Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 5, 2018


Future Heads Up: Elana Roth Parker is currently closed to submissions, but will open this Summer and that’s not too far away to start preparing. 

The big picture: I’m looking for middle-grade and young adult novels, and picture books by author/illustrators.

For fiction: My tastes run more commercial than literary, so I’m mainly looking for high-concept or commercial-leaning novels. That means good plots and good twists. I like to say my tastes lie at the intersection of timeless and fresh. (For examples, look at THE SELECTION, which draws on fairytales but updates them in new ways, or the upcoming BRIGHTLY BURNING, which is Jane Eyre in space. Both pull from tradition but spin them in surprising ways.)

I’m not picky about genre (sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, contemporary, historical, all good) so long as there’s a strong plot (make me keep turning pages, please) told by a strong voice. I want books that I can come back to over and over again. I read to escape, not to get punched in the face, so take me far away with an irresistible voice, but don’t make me suffer along the way.

Fiction keywords: imagination, escapism, other-worldiness, nerdy inspiration, high emotional stakes, diverse, plot-driven, heartfelt.

For non-fiction: I’m looking for all age levels. For picture books and middle-grade, I’d love to see topics kids would find fascinating explained in creative ways and formats, especially for the younger ages. For MG and YA, I’d also love to see narrative non-fiction, i.e. great, real-life voices with a rich story to tell kids.

I also love working on picture books, but only want author/illustrators. Please don’t query with texts-only for PBs.

DIVERSITY: I am actively diversifying my list and want to hear from writers of all backgrounds. All kids deserve to see themselves in the books they read, and children’s publishing needs more non-white heroes, where their non-whiteness isn’t the problem of the story. So if you have a story that fits my broader tastes above *and* has brown kids, non-straight kids, or differently-abled kids, PLEASE send them to me.

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary YA, Diversity, Fantasy YA, Magical Realism, Narrative Nonfiction, Speculative Fiction, light Sci-Fi, sci-fi

**As a general rule, I’m NOT a good match for: Christmas stories, serial killers, horror, thriller, or talking animal books.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

  • Send a concise email query letter to: queries [at] ldlainc [dot] com
  • Along with your book’s title, please include the name of the agent you are querying in the subject field. This helps guarantee that your submission ends up in the right person’s queue. (Example subject line: QUERY: TITLE for ELANA)
  • Your query letter should include a short pitch, a short plot summary, and a short bio. Please also include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits, if applicable. If you are a debut author, do not worry.
  • After your query letter, paste the FIRST 5-10 PAGES of your novel into the body of the email. Your writing sample MUST be pasted into the email, as we do not open unrequested attachments of any kind. You may also include a synopsis, but it’s not required.
  • If you are an author/illustrator, we highly recommend creating an online portfolio, which you can link to in your query instead of attaching sample artwork to an email.
  • Please do not query on a second, or third, project until we’ve replied to your first query.

Elana has specialized in children’s publishing from the beginning of her career, from her very first internship at Nickelodeon Magazine followed by 5 years as an editor at Parachute Publishing. She’s been an agent since 2008, joining LDLA in 2016 after running her own agency, Red Tree Literary.

Elana is a graduate of Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, with degrees in English literature and Bible. It all adds up to her loving books that expertly combine the timely and the timeless.

Follow her on Twitter at @elanaroth.


Talk tomorrow,


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