Tova Seltzer

Holiday House Publishing

My Manuscript Wish List®

I’m an editorial assistant to the Neal Porter Books imprint of Holiday House. I’m a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, and a former freelance developmental editor and sensitivity reader.

I’m primarily working on picture books, YA fiction, and a certain flavor of middle grade fiction (more on that later). First and foremost, I generally look to be surprised by an unfamiliar premise or an approach I haven’t seen before.

In picture books, I value a poetic approach to prose, in the sense that every word is chosen with purpose. I’m finding myself drawn to offbeat stories with memorable characters. It’s difficult to tell you where the magic comes from, but wry, sophisticated humor is always a plus. I love books that tackle social issues in a way that can help prepare young readers to be changemakers, critical thinkers, and emotionally healthy community members, but I prefer when that purpose comes about organically through story, rather than in a teaching tone.

In picture book nonfiction, I’m recently finding myself especially drawn to books relating to design, artisan crafts, and off-the-beaten-path creative pursuits. My childhood dream job was interior designer, and I never really grew out of it (although my dream job later changed to children’s book editor!)

In middle grade, I’m drawn to authors like Lemony Snicket, Trenton Lee Stewart, and Frances Hardinge— the type of timeless adventure, at once cozy, intelligent, and exciting, with world-building you can get lost in, that only middle grade offers. And again, stressing the importance to me of a really original premise or approach.

I’m very passionate about YA, but have some internal logistics to figure out before I’m certain I can acquire it at this exact time. That said, I’d still love to receive it if you’re comfortable with that caveat. I’m a sucker for a good rom-com; I also enjoy fantasy and sci fi when the take is fresh. Books that feature the asexuality spectrum will always have my attention. I prefer life-affirming stories with bittersweet-at-worst endings.

Some things I’m NOT the ideal reader for:

-Please don’t send me tragedies, I am too soft.

-I’m not looking for Christmas or Hanukkah books. I would love to see books about other Jewish holidays and traditions!

-I’m not the biggest horror person, but I do love gothics and “good for her” horror in the vein of The VVitch or Midsommar.

-Lately I’m not connecting much with dystopian fiction, or other speculative fiction that centers on revolting against or overthrowing a corrupt government. For the time being, I’m more interested in seeing individuals face and overcome conflict within the structure of the world they live in, whatever that world may look like.

-I’m not looking for novels in verse at this time.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

Submissions from this site can be sent to my primary email address.

Please include #MSWL in the subject line of your email and include a short summary in the body of your email. Submissions can be attached as a Word document or a PDF. For picture books, please attach all materials; for novels, please attach the first 30 pages.

Please note that I’m typically not able to respond to submissions that are pitch-only, without sample work attached.