What I’m Looking For
Updated January, 2012
I represent books for the Christian market (CBA) as well as for the general market, and I’m now accepting queries for both.
Read our Submission Guidelines before sending a query!
My query policy:
While we would like to respond to all queries, our policy is that if you do not hear back within 30 days, you can consider it a “pass.” If you follow the guidelines and send the query to the correct email address, you’ll receive an automated response so you’ll know we received it.
What I’m currently looking for:
General and Christian market, full-length, 75,000 to 120,000 words. Women’s, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller, Police/Crime, Family Saga, Historical, Legal, Literary, Mainstream, Supernatural, Romance. No fantasy or sci-fi.
NO children’s, middle grade, or YA books, except: I am looking for high concept novels for teen girls.
I’m looking at both Christian market and general market projects. Home Life, Marriage, Parenting, Family, Current Affairs, Crafts, Health & Diet, How-to, Humor, Memoirs, Money, Narrative Nonfiction, Popular Culture, Psychology, Science, Self-Help, Women’s Issues.
Christian theology, apologetics, pastoral, spiritual growth:
I’m highly unlikely to take on this kind of project unless the author has credentials and/or a significant established platform.
I am NOT looking at devotionals.
What else am I NOT looking at?
→ Gift books
→ Short stories
→ Novellas (except from current clients)
→ Graphic novels
→ Children’s picture books.
→ Science fiction or fantasy for any age.
See my Submission Guidelines for more info.
Okay, here is my dilemma. I’ve been reading your posts since my hubby discovered you online in February and as much as I would like to leave comments on your blogs, I have this weird feeling that it may appear patronizing only because I had you marked as someone I intended to send my query letter to. I don’t wanna say that I wish i never heard of you…I just wish I met you under different circumstances. I want you to know that whether you like my query or not, I still think you are cool and we are alike in some ways (minus jumping out planes-I think you’re nuts). I have gleaned plenty from your wisdom and knowledge.
P.S: We don’t watch the news either – hehehehe – I remember when I used to believe everything on it.
Thtank you for share!
Wow! this cartoon type YouTube video I have seen when I was in primary level and now I am in institution of higher education and viewing that again at this place.
>Nice post, you should update the blog more often.
>Still no fantasy. Ah, Rachelle, if I didn't love your blog . . .
>Aaaaaah, ok-must get to work and soon! Even though you said not to hurry, I have this sudden urge to hurry like no other! It's almost done…almost! 🙂
>Rachelle, does this mean Greg is open to queries too?
>In my blog for today, I talk about the impending impact of the .99 novel. I believe it's an unstoppable force.
It's not just me who's going to be self-publishing. Any novelist not self-publishing in five years will be the one with the stigma of foolishness. The $.99 novel is completely turning the tables.
>Goog luck with the querying battle everyone. Rachelle, even if you don't represent Fantasy, I still love your blog.
>I was so tempted to pick up my nonfiction "Finding Daddy: A Journey" and format it and send it to you, but after reading my friend's memoir and joining Word Weavers I am taking a step back from it. I think it could use some improvement especially in the organization of it all. So meanwhile, I'm focusing on my speculative fiction. I think it's good for a book to sit and age a little so you can look at it later with the critique group after a few fiction novels are done.
>PS: I'd love for you to address the term "narrative non-fiction." I know what Google tells me, but I'd like your take. Voskamp's book perhaps?
>I love to read Amish genre books; they just take me to a peaceful place. I used to live in Amish country, so it's an easy sell for me. Some are better than others. Recently I commented to my mother (who reads a book a day… I'm not kidding), that kapps and shoefly pie are definitely "in." They're everywhere… Grace, Lettie, Susan, Maryanne, etc.
>Yay! So excited. I just wish I was done….soon, very soon.
>I've waited a long time for this post. Thank you.
>Ah, Rachelle, you're in for a busy month! I hope you find something special in the in-box.
As to a couple of your commenters: I find it very interesting that even after the Howettt debacle over at Big Al's, authors don't realize editors read blogs, too. Especially agents' blogs. And we take notes…
>About time. 🙂
Expect an email this weekend.
Seriously … if you feel strongly about your work, don’t wait around any longer. What can you possibly have to lose by self-publishing your novel? The very good news is that self-publishing has lost its “vanity press” stigma. Recently, I’ve found far better eBooks that speak to my specific interests than I have partially-read hard copies languishing on my bedside table. Just make sure your work is edited to industry standards and that your cover art is professional. The marketing is another story, of course, and it’s also the hardest part. As much as I think Joe Konrath makes valuable points, he’s a tad bit harsh on the “Gatekeeper.” Don’t let that be you. ☺
I guess things were getting just a little boring around here! Glad you're back to ruffle feathers and generally be the voice of resentment and negativity on my blog.
Always happy to entertain. I notice, of course, you don't bother to address the issue, or for that matter even disagree with it.
Oh, well. C'est la vive
Edward Gordon – they have this cool new thing on Amazon. Where you can self-publish your writing. Sounds like that's the way you should go, since you seem so bitter toward the traditional system.
Yeah, welcome to the future of fiction. Frankly, I welcome it.
>Sadly, I don't have anything ready for query but good luck to all those who do!
Mennonite? Seriously? I thought there were so few of us as to practically be nonexistent. ☺
This is wonderful news for writers who feel, as I do, that you’re da bomb – a “dream agent.” The impression I get of you through this blog is that you are someone with both business savvy and integrity. That’s an impressive combination simply because it is so extremely rare. Not to mention, I learn something new almost every day from your blog.
Given this wonderful news, you would have been one of my top agents to contact with dispatch. However, I’m putting querying on hold for a while until I see how things shake out. Enter masses of contests, revise and edit my work, start new projects … and then see what’s happening in the publishing industry again in the fall.
I wish everyone querying Rachelle the best. Those of you who already have her as agent are incredibly lucky.
>I love this April Fool's post! Let me get my query in order.
>Thanks for your answer Rachelle – that's all I needed to know. I will check it out a little further, though, having never realized there was a difference between "supernatural" and "fantasy". Thanks for opening my eyes to that!
I hope you make some great finds among all those queries coming your way!
>Rachelle, is there such a thing as multicultural upmarket fiction? Or do you have to pick one? Thanks!
>Sounds like there is hope in the world for my satirical Quaker post-bonnet novel. My characters are so over wearing their bonnets, and I'm not even kidding.
>Oh, boy. Hands sweating. Nervous twitching.
Okay, I won't hurry but I am 99% ready to submit. I'll take some deep breaths and query you next week (after I've reviewed my query and synopsis–yet again).
Let's hope you don't get deluged w/queries and close again. Fingers and toes crossed.
>I'm laughing at myself right now. I was so excited to see your announcement today but then it dawned on me: Highly doubtful that you would want to see a novel about mystery, deception and intrique at Amish puppy mills if you represent Bonnet fiction! Too funny. Best of luck with the deluge!
>Did you put a life jacket on this morning before you posted this?
I have a feeling you're going to be flooded with queries for the next few days.
>I bet many of us have been waiting to hear those words Ms. Gardner and I would like to say 'thank you' for simultaneous submissions. I sent a query off on Friday and would have missed the opportunity here if you did not.
Sending blessing to all who submit and remember: the only failures are those who give up. 🙂
>This is NOT an April Fool's joke!: Still, I thought it was kind of amusing that this happened to be the day I reopened to queries.
Everyone who mentioned they're going to hurry and get their query finished: PLEASE DON'T HURRY. This is not a race, guys. I'm not going anywhere. My query box is going to be full and stay full. Hurrying doesn't give you an advantage, but having a GREAT book and a GREAT query will.
Regarding fantasy and sci-fi: I don't hate it and actually read it occasionally. However, it's not my area of expertise, and you don't want an agent repping your work who isn't an expert in your genre.
Pia Newman: You're correct in your assessment. Other agents have blogged about the differences between the genres so I'm not going into detail here.
April: "High concept" is defined in most fiction books like those by Donald Maass. I highly recommend you read them! Basically for our purposes, high concept is something you can describe in a sentence or two and it would totally grab someone and make them want to hear more. Many successful and great books are not high concept, but for YA, I only want high concept. (See for example the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter.)
Edward Gordon: I guess things were getting just a little boring around here! Glad you're back to ruffle feathers and generally be the voice of resentment and negativity on my blog.
Anon 3:31am: The great thing is that there are all kinds of agents, with all different areas of interest and expertise. You're smart to look for one who fits you.
Rosemary: Feel free to submit again if you haven't heard from me.
Jackie: Chuck Sambuchino has a great explanation of upmarket fiction on his blog.
Rachel: Yes, thanks for the catch, I'll correct that.
Jenny: Thanks for chiming in!
>April Fool's, Suckas!!!!!
>This MUST be an April Fool's joke! If not, please tell us soon! I have a free weekend to polish up what I'm working on.
>RachelLE, (not Rachel),
Although I am a regular reader of this blog, I rarely comment. Today seems like a good time to let you know I have learned so much from your blog. Thank you for continuing to share information from your experience and role as an agent.
>Quick Question–You said first that you are seeking:
→ High concept YA fiction for girls.
BUT then lower you said
NO children's, middle grade, or YA books until further notice.
Does that mean any OTHER YA that isn't High Concept for girls?
>Rachelle, just wanted to say that your blog is always a great source of inspiration! Have a happy day!
>Yay! I'm so glad you're accepting queries again. And, I can only imagine what your inbox is going to look like over the next few weeks!
>…she posted on April Fool's Day.
>Oh YES! I have been waiting for this.. It shall be coming soon!
>Edward Gordon – they have this cool new thing on Amazon. Where you can self-publish your writing. Sounds like that's the way you should go, since you seem so bitter toward the traditional system.
>The "THEY" Mr. Gordon wrote about … that specific THEY is a sought-after, thoughtful and gifted agent who has no choice but to reject authors (and wannabe authors) who aren't yet ready for publication. THEY are professionals, in business, with a reputation for offering the publishing world something they can get excited about; excited enough to put it into print. Grow up and work on your craft instead of your excuses.
>rachelle, maybe I'm asking a question that all the other kids in the class know the answer to, but how would you define 'upmarket fiction'?
>I hope you don't delete Edwsard Gordon's post. It's a good example of…something.
Mr. Gordon, it's a business. Rachelle's not your third grade teacher telling you why you got a silver star instead of a gold one. If you can write a book, you should be able to figure out, after a few dozen rejections, what's wrong and why it's wrong. And then, fix it and try again.
If you're demanding a reason why it's not right for her…you're really demanding a mini-crit.
Come on, Mr. Gordon. Rachelle is doing all of us a tremendous service by faithfully putting out this blog. Be fair. Please.
>I'm counting on this not being an April Fool's joke! 🙂
>I'm sure many of your readers have been waiting for this day, Rachelle. Does that mean you're almost up to date with those submissions you'd previously received? (Says she hopefully!).
>Yay, yay and yay! My happy dance is forthcoming!
>I'm relieved. I've never doubted my writing talent. This list verifies what I've suspected for some time – I don't have the right "equipment" to land particular agents.
>Yeah, if she ignores you for sixty days you can just walk away with your hat in your hand–you just didn't cut it. See, now they don't even reject you; they let you reject yourself.
Oh, you spent years and your life is poured into your manuscript? So what? If they can't peddle it to the big six, well then, you're just not worth the paper you typed on. Stick it in a drawer and when you pass away (hopefully in the distant future) your grandkids will throw it in the garbage.
You'd think the least they could do is tell you why they can't use it. But, oh no, you just get ignored.
Go ahead and delete this, Rachel. I know you can't respond to it. You don't fool as many as you think you do. But I'm back; it's on my blog, and I don't delete anyone.
The Independent Author
>You're not going to say, "Just kidding! Not accepting queries after all," tomorrow, are you? It *is* April Fool's today. 😉
I do have a real question though. You said you're interested in "High concept YA fiction for girls." What does "high concept" mean in this case? I've tried Googling, and though people talk *about* it, I'm having trouble finding someone who *defines* it. Does it mean you're looking for contemporary/real-world fiction?
>Hm… Interesting. I always pegged "Supernatural" in the fantasy-genre. Or at least the urban fantasy sub-genre.
So basically, you're interested in fiction books about spirits, demons, ghosts, etc. – things based on myth and folklore – but don't want to see orcs, elves, vamps and werewolves?
I'm just curious as to where you draw the "supernatural" line?
Or am I missing something?
>I've been working feverishly but my manuscript is still not ready…if only I could quit my day job! Hope you find some great new authors to rep.
>Yay! I have lots of friends that have been waiting for this wonderful moment. Hope you get a deluge of great stuff.
>Thanks for the info. Have a great weekend!
>Aw why you gotta hate on SF/Fantasy?!
Just joking, sounds like you're about to have your hands full with queries… 🙂
And…the flood gates opened. Hope you're a good swimmer!
Grateful you're already already my agent.
>Sadly, you do not represent fantasy. Bummer!