This week's Agent Spotlight features Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency, LLC.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "Sara has been with Nelson Literary Agency since early 2006. Her first responsibilities included reading query letters, sample pages, and full manuscripts, and she was promoted to Associate Literary Agent in 2009. From sexy romance to epic fantasy, Sara has loved reading since picking up her first copy of The Hobbit. Sara earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in American History from Northwestern University. She loves to ski, hike, kayak, and hang out with her beat-boxing husband, adorable son, and fuzzy cat." (Link)
About the Agency:
“Nelson Literary Agency was founded in 2002 and is based in the chic/hip urban setting of lower Downtown Denver—otherwise known as Lodo. Embodying a modern philosophy that technology is meant to be used, the Nelson Agency is a living example that a powerhouse agency does not have to be located in New York.
“In such a short time, the Nelson Agency has sold more than 100 books, landed several film deals, and has contracted foreign rights on behalf of our clients in all the major territories, including Germany, France, Holland, Japan, and even Russia and Indonesia. Nelson Agency authors have become national bestsellers, RITA-award winners, and have appeared on bestseller lists such as The New York Times, USA Today, Barnes & Noble, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Denver Post.
“We are a hands-on agency that strongly believes in taking on clients for their whole career. We provide editorial and marketing guidance as well as aggressive expertise in contract negotiation.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
General fiction, Romance, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult. (Link)
From the Agency Website (as of 1/2014):
“Sara is currently looking for superior writing and a great concept. Whether a book has vampires or butterflies, spaceships or school buses, it doesn’t matter. Sara wants to be carried away by the story. If your book is fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, steampunk, contemporary, historical, short, long or a mashup of all the above, send it along! Boiled down to a list, here it is:
- Young-adult and middle-grade novels in all subgenres
- Super sexy romance with a solid dose of humor
- Complex fantasy of all types: epic fantasy, urban fantasy, quirky fantasy, historical fantasy
- All science fiction from very science-y to action-packed and commercial
- New Adult manuscripts that feature early 20-something protagonists and conflicts about identity and independence” (Link)
From Publisher’s Marketplace (as of 1/2014):
“For middle grade, young adult, new adult and romance novels - I read everything. I love contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantasy - you name it and I read it. Some of favorite reads in 2013 (non-client books) included: THREE TIMES LUCKY by Sheila Turnage, WONDER by RJ Palacio, NO PROPER LADY by Isabel Cooper, HOW BEAUTY MET THE BEAST by Jax Garren, THEORY OF ATTRACTION by Delphine Dryden and ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill.
“For science fiction and fantasy, I am looking for books either for the adult market or the younger reader. I represent Jason Hough whose debut THE DARWIN ELEVATOR hit the New York Times bestseller list its first week on sale. Some of my favorite reads in 2013 (again, non-client books) included: DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD by Steve Bein, STORMDANCER by Jay Kristoff, ABOVE by Leah Bobet and VESSEL by Sara Beth Durst.
“I do occasionally give shout outs on twitter as to specific works I'm looking for, so be sure to follow me there for more insider tips.” (Link)
From an Interview (12/2013):
“Rolling in to the new year and young adult literature is still hot, hot, hot! I’m actively acquiring new clients and I read all the slush pile queries myself, so bring on the submissions! What am I looking for? Authentic, unique, masterfully crafted stories - set anywhere, anytime and about anything. I don’t acquire based on concept but rather on quality of writing and unique-ness of story. That being said...
“I’d love a straight up science fiction adventure for young adults - think Star Trek for the new generation.
“Second, I would like a truly funny contemporary young adult or middle grade novel. We see serious and heartbreaking and terrifying on a regular basis and that’s great. But, I’d also like something funny - romantic comedy or slapstick comedy or anything that makes the reader laugh out loud.
“Finally, I’d love a stand alone epic fantasy for young adults or adults. It can have elves, magic, unicorns, dragons - anything at all that’s epic and one book only (not a sequel and not a trilogy).” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
"We do not look at submissions for nonfiction, screenplays, short-story collections, poetry, children’s picture books or chapter books, or material for the Christian/inspirational market." (Link)
“Fundamentally, I believe that a client's book is THEIR art. So, in terms of philosophy - I encourage my clients to write the books of their heart. Likewise, I choose clients to work with whose books I absolutely love, love, love.
“From there, my ‘agent philosophy’ is all about communication. Once a book is finished (and yes I do editorial work with my clients before we call it ‘finished’), I put together a submission list based on editors I think will love the work - my clients know to whom I submit, when and what the response is. My clients usually hear from me every week - with updates on submissions, offers, releases, sales numbers and ideas for marketing, publicity or promotions. Aside from talking about submissions, the two top things I encourage my clients to do is to get a professional author website together and to keep writing.” (Link)
“Nelson Literary Agency tends to rely on the team approach in terms of covering all these bases. For example, we have a marketing director on staff here at NLA (Lindsay Mergens out of our NY office), so I rely on her expertise for book promotions. We definitely do work on editing manuscripts before submitting them to editors, but I find that I tend to leave a lot of space for the writers to have their own feedback in this process. Overall, my personal philosophy tends to be "pick projects that I REALLY, REALLY love" and that way I feel great about fighting for them on everything from finding a great editor to negotiating a great contract.” (Link)
A list of Nelson Literary clients can be found on the website here.
Ms. Megibow’s clients include: Allison Rushby, Ashlyn Macnamara, Betsy Dornbusch, Christina Lee, Dave Lowry, Eleri Stone, Jaleigh Johnson, Jane Kindred, Jason Hough, Jennifer Shaw Wolf, Juliana Stone, Karina Sumner-Smith, Michael J. Martinez, Michael R. Underwood, Miranda Kenneally, Natalie Bahm, Roni Loren, Sarah Skilton, Stefan Bachmann, Stefanie Gaither, Steve Vera, Tiffany Reisz, and Wen Baragrey.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
One page query by e-mail. Put QUERY and the title of your project in the subject line. No attachments.
“You are encouraged to include the link to your author website in your query letter. LGBTQ friendly!” (Link)
See the Nelson Literary website for complete up-to-date submission guidelines.
Very fast. The agency's stated response time is 5-10 days with occasional longer instances. Stats on the web show Ms. Megibow responding to queries within minutes to a few days. Her response time on requested material appears to be days to a couple weeks.
What's the Buzz?
Sara Megibow has been an associate agent since February 2009. She is known to be very nice, professional, and enthusiastic. The agency is highly respected and her clients seem quite happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews & Chats:
Agent Interview with Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency at YA Misfits (12/2013).
Agent Sara Megibow On Whether You Still Need an Agent at Paranormal Point of View (04/2013).
Sara Megibow Discusses Her Work as an Agent and the Challenges of Getting Published at Boulder Writer’s Workshop (12/2012).
Sara Megibow, Literary Agent & Kat Brauer, YA Writer at The Madeleine Project (10/2012).
Interview with Sara Megibow at Bethany Hensel’s site (08/2012).
Literary Spotlight: Agent Sara Megibow at The Bearded Scribe (08/2012).
Interview with Literary Agent Sara Megibow at Stacey O’Neal’s site (02/2012).
October Mystery Agent Revealed: Sara Megibow at Operation Awesome (10/2011).
Literary Agent Sara Megibow at Blog Talk Radio (09/2011).
Sara Megibow Interview at Jairus Reddy Blog (07/2011).
Critiquerly Interview with Agent Sara Megibow at Not an Editor (06/2011).
Publishing Interviews: Agent Sara Megibow & Author Miranda Kenneally at YA Highway (05/2011).
An Interview with Sara Megibow of the Nelson Agency at Chiseled in Rock (05/2011).
Interview with an Agent: Sara Megibow at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (02/2011).
Live Chat transcript with Agent Sara Megibow at WriteOnCon (10/2010).
Interview with Literary Agent Sara Megibow at YA Fantasy Guide (2010).
Interview with Sara Megibow at Anita Laydon Miller's blog (03/2009).
Interview with Sara Megibow by Janet Lane (2008).
AgentQuery chat transcript with Sara Megibow (08/2009).
Podcast interview with Sara Megibow at SandDollar Publishing (2007).
Before You Query a Literary Agent: Sara Megibow Shares Her Best Tips at Book Contry (09/2013).
Guest Agent Sara Megibow: Is the Agent Pitch Session an Effective Tool or Could it use a Tweak? at The Other Side of the Story (03/2013).Literary Agent Sara Megibow shares “A day in the life…” at Linda Joyce Contemplates (05/2013).
Sara Megibow Sells Romance – Who is a “good” literary agent? and other articles at Romance University (2012).
Being a Feminist Romance Reader, guest post by Sara Megibow at Reader, I Created Him (3/2011).
Sara Megibow Visits the YA 5 (11/2010).
Tips From the Slush Pile by Sara Megibow at LDS Publishers (05/2010).
Guest post by Sara Megibow on Kristin Nelson's blog, Pub Rants (02/2009).
Around the Web:
Nelson Literary Agency at P&E ($, Recommended).
Sara Megibow at P&E (Recommended).
For conferences Ms. Megibow will be attending, see her Publisher’s Marketplace page.
Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and ‘The Siren’ at Guide to Literary Agents (07/2012).
Agent Appreciation Day post on Sara Megibow by client Natalie Bahm (12/2009).
Client Natalie Bahm's agent success story (09/2009).
Advice highlights from Sara's AQ chat at JeanOran.com (08/2009).
Last updated: 1/16/14.
Last Reviewed by Agent: 3/31/11
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.