Because there are just so many dang good writers who’ve queried me these past few months, I’ll be closing to queries to catch up on the (massive) backlog of requested manuscripts currently glaring at me from my inbox. Starting May 1 the slush pile will be gated and locked with a doberman on guard to protect my sanity the slush from unauthorized queries. He’s quite ferocious. Really.

Submission Guidelines

You can find my specific interests in submissions by scrolling to the bottom of the page. But first, the nitty gritty. To query me, send an email with the subject line:

QUERY: [YA/MG/PB] [genre] [BOOK TITLE]*

to

querymichelle @ mansionstreet.com

 

For chapter books, middle grade, or young adult novels, paste the query letter and the first 10 pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. No attachments.

Not currently seeking children’s books
For picture books, include the query letter and the full text of the manuscript in the body of the email. I’m willing to consider up to three picture book manuscripts, but mention in the query if you’re querying multiple books. No attachments.

For illustrated kids books, include the query letter and full text of the manuscript in the body of the email, but you may attach a dummy book or sample illustrations.

For children’s nonfiction, please include either a book proposal or a brief (2–3 pages) overview detailing what your book is, why you’re the person to write it, and a sample chapter in the body of the email. If your project contains photos or images pertinent to the book, you may attach a full proposal.

 

*Example: QUERY: YA fantasy TWILIGHT OF THE POTTERS

NOTE: I represent only children’s fiction & nonfiction, so do not send me new adult or adult fiction, memoir, or general nonfiction.

#Hashtag #fun

If you found me through a post on social media, whether that be #MSWL or #pitmad or similar pitch parties, please include the hashtag in the subject line of your query so I know how you found me.* It helps me know if a writer is sending something that I’m specifically looking for. As always, query + first ten pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. *Example subject heading: #MSWL PB horror: THAT TIME MY DOG ATE ME

Conference Attendees

If you attended a conference where I was a guest—especially if I requested material—mention the name of the conference in the subject field of the email. For queries, include the query letter and first 10 pages of your manuscript in the body of the email.

Response Times

Response time for queries is usually 1 day to 3 weeks. I respond to every query I receive. If you haven’t gotten an email after 3 weeks, feel free to resend. The spam monster has been known to eat things. Response to requested manuscripts is generally 1 to 4 months. You can keep tabs on the status of requested materials by glancing at the Hello Bar at the top of this lovely website, which I keep up to date. But please, don’t follow up before 4 months. I know it’s hard to wait, but you’re keeping busy (and distracted) by your new manuscript, right? It helps, I swear.

My tastes are fairly eclectic, so to give you a little help, I’ve listed some of the things I’m looking for in general, plus stuff I don’t like and a few topics or genres I’d love to find in my query pile.

NOT CURRENTLY SEEKING PICTURE BOOKS

Picture Books I’m especially interested in work by author-illustrators. You can find a visual list of the type of picture books I’d love to find here. Examples of what I’m looking for:

 

Don’t send me:

  • moralistic tales (trying to teach a lesson instead of just telling a good story)
  • holiday stories (Christmas, Valentine’s, Halloween)
  • cutesy or sappy stories
  • rhyming stories or poetry
  • Suessian books—be original and create your own style
I’ll also take a look at Early Reader and Chapter Books, such as:

 

Note: Since there is often confusion on what exactly early readers and chapter books are, here’s a brief explanation. Early readers are the very simple books for kids who are just learning to read. “See Dick. See Dick write a book. Write, Dick, write!” They are not picture books—unless they have very few words, such as with the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems. Chapter books are more complex than early readers, but not as long or in depth as middle grade books. They often have large(r) type and more illustrations than you’d see with middle grade. Think Ivy and Bean or Clementine.

I’m always looking for good Middle Grade fiction, like:

 

  • Literary
    • I’ve been in the mood for gorgeous writing lately; woo me with your words
  • Magical realism
    • see my series of posts on What is Magical Realism? before sending me a query for magical realism books; more than half the queries I receive labeled magically realistic are miscategorized
  • Adventure
    • even better if the parents are alive and they have a strong family relationship
    • I love sibling stories
  • Mystery/Suspense
  • Spooky
  • Fantasy
  • Contemporary realistic
    • I’m more into funny for mg realistic fiction
    • but I can get behind a good heartwrencher if the writing is exquisite
  • Graphic novels (ex. Binky the Space Cat)
  • Anything with the flavor of Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, Neil Gaiman, or Lemony Snicket
  • Anything weird or that doesn’t fit neatly into a box
  • Historical
    • I’m really picky with historical fiction because often it isn’t done very well, with anachronisms galore
    • I’m mostly interested in historical stories from lesser-known cultures or time periods. Basically anything that is set outside Europe and North America
  • Diverse stories and characters
    • especially #ownvoices (books by writers from marginalized groups)
    • aka stories about or by people from an ethnic, cultural, or religious background, or who are disabled (physically or mentally) or on the LGBTQ spectrum
    • I’d love to see more children’s lit that approaches mental illness from an authentic viewpoint; many books and authors portray it so wrong it’s not even funny. Really not funny.
    • basically, authors and characters it’s hard to find on bookstore shelves
I’m interested a variety of YA fiction, including:

 

  • Literary
    • I’ve been in the mood for gorgeous writing lately. Woo me with your words
  • Magical realism
    • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, but for teens
    • see my series of posts on What is Magical Realism? before sending me a query for magical realism books; more than half the queries I receive labeled magically realistic are miscategorized
  • Adventure
    • even better if the parents are alive and they have a strong family relationship
    • I love sibling stories, especially sisters
  • Mystery/Suspense
  • Horror
    • I’m a sucker for a good spooky ghost story
    • Gothic horror (aka dreadpunk)
    • Southern gothic
  • Fantasy/Sci-fi
    • rich worldbuilding and writing is a must
  • Contemporary realistic
    • I’ve been leaning toward literary and/or beautiful writing in contemp lately
  • Diverse stories and characters
    • #ownvoices (books by authors from marginalized groups)
    • aka stories about or by people from an ethnic, cultural, or religious background, or who are disabled (physically or mentally) or on the LGBTQ spectrum
    • basically, authors and characters it’s hard to find on bookstore shelves
    • I’d want to see more children’s lit that approaches mental illness from an authentic viewpoint (not POV of dealing with sibling who is mentally ill
    • many books (and authors) get their portrayal of mental illness so wrong it’s not even funny.
  • But not Paranormal Romance, Dystopian or zombies
I’d love to find more children’s nonfiction, including:

 

To query nonfiction, please include a brief (2–3 pages) book proposal in the body of the email detailing what your book is, who will read it, and why you’re the person to write it. Send it to querymichelle (at) mansionstreet (dot) com. If your project contains photos or images pertinent to the book, you may attach a full proposal. *Books I worked on as an editor.

In general I’d love to find manuscripts that are:

  • off-beat stories that are smart yet fun
  • anything reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s stories for children
  • quirky or somewhat bizarre
  • dark and creepy
  • literary with gorgeous prose and a good plot
  • narrative nonfiction for kids
  • set in the West and/or Southwest
  • realistic stories about family relationships
  • realistic stories about friends
  • Diverse stories and authors
    • especially #ownvoices (books by writers from marginalized groups)
    • stories about or by people from various ethnic, cultural, or religious background, or who are disabled (physically or mentally) or on the LGBTQ spectrum
    • basically, authors and characters it’s hard to find on bookstore shelves, especially in the children’s section

Don’t send me:

 

  • New adult
  • Adult fiction
  • General nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Short story collections
  • Memoir
  • Religious fiction or nonfiction

I’m not your best bet if you write:

  • paranormal romance
  • dystopian
  • post-apocalyptic
  • zombies
  • angsty books that focus on an issue (suicide, anorexia, sexual assault) over character or plot
  • stories in which smoking and drug use are shown as cool, or that encourages abusive behavior
  • books that perpetuate harmful stereotypes (racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation, etc.)
    • anything that mocks mental illness or shames kids/teens who take medication
    • stories where kid has to learn to deal with their “crazy” (bipolar, schizophrenic, autistic) family member
  • anything with incest/pseudo-incest (Flowers in the Attic, Forbidden)
  • moralistic tales (trying to teach kids a lesson instead of just telling a good story)
  • novels in verse
  • Suessian, or that tries to copy another author’s distinct style (knock-offs of Dr. Suess, Shel Silverstein)
  • cutesy or overly sappy chapter books and middle grade
  • holiday stories
    • Christmas, Valentine’s, Halloween
    • I’m willing to consider manuscripts that are set during a holiday time period, but it can’t be the main focus of the story