Monday, February 16, 2009

Secret Agent Unveiled: KRISTIN NELSON

A huge thank you to our adorable and ever-so-helpful Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency.

Kristin's bio:

Kristin established the Nelson Literary Agency in 2002. In such a short time, she has sold more than 90 books to all the major publishers. She has landed several film deals and has contracted foreign rights on behalf of her clients in many territories. She specializes in representing commercial fiction (romance, women’s fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young adult & middle grade) and literary fiction with a commercial bent. In general, she does not handle nonfiction projects with the exception of memoir and investigative journalism narrative nonfiction. Clients include New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ally Carter (I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You and Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy), RITA-award winner Linnea Sinclair (Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark), Sherry Thomas (Private Arrangements and Delicious), Agatha-award winner Hank Phillippi Ryan (Prime Time and Face Time), Colorado Book Award winner Kim Reid (No Place Safe). Member: AAR, RWA, SFWA, SCBWI. Please visit our web site before submitting and be sure to also check out Kristin’s popular blog.

What Kristin is currently looking for:

Nelson Literary Agency is currently accepting submissions for completed works of: romance (all single title genres except inspirational), science fiction, fantasy, young adult, middle grade, chick lit and women's fiction as well as memoir and narrative nonfiction with a strong voice. Our submission guidelines are available on the agency web site.

And there you have it! It was a special delight for me to host Kristin as this month's Secret Agent. I've been following her blog since the fledgling days of Nelson Literary. I was there amongst the throng of readers when she announced she'd taken on an assistant after doing everything singlehandedly (and well). And she was one of the first -- and only -- agents to request a partial from my Very First Novel (the one that's ended up in the Novel Graveyard).

So thank you, Kristin, for your time, your expertise -- and for offering early encouragement to this writer in her "early days" by seeing value in her green-behind-the-ears submission, way back when.

Stay tuned, everyone, for the Winner Announcement!


  1. Thank you so much for your time and insight Secret Agent Kristin...and heartfelt thanks to you,too, Authoress. I can't wait to see the results but am a little sad to have this very fun week come to an end. It's been a ride.

  2. Thanks to Kristin for showing us how to improve in her typically nice way, and thank you again, Authoress, for the time and effort you put into this!

  3. Thank you for your time, Agent Kristen. :)

    And many thanks to Authoress for hosting.

  4. Thanks to you, Kristen, who I've followed for a long time, and to Authoress, who I've only recently discovered, for a fun week and a chance to find out what worked and what didn't. :)

    This was my first time 'playing' and it was great fun!

  5. Well, this saved me from bothering Ms. Nelson (who was at the top of my query list) with my manuscript! :-D She said the writing was good but didn't fit her personal tastes. I'm encouraged, though, by her kind words -- and everyone else's helpful comments. :-)

  6. Thanks Authoress and Kristin.

    I must admit, Kristin was never on my list of agents to query. I already knew my novel wouldn't be her thing. And I was right.

    I enjoyed everyone's comments on my entry. Based on what everyone said, I'm glad I'm rewriting my novel as an urban fantasy. That will solve the major issue that everyone pointed out. Hard to sound like Harry Potter when your MC is failing her AP biology exam ;) Unfortunately that will also change the things that everyone liked. Oh well!

    Thanks again to all who took the time to crit. I look forward to next month when I'm only a critter. A lot less stressful, but just as much fun.

  7. *looks sheepish*

    Kristen is at the top of my list of 'to query' agents. I love her blog and I've actually read some of her clients' books. :)

    I'm kinda hoping that if I query her sometime soon, she'll know that I did take her comments seriously and will (a) find a different and less confusing spot to start at, and (b) ensure that the dialogue can't be misconstrued as infodumping (especially since my hackles go up the instant I see other people info-dialoguing).

  8. Oh wow. Kristin's my dream agent and to have got her feedback without burning up a query --priceless. I'm disappointed she didn't love my 250 words, but this gives me the fuel to return to the blank page and give it another try.

    Thanks Authoress for a doing all the work and hosting this. And thanks to all the people who critted and commented. You helped my first experience of Secret Agent be a great one.

    Happy writing and reading all!

  9. Thank you to Authoress for taking the time to coordinate this very helpful blog event. And a big thanks to Ms. Nelson for commenting on all of the entries - this provides so much valuable insight into what's going through an agent's mind as they read. I'm hooked on this contest!

  10. Thanks, Authoress, for hosting this contest! It was fun, educational, and I learned a lot. Thank you to Kristin, too, for the helpful insight and the time. I appreciate your bravery dealing with all 60 entries.

    Well, I'm off with my red pen...

  11. What a treat this was - to get so much feedback from our peers and a fabulous agent, too. Thank you so much Authoress and Kristin for all the time you devoted here.

    Not to sound antsy or anything, but when are you going to post the winners? I've been refreshing for a while - the suspense is killing me!

    word verification - anted. That's me. So antsy I'm anted.

  12. This was a great contest, and even though I didn't enter, I loved reading the entries and the comments. I learned a lot as well.

    Thank you again Authoress for hosting such great contest, and for giving us all the chance to share our work.

    Thank you Ms. Nelson for taking the time to judge this. Help from agents in invaluable!

  13. Thanks to Authoress and Agent Kristin . . . and to all the commenters. This has been a great experience. Thanks again.


    p.s. my verify word is 'mistrox'.

  14. AHJKLDSHFS--I just found this blog and I would have loved to enter, and now it's worse because Ms. Nelson is one of my dream agents. ;_;

    Ah, well. There's always next time, and I look forward to seeing who the winner is. *has a favorite, but won't tell just yet :P*

  15. Thanks so much for your time and feedback Agent Kristen. And thanks again for running this contest Authoress.


  16. Thank you, Authoress, for all the time and effort you put into running this wonderful contest! The opportunity to have an agent's honest opinion is a prize in itself.

    Thank you, Ms. Nelson, for going to the trouble of judging all these entries, and giving us a glimpse into how agents evaluate the manuscripts they receive.

  17. Thank you, Agent Kristen - for your time and insightful feedback. As a loyal follower of your blog, I know how busy you are, and to have you comment on every entry was wonderful. I learned so much.

    And thanks again, Authoress. These contests give writers information not found anywhere else on the web.

    And to all those that commented - thanks for your time and effort. The whole experience was amazing.


  18. You all have said it so well. I'm so appreciative of the time and effort everyone put in here. And a big special thanks to Authoress and Secret Agent Nelson. Agents aren't known to have a lot of free time, so the effort spent here is just remarkable.

    Thank you!

  19. My thanks go out to Authoress and Secret Agent Kristen for all the work going into this contest. I've learned a lot and it's been fun. Many thanks to you and to all those who left me comments.

  20. Whatever the outcome, this contest has been really helpful and valuable to me. Many thanks to Authoress and Kristin!

  21. Thanks so much Authoress for your site and contest and Secret Agent Kristen for your time! Also, thanks everyone for your comments!

  22. Thanks Kristin for your insightful comments. Thanks Authoress for organizing. And thanks everyone else for such whole-hearted reviewing.

  23. The bio didn't mention Kristin is also the agent of Lisa Shearin! The Raine Benares books are a real treat.

    Thanks to everyone; submitters, commenters, Authoress and Kirstin. Very educational, as always.

  24. Hello Contest players!

    Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this contest. It's never easy to put yourself out there for feedback and critique.

    The fact that 60 people did so just amazes me.

    And I know you won't believe it but it can be just as tough to say "hooked or not hooked" and then explain, as an agent, why.

    I tried to be honest but helpful. Hopefully I achieved that. Sometimes I need to do a few to "warm" up so to speak to find the right balance.

    And even if I said "not hooked" this time around, don't give up. Work on the craft. Hone those skills. You never know about next time.

    Today I signed an author that 4 years ago I had said NO to the sample pages I had read.

    The author, that work, wasn't ready then. Now the author is ready and so is this terrific new work.

    Isn't that a great story?

    So keep writing! Perseverance is half of this publishing game.

  25. A public thank you, Kristin -- and a hug for the encouraging 4-years-later story!

    Aspiring authors need to be both tenacious and teachable.

    Thanks for everything!