What’s Hot by Sara Megibow

I took some excellent notes at the [RWA Spring Fling Conference] conference this weekend. Here’s the insider scoop —directly from workshops and the bar. (You have to guess which is actually the better source for “what’s hot” info.)

  • Middle grade (all kinds—contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantastical). This is fiction aimed at the 10- to 14-year-old reader and runs in the 30,000 to 60,000 word count. Want an example? Follow Stefan Bachmann’s debut for THE PECULIAR at http://scathingjellyfish.blogspot.com.
  • For contemporary romance, I heard people drooling over cowboys, westerns, and anything with a cat.
  • Victorian historical romance (historical romance set in the later 1800s instead of the typical Regency time frame of 1814-1816).
  • Anything and everything funny (like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and since I’m biased about it, like Tiffany Reisz).


Sarah Megibow is an Associate Literary Agent at the Nelson Literary Agency. This post was taken from their most recent newsletter. To get more great industry news, subscribe to their newsletter.

LDS Agents?

I just found your blog and am just thrilled! I’m about to start the whole query (what I hear is a nightmare) challenge, and as I am getting all my ducks in a row I have to wonder…are there LDS agents out in the world? I know this may be a completely moronic question, but I am really curious. I have heard some publishers won’t look at a manuscript unless they have an agent. Does this same rule of thumb apply to the LDS market.

Sorry if this question has been asked before. I did a search and couldn’t find anything about it though.

Thanks so much for your time and this blog!

LDS agents? No such animal. The reason being the LDS market is so small that no one could make a living at it. As far as I am aware, all LDS publishers will accept unagented manuscripts.

However, because you don’t have an agent to look out for you, it’s even more important that you have your contract looked at by an attorney familiar with publishing law, so you know what you’re signing.


Sara Megibow is an Associate Literary Agent with the Nelson Literary Agency. She writes a regular article in Kristen Nelson’s monthly newsletter. If you don’t get this newsletter, you should. You can sign up here.

The article below was from the last newsletter. I hope I don’t get in trouble for reposting it here. But I thought it was very, very good—plus I’m telling you to get the newsletter.

This year I will be attending the Romance Writers Convention in Nashville (July) and World Fantasy in Columbus (October). Some other conferences may yet come up, but that’s my schedule for right now. Amazingly, I am already preparing for RWA even though summer feels light years away. At these conferences, I hope to meet writers shopping for an agent and I’ve been thinking of ideas to help smooth that process.

1. If you have a completed work of fiction ready to submit, prepare a two sentence blurb that you can rattle off at any time (in the elevator, after a workshop, in a pitch session – whatever). Know your word count and your genre (and subgenre) and practice reciting these things out loud. (Example “FRANK is a completed historical romance at 100,000 words. It’s about a hero who is driven to shun society at the impetus of a mysterious and sexy bar wench.”) (I just made that up, no laughing please.)

2. Have access to your work. Who knows, I may be impressed with your pitch (the one you’ve just successfully rattled off to me while waiting in line for coffee). If I ask for 30 pages, it would be great if you could say – “heck, I have them right here on my iPhone – can I send them to you?” Have two versions ready to send electronically – the first 30 pages as one document (labeled with your name, the title of the work, genre, word count and your contact information including email address). Also, have the full manuscript ready to go (with same info attached at the beginning of the document). Save them and have them in microsoft word format (no pictures, no headshots, no weblinks) and at the very least have access to them in your hotel room.

3. Update your writer website and blog before the conference and include the addresses of those tools in anything that you submit. Yes, that means you should have a website and a blog – make sure they are professional, accurate and engaging. An update doesn’t have to be fancy – just make sure you have a recent blog entry (example, “I’m off to RWA – looking forward to finding an agent for FRANK”) and that your website mentions your writing (better yet, there is a blurb on your completed manuscript already loaded and accessible!)

I am looking forward to this year’s conferences. I enjoy meeting and talking to writers and am actively looking for new talent to represent!

Sara Megibow
Associate Literary Agent