Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 21, 2018

Colleen Oefelein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Colleen Oefelein
The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Colleen is currently open to queries and actively building her list!

Colleen is happiest when she’s helping an author strengthen and prepare their heart’s work for today’s market. Her specialty lies in crafting killer pitches, finding a fresh spin for a tired premise, bringing the POV closer, and injecting tension into a scene. She often hosts “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook to help querying authors identify and address common pitfalls in their submission.

She loves plot-driven, commercial stories with unforgettable characters and gritty character dynamics. She adores writing that has a great cadence and natural rhythm, which like a dance flows and stutters in a gorgeous motion that worms into my brain and reverberates there for days.

She represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult books in many genres.

What she is looking for:

Picture Book: I’m looking for fun, funny, adventurous, or touching stories with that magical mix of novel simplicity and a surprise ending that will have my 6-year-old asking to read over and over. My favorites are The Kissing Hand, The Good for Nothing Button, Parts, the There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a… series, the Llama Llama series, and the Pigeon series.

Middle Grade: She’s looking for mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, low fantasy, paranormal, all with a thread of subtle or not-so-subtle humor.

Young Adult/New Adult/Adult: She’s looking for re-tellings/heart-rending love stories, contemporary, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, comedy, low fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and anything  fast-paced.

Colleen is weary of politics, school shootings, dragons, vampires, faeries, and werewolves, and usually doesn’t enjoy high fantasy, sword and sorcery, lyrical tales, heavy/spacey scifi, literary fiction, or women’s fiction.

She loves a fresh premise (or a fresh twist on a familiar story line) coupled with a strong, genuine voice. Just plain weird is right up her alleyand dark, quirky charactersmakes her sit forward. Clean writing with plenty of white space and storytelling full of subtle nuances that give her brain room to imagine will piquing her interest. She likes a strong hook. Make her laugh, gasp, sigh, smile, sit forward, or read through my fingers on page one please.

She also loves a story with cliffy chapter endings and prefer characters who take a book by the balls and yank it forward. An antagonistic protagonist, an unreliably evil villain, flawed characters, and antiheroes are definitely my favorite, as is a high-adrenaline plot. She loves anything unexpected,dark, edgy, weird, funny, or so wrong it’s right.

Lastly, she enjoys working with authors who show social media savvy and who haven’t alienated one half of the nation or the other with intolerance.

Fun facts about Colleen:

She’s a retired chemical engineer, Air Force officer, and disabled veteran who’s worked 911 dispatch for Alaska State Troopers and currently teaches Irish Dance and volunteers in my son’s Kindergarten class as the nose wiper, POUT POUT FISH reader, and janitor. She speaks German, can fly a helicopter, net a salmon, navigate a river, and pack a chute. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, she now lives in Alaska, but still root for the Steelers and Penguins. Colleen holds a BS in Chemical Engineering with a focus in Biotechnology, and a BS in German, both from Penn State University and has one pointed ear. 🙂

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to http://QueryMe.Online/colleenoefelein

Please see The JDLit Agency website for current submission guidelines.

Colleen Oefelein is an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, a devourer of books, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Colleen was an engineer in the Air Force who launched satellites, played with lasers, and flew helicopters. Now retired from the military, she lives in Alaska with her husband, son, and boerboel. She holds a BS in chemical engineering/biotechnology and a separate BS in German, both from Penn State. A former 911 call taker and dispatcher for Alaska troopers, she has a soft spot for veterans and law enforcement families.

How to submit:

Please submit your query and first 10 pages of your finished and polished manuscript via my Query Manager: http://QueryMe.Online/colleenoefelein. You will receive an automatic response from Query Manager which lets you know your submission is in my inbox, and you can track your query’s progress. I’ll respond within 6 weeks, but only to projects that interest me.

PLEASE NOTE: I only accept Query Manager submissions; any queries sent by email or regular mail will not be considered.

For non-query related matters only, please email

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks for another really valuable post!


  2. Wow, what a full life Colleen has! All of this sounds wonderful 🙂


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