I'm back with another query that worked.
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Alora was found wandering in the woods with no memory of her life. It's 2013 now and the blackouts have started again. Each time Alora wakes up in a different place with no idea of how she got there. The one thing she is certain of? Someone is following her.

In 2146, seventeen-year-old Bridger is one of a small number of people born with the ability to travel to the past. While on a routine school time trip, he sees the last person he expected—his dead father. Who, according to the Department of Temporal Affairs, was never assigned to that time. He’s even more stunned when he learns that his by-the-book father was there to break the most important rule of time travel—to prevent the murder of someone.

Someone named Alora.

Determined to discover why his father wanted to help a “ghost,” Bridger illegally shifts to 2013 and, along with Alora, races to solve the mystery surrounding her past and her connection to his father before the DTA finds him. If he can stop Alora’s death without altering the timeline, maybe he can save his father too.

Told in a dual point of view, THE EDGE OF FOREVER is a 98,000 word YA science fiction novel. It is stand-alone with series potential and may appeal to readers of Marie Lu’s LEGEND or Myra McEntire’s HOURGLASS. Thank you for your consideration.
This is a great example of a query that introduces a book with two narrators.

It's also a great example of a query that builds. We find out some information about Alora--including the fact that someone is following her. That first paragraph introduces some heavy conflict. The next paragraph introduces even higher stakes in the conflict--impending murder.

And oh yeah, it's Alora's murder.

This is also a query that introduces good worldbuilding details in a subtle way, so that they don't get in the way of the story. It's concise and every word counts.

After I signed Melissa, I sold the book to SkyPony and it comes out June 2nd!


Back when I was a baby agent, there was always a new milestone to hit: my first client, my first sale, my first foreign sale, my first middle grade sale, my first adult sale, etc. You get the idea.

Selling a book felt like the most amazing feat. I would celebrate--and I still do. But after being in the business a while, you know that selling a book is only the first step of the battle. There's so much more that goes into this job.

As a result, the milestones become less about the sale and more about things down the line. Only every once in a while, you're reminded what it felt like when you first started.

Case in point.

When New Adult first exploded onto the scene I was really excited about it, and I wanted to see the age group expand into many genres. A really fabulous writer based in the UK named Laura Salters asked me a few questions on twitter and we talked NA.

Then she queried me with a New Adult Mystery she described as Harlan Coban meets John Green. I loved that idea so I requested. And it was amazing. The novel needed some revision, but it was the kind of book that I couldn't stop thinking about long after I'd finished. I loved it. (Jess Dallow who was one of my first reads on it, loved it too).

We sent Laura some notes, she revised and I signed her. We revised again and then went on submission. It ended up becoming a bit less NA and a bit more mystery with crossover potential, but we liked it that way.

I sold it to an editor at HarperCollins in my first ever mystery sale. I couldn't have done it without such a talented author and such an amazing book.

I'm happy to say that today is the release of that novel, Run Away. Here's to many more. (Hopefully they'll be just as amazing and pageturning as this one).


Cora Carmack's third Rusk University book is out today. All Played Out is Nell and Torres' story and got the same sexy romance and amazing humor that all her books have.


After the Bologna Children's Book Fair, I started getting a lot of questions asking about the Fair and about what was hot and what wasn't etc.

Well, I didn't go this year. Last year and the year before, I was lucky enough to go and see this (among other things).



This year, that honor went to Joanna Volpe and Jess Dallow. So to answer all the questions, I have the fabulous Jess Dallow, reporting here on the goings on in Italy:

Hi everyone!

I'm Jess. I'm both a literary assistant here at New Leaf, as well as the foreign rights assistant. Since Suzie didn't attend Bologna this year, she asked me to write up a little something so everyone can have an idea of what happens at these fairs.

This was my first full year in foreign, therefore it was also my first time at the Bologna Book Fair. I heard a lot of things before going, mainly how great it was, and it definitely did not disappoint! Joanna and I got there a few days early and spent some time acclimating to the time change (it definitely did not help that we had to go through the European time change - once is enough, thank you!) There were publishing parties, lots of delicious food, and since I had never been to Italy I got to experience some of it while also meeting a ton of new people in publishing that I didn't know beforehand.

Then Monday rolled around and it was time for the fair to start. The best way to describe it is to imagine a huge, huge warehouse filled with booths, people, and books. Publishers from around the world had their stations set up with information about their books, as well as copies so people could leaf through them. There was walls that filled with illustrations from people and by the end of day three it was art upon art upon art. All the agents were upstairs at the Agents' Centre where rows of tables were set up . Some agencies had one, some had two (New Leaf did so that way we could take double the amount of meetings.) That is where I spent my 8 hours a day, every half hour filled with a meeting (minus lunch and a break which was necessary since they took away our bathrooms!) It was really cool to see which books agents brought to represent their clients and it was fun to leaf through them on our breaks.

The overall mood was great. Everyone was excited to be there, the weather was gorgeous, and it was one of those things where you could tell that everyone genuinely loved their jobs. Even with the long hours, everyone was high energy and buzzing with excitement. Publishers seemed to be looking for less fantasy this year and more contemporary. While fantasy is still working both in the US and overseas, because publishers have bought a ton of it in previous years, they are now looking to change things up a bit. That's not to say some fantasy wasn't a hit, but I definitely got more requests for contemporary.

There were no big books of the fair this year, but in light of the way our world is excitedly changing, transgender stories seem to be up and coming. New Leaf has a transgender novel that got a lot of attention, as did some of the other ones at the fair. But other than that, there wasn't one thing getting a ton of attention over another!

All in all, it was a really great fair and I can't wait to go back next year!
So again, this book isn't mine. I recently signed the amazing TJ Kline because I was such a fan. But the first book in her new series, Heart's Desire, is out today and I seriously love it.

It makes me want to go out and buy a ranch and start an animal shelter and fall in love with everything. Perfect weekend reading now that it's starting to warm up around here.


I've been reading queries for a long time. I still get surprised though when I see some of them. Lately I've been seeing some openings that don't exactly make the desired first impression.

A few examples:


"It took me more than twenty minutes to full recover from the shock of your gorgeousness."

"I chose to query you despite how much you enjoyed the Twilight series."

"I know you ask for pages, but excerpts are a better way to see the full range of my work so I've pasted them below."

"Attached is a book I wrote."

"This is only a concept rough draft."

"I have completed a plot synopsis I'd like to send you."

"I have an idea for a book."



Kristin Halbrook's fabulous second novel, Every Last Promise, is out today!


I love this book. It's so very real and raw. Here are the opening lines which grabbed me and sunk their hooks in when I first read them:

This is a story about heroes.
I am not one of them.

The third and final book in the Project Paper Doll trilogy is out tomorrow!


Here's a great question:
What are the "do's" and "don't's" of a great pitch session?
Here are some of my thoughts:

DO come prepared. You should do a bit of internet research on the agent you're pitching. Know what books they represent. Also know what you're going to want to say. Practice it in the mirror or for your friends so that you can say it without reading and without sounding like a robot.

DON'T just pitch for the sake of pitching. If a writer pitches me a business book, I'm not going to have anything constructive to say. I don't do business books. We are not a good match.

DO have a concise pitch. Be concise, but don't be afraid to include details that will tug at agent's emotions. If I were MarcyKate Connolly, I'd pitch Monstrous like this: I have a middle grade fantasy novel titled MONSTROUS. When her father recreates Kymera from the parts of her broken body, the wings of a raven, the tail of a serpent, and a cat's razor-sharp vision, he gives her life with memories or pain. But she has a mission. A wizard is stealing girls in her village, and it's her mission to stop him. It's Frankenstein meets Brother's Grimm told from the point of view of the monster as a teenage girl. It will appeal to readers of Anne Ursu and Natalie Lloyd. It's complete at 85,000 words.

DON'T try to cram a lot of backstory and subplots and supporting characters into your pitch. Main character, main conflict. That's it. That your protagonist has a mother who's half blind and a sister who lives in his basement might be relevant to the character's growth, but if they're backstory or subplots, don't tell me about them. Also, no play by plays.

DO have a conversation. Say hello and introduce yourself when you sit down. Ask the agent a question. Then launch into your pitch. Don't talk at them--say your quick pitch, then wait for them to ask you a question. (Prepare for things like "what inspired you?"  "what happens next?" or "what are your comp titles?" And have a few questions prepared that you might want to ask the agent if you have some time at the end.

DON'T try to pitch more than one idea at a time. Focus on the one project you are most passionate about.

DO actually send your manuscript if it's requested. A lot of people who pitch me don't send their material and sometimes I'm really disappointed!

DON'T be nervous. I know this is hard, but here's the truth. A pitch is great experience and maybe you'll meet an agent this way, but most of my clients just query me. So even if your pitch is a disaster, you could still just query the agent--and many others. If you are so crazy-nervous that you're going to get hives or shake or cry, don't sign up for pitches. Be a human at the conference. Talk to agents like they're people. They might ask what your query is about or ask you to query them. Or just send them a query.

DO be a good human. This means following social cues and acceptable business etiquette.

Along those lines DON'T stalk agents and pitch them in the bathroom, at the gym, in an elevator, while they have food in their mouth, standing in a small room and blocking the only door, when they're trying to go back to their hotel room (these have all happened to me). Also remember that no means no. If an agent says the book isn't for them, you don't want them as an agent. Yelling or trying to coerce an agent to change their mind, only makes them want to work with you even less.


I got a really interesting question today:
I'm not trying to be rude with my question but why is it Stephanie Meyer can get away with rather simplistic writing but any new writer who wrote like her writing style (like over use of adjectives for one example) would be chastised. And I don't even mean with the fourth book you can see it in the first book. Is there a point where personal bias takes over and the agent is so in love with the story and characters they don't care less about how it's written?
Here's my answer:

Yes.

The YA market is over 10x more saturated now than when Twilight first published, which is a good thing, but it does make it harder then to get published. So the comparisons to older books can be hard.

Not all writing quality is created equal. Not everyone can write like Laini Taylor. This is okay. Not all readers (particularly reluctant ones) want that beautiful experience (ok obviously I do).

But if the writing style is more simplistic or the quality of writing isn’t starred review worthy, the book has to make up for it with phenomenal storytelling. The trick is to get people to read the book and get so swept up in it that they don’t care about adjectives or whatever.

Also and I’m just going to be argumentative here, but I loved Twilight. I actually said to a (now ex) boyfriend when he kept trying to interrupt me while I was reading the last book “I’m reading the conclusion to one of the great love stories of our time, can we talk about this later?” It did get starred reviews--three of them. And given it’s popularity, whatever it’s flaws, people certainly got swept up in it.
Jennifer Ryan's next romance is out today!


I'm not going to lie. After reading this, I kind of want to go spend some time in Montana.

Renita Pizzitola's newest swoonworthy novel, Just a Little Flirt, is here!

I already know I'm going to need to do another reread on a night when I don't have to get up early. :)


It's always been New Leaf's Policy that "No Response Means No" which means that basically other than the bounce-back email, you'll only get an email when you get a request. If two weeks pass and there's no response, that means we're passing.

I've always responded.

Until now. I'm going to stop responding to queries as of April 1st.

This has been a really hard decision for me. If I was querying, I would want to know that my email didn't just get lost in the ether. I felt that it didn't take that long to respond to each query, so I should keep doing it.

But the truth is, I get a lot of queries, that response time adds up, and my first responsibility is to my clients.

To give you an example. This weekend I sat down at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon and started responding to queries. I had just over 200. I didn't finish until 6:06 pm. I could have read half a manuscript in that time.

I will continue to try to do a lot to help authors, answering tumblr questions and going to writing conferences. But unfortunately I won't be responding to queries anymore after this month.

Update: The bounce-back you receive upon submitting your query is a confirmation of receipt. Also, I will continue to respond to all manuscript requests per usual.
I'm not normally a gif person, but...



Because Lori M Lee's follow up to Gates of Thread and Stone is out today.


That's right. The Infinite is here. And it is amazing!


The cover is gorgeous and the book is even better. Ninurta is definitely on my places I wish I could visit list.




I thought Nikki Loftin had outdone herself with Nightingale's Nest which is a book that changed my life, it was so powerful.

I was wrong. She wasn't done breaking my heart and putting it back together again. Her newest novel, Wish Girl, is out today, and it is briliant. It's pure genius.


I love this book so much.