Kristin Ostby

The Greenhouse Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List®

About me: Prior to becoming a literary agent, I moved from Michigan to New York to begin my life in publishing at Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I have had the joy of editing children’s book legend Tomie dePaola; New York Times bestselling authors like Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) and US soccer star Alex Morgan (The Kicks); and award-winning creators including Daniel Miyares (Float), Robin Stevens (Murder Is Bad Manners), Jessica Lawson (Nooks & Crannies), and Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club). I also edited bestselling I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley. I love guiding authors and illustrators toward their best work and advocating for them in service of building successful, sustainable artistic careers. I live in Brooklyn, New York.

I am currently seeking primarily BIPOC creators of MG and YA fiction.

Top of my wish list are:

  • MG and YA mystery, including contemporary mystery, mystery-comedy, whodunits, cozy mystery, paranormal or supernatural mysteries, historical mysteries, and thrillers
  • Hooky, feel-good MG and young YA with light fantasy elements like Freaky Friday, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or escapist fare like The Princess Diaries
  • Native and indigenous stories of all kinds

In MG, I would love to find:

  • adventure featuring a boy protagonist, a richly developed world, and a cheeky sense of humor
  • friendship stories a la Lisa Greenwald, Sarah Weeks, and Wendy Mass
  • novels in verse (where the verse serves a function and is more than just prose with line breaks)

In YA, I am looking for:

  • Romance with a speculative element or an unusual form/structure/timeline
  • Insecure for teens, i.e., frank, funny contemporary stories about romance and friendship
  • Historical romance from a BIPOC perspective
  • YA of all genres with distinct settings outside of school—for example, stories that take place on vacation or in summertime, or a road trip or workplace story

I am also open to upmarket adult mystery with potential for series. Some I’ve loved include Thursday Murder ClubGirl Waits with Gun, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, the Cormoran Strike novels, the Inspector Gamache series, and of course, Gillian Flynn.

***Please note that if your manuscript is over 95K words, it is probably not for me***

I always love:

  • humor
  • rich ensemble casts
  • coming-of-age stories
  • fish-out-of-water stories
  • friendship stories
  • subplots built around nuanced family dynamics, particularly parent-child or sibling relationships
  • MG with an accessible, classic literary sensibility like When You Reach Me
  • books with descriptions of elaborate feasts

I would love to find a chapter book series but they can be a challenge; however, I’d really like to see a funny, character-driven chapter book in the vein of Dory Fantasmagory and featuring a BIPOC main character.

I am also seeking illustrators who write picture books and graphic novels to my client list. For graphic novels, I’m particularly interested in works for the younger end of the spectrum (5–7 years) like Narwhal and Jelly.

I am NOT accepting picture book manuscripts, graphic novel scripts, issue books, or nonfiction at this time. Greenhouse does not represent poetry collections, short story collections, screenplays, erotica, or titles for the Christian/inspirational market.

Fun facts about me:

  • I have two adorable daughters, ages seven and four
  • I used to ski race and still love to ski recreationally
  • I was a reporter for my college newspaper
  • I have an adopted twelve-year-old spaniel mix named after the lead singer of Vampire Weekend
  • I❤️NY

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