Kelly Van Sant

Kelly Van Sant

D4EO Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List

Kelly Van Sant has nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She cut her teeth in New York working at esteemed literary agencies such as Writers House and Harold Ober Associates, where she developed an eye for compelling, emotionally resonant stories, honed her editorial skills, and soon grew adept at contract vetting. She quickly gained expertise in subsidiary rights management, with focuses on audio rights, foreign rights, and permissions.

After relocating to Minnesota, Kelly joined Llewellyn Worldwide as their Contracts Manager across all three imprints and then moved to Quarto Publishing Group USA where she led the contract department. She has worked as a freelance editor with various publishers and is a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center.  She also blogs about writing and the publishing industry at Pub(lishing) Crawl and co-hosts the their weekly podcast. 

Kelly’s career came full circle when she joined D4EO Literary Agency in 2017 and began actively building her client list.

I wish, I wish, I wish…

I am seeking Middle Grade, Young Adult, and limited women’s fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices and inclusive narratives. I’ve expanded on my interests within each category below.

Middle Grade
I am seeking Upper MG only. Chapter books or early readers are not for me. My ideal middle grade needs to be whimsical, funny, and full of adventure. My tastes lean away from contemporary in this genre, and more toward fantasy, speculative, science-fiction, or magical realism. I like intricate world-building and MCs with gumption. Give me a quest, give me steadfast friendships, give me insightful, magical parallels with the real world, and make me laugh. No books with an educational thrust; I want to have fun!

Young Adult
I dearly love fantasy, science-fiction, speculative, and other magical elements in YA stories. Even better if mixed and matched with other genres. YA historical fantasy? Yes, please. Alternate universes, fictional worlds, your very own hometown with a secret or sinister twist. If the world-building is original and intricate, if you’re either dismantling existing tropes or executing them exceptionally well, if your characters are complex and come alive on the page then what are you waiting for? Send me your query.

Let’s talk about romance in YA. I prefer romance in my YA to be an undercurrent (even an urgent one) but not the main point. Something needs to be going on in universe and in your characters’ lives beyond their love story. Instant love is not for me; I appreciate when characters grow together over the course of a book. Attraction can happen instantly, but intimacy takes time.

I am selective about YA contemporary. A strong voice is vital, and again, I love to see a complex web of relationships beyond just romantic (though romance can be included): especially friendships and family relationships. More often than not you need to break my heart or make me fall head over heels in love with your characters in order for me to be the right agent to rep a contemporary book. But my heart longs to love and be broken! These books above all else must absolutely be character-driven.

Women’s Fiction
I’m seeking women’s fiction on a very limited basis. I want books written for and by women, about women’s lives and experiences and issues (women’s lives are complicated and varied and extend well beyond bad marriages/relationships! Please send me something fresh). Prose matters to me here, but as always, the characters are paramount. If you have something like Lorrie Moore’s WHO WILL RUN THE FROG HOSPITAL? I want to see it.
I am NOT seeking picture books, poetry, or non-fiction at this time.
I do not represent previously published books, whether self-published or put out by a small press. Please only query me with new work.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

Please send all queries to: with the word QUERY, your TITLE, and GENRE included in the subject, and include your query letter and the first chapter of your novel in the body of the email. No attachments, please. I respond to all queries within 4 weeks.

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Fiction: Children's, Family Saga, Fantasy, LGBTQ, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Favorite sub-genres: #ownvoices, #wndb, Feminism, High Fantasy, Intersectional Feminism, Low Fantasy, MG adventure, Magical Realism, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Elements, YA Fantasy, YA Historical Fantasy
I’d like the next…
  • LIFE IS STRANGE in YA book form! Intensely beautiful female friendships, romance, supernatural elements, tough choices, oh, and did I mention intense female friendships?
  • ORPHAN BLACK for a YA audience. Sci-fi, action, suspense, and above all smart, capable, funny women who form a family.
  • All-girl heist team.
  • Witchy books. I want all the witchy books.
  • I want capable women and girls in positions of leadership, or single-handedly coming to the rescue.. Think LOST if Kate were the protagonist instead of Jack (and if she were well-developed and not merely the center of an incredibly boring love triangle). Think DIE HARD, if John Mcclane were a woman.
  • I want a character arc that rivals that of Zuko in AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER.
  • Chosen one who would really rather not be chosen, thanks.
  • I’m longing for a diverse, well-plotted, #ownvoices fantasy with compelling characters and stakes beyond romance.
  • An #ownvoices fantasy featuring a disabled character who has magic, but not a “magical cure.”

My favorites include…

TV shows I love: Orphan Black, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, Avatar: The Last Airbender, LOST, New Girl, The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, The Riches, The 100

Comics I love: Saga, Saga, once more for the cheap seats: SAGA

Movies I love: Penelope, Stranger than Fiction, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, Stand By Me, Legally Blonde, Rear Window, Clue.

My Upcoming Events: