Book Proposals I’d Love to See (What Tamela Hancock Murray is Looking For)

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By God’s will and pleasure, during my career as a literary agent I have been successful in representing authors writing Christian romance, Christian and general market trade book fiction, and Christian nonfiction.

My interests have changed very little since I joined The Steve Laube Agency, here’s an update for you:

Do you still want to see Christian romance novels?
Indeed I do! I’m happy to say that this is one area of Christian fiction that continues to thrive and enjoy an enthusiastic readership.

I am still passionate about Christian romance novels. I respect and honor the fact that the editors of the romance lines are very specific about their needs and wants. They look for hardworking, dedicated, talented authors who are able to write a fresh story within the romance novel framework. Does this describe you? If so, I’d love to partner with you!

What about other genres of fiction?
As those following the industry are aware, the trade book fiction market has contracted in recent years, but I have never experienced an easy time for authors to break in to trade fiction. As with modeling and acting, more people want those jobs than there are jobs available. This is a perennial fact.

However, I am always seeking a tale well told that I believe deserves a place in CBA. My personal tastes will always veer to heavy romantic elements. To wit, if my husband has a movie on television and I don’t see any women (e.g., cowboys sitting around a fire or a bunch of guys on a boat), I find something else to do until the movie is over.

But as long as there is a heavy romantic element, I’m open to all sorts of stories.

Are you open to general market fiction?
Yes. But the story must be so clean you’d be willing to share it with your most devout friend or relative. Nothing that would dishonor God or disrespect the faith of the church, as defined by The Apostle’s Creed, is welcome here.

Are you still open to nonfiction submissions?
Yes, and I continue to be highly selective. The importance of author platform here is magnified a thousandfold in comparison with fiction. I need to see an author who’s already connecting with his or her audience so I can show publishers the author has gained respect and credibility with current readers and will be a great partner with the publisher in expanding reader base. Nonfiction readers are looking for insight, consolation, help, knowledge, and encouragement. An author needs to come from a position of authority when delivering a book to these readers.

Platform must be accompanied by a great idea told in dynamic writing. Tell me why you have an audience eager to read what you have to say on your topic, and why. I love books that  make me want to read them even when the topic doesn’t apply to me. Now that’s a well-written and engaging book.

And in today’s market, that’s what you need.

Do you have a lot of slots open for new authors?
God has seen fit to allow me a client list that is fantastic beyond my wildest dreams. However, I am humbled and honored by authors who take their valuable time to learn about me and afterwards feel led to submit their ideas to me, especially when CBA is blessed by so many talented literary agents.

Although we are not perfect in our level of response (meaning it’s OK to follow up if you don’t hear from us), my assistant and I do consider submissions from new authors. I am thrilled to work with promising new as well as established authors. You can send proposals via email to ewilson@www.stevelaube.com (please visit the guidelines for specifics).

 

62 Responses to Book Proposals I’d Love to See (What Tamela Hancock Murray is Looking For)

  1. Rachel Muller April 3, 2014 at 6:19 am #

    What I love about this agency is your candid and honest blog articles. For the lat 3 years I have searched and followed many literary agencies’ blogs, but none are as down to earth as The Steve Laube Agency (in my own opinion). That is why I visit here faithfully each week. There is always something new to learn, which is crucial for brand new writers/authors (like myself) who are just learning about the trade.

    Thank you for such interesting and insightful topics!! 🙂

  2. Tamela Hancock Murray April 3, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    Rachel, thank you so much for the compliment. And thank you for being a faithful reader. People like you are the reason why all of us work hard to make this blog a great place for writers.

  3. Beth Steury April 3, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Does your passion for Christian romance novels include YA romance?

    • Tamela Hancock Murray April 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

      The YA market is very tight, but I do consider YA.

      • J.Wallace October 31, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

        You said the YA market is tight but you would consider a YA novel. Can you elaborate?

        • Tamela Hancock Murray November 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

          J., I would consider an age-appropriate YA novel that presents a fresh idea with vibrant writing that I feel really hits the mark. That said, I rarely take on a YA novel because of the tight market and because my expertise is geared more to other types of books.

          • Beth Fine February 22, 2016 at 11:33 am #

            Tamela, I just got your LI invitation (sent 6 days ago) and was reminded that I submitted to Steve Laube Agency about 5 years ago. Although YA is not your primary interest, I have a YA mystery series The Picaresque of Ímagine Purple.Tate has published 7 books, has one in book cover/layout process; and 2 more under contract. Although the series set in 1969-70 is not categorized as outright Christian fiction, the main character Ima Purple, a teacher-turned-detective, is a recent reborn Christian, notably one of the most dangerous people on earth until settling down on how to use faith:-). I have 6 more stories yet to write to finish the series from Newfoundland to New Delhi but don’t know what to do then: go with self-published ebooks, seek another traditional publisher, or stay with the tried-and-true Tate. However, FYI, I am also a produced playwright since 2009, with planned repeat productions this year in Winnemucca and Jarbidge, NV. I have a classical styled, Christian historical fiction offering set in Rome, 258 A.D. A professor at Spring Arbor University, MI said “It was elegant” and seeks to have a reading when we can find the right date. Please contact me at beth@imapurple.net if any of this interests you. Thank you.

  4. Jenni Brummett April 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    I write historical fiction laced with romance and suspense. Tamela, are you interested in a substantial side of suspense with your romance? 🙂

  5. Sharyn Kopf April 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi, Tamela! Thanks for letting us know what you’re looking for. I appreciate all your agency does to educate writers.

    So, I heard a rumor at a writers conference that you prefer books written in third-person POV rather than first. Is that true? If so, is that a rule for you or more of a guideline?

    Just curious.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray April 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

      Sharyn, I will give serious consideration to stories written in first person POV when the story really needs to be told from that POV.

  6. Heidi McCahan April 4, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Tamela,
    Thank you for sharing an honest and candid update, as well as following up on the comments. Pursuing representation feels a bit daunting, but after reading your post, I feel both encouraged and inspired to finish my WIP (contemporary romance) and begin the submission process.

  7. Tamela Hancock Murray April 4, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Heidi, that’s wonderful to hear! I want to be an encourager.

  8. Wendy Macdonald April 6, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    Dear Tamela, I was so happy to read your words, “as long as there is a heavy romantic element, I’m open to all sorts of stories.” I’ve recently finished a first draft of an inspirational mystery with romance woven in (debut novel). I’m looking forward to querying it after it has been polished and polished again. Thank you for the encouraging post.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • Wendy Macdonald April 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Oops! I should have said that, “I look forward to querying agents about my novel after I’ve polished it again and again.” 🙂

  9. Tamela Hancock Murray April 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    No worries, Wendy. I knew exactly what you meant! 🙂

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  20. fredricklee510@gmail.com July 23, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    Does this mean that you won’t accept manuscripts with profanity? Because it’s impossible to create believable dialogue depicting the world we all live in without some profanity.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray July 23, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      Fredrick, there are many ways to depict foul language without spelling it out. And besides, there are many people who simply don’t use foul language.

      • D. Richard Carlson May 23, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

        Righty so. We don’t live by scripts, e.g. television and movie. Do we hear people profane in every walk of life? I think not. Even through I wear hearing aid, my 6 years old son would have alert me if he is listening language that is foreign to him.

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  22. Maria August 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    Dear Ms. Murray,
    Thank you for the information you’ve provided here; it’s very helpful.
    Regarding pertinent biographical information in a cover letter: Since I don’t have a formal education in literature or English, I am wondering if I should mention my self-published novel that I didn’t market well. Through that experience, I learned very quickly that I need an agent. Other than my first novel and a few Christian plays that I’ve written for my church, I don’t have any other experience to mention in the letter.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray August 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      Maria, it is always best to be up front about everything involving your writing career. A skilled agent willing to represent you will know how to navigate the publishing waters.

  23. Marsha January 24, 2015 at 1:37 am #

    Tamela, I recognise your name from your fiction. Great work! I had no idea you were also an agent. Your post was very encouraging, but I do have a question or two:

    1. In this age of self-publishing, how does it really benefit a debut writer of Christian fiction to have a literary agent?

    2. I am a Jamaican living in Jamaica who has written a Christian romance novel with a hint of suspense (set in the USA). Would you recommend finding an agent and trying to go the route of traditional publishing? I have a small child and a full-time teaching job, so I wouldn’t be able to travel around the USA at all.

    Thank you again for the encouragement!

  24. Tamela Hancock Murray January 26, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Marsha, thanks for stopping by! I am pleased that you like my fiction. 😀

    Yes, a debut novelist benefits from having an agent. As an agent, I’m thrilled when I am able to work with talented new authors to bring them to traditional publishers. And yes, an agent would be of great benefit to you from your location.

    Hope this helps!

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  26. Elvis May 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    Hi Tamela,

    Do you accept fiction based on a real life event?

    Thanks!

  27. Kimberley May 18, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

    High Tamela?

    I was just wondering, do you accept African American Christian fiction?

  28. Emma Frederick June 28, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    Thank you Tamela for letting us know about what you look for! I have a manuscript that is very Christian with a romantic side plot. Is this something you would consider if I sent it in? Thanks! 🙂

  29. Landen Swain July 4, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    Do you accept plays? If not, can you recommend a good literary agent who deals with plays?

    • Tamela Hancock Murray July 6, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      Landen, I don’t handle plays and since I’m not in that world, I can’t make any recommendations. What I can suggest is going to conferences that offer a screenplay track and interacting with people who are already working in that sphere, and going from there.

  30. Michael December 7, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Tamela, would you consider a proposal from someone living in Africa, Nigeria to be specific?
    Thank you.

  31. Tamela Hancock Murray December 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    I consider quality proposals from all over the world.

  32. Michael December 11, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    Thank you very much Tamela.

  33. Rodney Franko January 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

    Dear Ms Murray:

    Would you please elaborate on your idea of fresh? I refer to your statement above wherein you use the term “fresh story”.

    Also, have you ever read the Regency romance novels of Georgette Heyer? If so, did you like them?

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray January 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      Rodney, first of all, who doesn’t like Georgette Heyer!

      To me, “fresh” means that you present a timeless topic in a new and different way, so that readers are touched and entertained as they learn eternal truths. Yes, both fiction and nonfiction can achieve all these goals.

  34. Lisa February 20, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Hi Tamela – Are you considering children’s picture books (target age 5-7)? Thanks.

  35. Grace May 5, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    Hi Tamela – Thanks much for this post. It is encouraging to me as I have a contemporary romance novel I am preparing to submit to agents. Will certainly be sending it for your consideration.

  36. Kimberley July 13, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Hi Tamela,

    I was just wondering if you considered books that have been previously self published. I would like to revise my Christian romance novel and submit it your agency. Would you consider it even though I previously self published it?

    Thank you for your consideration

    • Tamela Hancock Murray July 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

      Kimberley, thanks for asking. Many factors play into my decision to represent a novel. I’d really have to review it and weigh all the factors. I wish I could give you a generic answer, but I don’t feel that would be fair to either of us.

  37. Shelia Shook July 24, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    Tamela, I am sending you the proposal for my recently completed romance novel. Your blog is warm and welcoming and I would love to work with you. Your guidelines say to send to E. Wilson. Will you still be the agent reading it?

  38. Dana Brown October 5, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    Tamela,

    I love the amount of information you give regarding submissions. It is really appreciated.

    Quick question. Would you have any interest in my book? I have self published and I am doing well through my own efforts, which include book signings and speaking engagements, as well as ministry partnership, however, I believe I have reached the end of myself and am in need of an agent.

    Desperate for a Fix, If You Only Knew How One Good Decision Could Change Your Life, is for such a time as we find ourselves currently as a nation. Bullying, heroin addiction, and a feeling of hopelessness is rampant. I want to shine a light on all of these things in a way that promotes hope in Christ, compassion, and understanding through my personal journey.

    If you are still reading, this is a more concise description from the back cover of my book:

    Desperate for a Fix is the true story of a young southern girl who had been injured by pre-teen image bashing, rape, and abortions. Her need to be loved and rebellious nature convinced her to move to New York City looking to find what she didn’t realize she had all along. 

    Eventually the truth rang out, but not before 9 years were spent homeless, addicted to heroin, prostituting herself, and many other harrowing circumstances. 

    With the help of her family, two New York City Policemen, and the many prayers from home, she was able to find a real God, in a way she never dreamed was possible.

    Thoughts?

    Again, thank you so much for your blog. I am finding so much encouragement.

  39. Tamela Hancock Murray October 5, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Dana, you are always free to submit a complete proposal to my assistant: ewilson@stevelaube.com. Our proposal guidelines are on the site. Be sure to include how many copies of your book you have already sold.

    Thank you!

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