Linda Epstein

Fantasy, science fiction, contemporary

On Submission

I grew up in Iowa, where (people say) there is nothing better to do than consume copious amounts of corn, beer, or in my case, books. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English, I moved to New York to live the publishing life and am currently a contracts assistant at Penguin Random House. In my free time, I play the violin and guitar(ish) and occasionally do aerial yoga, because New York.

I drafted THE MARGINAL COST OF SAVING THE UNIVERSE with the guidance of a creative writing teacher I had in college, revised it on and off for a couple years, and received an offer of rep from Linda Epstein after pitching it in #pitmad. In between, I took a year “off” to learn screenwriting (i.e. how to plot— I highly recommend) and interned at two literary agencies, which taught me a ton about querying and the publishing industry. I’m super excited to be on sub and working on my next project!

I’ve interned at Foundry Literary and Media, Dystel, Goderich and Bourret, and Samantha B. Literary, where I read and evaluated queries and manuscripts in a wide range of genres. I’ve given feedback in a variety of other settings as well, including beta reading for some awesome YA writers and participating in Young to Publishing and YA writing critique groups. And I work in contracts (see above), so I’m super down to talk about the business side of publishing.

My mentors and CPs are the reason my book exists, and the reason I can (semi-unabashedly) call myself a writer. If they hadn’t believed in me and encouraged me and squealed at the right places in my story, I’d probably be getting three hours of sleep a night at some architecture grad school somewhere. (Not that there’s anything wrong with architecture grad school. It just wasn’t for me.) I want to do the same for someone else.

After interning for three literary agencies and being mentored by a couple of amazing writing professors, I’m hoping to pay it forward and help someone else navigate the sometimes murky waters of revisions and querying.

I love fantasy (both high and low) with fresh premises, moral ambiguity, and characters who become the very thing they have sworn to destroy.

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Historical
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Own Voices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I’m a sucker for origin stories, non-Western fantasy, squad goals / banter, and moral ambiguity, but mostly I am here for Ye Olde Angst in any genre. However, I’m not the best fit for medieval European(ish) fantasy or hard sci-fi.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

After the first edit letter, I’m open to providing whatever you need, be it further big-picture suggestions, inline comments on things I love and/or think could be improved, or chatting over email or Skype. I’m also super down to talk about query letters, researching agents, and the publishing industry in general.

I’d love to work with you if you’re open to receiving constructive feedback and willing to revise, but also enjoy the process of making your book better!

Anything with a strong voice. Angsty anti-heroes with redemption arcs. Arrogant characters who get taken down a notch. Characters who become the person they’ve always been afraid of becoming, or the person their past self would have hated. Humans who want to be monsters, and monsters who want to be human. Anything that throws shade at imperialism, colonialism, and/or the Chosen One trope. Explorations of little-known mythologies and high-concept premises. The slow burn.

And especially: well-written diverse characters! I would love Asian rep like in JADE CITY, where communal culture is not the icky-gooey outdated thing the main characters have to escape from but a legitimated part of plot and character development for many of the main characters.

I’m probably not the best fit for the whole knights/castles/princesses thing, prophecies, or that Momentous Event that happens on the MC’s sixteenth or seventeenth birthday.

Books/Series: Six of Crows, Shades of Magic, Chaos Walking trilogy, Monsters of Verity, Jade City, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, Lexicon

Movies/TV/Other: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Dr. Strange, Hamilton, The Star War