Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024
  • Miriam Cortinovis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/6/2024
  • Jenniea Carter Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/8/2024
  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/24/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Agent Spotlight: Kristin Nelson

This week's Agent Spotlight features Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, LLC.
Status: Closed to submissions except for referrals. Please check the agency website to find out when she opens to submissions.
About: “My goal as an agent is simple: I want every client of mine to make a living solely from writing and 90% of my authors do without help from any other source of income. I established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade+ of my career, I’ve represented over forty New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers. Although I’m a very nice Midwesterner, I’ve heard through the grapevine that editors call me “a hard-working bulldog agent that will fight for you.” What a compliment!
"When not busy selling books, I’m quite sporty. I attempt to play tennis and golf. I also love playing Bridge (where I’m the youngest person in the club). On weekends my husband Brian and I can be found in the mountains hiking with our 15+ year old rat terrier, Chutney.
"My client list is eclectic as I’m looking for a good story well told. How you tell that story doesn’t need to fit in a neat little category. For specifics, check out the books I represent and the more detailed info I give on the Submission Guidelines page. All queries are submitted via Query Manager.
"You can also read about my latest sales at Publishers Marketplace.” (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.
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. (Via email)Web Presence:
Nelson Literary website.
Pubrants (blog).
Publisher’s Marketplace page.
#mswl on Twitter.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
What She's Looking For:
From the Nelson Lit Website:
  • Voice and character driven stories well told.
  • Literary or literary/commercial adult novels (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet, Where’d You Go Bernadette?, A Man Called Ove) 
  • Historical/literary adult novels
  • Big crossover adult novels (literary or upmarket level writing) w/one foot squarely in genre (Wool, Station 11, Lexicon, Ready Player One)
  • Literary Speculative Fiction
  • Voice & character-driven thrillers, science fiction & fantasy
  • Voice & character-driven upmarket women’s fiction, upmarket and smart Chick Lit and Rom Com (Think Crazy Rich AsiansThe Kiss Quotient)
  • Young adult & middle grade novels (all genres including contemporary, #ownvoices, boy adventure, magical, girl power, STEM girls are my jam, characters who use brains over brawn)"
From an Interview (03/2010):
“If the manuscript is well-written with an original concept, we are interested in all submissions for young adult and middle grade. Don't look at our current list and make assumptions that we wouldn't like dark or wouldn't like a male protagonist or anything like that. We love everything in the YA and MG field.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Nonfiction, picture books, early reader chapter books, memoir, screenplays, short-story collections, poetry, Christian/inspirational (Link)
Editorial Agent?
A list of Nelson Literary clients can be found on the website.
Ms. Nelson’s clients include: Ms. Nelson’s clients include: JD Barker, Gail Carriger, Ally Carter, Jana DeLeon, Simone Elkeles, Jamie Ford, Hugh Howey, Stacey Lee, Marie Lu, Josh Malerman, Scott Reintgen, and Sherry Thomas.
Query Methods: Ms. Nelson is closed to submissions except for referrals.
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: Yes.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
"Because we are an agency that responds to each and every query email received, we are now accepting queries solely through QueryManager as a way to manage the volume. To submit…
Please see below to review what each agent is looking to acquire. You may submit to only ONE agent of your choice—because we share queries with each other here at NLA, a pass from one is a pass from all. When you’re ready to query, click the purple query button for the agent you have chosen. This will take you to that agent’s query form, where you will be asked to submit the following information:
  • a brief bio, including any writing credentials you may have
  • the title, genre, and word count of your book
  • your query letter
  • the first ten pages of your book" (Link)
See the Nelson Literary website for complete up-to-date submission guidelines.
Query Tips:
There are Query Dos and Don’ts listed in this interview at WOW.
Response Times:
Three weeks for queries and two months for full manuscripts
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Nelson is a highly respected literary agent.  She’s shed tremendous light on the publishing industry via her blog, Pub Rants, and continues to educate writers and industry professionals on a weekly basis.  She’s a member of the AAR.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Guest Posts:
Literary Agents and the Hybrid Author at Jane Friedman (08/2016).
Fast Five with Kristin Nelson at Bookshelf Detective (09/2015).
Kristin Nelson and Stacey Lee Guest Post at Literary Rambles (03/2015).
Interview with Agent Kristin Nelson at Pub Crawl (02/2013).
SCBWI Bologna 2010 Agent Interview: Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency at Cynsations (03/2010).
Agent Advice Interview with Kristin Nelson at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (01/2010).
Blog Posts:
Ms. Nelson has one of the best industry blogs around, and I’d be listing posts for days if I tried to highlight the particularly helpful. Check out the sidebar on her blog, Pub Rants, where she’s linked all her Agent 101 posts, Client Queries that Worked, Submission Pitch Letters to Editors, and an entire Query Pitch Workshop. If you have a question about publishing or her agenting style, it’s likely she’s covered it at some point. Check the labels for archived posts. I also recommend that you subscribe to her newsletter.
Please see the Nelson Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/19/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent?  5/21/2020
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(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.


Ted Cross said...

Your agency is my top choice, as it has been for some time, Kristin and Sara. You say you're not looking for thrillers, but what if it's a sci-fi thriller?

Marty said...

Thank you Casey and Natalie for this insightful, "Agent Spotlight" on Kristin Nelson.

I have long been interested in The Nelson Agency as a prime representational agent and this post confirms that thought. I will definitely be soliciting representation from Ms. Nelson when I am done with my novel of Greek Mythology.

Sarah Laurenson said...

They also have an electronic newsletter you can sign up for. It's been so long since I did it that I don't remember exactly where. Might be on the agency site.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great spotlight Casey. I'd so love to have either Kristen Nelson or Sara Megibow as an agent. They are on the top of my list.

Sarah's right about the newsletter. I signed up from Kristen Nelson's blog, which I really recommend.

Also if you write fantasy or Sci-fi and Kristen offers a Writer's Digest Webinar on how to write a query letter again, I really recommend it. It was so helpful and really helped me get my query on track because the course came with a query critique.

storyqueen said...

Her blog was one of the first agent blogs I ever found. She is a wealth of knowledge and so willing to share.


Unknown said...

Kristin and Sara are fabulous. Sara's the judge for our twitter pitch contest tomorrow on our blog if anyone is interested in winning a 30-page critique. :)www.sistersinscribe.com

bfav said...

Love their agency and their blog. Kristin would be a dream to land as an agent.

Victoria Dixon said...

Yup, they send out a newsletter and I have to say, Kristin's pretty darned amazing. She had reason to drop everything last year when her father passed away, but she didn't. She continued to respond to submissions and apologized for being tardy on her newsletter. Anyone who gets an agent with that much work ethic has got to be one of the most fortunate people on earth.

Anonymous said...

I follow Kristin's blog and like what she has to say. Agent Spotlight is a great idea. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next one!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great spotlight, Casey! Kristin was one of the first agent blogs I read. I love blogs that you learn something from...

Theresa Milstein said...

When my newest manuscript is polished, I'm returning to your blog to find proper agents to query.

Beth said...

She's an agent with an amazing reputation. Thanks for the in-depth information!

Nicole Walters said...

I recently submitted my 35-page partial. Waiting . . . is hard.

Nicole Walters said...

I received a "no thanks." Politely and encouragingly written, of course. Sigh. Back at it.