July 11th, 2014

galleysCongrats to Stephanie Perkins, and the the 11 other amazing authors of the short stories in the upcoming holiday collection My True Love Gave To Me. Not only did St. Martin’s just tweet a picture of the galleys in their office (fresh off the presses!), but we’ve just found out it’s a Junior Library Guild Selection. Woot!

If for some reason, you’re following this blog and you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this description:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

And if you need even more Stephanie Perkins in your life (and who doesn’t?) have you pre-ordered your copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After yet? Do it!

Filed Under: Slushpile


Shoe-obsessed superagent Daphne Unfeasible blogs about books and authors, answers your questions, and talks about publishing industry gossip. , subscribe to this blog, or check out her Writer's Resources.

For more information about her weekly About My Query posts, please click here.


thumb_DemonDerbyA belated but heartfelt happy pub day to Carrie Harris’ awesome DEMON DERBY, which was released on July 8th. I’m gonna steal right from Carrie’s awesome website for the cool details:

Casey kicked cancer’s ass. Now a demon wants to kick hers….

Casey hates being known as the girl who survived cancer. She wants to feel like her old self, fearless and strong. And after a creepy encounter with a crazy guy, Casey is all about reclaiming her power.

So when she has a chance to try out for the Apocalypsies roller derby team, she jumps on it. Being a derby girl would prove that she doesn’t need anybody’s pity. It doesn’t hurt that Michael, the team manager, is hot. And, apparently, not even human.

Michael’s got a secret: he trains demon hunters. That creepy guy? Demon. And the fact that Casey went head to head with evil and lived makes her a threat to demonkind. Casey thought she’d already fought and won the battle of her lifetime. But it’s only beginning….

From Carrie Harris, author of BAD TASTE IN BOYS and BAD HAIR DAY comes a knockout new read for anyone facing their own demons—inside and out.


“With the strongest, snarkiest, kick butting-est heroine I’ve ever met, DEMON DERBY is an original, fast-paced adventure ride that will make you laugh, cry and beg for more.” – Gretchen McNeil, author of 3:59, TEN, and POSSESS

“Part heart-warming, part tough-as-nails heroine, and part hilarity make DEMON DERBY all-around amazing.” – Elana Johnson, author of POSSESSION, SURRENDER, and ABANDON

“Demon Derby may just be the most fun you can have without roller skates.” —Stacey Jay, author of JULIET IMMORTAL, ROMEO REDEEMED, and OF BEAST AND BEAUTY

“A paranormal adventure with both style and heart (on wheels)” – Kirkus Reviews

“Entertaining with elements of the paranormal and a cast of unique supporting characters” – School Library Journal

“Plenty of laughs in this fast-paced horror comedy…give this to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans and those who like their horror with a big dose of snark” – Booklist

Available now from Delacorte Press!

I’ve been to a couple of roller derby matches, and if anyone can fight demons, it’d be a derby girl. Check it out on Indie Bound, Amazon, or your favorite local store!

9 July 2014


I’m a very lucky agent, readers. In the six and a half years since I founded KT Literary, we’ve had multiple New York Times bestsellers, foreign sales out the wazoo, film options, and more great reviews than I can count! And after all that, 18 months ago I was smart enough to hire Renee Nyen when she approached me with an interest in agenting, and I’m delighted that she’s starting to look for projects of her own to represent.

To that end, we’re undertaking a small change in our submission policies. We still want to see a query letter with the first three pages within the body of your email (no attachments), with the subject line “Query: [Your title}”. But now, if you’d like to send your query to me, please email it to If you want Renee to look at it, please email it to

We’re both seeking young adult and middle grade fiction. I’ve stated my interests in the past on my blog, in several interviews like this one and more recently, this one, and here is a great round up of lots of information. Renee was recently featured on the Mother.Write. (Repeat.) blog and on Writers Digest. If you have further questions about our individual interests, you can throw them in the comments, or find us on Twitter at @DaphneUn and @Renee_Nyen.

And if don’t want to choose, feel free to still use the old address. In the future, that may be reviewed by an intern, but for now, we’re both still looking at those queries as well.

20 June 2014


Screenshot 2014-06-17 10.51.38I’m belated in posting this, but I’m thrilled to have been asked up to the Whidbey Writers Workshop Master of Fine Arts Fall Residency this August. As per the post title, I’ll be giving a live version of my About My Query critique workshop, as well as speaking on writing for today’s middle grade and YA market. Fun! What I love about this MFA program (my friend Yi Shun is a graduate, and my husband is a current student, so this isn’t just theoretical) is that it doesn’t just prepare its students to be writers and teachers of writing, but it rather extends tremendous effort to help its students understand the publishing process, and find success there. I look forward to adding my own two cents!

To that end, the good folks at NILA have asked me to answer a few questions, which are below. Enjoy!

1. What’s your favorite thing about teaching writers?
The snacks? No, I just loving being able to possibly give them that one extra bit of information that they can use to put together a compelling query letter and find an agent to sell their book! I mean, yes, of course, ideally it’s me, but I get such tremendous satisfaction in helping others find representation, no matter who it is.

2. How would you suggest students approach a writer, agent, or editor they admire?
If you have the opportunity to meet in person, no one minds being complemented on something they did that you enjoy. So if it’s a writer, it’s always great to open with praise of their work, assuming of course that it’s genuine. If it’s an agent or editor, you might mention a specific project they worked on that you admire, or even a blog post or tweet they might have written. The trick is not to seek out an opportunity to pitch, but to start a conversation. If that goes well, the time to pitch will come! And it will more likely lead to a positive response than opening up a conversation with “So can I send you my book?”

3. How about a sneak peek of what we can expect to learn from you in your sessions at Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA?
Well, one of my sessions is an About My Query workshop, in which I look at a sample query and help the writer craft a more compelling version. I’ve been doing it on my blog fora couple of years now, so there’s a ton of archived posts. I’m looking forward to working with the students to help them get their material ready for querying!

And my second session is an overview of the current market for YA and MG, looking at what’s selling, what that means for writers in those age ranges, and what a base level of knowledge in those categories might entail. For instance, looking at this week’s NY Times bestseller list, what conclusion can we draw from 7 realistic contemporary novels on the YA list? What does that mean for your paranormal romance? And how much effect does a movie have on a book’s success?

4. Tell us what “literary community” means to you.
What’s exciting for me right now is that community no longer has to mean something physical. I have a strong local group of other agents and authors that I can meet with for lunch, or to go see that movie based on a YA novel, but I also have a never-sleeping community of like-minded souls online, so that when I finish a novel at one in the morning in tears, I can reach out to someone to discuss it. Community means conversation, not necessarily proximity, and after moving from New York to Colorado six years, I was truly thrilled to put find an amazing group of like-minded literary friends to converse with! Thank goodness for Twitter!

5. When not teaching or working at your “day job,” you can be found…
Chauffeuring my children around between day care, summer camp, swim lessons, swim team practice, swim meets… Oh, and cosplaying at ComicCons!

The MFA residency includes a FREE POLAR BEAR PLUNGE in which we all jump into the lovely, refreshing waters of the Puget Sound. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most likely, how likely are you to participate?

Let’s call it a 4. I love the water, and am very susceptible to peer pressure.

If you’re interested in an MFA in creative writing, do check out the program! And if you have any questions, I’m very certain I can have someone come by the comments here and answer them. Thanks!

17 June 2014


If you follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, as you should, you may have already seen me link to this, but it’s so cool, I want to shout about it on all the platforms! KT Literary client Elizabeth Briggs is releasing her New Adult novel MORE THAN MUSIC on June 17th (ahh! So close!) and she’s celebrating the cover reveal with an awesome contest. Seriously, check out this hotness:


Stop by Liz’s blog for all the ways you can enter to win a gift card and an early copy of MORE THAN MUSIC.

What’s that? You want to know more about this? Read on!

Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars.

Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

Doesn’t that sound awesome? Yay for Liz!

12 May 2014


Hey guys! Renee and I have some fun stuff planned for the near future with this blog, but we need YOUR help. We’re looking for your favorite quotes from KT Literary books – either just the words, or if you have them illustrated in some way, even better! Please post them below in the comments, or link to where you’re hosting them. And thanks!


12 May 2014


WeNeedDiverseBooksIf you’ve been on the internet at all in the last few days, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. It’s taken over Twitter and Tumblr, as far as I can tell. To quote the WeNeedDiverseBooks tumblr:

Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.

Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored.

The visual campaign is already well underway, and I was thrilled to include my thoughts. Click on the image above for a closer look, or go here.

But I want to do more. Renee and I are already taking a look at the ratio of diverse to not in our query inbox, and we’ll be posting a status report on that shortly. But rather than just look for it in what I’m already being sent, I want to seek it out. For the next week or so, until May 9th, send me your racially, socially, sexually, diverse and multicultural YA and MG queries with the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks in the subject line, and we will respond within ONE DAY. I still have to be blown away by your story and your writing, but I want to put my focus and attention where it matters — in making sure my bookshelves reflect the diversity of the world we live in, and that my children are growing up in.

If you’ve already sent a query that would fit with this request and are waiting on a response, rest assured we’re going through all of those as well, and we’re going to get caught up as fast as we can.

In Daniel Jose Older’s recent piece on Buzzfeed, he wrote:

The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: “How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?”

This is my concrete action. Come on. Let’s make a success story.

30 April 2014


Savage CompBetween post-Bologna and pre-WonderCon craziness, I never got a chance to write up a post celebrating the release of Alexandra Duncan’s brilliant, multicultural, feminist, epic sci-fi debut SALVAGE, which was published by Greenwillow Books on April 1st. From the IndieBound description:

Salvage is a thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. This is literary science fiction with a feminist twist, and it explores themes of choice, agency, rebellion, and family. Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated, conservative deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean. This is a sweeping and harrowing novel about a girl who can’t read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. What choices will she make? How will she build a future on an earth ravaged by climate change? Named by the American Booksellers Association as a Spring 2014 Indies Introduce Pick.

Where in there, you might ask, is the part where Ava’s a slut? I certainly never saw it, but one Goodreads reviewer did, and shelved it with 4 other books on a homemade “slut” shelf. Alexa eloquently explains her reaction on her blog:

Yes, Ava has sex in the book. Once. With a guy she loves and thinks she’s going to marry. If anyone thinks that makes her a slut, what does that mean they think about real girls who are statistically pretty likely to engage in premarital sex? What does that mean they think about women like me? After all, even though I went on to marry my high school boyfriend, we didn’t wait until we were married to have sex.

Now it’s easy to laugh about my book ending up on the slut shelf, but I remember how hurtful that word was to me when I was younger. Someone wrote it on the side of my car once in college for some unknown reason, and it left me in tears. Part of why I wrote Salvage was to let girls know that their worth isn’t tied up in their sexuality. Having sex doesn’t fundamentally devalue you as a person. It doesn’t change the fact that you have amazing things to contribute to the world.

I think this whole slut shelf thing points to a larger problem our culture has with expressions of female sexuality in literature. I’ve written before about how the most common reason that books are banned or challenged in the U.S. is because they contain references to sex. People have been horrified by something as common as girls engaging in a sexual relationship with a partner they love since Forever, by Judy Blume.

And the worst part is, women buy into this. We do it to each other. We’ve all been dismissed for wearing the wrong thing or dating the wrong person or putting on too much makeup or simply making mistakes in our lives. Every woman has been slutshelved at some point. We should understand how hurtful these things are, yet we call each other nasty things like slut and whore. We judge each other harshly for what we wear and whether or not we conform to another person’s idea of what a woman really should be.

I could go on and on quoting Alexa, but I invite you to visit her blog for the full post, and the details of the contest she’s running. We may not be able to change the world in an instant, but we have to pick a place to start. I’m starting with Alexa, and matching the donation she makes to the Freedom to Read Foundation for every entry on her Slutshelf contest.

We’re writers and readers. We know the value of words. Let’s stop using this one.

21 April 2014


wca_logo_1If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you on Saturday at WonderCon in Anaheim! I’ll be appearing on an “Ask An Agent” panel with fellow literary agents Holly Root and Michael Bourret, and we’d love to see you. Saturday at 5:30 in room 208, on the second level of the convention center. I’ll be the one loaded down with new superhero gear for my babies!

14 April 2014

About My Query

0009HidingI’m in the air most of today, winging my way back from a hopefully successful trip to the Bologna Book Fair, but I didn’t want to miss another scheduled About My Query post! Without further ado, here’s V.L.A.’s query:

Dear Daphne:

Please allow me to introduce you to my novel, “Hidden Places.”

At the backdrop of Nazi occupied Poland, spanning from 1942 to 1943, the story is told through the eyes of Hanna, a young and imaginative girl who dreams of going to Hollywood to become a famous actress. Her world is turned upside down when her father decides to hide Jews. In the beginning, she is appalled and prejudiced but after she gets to know them, Hanna grows to love them. When her parents choose to no longer hide her Jewish friends, she takes it upon herself to set up a new hiding place and protects them.

Truth and honesty are woven into the fabric of the story using finely delicate threads. My heroine is not perfect; she is the product of an era steeped in anti-Semitism. Hanna thinks Jews are different… until she meets one. She must come to terms with the fact that everything she was ever taught was wrong. It is a bildungsroman story, where a selfish young girl transforms into a selfless young woman.

My novel is a historical, written in the first person as an epistolary narrative and is approximately 70,000 words. The target audience is for young adults and hopefully is reminiscent of the actual diaries that youths had written during that turbulent time in history. If “Hidden Places” meets with success, I would like for Hanna’s story to be the first in a series outlining her life during WWII.

Those who liked Ruta Sepetys’ “Between Shades of Grey,” which is a novel of a young girl living in a Soviet gulag, may also enjoy my novel.

I am a regular contributor to [website]’s online magazine “[title]” and will soon have my second non-fiction story published. I am seeking representation from an agent and would be honored if you would consider me.

Thank you and God Bless.


First of all, I think you have to mention The Diary of Anne Frank. Everyone who reads this will immediately think of it, and pretending it doesn’t exist is like blindly ignoring an important fact, like evolution. Beyond that, however, I think to sell this, you have to get personal. “Her world is turned upside down when her father decides to hide Jews.” How? Why? Who are they? Friends? Business acquaintances? Family? Strangers? How does their being hidden by her family change Hanna’s life? How does she get to know them? How do they change her prejudices? What’s the process behind her parents’ decision “to no longer hide her Jewish friends”? Were they nearly caught? Threatened?

I would also cut the entire second paragraph of your query. You’re retelling what you already describe in the first paragraph of description, and I would rather SEE the truth and honesty in the story than be told they’re there.

Bringing in the fact that it’s an epistolary novel in the third paragraph, I now need to know who she’s writing to. Who could she be writing letters to about this, if her entire family would likely be sent away to a concentration camp if they were found out? (If it’s a diary, then again I reiterate that you need to mention Anne Frank.) I’d also always cut any mention of future books in a series in the query letter — save that for once you actually have an agent interested in the story.

And finally, I would keep your closing professional, and cut “God Bless.” Unless you’re submitting to an agent who specializes in religious fiction or the Christian market, it’s too personal.

Readers, any further thoughts?

Photo above by Flickr user Jason Farrar, used under a Creative Commons license.
28 March 2014