Lori Steel

SteelWorks Literary

My Manuscript Wish List®

What am I looking for?

For all projects, I seek stories with accessible, authentic, and unforgettable voices that reflect the diverse world we inhabit, instill the possibility of hope and change, and illuminate the shared human experience.

Across the board, I’m seeking:

  • voice and character driven stories demonstrate a deep trust and respect for their readers
  • fresh approaches to story structure; genre mash-ups
  • magical realism and folklore
  • historical and fantasy stories that hold a light up to contemporary issues
  • themes of family and found family
  • regional settings and voices
  • authentic, diverse voices
  • socio-economic diversity

Young Adult

  • acquiring selectively in this space
  • contemporary stories that flip conventional scripts and disrupt entrenched notions
  • genre-bending writing (think A.S. King!)
  • grounded fantasy, folklore, magical realism
  • endearing meet-cute stories
  • graphic novels (fiction or memoir)

Middle Grade (eagerly seeking)

  • contemporary coming-of-age
  • historical fiction, particularly non-western
  • friends as family
  • quirky humor and horror
  • graphic novels (fiction, memoir, NF)

Picture Books by Author/Illustrators

  • stories crafted with spare text and rich art
  • creators who play with structure and utilize collusion to engage participation
  • whimsy with intention
  • subversive, humorous, and quirky tales
  • cleverly conceived and STEAM-centered nonfiction projects


  • unique aesthetics that embrace classic sensibilities with a fresh perspective
  • strong narrative storytelling that utilizes unexpected and evocative moments
  • range of human and animal characters and their emotions
  • school/library and commercial crossover appeal for both US and int’l market

I’m not the right agent for:

  • Adult projects
  • YA Horror (open to MG horror)
  • Hard sci-fi and space operas
  • Didactic, overly sentimental, and lesson-driven books
  • Board books, early readers, and chapter books
  • Vampires, werewolves, zombies
  • Rhyming PBs in the vein of Seuss or Silverstein

Fun facts about me:

  • Vinyl records were my first stories and I wore out the grooves in “Magic Man.”
  • If it has wheels and/or goes fast, I’m usually in. Yes, still!
  • I was first in my family to go to college.
  • Trifecta of awesomeness = baking, beer, and books.
  • I’ve called Appalachia, Washington DC, and Oxford, UK home.
  • I’m the only one in my immediate family not a dual national.

Submission Guidelines

Most queries are through conferences, referrals, or other submission opportunities, but I do occasionally open to unsolicited manuscripts.

Please check my Query Manager page or SWL’s instagram page (@SteelWorksLiterary) for more information on when I may be open.

Thank you for your interest!



Guidelines & Details

Vital Info