Hannah VanVels Ausbury

Belcastro Agency

My Manuscript Wish List®

I am currently CLOSED to unsolicited queries and plan to reopen in late 2024 or early 2025.

First and foremost, I’m building an inclusive list with a variety of voices and genres. I’m looking for authors of color, queer authors, disabled authors, and generally, authors from historically excluded backgrounds, regardless of genre. I love identity-driven and intersectional stories that reflect the first-hand, lived experiences of the creators.

I am looking for fresh voices and fresh takes in the following categories:

Picture Books (authors and author-illustrators) 

  • Human
    • Human characters over animal characters any day of the week
    • Books that don’t shy away from tough topics
  • Family
    • Cultural and family traditions and how they shape us
    • Celebrating the messiness and complexity of family
  • Lyrical
    • Poetic, lyrical books that show emotional resilience
  • Nonfiction
    • Focusing on biographies or eras that have been historically excluded

Middle Grade

  • Fantasy
    • Stories inspired by myths, folklore, or legends, particularly those that are non-European in origin
    • I’m particularly interested in Aztec and Mayan-mythology based fantasy
  •  Historical
    • Focusing on historically marginalized voices and characters
  •  Contemporary
    • Stories of friendship, silly antics, and growing up
    • Special interest in books with an environmental bent to them
    • Kids growing up in non-traditional places
  • Adventure
    • I would love to find a MG version of The Mummy (the Brendan Frasier version, of course)
  • Horror or paranormal
    • Give me the ghosts, creepy crawlies, and witches   

Young Adult

  • Contemporary
    • Evergreen themes: body positivity, sex-positivity, self-love, coming-of-age, girls supporting girls, friendship and friendship breakups, and slow-burn romances
    • Romantic comedies starring queer characters! I’d love to find more ace, aro, and trans-led stories in this space
  • Thrillers
    • Gritty thrillers with a tightly-knit, well-paced plot, clever and nuanced characters, and a twist that readers will never see coming. I generally steer clear of excessive on-page violence
    • I love isolated settings such as islands, carnivals, and boarding schools and novels with a survival component
    • Revenge stories with unreliable narrators
  • Horror
    • Ghosts, vampires, witches, and the otherwise macabre are very much welcome in my inbox
    • Southern Gothic and other atmospheric vibes always a plus!
    • Special interest in stories set at carnivals or theme parks
    • The creepy vibes of Majora’s Mask
  •  Historical
    • Focusing on historically marginalized voices and characters
  •  Fantasy
    • Character-driven fantasy (urban, contemporary, high—all of it!). A new retelling of an old trope? A mythical setting inspired by your traditions and cultures? I’m looking for strong world-building, strange magic, empathetic villains, morally gray heroes, and subversive fantasy tropes
    • Special interest in Native and Indigenous stories


  • Fantasy
    • Dark and sweeping fantasy with subversive tropes, antiheroes, and morally gray villains. If I’m not sure if the MC is the hero or the villain, sign me up!
  • Commercial contemporary
    • I’m particularly interested in the adventures of twenty-something and thirty-something people navigating the start of professional life
    • If you can comp to The Sex Lives of College Girls, I’m probably in
    • Books with a baking or cooking aspect to them. If you can comp to a show on the Food Network or GBBO, I’m sold
  •  Horror
    • Dark and devious stories like Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House. Paranormal aspects welcome!
    • Stories that are gothic and witchy and atmospheric
Please Send (tl;dr):
  • Stories inspired by mythology, folklore, and legends
  • Magical schools
  • Empathetic villains and morally gray heroes/antiheroes. Bring on the thieves, assassins, and characters with questionable pasts
  • Evergreen themes: body positivity, self-love, coming-of-age, girls supporting girls, friendship and friendship breakups, sex positivity
  • Ghosts, creepy crawlies, witches, and things that go bump in the night
  • Isolated settings such as islands, carnivals, and boarding schools and novels with a survival component
  • Characters growing up in unconventional or nontraditional settings
  • Revenge stories with unreliable narrators
  • Strong sibling relationships and misfit friends
  • Well-researched historical novels featuring underrepresented people and time periods
  • Heists
  • Banter
  • Angst

Do NOT Send:

  • Bigot learns a lesson at the expense of marginalized people
  • Books with the death of a pet or animal companion
  • Rhyming picture books
  • Animal narrators
  • Epic or sword-and-sorcery fantasy novels
  • Paranormal romances
  • Word counts longer than 120k
  • Titles that have been previously published

Submission Guidelines

Belcastro Agency utilizes Query Manager for all submissions. To query me, please be sure to follow this link and fill out all mandatory blanks (I require a query, synopsis, and first ten pages). Submit here: http://QueryManager.com/HannahVanVels

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