What is the Program?
The Voices Heard project is a special opportunity to query to be taken on as a new client with KT Literary’s experienced agents—an opportunity open specifically to writers from underrepresented backgrounds!
Throughout the month of July 2019, KT agents will be closed to all submissions outside of the Voices Heard project.
If selected through the project, writers have the chance to learn from the knowledge of these experienced agents by having a sample of an unpublished manuscript read by an agent and receiving feedback within 2 weeks of submission. And of course (let’s not forget this part!) selected writers may be taken on as new clients with KT Literary!
(Approximately 10 submissions per week will be selected through the project for agent review.)
A letter from The Word Team - July 18, 2019
As this program continues to run, we would like to take a moment to comment on its progress and its hurdles. Please find a letter from our team here.
How to Apply
1. Writers from underrepresented groups* (see more information below) are eligible to submit a query for representation to KT Literary agents according to the following 2019 schedule:
Sunday June 30th 8:00a MDT through Monday July 1st 11:59p MDT
Sara Megibow: taking submissions in the middle grade, young adult, and adult romance, erotica, science fiction, and fantasy genres
Sunday July 7th 8:00a MDT through Monday July 8th 11:59p MDT
Kate Testerman: taking submissions in the middle grade and young adult fiction genres
Sunday July 14th 8:00a MDT through Monday July 15th 11:59p MDT
Hilary Harwell: taking submissions in the middle grade and young adult genres
Sunday July 21st 8:00a MDT through Monday July 22nd 11:59p MDT
Hannah Fergesen: taking submissions in the middle grade, young adult and adult genres
Sunday July 28th 8:00a MDT through Monday July 29th 11:59p MDT
Renee Nyen: taking submissions in the middle grade and young adult fiction genres
2. What to send:
Email subject line: Submission for [agent name] in [genre in which you are submitting]
Include each of the following in your email:
Answer to the following question: How do you contribute to our search for underrepresented voices?
The first 10 pages of your manuscript - included in the body of your email
3. Where to send it:
What happens next?
You will hear back from The Word or a KT agent in less than 2 weeks!
1. This program is open to unpublished manuscripts.
2. You may query in more than one week ONLY if you have already been declined by an agent in a previous week. If you have been asked for a full manuscript or your first 10 pages are still under review by a previously submitted-to agent, you may not submit to another agent while waiting for a response.
3. You may query different manuscripts during different weeks, however only if you have been declined by a previous agent and are not waiting for a response from a previously submitted-to agent.
4. You may participate in this program (submitting to a different agent) even if you have previously cold-queried KT Literary, so long as you are not currently awaiting a response from KT.
Additional questions? Email us at
**More on underrepresented voices:
We promote the inclusive representation of experiences in literature, including a diversity of experiences based on: racial, cultural, ethnic, or religious identity; gender identity; sexual orientation; physical, cognitive, or emotional disability; socioeconomic adversity; and personal experiences of adversity or injustice.
*We recognize that personal experiences of adversity occur in many forms and we believe that the impact of each must be respected. To guide the use of our resources, we focus on experiences that lack representation in literature, based on our best knowledge and research.
Tips & Resources
Dos and Don’ts of Querying:
Finding a Literary Agent:
Literary Agent Databases:
Why would I want to work with a literary agent?
Most traditional publishers whose books you find in your local bookstore are closed to unsolicited submissions. That means in order for a writer to get their book in front of an editor at somewhere like Random House, they either have to attend a conference where they might have a chance to meet an editor who’s willing to look at unsolicited material or find an agent. My job as a literary agent is to facilitate the connection between a manuscript written by an author and an editor at a publishing house who will pay to publish the manuscript. Yes, there are lots of other things we do and lots of other reasons why you want a great literary agent—career planning, marketing advice, editorial insight, and friendship—but that’s the main one.
Why do I need to query a literary agent?
While agents may be approached every day by people who’ve written a book—in an elevator! In the pool! At the dentist’s office!—we’ve found that the best way to find clients is via the query process. We ask authors to tell us about their book via a query letter, which details the hook or the main selling point of the story, tells us a little bit about the author, and includes the first few pages. That’s the best way we’ve found to find clients whose books we love and whom we want to work with for the long term. Once we read and fall in love with a query letter, we’ll ask for more material—either a partial manuscript, proposal for nonfiction, or the full manuscript; once we’ve read that, if we’re still intrigued, we’ll set up a phone call to discuss the book, answer questions about us and our methods of working with authors, and learn more about you and your work.
Why would I query through the Voices Heard project, rather through the regular querying process?
Right now, several of the agents of KT Literary are closed to general queries for the summer, so if you didn’t go through this process, you might have to wait until September to query. But perhaps more importantly, this process involves a quicker turnaround on material, with a response within days if your material is requested. Whereas our normal timeframe for a response on a query is two to three weeks and two months on a partial, here you’re going to get a response to your query within days and specific feedback on your partial within a week of submitting. It’s super speedy! We’re excited to work closely with the readers of the Voices Heard project, and we are taking their recommendations very seriously.
I’ve heard about other pitch programs on social media. Is Voices Heard the right submission process for me?
Ultimately, I can’t answer that for you. I can say that this process gives you more words to describe your work than a Twitter pitch contest allows, and the turnaround on responses means that even if your work isn’t chosen for further steps with us, you haven’t lost much time. And we’re not asking for exclusivity on material, so if you’re unsure if this is the way you want to go, you can continue to query the usual way. We just ask that if you’re doing so and we request your material, you give us the requested time to read and respond before accepting any other offers of representation.
I am a writer who qualifies for this program, but I do not want to self-identify my race/gender/sexuality/ability/socioeconomic category. Is that something I need to include when querying?
We don’t want to force anyone to self-identify if they’re not comfortable doing so. The Voices Heard project is asking you to answer the question “How do you contribute to our search for underrepresented voices?” but how you reply to that is up to you. It need not be specific. If you qualify for this program and submit, great! We’ll review your query on the exact same basis as everyone else who does so.