Cindy has ten years of experience in working with editors, agents, and publishers, as an author, on the “other side,” of the desk (she uses a pen name). Cindy opened Birch Literary to help other writers on their own path to publication.
She is seeking:
Please do not submit unfinished work.
In adult fiction, Cindy is looking for traditional mysteries (standard PI, classic detective, or cozy), true crime, police procedural, thriller, and suspense.
In children’s fiction, Cindy would like to see middle grade and YA (sweet, quirky, mystery, cozy). Please do not pitch MG or YA that has dark or heavy topics.
At this time, please do not pitch romance or picture books.
In nonfiction, Cindy loves books about nature (kids and adults), memoir, self-help from experts, and personal narrative.
Cheyenne (she/her/hers) joined Handspun as an agency assistant in 2021, after graduating with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certification in Publishing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before Handspun, Cheyenne interned as an editorial assistant at Howland Literary, and was a member of the editorial and acquisition teams at Lookout Books, an independent publisher that is home to National Book Award Finalist Edith Pearlman. Cheyenne also independently managed a book blog where she collaborated with both major and indie publishers to promote upcoming titles and participated in various promotional activities centered around supporting debut authors.
Cheyenne is most interested in manuscripts from historically excluded communities, i.e. queer, BIPOC, AAPI, neurodivergent, and disabled voices.
Her interests include YA, Southern Gothic, folkloric elements, gothic romances, fantasy stories with political elements and well-grounded world building, non-western mythology, sports romances in conversation with institutional issues/sexism/gender, and creatures from myth told through a queer allegorical lens.
She is not currently accepting middle grade, picture books, or nonfiction.
Annalise is a graduate of Lesley University where she earned a B.A. in Creative writing with a double minor in Literature and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is excited about uplifting stories by authors with marginalized voices and intersectional identities, ultimately making room for the diverse voices that have long since been ignored and suppressed in the literary world and beyond. When she isn’t agenting, Annalise spends an excessive amount of time snuggling with her cat, Mittens, and writing romance novels that are more swoony than strictly necessary.
Annalise is looking for more queer, BIPOC representation across the board, especially in romances that give Happily Ever Afters to complex and palpable characters.
Annalise is looking for narrative nonfiction centering in on women’s stories and queer stories, such as: true crime with a feminist lens (think “We Keep the Dead Close” by Becky Cooper); memoirs that focus on identity (think “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller) or alternative formatting (think “In The Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado); and research-heavy historical narratives about queer or feminist icons (think “Romantic Outlaws” by Charlotte Gordon).
Romance: Romance is Annalise’s genre of choice, especially when they center on queer and BIPOC protagonists and love interests, such as Talia Hibbert’s “Take a Hint, Dani Brown”. For historical romance, Annalise wants to see queer Regency period novels (think Cat Sebastian), and queer novels set outside of Euro-centric history. Romances about bisexual women sit particularly close to Annalise’s heart. Happily Ever Afters are a must (per rules of the genre, and Annalise’s adoration). Her favorite tropes are enemies-to-lovers; serious-and-sunshine; and second-chance romance. She does not accept erotica or romances featuring unhealthy or abusive relationships to any degree.
Mysteries/Thrillers: Annalise is looking for queer thrillers that function as social commentary such as Alyssa Cole’s “When No One Is Watching”. She loves novels with interesting formats such as compilations of files and articles (think “Night Film” by Marisha Pessl). She is always intrigued by complex who-dun-its. It is hard to sell Annalise on thrillers that feature violence against women as their main plot. She is not a good fit for supernatural, ungrounded thrillers; thrillers that border too close to horror; or thrillers that use the “bury your gays” and/or “fridging” trope.
Commercial/Women’s/Contemporary Fiction: Annalise wants character-driven contemporary fiction that has enough plot movement to keep the reader invested (no character studies, please!). She likes books that use alternative formats (like “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid) and question the boundaries of typical contemporary fiction. She loves books that focus in on fictional celebrities or reflect upon fame such as “The Comeback” by Ella Berman and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Books with happy endings are a plus. Annalise also wants fiction featuring change as a thematic focal point with unabashed self-love and romance, like Claire Christian’s “It’s Been A Pleasure, Noni Blake”.
New Adult Annalise wants New Adult romance and contemporary fiction that focuses on found family and a during- or post-college bildungsroman plot. She would especially like to see fiction set immediately post-college that follows the protagonist’s trials and tribulations in the “real world”. It is hard to sell Annalise on a new adult book that doesn’t feature romance in some facet.
Young Adult Fiction
Historical: Annalise wants YA historical fiction that focuses in on a lost perspective such as Stacey Lee’s “The Downstairs Girl”. While it doesn’t have to be a foremost plot, she wants romance in her historical novels. As with all things, having a queer component is going to make work more appealing.
Graphic Novels: Annalise will accept YA graphic novels by author/illustrators (only) who focus in on marginalized experiences (whether in a realistic or fantastical world). She wants sweet graphic novels like “The Tea Dragon Society” by K. O’Neill or emotionally resonant ones like “On A Sunbeam” by Tillie Walden.
Fantasy: Annalise wants heist fantasy stories like “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo that have a found family element and are high-tension. She wants fantasies that aren’t overrun by world-building, but are atmospheric enough to transport the reader; character-driven fantasies (especially with a dabble of romance) are her favorite. She also loves witchy fantasies that focus on queer women of color (think “When We Were Magic” by Sarah Gailey).
Mystery/Thriller: She is looking for mysteries and thrillers that have elements of YA contemporary such as bildungsroman plots and romance (especially LGBTQIA +) but doesn’t stray too far into high-school drama (think “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson). Like Adult mysteries/thrillers, she does not want anything that ventures too far into horror.
Contemporary: Annalise is looking for quirky and offbeat books that focus in on ride-or-die women-centric friendships. She also wants queer, BIPOC rom-coms like “I Wish You All the Best” by Mason Deaver that have found family elements and are shamelessly romantic. She loves romances that feature large families that are realistic and honest (think Morgan Matson). She does not want stereotypical high-school drama (no mean girls, please!) or tropes like cheating, nor does she want YA Romeo and Juliet retellings in any way, shape, or form.
What she is NOT looking for: Picture Books Middle Grade Horror Science Fiction or Poetry at this time.