Submission Guidelines

We are very excited to see new work. We consider work from everyone, and every year we take new clients based on their unsolicited submissions, including clients with no prior credits, recommendations or other kudos.

That said, it is very important that you follow our submission guidelines precisely. For authors submitting in the mail current postal guidelines must be adhered to in order for you to receive a response, so please read the guidelines carefully. The Post Office may discard your submission or SASE if it does not meet their requirements. For authors submitting via email, adhering to our submission guidelines will help our email software sort and prioritize your submissions.

We ask that you please DO NOT CALL to inquire about your submission status. Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we cannot track submissions individually. If you included a SASE, you will receive a response. If you submit via email and do not receive a reply after two weeks, you can safely assume that we are not interested in your project.

What We’re Looking For
How to Submit by Mail
How to Submit by email
Dos
Don’ts
FAQ

 

What We’re Looking For

We are actively looking for established and new writers in a wide range of genres. We are looking for storytellers of all kinds and remain confident that books, in whatever format they are published, will continue to play a key role in our society to entertain and to instruct.

We’re interested in all kinds of commercial fiction, including thrillers, mysteries, children’s, romance, women’s fiction, ethnic, science fiction, fantasy and general fiction.

We are also interested in literary fiction as long as it has a strong narrative.

In nonfiction, we are interested in current affairs, history, health, science, psychology, cookbooks, new age, spirituality, pop-culture, adventure, true crime, biography and memoir. We are also open to reviewing other genres and topics, as long as the material is for a trade or general audience and not scholarly.

We accept unsolicited manuscripts and seriously consider all submissions, including those from first time writers. We also consider submissions for works that are self-published or previously published through other small or non-traditional outlets, though we ask that you follow our normal submission guidelines when sending submissions for these works.

We DO NOT represent poetry, short stories or screenplays.

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How to Submit by Mail

Please mail submissions to the attention of ETHAN ELLENBERG at 548 BROADWAY, #5E, NEW YORK, NY 10012. All submissions should be made on standard-sized paper, we will not review any materials stored on CD/DVD or any other electronic storage device.

For fiction, your submission should include:

  • a brief query letter
  • a synopsis (1-2 pages long)
  • the first 50 pages (approximately) of your manuscript
  • a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE)

For nonfiction, please include:

  • a brief query letter
  • a book proposal (outline of the material, sample chapters, author bio, etc.)
  • SASE

For picture books, please include:

  • a brief query letter
  • complete manuscript (text only)
  • if applicable, color copies of sample illustrations (4-5 examples)
  • SASE

Illustrators, please send:

  • a brief query letter
  • representative portfolio of your work
  • color copies only—no original artwork
  • SASE

SASE instructions
We will not respond to submissions that do not include an SASE. In order to conform to postal regulations and ensure that you receive our response, please follow these guidelines:

  • Use US postal stamps only, not metered mail or international reply coupons.
  • Envelopes must be addressed and should include our address as the return address in the top left corner of the envelope.

Also:

  • Please use self-sealing envelopes.
  • We prefer business-sized (#10) envelopes (and like sized envelopes) that will be used for our response only—all submission material will be discarded.

If you want your materials returned to you, large mailing envelopes with sufficient postage are acceptable. Please keep in mind that this is a courtesy; we do our best to make sure that you receive your manuscript/materials back but cannot guarantee it.

International submissions
We welcome international submissions but can only respond on a limited basis. We do not return any material outside of the United States regardless of what arrangements are made for its return.

  • If possible, please include a self-addressed envelope with correct, US postage for response. US stamps are available for purchase on the US Postal Service website (www.usps.com). We will not redeem international reply coupons.
  • Please include an email address. If a proper SASE is not included, we will respond to submissions by email if we are interested.

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How to Submit by email

Please send submissions to agent@ethanellenberg.com to the attention of Ethan Ellenberg

For email submissions, we ask that you paste all materials into the body of the email in the order mentioned below. For example, if you were submitting fiction you would begin with a brief query letter, followed by your synopsis, followed by the first 50 pages of your manuscript. We will not open attachments.

For fiction, your submission should include:

  • a brief query letter
  • a synopsis (1-2 pages long)
  • the first 50 pages (approximately) of your manuscript

For nonfiction, please include:

  • a brief query letter
  • a book proposal (outline of the material, sample chapters, author bio, etc.)

For picture books, please include:

  • a brief query letter
  • complete manuscript (text only)
  • 4-5 images of sample illustrations pasted into the body of the email

Illustrators, please send:

  • a brief query letter
  • 4-5 images of sample illustrations pasted into the body of the email
  • Link to online portfolio (if applicable)

Because of the large volume of email we receive we will not respond to your email unless interested. If you do not hear back from us after two weeks from sending your submission, you can safely assume that we are not interested in that project. You may submit to us again if you have a new project you think might interest us, but please do not submit the same project to us multiple times, and please do not submit more than one project at a time.

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Dos

  • Print or type your submission on regular Letter sized (8½ x 11 inch) paper in twelve point font
  • Double Space your synopsis and sample chapters
  • Send us detailed color copies of your illustrations on photo paper if possible
  • Enclose all your materials held together with a paper clip, binder clip, or large rubber band
  • Use self-sealing envelopes for your SASE
  • Send us brief and concise query letters
  • Provide your contact information on your query letter
  • Write “Query” followed by the title of your submission in your email subject line

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Don’ts

  • Call or email to check on your submission status.
  • Send us handwritten submissions
  • Send us bound books, or complete manuscripts
  • Send us submissions in folders, binders, bubble wrap or any additional packaging aside from the envelope your submission is mailed in
  • Send us personal checks, money orders or cash
  • Send us disks, CD’s, or any other materials besides your paper submission
  • Attach materials to your emails
  • Include images in your emails that are larger than 1MB (one megabyte)
  • Send submissions via FedEx, UPS, or any other courier service
  • Send us more than one submission at a time
  • Send us the same submission multiple times
  • Send us only a query without sample materials or visa-versa

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FAQ

Why is it important to follow your submission guidelines?
We really do read and enjoy your submissions, but it makes it difficult to determine whether you’re an ideal candidate for representation when we receive incomplete submissions. Likewise, the more time we spend opening giant attachments, deconstructing your elaborately wrapped submission, or squinting at your poorly formatted sample material, means less time to actually consider the thing that matters: your story. We receive over a hundred emails and between 20 and 50 paper submissions every day, so we have to make decisions fast. We obviously don’t have all day to consider new submissions, so our guidelines are designed to make it easier for us to determine whether your work is a good fit for us. If you want to put your best foot forward, please adhere to our submission guidelines, and please write brief and succinct query letters that will help us to determine if your project is up our alley. Though we don’t favor any one resource over another, we recommend that you consult books or websites on how to write a proper query letter (or book proposal) prior to submitting.

Do you prefer mail submissions or email submissions?
We have no preference. We devote equal time to paper and email submissions. The only difference is that we will send a form response if an SASE is included with your mailed submission, but we will not respond to email unless interested.

Why don’t you respond to emails unless interested, but you provide responses to mailed submissions which include an SASE?
Other agents insist on sending form rejections to every email submission in the instance that they are not interested. Depending on one’s email software, this can be completed with a few clicks, but for hundreds of submissions the time spent responding does add up. We’d prefer to spend that time carefully considering promising submissions, than sending automated responses for submissions that miss the mark or that don’t adhere to our guidelines. Furthermore, we do not believe that a form rejection provides those submitting with any more valuable information than receiving no response. Likewise, we do not ask that you submit to our agency exclusively, so our response is not required for those who wish to submit to other agents. We provide responses via SASE for paper submissions because it’s traditional to do so, because the volume of these queries is limited, and because it offers an alternative for people who require more confirmation than our email policy affords.

What’s the typical response time for submissions sent in the mail with an SASE?
Submissions sent by mail are often considered the same day of receipt, but we send out replies in batches, so you may not receive a response declining your submission until 4-6 weeks after sending your submission.

Why do you insist on a query letter in addition to a synopsis and sample material? Shouldn’t one or the other suffice?
Your query letter should be an introduction to your sample material. Reading sample material without a query letter is akin to reading a book with its jacket removed. Without information on the author, or the length, genre, and intended readership of the work it’s difficult to evaluate whether you’re an ideal candidate for representation. If we don’t know who you are or what you’re trying to accomplish with your work, it’s difficult to judge whether you’re succeeding or not. Likewise, we can’t tell if your work is well written merely by reading your query letter, so we appreciate the opportunity to read the first fifty pages of your manuscript. The synopsis is used as a guide to determine where the plot goes after those fifty pages are up, and whether it is wise to request the entire manuscript. Sending all three together affords you the best possible opportunity to become our client, because it presents us with all the information necessary to entice us to read further.

Why don’t you accept bound books or complete manuscripts?
It’s more for your sake than ours. We ask that you not send bound books or complete manuscripts because we may not be interested in reading your entire book, and it can be expensive to send it to us in its entirety. We’d rather you saved that money, and sent us a query and sample material first. We understand that it’s easy these days to produce fine looking bound books, but presentation is the least of our concerns when making decisions about the merits of a work. A good query letter, an accurate synopsis, and well-written sample material should suffice.

Why can’t I send my material on a DVD or thumb-drive?
If you wish to submit electronically, you should do so by email. It is time consuming to load drives and disks, and there is always a potential for incompatibility and corruptibility.

May I provide a link to my website in my email submission?
Yes, you may, provided your link is not a substitute for the sample material, which should be included in the body of your email. Any linked material should be a supplement to, not a replacement for, your submission material. For illustrators, we understand that portfolios are often presented online. If you have an online portfolio you may link to it, but please provide us with the requested sample images pasted into the body of your email in addition. For authors, we’d prefer to read your sample material in the body of your email rather than be directed to read it from your website.

Why don’t you accept short stories, screenplays, or poetry?
Our primary interest is in book-length works of fiction and non-fiction intended for trade publication. While we enjoy poetry and short-stories, the compensation for magazine and journal publication is too low to justify our interest, and most publications do not require one to have an agent in order to submit, so we leave this arena up to individual authors. Collections of short-stories and poetry are difficult to market to publishers, so we generally avoid taking on new clients based upon these works. As for screenplays, while we often negotiate film rights on behalf of our clients, our business is exclusively dedicated to print publication, and we do not have the requisite experience to shop screenplays. If you have a screenplay or stage-play, we would recommend seeking a dramatic or film agent instead. The Writer’s Guild has a resource for film and television writers seeking representation here.

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Copyright 2014, The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency