What I'm Looking for:

Here you'll find the most up-to-date guide to what I'm looking for. It'll change from time to time so check back on occasion! I've also included my submission guidelines below.

Most all I am looking for books that any child reader can see themselves in. Books with authentic characters with diverse backgrounds and beliefs are at the top of my list. I want to represent books about kids dealing with real issues that are relatable and important to them.

Young Adult:

  • Graphic Novel: Think Nimona, Anya's Ghost etc. I'd love something creepy and dark, or something that gives me the feels. I'm not really looking for anything that feels overly comic-booky (i.e. super heroes, manga). Please send along a link to your portfolio when you query me with a graphic novel.
  • Contemporary (all types: dark, humorous, romance, issue-driven, coming-of-age/first love)
    • **Top of my wish list: light contemporary romance, humorous YA (think MTV's Awkward), mystery, thriller, horror (I love all things creepy!), YA contemporary sister story or platonic boy girl friendship story.
    • Something that tackles our society's fascination with celebrity and fame (think The Bling Ring)
    • Stories with musicians (from band geeks to kids in rock bands and orchestras) 
  •  Mystery/suspense (think Veronica Mars, The Lying Game or Gone Girl) 
  • High-stakes thrillers (I Know What You Did Last Summer-Lois Duncan, Slide-Jill Hathaway, Mind Games--Kiersten White ).  
  • Some fantasy/sci-fi (all types, but must stand out from what’s currently on shelves. No werewolves, vampires or shapeshifters please.)  I love a unique world with amazing world-building. 
  • Modern-day fairytale/folklore/myth re-tellings (especially those with a twist). Think Heather Dixon's Entwined.
  • Historical fiction with a compelling voice and hook. I would LOVE to see something like the TV series Reign on the CW (think Gossip Girl meets The Tudors) or Downton Abbey. I like historical set in England or if in the US I like the Roaring 20's-1950's especially.  I think a murder mystery set in this time-frame would be cool. The only time period I'm not really drawn to is Revolutionary War America, but if it's good enough I'll consider any time period or location.
  • Horror (think eerie and creepy like Anna Dressed in Blood or The Fatal Frame video game series). Gothic horror is a big love of mine. 
  • Anything set in a strange small town a la Bone Gap.
  • Anything with a vivid, unique setting (Morocco, Thailand, Alaska, Nepal, the jungle of the Amazon etc. etc.)
  • A road trip story or school trip abroad type story (can you see I love to travel?!)
  • FORBIDDEN ROMANCE! I love a good forbidden romance. It could be between two people of different faiths who have to date within their faith, teens who aren't allowed to date at all and fall in love, opposites falling in love, the bad boy and the good girl. etc. etc. 
  • Light sci-fi ala Wayward Pines or space opera like Firefly/Serenity. 
  • Time travel! I'ma  big Outlander fan, but I'm looking for something out of the oridinary here. Not looking so much for someone going back in time to save the world or change history.
  • Secrets. Anything dealing with juicy, hard to keep secrets. It could be a secret society, a cult, a secret kept from friends/siblings/romantic interest or even from themselves.
  • Unreliable narrators ala We Were Liars. Twists and turns. 
  • Anything with carnivals, circuses and freakshows especially if it has a dark or magical tint to it. The Night Circus is a favorite of mine. 
  • Novels set in the romantic, steamy, beautiful south. 
  • Novels dealing with weight/body issues. 
  • Anything else with a good voice and strong story. I am certainly open to other genres!  

Middle grade: 
  • Adventure, magical realism, fantasy, coming of age, contemporary, mystery, humor. I am very actively looking in this age-range.  Something with a  musical element ( a kid who is in band, sings, loves music). Stories about kids who are considered different or have a hard time fitting in. 
  • Top of my wish list: A good, light contemporary coming of age, sister or friendship story, a fun MG mystery or humorous contemporary, creepy, ghost story. 
  • I'd also love a beautifully written, emotional, literary story.
  • I'm very selective when it comes to books featuring animal protagonists, but am open to it, as long as the voice is strong. I always loved The Wind in the Willows. Though I do like a good story featuring realistic animals i.e. Ring of Endless Light. I LOVE dolphins, any kind of animal rescue story etc. 
Picture books: 
  • Character-driven picture books or plot driven with a fun twist. I’d love to read about a character (animal or human) who resonates with me and makes me want to read more. I especially like cute and funny stories with read-aloud potential. A nice, subtle message/moral is also a plus. Favorites are: Corduroy, The Paperbag Princess, Tea Rex, Freddie & Gingersnap, anything by Eric Carle and Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great. 
  • Non-fiction: I'd love to see compelling, kid-centric picture book bios. I've been enjoying all the music-themed ones like Jimi Hendrix, When Bob Met Woody and others on musical artists and composers. Remember, when it comes to picture book bios it has to be about someone who is fairly well known with a unique story. It's harder to sell one about someone who is lesser-know (even if their story is amazing) that isn't part of school curriculum. Also, think about why kids would want to read it. Is it about the person when they were a child?
New Adult:
  • I am not looking for any NA projects at this time. 
**For all age groups I'd LOVE to see some multi-cultural stories or novels that take place in unique settings (outside of NYC, LA, Chicago, the Pacific Northwest and other common places).

Favorite Books:
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
The Fear Street series by R.L. Stein
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Lisel and Po by Lauren Oliver
The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Splintered by A.G. Howard
The Dark Angel series by Meredith Ann Pierce
Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Here are some more obvious ones:
The Hunger Games series (Catching Fire was my favorite)
Harry Potter

Submission Guidelines: 

I accept queries via email only. Please send a query letter, synopsis and the first three consecutive chapters (not to exceed 25 pages) of the manuscript. For picture books, please send the complete text. Illustrators please send a query and link to your portfolio.

Please send queries to: chquery@mcintoshandotis.com Please paste the text into the body of the email. We do not open attachments due to security reasons.

Because of the high volume of submissions we receive, we will only respond to queries when we are interested in reviewing additional materials. Our response times are usually within 6-12 weeks, but sometimes it's longer during busy times of the year. http://mcintoshandotis.com/submissions/

I respond to all 'requested materials' submissions so please check in with me if I have not responded in the aforementioned time frame!


  1. Thanks so much for this post. I look forward to more information. I would love to hear more description of non-fiction word count. I am trying to categorize word count/target age for non-fiction. Keep on with this WIP!

  2. I wonder if you last name is from Germany. I'm looking for German-American literary agent to represent my American-German YA fiction. Thanks.

  3. Hi Christa,
    My first book, Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, just came out today. Seeing what you're looking for, maybe I should finish up my spec, The Adventures of Go Girl and Super Chick. Costumed Rock Star Chicks by night, plain-clothes superheroes by day. :)

  4. Thanks for this informative post. My 40,000-word dual perspective upper middle grade novel, I Rock; I suck features thirteen-year-old Jack, a Boston bad boy whose group home relocates to central Massachusetts, and Hope, a small town girl who seemingly has it all. They both long for the courage to reveal the role they each played in a parents’ death, but shame prevents them from doing so until a tragedy spurs them to confide their secrets to each other. May I send the first three chapters to you as requested material?

  5. Were you still looking for something that is like the CW Reign?

  6. Hi Christa,
    Thanks for sharing such generous submission information on your website. I'm looking for a new agent and stumbled upon your site. I will query you with my information and manuscript details.
    Angie Karcher

  7. Please forgive my need for specificity -- by 'No New Adult' do you mean you're not accepting adult authors for representation right now?

  8. Hi Christa,
    I recently received an email request from you for asking for more materials. What address do you prefer that I respond to? Thanks!
    Micki (mginsberg10@gmail.com)