Non-fiction: I’m not currently taking on new non-fiction projects.
Memoir: I’m not currently taking on new memoir/narrative non-fiction projects.
Short fiction/Essays/Screenplays: I don’t represent these.
Picture books: I like them quirky, offbeat, and funny. If it’s going to be sweet, make sure it’s not saccharine. If it’s going to teach a lesson, it shouldn’t be didactic and preachy. If you use rhyme, have the rhyme serve the story, not the other way around. If you don’t know the difference, it’s probably not a good idea to send it to me. If you’re not an illustrator, don’t include pictures or illustrator notes (unless they’re integral to understanding your story).
Middle grade: As with everything I’m looking for, I’d like to get a story I’ve never heard before or an old story told in a new way. I like boy main characters and strong girl characters. Yes to historical. Yes to realistic contemporary. I’d like to get a great MG scifi. Fantasy’s ok but I’m not partial to portal fantasy or “found an amulet that takes us to a new world.” I’m so tired of nerds overcoming bullies (in fiction, not real life). Please don’t compare yourself or your work to Roald Dahl. You’re not and it’s not. It’s a rare story featuring animals that I’m drawn to, but if yours is extraordinary I’ll take a look. I like nerdy MG mysteries (think Blue Balliett and Ransom Riggs).
Young adult: Basically the same as MG. I’m not a “gritty and urban” lover. I’m the wrong person for sex and drugs and violence and abuse, so if it’s dark, have it be dark for other reasons. The dystopian ship has sailed (as has paranormal romance) so unless you’re bringing something totally new to that conversation, don’t send it to me. I’m pretty bored with “and then she/he finds out she’s/he’s got to save her/his “kind.” I do like retellings of myths, fairytales and legends. Think Malinda Lo’s ASH or PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS (which is MG but you get my point, right?), but put a new spin on it and find something not yet done. How about a feminist tilt? Think MISTS OF AVALON for teens.
Adult: Yes, same as YA and MG! What I don’t represent: thrillers of any sort; most mysteries; anything overtly/covertly pushing any religious point of view. Fantasy? Yes, but again, no portals or amulets. Sci-fi? Yes, but low on the sci part. I’m not as smart as you think I am. I like family sagas. I like historical fiction where famous historical figures show up (think Barbara Kingsolver’s THE LACUNA or SEX WARS by Marge Piercy). I like magical realism (think Alice Hoffman’s PRACTICAL MAGIC or Sue Monk Kidd’s THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES). I like most of the books on this Goodreads list, which includes many different kinds of fiction (don’t get fooled by the title).
How to submit to me? Short, snappy, professional query letter with the first 20 pages of your manuscript in the body of your email. Don’t send me an email asking me if it’s ok to query. Don’t ask me in the comments section of this post whether <insert what you’re writing> would be something of interest to me. Put “Query” and the title of your manuscript in the subject line. Send it to QueryLindaEpstein (at) gmail (dot) com.
If you’re not sure whether you have something I’d like, do your research. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, have been interviewed, and have blogged enough here that you should be able to get a sense of who I am and what I’d like. If you’re still not sure? Just send it. What do you have to lose?