Lauren: What I’m Looking For

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jan 05 2012

Whew! 2011 was a busy year. From June to December alone, I received around 2,500 queries, and from those I requested about 140 proposals and 30 full manuscripts. I saw works geared to adult audiences all the way down to toddlers. I read romance from super-spicy erotic to Disneyesque, biography, Westerns, historical fiction, family sagas, mystery, women’s fiction, memoir, fantasy, steampunk, nonfiction, thrillers, true-crime, literary fiction, chick-lit, up-market commercial fiction, horror, science-fiction, poetry, short stories, essays, and even an idea for a puzzle book. I was floored by literary prowess, confused by ridiculousness, and generally entertained nonstop. I have the perfect job.

This year, I’m narrowing the scope of my tastes and focusing more specifically on genres to which I am best suited. In 2012, I’m looking for:

romance—all genres
literary fiction
commercial fiction, especially up-market
urban fantasy with romantic elements
middle-grade—all subgenres
young adult—all subgenres
mystery, with a strong focus on cozies
women’s fiction on the literary side
smart chick lit, a la The Devil Wears Prada

In nonfiction, I’m looking for authors who have a large following, are well-established professionals, and have big platforms, unless the work is a memoir. I’m looking for the following topics in nonfiction:

popular science
popular culture
popular psychology
memoirs of highly extraordinary people and experiences

I am specifically not accepting submissions of epic fantasy, science-fiction, poetry, short stories, essay collections, biography, thrillers, Westerns, or true-crime.

Here’s to a prosperous and eventful 2012!


20 responses to “Lauren: What I’m Looking For”

  1. Avatar wry wryter says:

    So I guess I’ll query you my Biography of Minnie M. and her family issues related to Mickey and his cowboy fetish. The mouse wears his holster to bed. Mysteriously Minnie was shot with his six-gun.
    Mickey said it was an accident but I know she's got a thing for the duck.

  2. Avatar Rebecca says:

    Good to know, though I rue your current lack of interest in SF. I like hearing that people like what they do for a living as well – makes the world seem a happier place.

  3. Lauren, are you still going to critique queries on your blog? I really appreciate the help you've given and hope that this year brings better queries.

  4. Avatar Lauren Ruth says:


    Yes. I will continue my QueryDice, which I enjoy. I do have quite a backlog, though. I'm now critiquing queries submitted in August! It's uplifting to hear that my blog is helpful to authors. Best of luck!

  5. Avatar Juliana says:

    Love to see this kind of posts.
    Thanks, Lauren!

  6. Avatar Maggie says:

    Lauren –
    Thanks for this post! I was especially psyched to see cozy mysteries on the list. Agents seem to be a bit polarized on this genre, so I wondered how your agency is reading the current market. If you're seeking them, I assume you feel like there's a market for them!

  7. I wonder, of those 30 manuscripts, how many you offered to represent? (if not too personal)

    Happy New Year,


  8. Avatar Stephanie says:

    Thanks! I'm happy my genre is on your list!!!

  9. quite a stash of query letters, phew! Thanks for the info.

  10. Thank you for this post. It's nice to know what you're looking for this year.

  11. Thanks for the info. Maybe I will send you a query for my women's fiction novel. Many blessings to you in the New Year!

  12. Avatar annievictory says:

    YAY! I wish every agent would intermittently update their interests! It's hard to have a great fit if you don't know what someone is interested in…even Prince Charming would have appreciated some help I think! Here's to hoping that everyone finds their perfect glass slipper! 🙂

  13. Avatar Anonymous Author says:

    Of those 30 fulls you requested, I'd be very interested in knowing how many you signed and how many you sold.

  14. Forgive me for being dense…

    You're accepting "young adult—all subgenres" but not "…science-fiction, poetry, short stories, essay collections, biography, thrillers."

    So is a YA thriller in or out?

  15. Interesting! Regarding your personal tastes, what types–or which recent titles–of romance novels have you loved within the past year? What titles are you anticipating this year? What types of books you feel are missing from bookshelves that you'd personally love to represent? Do you rep single title only, or both category and single title?

  16. Avatar Lauren Ruth says:

    Rashad and Anon 3:43: Of the 30 full manuscripts I requested, I offered representation to four. Two romance authors, one mystery author and one memoirist.

    Of those, I sold three mysteries and five romances, with the other submissions either not out to editors yet or still in the long waiting game with which we are all so familiar.

    Michael: I would accept a submission of a YA thriller, but not a thriller for adults.

    Evangeline: I am open to both single title and series romance. I love most romance these days, but I especially like paranormal and historical, or both at the same time.

    Thank you for your comments and questions!

  17. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Interesting and I wish you luck in 2012. I have a long list in several genres and different formats but am handling my own things now and have all my rights back except for two. Will answer any questions you may have but am only interest in an agent with an 'in' to sell a couple of reading scripts. Thanks for your interest in cozy mysterys (these are what's selling best for me too) and good luck in 2012
    Jackie Griffey
    Maryvale series

  18. Avatar Anonymous says:

    "This year, I'm narrowing the scope of my tastes . . ."

    OMG. You're using the term "narrowing" rather broadly.

  19. Avatar Martha M Moravec says:

    I am curious. Why are you not interested in epic fantasy and science fiction?

  20. When agents say "romance all genres I've found sometimes this does not actually include erotic romance. Are you interested in erotic romance?