Now, with a promotion and a medal of honor, he’s newly committed to the job. So when a young woman dies in a shark attack off the coast of a neighboring island, Virgin Gorda, Teddy is happy to help when Deputy Commissioner Howard Lane orders him to capture the man-eater. But when Teddy arrives on Virgin Gorda, he begins to suspect there was human foul play involved, too.

After all, the sharks around the idyllic island aren’t known for attacking humans, and there are some oddities at the scene. Unfortunately, while Teddy is convinced that the woman’s death wasn’t accidental, not everyone on the island takes kindly to his meddling, and he’s forced to be creative in his pursuit of justice. In unfamiliar territory, and with his sole witness a silent child who communicates in unorthodox ways, Teddy must earn the trust of the reserved residents of the touristy island, tangle with a loquacious parrot, and follow the clues which might lead him directly into the path of a killer.

John Keyse-Walker, the winner of the 2015 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award, has written another taut, witty mystery that will keep readers mesmerized from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

Buy It Here:


The Bloodprint

by Ausma Zehanat Khan

The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first fantasy novel—the opening installment in a thrilling quartet—a tale of religion, oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and hope.

A dark power called the Talisman, born of ignorance and persecution, has risen in the land. Led by a man known only as the One-Eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.

But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her fellow warrior, Sinnia, skilled fighters who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: the Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.

Finding the Bloodprint promises to be their most perilous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal boy they freed from slavery and a man that used to be both Arian’s confidant and sword master—Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.

Buy It Here:


A Conspiracy in Belgravia

by Sherry Thomas

The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?

Buy It Here:

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