Chelsea Hensley

KT Literary

My Manuscript Wish List

In general, I’m looking for lyrical prose and voice that comes off the page, intricate plots and complex emotional arcs, complicated characters who leap in headfirst, and immersive worlds.

I'd love to see some ambitious works that play with form and narration and aren't afraid to blend genre, get a little weird, and surprise me. I want fresh concepts and new spins on old ideas.

I’m also looking to work with authors who are traditionally underrepresented in publishing, particularly Black authors.

Below you can find what I'm looking for in each age category. Please be mindful of the section of things I am not looking for as submissions like these will be automatically passed on.

MG

Mystery

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.

Think:

Brianna Mcdonald’s Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing

Varian Johnson’s The Parker Inheritance

Fantasy/Sci-Fi

I'm looking for immersive, magical fantasy packed with adventure, rich worldbuilding, and determined protagonists. I love things that have a classic-feeling voice to them, with clever plots and voice, that would make fun readalouds for kids and their parents. I’d love things that could become series or sweeping standalones and projects on the spookier side.

Think:

Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon

B.B Alston's Amari and the Night Brothers

Julia Abe's Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch 

YA

Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

I’m 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.

Think:

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s Ace of Spades

Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Inheritance Games

Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series

Anything by Courtney Summers

Horror

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.

Think:

Rory Power’s Wilder Girls

Rose Szabo’s What Big Teeth

Showtime’s Yellowjackets

Netflix’s Fear Street

Contemporary

I’d love to see things that are heartfelt and emotional but ultimately hopeful and optimistic. I'd love to see more contemporary that could be a series and retellings for a YA audience.
Think:

Leah Johnson's You Should See Me In A Crown

Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before 

Robin Benway's Far From the Tree

Netflix’s The Half of It

Fantasy/Sci-Fi

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), historical with supernatural twists, and near-future sci-fi with a deep emotional core.

Think:

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 

Adult

Horror

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.

Think:

Alexis Henderson’s Year of the Witching

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic

Rachel Harrison’s The Return

Emily M. Danforth’s Plain Bad Heroines

Fantasy/Sci-Fi

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 our or near-future worlds and that have a quicker pace. Bonus points if it’s more optimistic than not.

Think:

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

Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

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, 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, and I love a good whodunnit with an Agatha Christie-esque ensemble.

Think:

Tana French’s The Witch Elm

Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl

Lucy Foley’s The Guest List

Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building

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 queries@ktliterary.com. 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 8 weeks.


Guidelines & Details

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Agent
Fiction: Children's, Fantasy, Horror, Middle Grade, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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