Chelsea Hensley

KT Literary

My Manuscript Wish List®

In all areas I’m looking for lyrical prose, voice that comes off the page, intricate plots, complex emotional arcs, and immersive worlds. I’d love to see some ambitious works that play with form and narration as well as works that blend genre, aren’t afraid to get a little weird, and surprise me. The bolder the better. 

I’m also looking to work with authors who are traditionally underrepresented in publishing, particularly Black authors, and I tend to prioritize that in authors and projects I pursue. I’m also eager to find authors who write across multiple genres and age categories, so if you have ambitions to write beyond the project you’re currently querying, take a look at other areas of my wishlist as well and see if we may be a good fit for future works of yours, too. 

Please be mindful of the section of things I am not looking for at the bottom of this page as submissions like these will be automatically passed on. 

All submissions will receive a response, but at times I will likely fall behind on queries. Feel free to give me a nudge and alert me if you have an offer of representation from another agent, but keep in mind no one will be left without an answer. 



I’m hungry for fun mysteries and inventive capers that have a good sense of humor (though I’m not one for gross-out humor) and plucky protagonists.  I’d love to see some interesting settings and things that delve into history or mythology or any other curious realms of knowledge.


Brianna Mcdonald’s Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing, Varian Johnson’s The Parker Inheritance


I’m looking for immersive, magical fantasy packed with adventure, rich worldbuilding, and determined protagonists. I love things that have a classic feel and a modern voice, reads that would make perfect readalouds for kids and their parents. I love clever, quirky plots, and would love to see potential series as well as sweeping standalones. 


Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Erin Entrada Kelly’s Lalani and the Distant Sea, B.B Alston’s Amari and the Night Brothers



I’m very eager to build up this part of my list and am looking for layered, tricky stories loaded with twists, turns, and red herrings. I’d love to see some confident projects with intense protagonists who aren’t very concerned with being liked, and mysteries that could become series. I love stories with complicated teenage girls, revenge arcs, puzzles, and games. 


Jumata Emill’s The Black Queen, Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Inheritance Games, Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series, Holly Jackson, or Courtney Summers, Showtime’s Yellowjackets


I prefer suspenseful, atmospheric horror to jump scares, but I’d love to see some things that evoke the teen slasher trend (I’d love a project with a great POC Final Girl).  I’m always game for witches, vampires, and other paranormal creatures though I would like fresh takes on their legends and see their darker, scarier aspects to be a bigger focus. I like haunted houses, dangerous forests, and horror that’s used to bring about previously unavailable justice. 


Rory Power’s Wilder Girls, Rose Szabo’s What Big Teeth, Showtime’s Yellowjackets, Netflix’s Fear Street


I’d love to see things that are heartfelt and emotional but ultimately hopeful and optimistic. I’d love to see more contemporary reads that could be a series as well as retellings for a YA audience, and I’m also interested in seeing some fun historical stories. I love a gimmick in this area whether it be a high-concept spin, a list, or some other shenanigan. I’m especially interested in fresh, diverse viewpoints in this area and am looking for works that are body-positive, sex-positive, and affirming.


Amalie Howard’s Queen Bee, Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me In A Crown, Anything that could be comped to Jenny Han or Robin Benway, Netflix’s The Half of It


I’m looking for fresh fantasy of all subgenres, with high, personal stakes and dynamic characters.  I’m also into retellings (and not just of other fantasies, I’d love to see fantastical spins on realistic classics, too), historical with supernatural twists, and near-future sci-fi with a deep emotional core (or far-flung sci-fi that feels grounded). This is my favorite genre ever, but it’s also one that’s very challenging to break into at this time so it’s essential that it can stand apart from the crowd. 


Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn, Natasha Bowen’s Skin of the Sea, Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights, Joan He’s The Ones We Left Behind, Xiran Zhao’s Iron Widow



I’m looking for atmospheric, slow burn horror full of creeping dread and suspense but grounded in human emotion. I like haunted houses, sentient forests, paranormal creatures, ghosts, and horror narratives that bring about previously unavailable justice. I’d love to see things that are weird, take cues from classic horror (if you could write a book in black and white somehow, I’d be into that). One wild wishlist item I have would be a Frankenstein retelling but with Frankenstein as the hot, ridiculous, twentysomething scientist he is. 


Alexis Henderson’s Year of the Witching, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, Rachel Harrison’s The Return, Bethany C. Morrow’s Cherish Farrah


This is a huge want for me right now. I’m looking for high stakes and a propulsive plot. I’m not interested in anything with members of law enforcement as the main character (please do not send me anything with the ring of retired marine combats terrorists/drug cartel/sex traffickers in any context, thank you), but amateur sleuths, private detectives and absolutely anybody else are all great. I’d love to see some quirky mysteries (though I am not looking for cozies), intelligent heists, things that are dark and twisty, domestic thrillers with diverse casts, locked room and closed circle mysteries, and I love a good whodunnit with an Agatha Christie-esque ensemble.


Tana French’s The Witch Elm, Erin E. Adams’ Jackal, Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series, Lucy Foley’s The Guest List, Lev A.C Rosen’s Lavender House, Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building or Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 


Though I love a potential series, I’m also very interested in standalones. I’d love to see some “of manners” stories, lush retellings with supernatural and speculative twists, and dark contemporary fantasy. When it comes to sci-fi, I’m more drawn to things grounded in ours or near-future worlds and that have a quicker pace. Bonus points if it’s more optimistic than not. In this area I’d really love to see a magic school fantasy from a different viewpoint whether it be post-grad or even from the perspective of the staff. 


Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House, Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones, Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds, Anything by Naomi Novik 


 This year I am looking for select romance. I’m very choosy in this area and for now I’m only looking for romantic comedies (I must be laughing…like A LOT).  I’m primarily seeking works featuring protagonists belonging to underrepresented communities that balance the romance well with other facets of the protagonists’ lives, and a standout voice is essential for me. 

Think: Anything by Talia Hibbert but especially The Brown Sisters trilogy, Bolu Babalola’s Honey & Spice, Meryl Wilsner’s Mistakes Were Made. Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game is a perennial favorite. 

What I’m NOT looking for: nonfiction of any kind; poetry; novels-in-verse; graphic novels; chapter books; picture books. I’m also not currently looking for literary fiction or women’s fiction. Please do not send these as they will be automatically passed on. 

Submission Guidelines

Queries will be accepted via QueryManager. If Query Manager presents an accessibility issue, our general query inbox is Please specify the agent you’re looking to query, and queries will be distributed and reviewed as time permits.

If I like your query and want to read more, I will request the first 50 pages and a complete synopsis.

Before querying, please make sure you’ve checked my MSWL to ensure we may be a good fit. All queries will receive a response, feel free to nudge if you haven’t heard back in 12 weeks.

Guidelines & Details