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

Updated 1/27/2021

Every morning, I wake up thankful to the Lord to be a literary agent working for Him in Christian publishing. I’m grateful to the readers of this blog for being part of our writing community.

I always tell writers that I want you not to be with just any agent, but with the right agent for yourself. As for approaching me with your work, we can start with whether or not you are as passionate as I am about the proposals I seek:

Christian Romantic Suspense and Suspense

Readers of Christian romantic suspense and suspense are a large and devoted fan base. I’m privileged to represent many award-winning, bestselling authors in this space. I would like to see category novels, as well as stories for trade book publishers.

The successful author in this arena is willing to write to specific guidelines. This author is talented in creating a realistic situation involving immediate, life-threatening danger that doesn’t diminish until the perpetrator is apprehended. Authors writing here need to know proper law enforcement procedures, weapons, and how criminals operate. The motive must be strong enough to justify the crime. The motive must also be workable and logical. The reader is waiting to see the reason for the crime. Make it convincing. Suspense novels don’t necessarily need to include romance. However, as its name suggests, romance is central to a romantic suspense novel. Here, the couple is in imminent danger. They are appealing both inside and out, emphasizing personality and integrity over physical appearance.

Historical and Contemporary Christian Romance Novels

 Christian romance readers love their authors and books. I’m honored to be an agent entrusted by many award-winning, bestselling authors to represent their work. I would like to see category romance novels, as well as stories for trade book publishers.

As with suspense stories, the successful author in this arena is willing to write to specific guidelines. This author is talented in creating a fresh take on traditional plots for uplifting, inspiring stories. The wise author is an expert in the chosen setting, attitudes, and mores of the time. The star couple is attractive both inside and out, emphasizing temperament and integrity over physical attributes.

Amish Fiction

I have represented bestselling, award-winning writers of Amish fiction throughout my career; and I continue to seek these stories. Amish novels continue to be a formidable category. The successful author has a strong connection with the Amish community where the story is set. This author understands what makes each Amish community unique and writes accordingly. 

Perhaps think of the setting this way: An author can write about moral,  Protestant characters and, therefore, hit the overall target. But authors don’t want to lose readers by slipping on details. For instance, an author who portrays the atmosphere and services of a megachurch in the same way as a congregation of thirty people will miss the mark. Likewise, aspects of worship, such as the method and how often Episcopalians serve Communion, differs from the Baptist and Methodist practice. Elements such as priests donning ecclesiastical robes in colors reflecting the liturgical church calendar versus a pastor wearing a suit or a T-shirt and ripped jeans vary. Christians are likely to stop reading a novel that shows the author didn’t care enough to ensure reasonable accuracy. Likewise, authors writing Amish stories need to be sensitive to details of the community they are portraying. These include, but are not limited to, bonnet style and mode of dress, how they handle internal conflict, their approach to technology, and their preferred way of interacting with the world outside their community. 

In other words, this is not a category to be approached lightly, but with care, respect, and love for the Amish.

Other Christian Fiction

I seek a tale well told that I believe deserves a place in CBA. My tastes veer to heavy romantic elements. While novels not within a genre may seem to have fewer guidelines, writers need to be aware that traditional publishers seek a word-count range. For example, a 30,000-word novella and a 250,000-word novel are likely to secure rejections from editors.

The successful author understands where the work fits in the current market and why. The comparables section in a proposal helps the agent and editor understand the author’s ideas on where the publisher will position the novel.

General-market Fiction

My list boasts a number of popular authors writing for the general market. Some authors on my list write for both the Christian and general markets because I only represent clean reads. The successful author has studied the market and knows where and why the work will fit.

Nonfiction

As in the past, I am highly selective when adding to my roster of successful nonfiction authors. 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 potential readers in a significant way.

Nonfiction readers seek insight, help, knowledge, and encouragement. An author must show authority in the chosen topic when delivering a book to these readers.

When several reader reviews use the word “dry” to describe an author’s style, that’s a turnoff to me as a consumer. Dynamic writing is essential, even when the topic is intense.  I love books that beg me to read them even when the subject doesn’t apply to me. Now that’s a well-written and engaging book.

Debut and Established Authors

I wrote this sentence in my original post about what proposals I seek, and I can still say this today:

God has seen fit to allow me a client list that is fantastic beyond my wildest dreams.

 I remain humbled and honored when authors submit their ideas to me, especially considering the abundance of talented agents in CBA.

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

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

  1. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray April 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

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

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      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?

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        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.

        • Avatar
          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.

  2. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray April 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    If it’s romantic suspense, yes.

  3. Avatar
    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.

  4. Avatar
    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.” 🙂

  5. Avatar
    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.

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      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.

    • Avatar
      Karen Sprague May 7, 2020 at 3:57 pm #

      I agree that there is far too much profanity in the writing field as well as on the screen. I saw the movie “A Star is Born” with my 88 year old father, and cringed every time they cussed…which was like every other line.

      Have you ever read a book about a Christian overcoming bipolar disorder?

  6. Avatar
    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.

  7. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray May 18, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Yes. 🙂

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      Elvis May 18, 2015 at 10:18 am #

      Its okay even if its not necessarily a christian book right? Thanks 🙂

      • Avatar
        Tamela Hancock Murray May 18, 2015 at 10:23 am #

        I specialize in the Christian market but would be happy to consider your work.

  8. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray May 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Yes, you may submit as per our guidelines. Thanks for asking.

  9. Avatar
    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.

  10. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray July 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Emma, so sorry I somehow missed your question until now. Sure, you are welcome to send your proposal. The email address is ewilson@stevelaube.com.

  11. Avatar
    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.

  12. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray February 22, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Not at this time. Thanks for asking!

  13. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray May 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    Sounds wonderful, Grace! Thank you!

  14. Avatar
    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.

  15. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray July 26, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Sounds great — yes, that’s my assistant’s address. Thanks for asking!

  16. Avatar
    claire o'sullivan July 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm #

    Hi Amy – I would be interested in the published novel! I know it’s a late answer from the blog, but, do you have yours published?

  17. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson January 27, 2021 at 6:10 am #

    I love writing romantic suspense and I am blessed to have you as my agent. Following guidelines is vital for every written piece. Researching an agent’s area of expertise is most important before making a submission. Study, pray, research, pray, submit, and pray.

  18. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser January 27, 2021 at 6:53 am #

    I fancy me romantic,
    with sentiment I’m crowned,
    but when I saw ‘Titanic’,
    I smiled when Leo drowned,
    for he was just an irritant,
    that poor but plucky lad,
    made out to be significant,
    a modern Galahad.
    Far better had James Cameron
    selected for the part
    a chap who had good muscles on
    (but still a winsome heart).
    I wonder why he did not phone
    the agent, say, of Sly Stallone?

  19. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks January 27, 2021 at 2:18 pm #

    Thank you for the update, Tamela! This definitely gives me an idea about the flavor of story you are after. May your list of authors be a force to be reckoned with and a delight!

  20. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. January 27, 2021 at 3:39 pm #

    Thanks for being so open and straight forward, Tamela. It’s refreshing.

  21. Avatar
    Carol R Nicolet Loewen January 28, 2021 at 9:13 pm #

    Tamela, I’m delighted to read the kind of story you seek. Insightful, fresh, truth-telling. I appreciate it and look forward to meeting you at WCCW!

  22. Avatar
    Randy Delaughter February 16, 2021 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi Tamela,

    I have the perfect book that fits your criteria of romance, suspense, life-threatening danger, realistic, and a controlling narcissist villain. The novel is titled “Heaven’s Dew” by Randy Delaughter and is volume one of a trilogy.

  23. Avatar
    Deanna Malespin March 9, 2021 at 6:41 am #

    Would you consider a Biblical fiction novella?

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 9, 2021 at 8:22 am #

      Unfortunately, I currently don’t have a ready market for a standalone novella.

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