The publishing industry is tough and competition is fierce, so we look for outstanding voices – for writing that’s fresh, original and effective. Most of all, we seek potential.
We specialize in writing for children: picture book author/illustrators with texts of less than 1000 words; high-concept/character-led chapter-book series; middle grade novels; young-adult novels. Occasionally, a non-fiction proposal will be considered.
Please note: We are NOT looking for picture book texts (ie, by writers who aren’t also illustrators), short stories, educational or religious/inspirational work, poetry, pre-school/novelty material, screenplays or writing aimed at adults. Unless we have specifically requested them, we will also delete any emails sent with attachments or with links to work.
Here is the procedure to follow if you want to submit your work to Greenhouse:
1) Make sure your work is as good as you can make it. Revise, critique (repeat, repeat) before sending. Don’t waste your opportunity!
2) Decide which agent is right for you – you can only submit to one. Both Sarah and Polly are open to submissions from authors based in the USA and Canada (unless a note is posted at the top of this page, indicating that either or both is temporarily closed). Additionally, Polly is open to queries from authors in the UK/Commonwealth. You can click here to read about them and their interests.
3) Prepare a query email WITH THE AGENT’S NAME IN THE SUBJECT LINE. The opening letter should be no longer than one page in length (if it were on paper) and should contain: word count of the manuscript; age group, brief synopsis of story (no more than 3 paragraphs); brief bio with details of any writing background you have. Please also tell us what country you live in. This is very helpful!
4) If you’re writing a novel: Paste the first 5 pages of your story into the body of the email. If you’re writing/illustrating a picture book (no more than 1000 words): paste in the whole text and either paste in an illustration sample or attach ONE PDF with sample.
5) Send your complete query email to firstname.lastname@example.org
6) You will receive an auto-response acknowledgement email, so you know we have received your query. If you don’t receive this, please drop us a line (to the same address) and we will be happy to confirm. [Please see the note below for more information on this.]
7) If we are interested in your work we shall get in touch within 6 weeks, asking to read either a partial or full manuscript as an e-document. If, after sending us your query, you don’t hear from us within 6 weeks, please assume that we will not be asking for more material or offering representation.
8) If you receive an offer of representation, please email us right away and let us know.
9) If we do request more material, please allow up to 8 weeks for us to get back to you and feel free to check in again if we don’t respond within that time frame.
Finally: Sarah and Polly work very closely together, so if you’re not sure whether you’re American or European/Australian/Indian etc (it happens. Life can be complicated these days!) we will discuss it and make a decision on who reads.
Sorry, but we can’t give editorial feedback or advice about other agents or agencies.
A FINAL NOTE: For 10 years we endeavored to respond individually to every query. However, the increasing submissions volume has made this goal very difficult, and in 2018 we reluctantly decided that we can now only respond if we are calling in more material. This enables us to have a little more time to focus on the manuscripts that we do request. Please be reassured that we are still reading every query very carefully. In response to your submission, you will receive an auto-response email as reassurance that it has arrived safely; if you don’t get that, please email us again. As before, we shall delete unread any submissions with unsolicited attachments, material we’ve said above that we don’t represent, or which don’t follow guidelines. We will not click on any unsolicited urls or links embedded in query emails. We also recycle unread any paper submissions.
Thanks for thinking of Greenhouse for your work – and good luck!