Last updated: January 2021
I look for books that delight readers, that help inspire wonder and imagination, that foster deep empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings, that provide rich character representation of marginalized people groups, that take the reader on an adventure, that uncover fascinating stories from history’s footnotes, that explore issues of faith, that make people laugh or cry or jump from fright, that celebrate women and the female experience, that ask nitty gritty questions and don’t settle for easy answers, that make people disappointed when they have to close the book and go to bed, and books that add a touch of magic to readers’ lives.
What I represent, in general:
- Picture books
- Middle Grade
- Young Adult
- Adult Fiction (as of 2020!)
- Graphic Novels
- Quirky gift books
- Devotionals for the Christian market
- Books for both the general market, and the Christian market
In 2021—This year I’m particularly eager to sign more:
- Adult Fiction. I’m looking for Thrillers/Suspense, and Women’s Fiction—from book club picks to rom coms. Here are some novels I love, for reference.
- Picture book author/illustrators. Some of my favorite illustrators include Juana Martinez-Neal, Vashti Harrison, the Fan Brothers, David Litchfield, Anne Lambelet, Brian Selznick, Carson Ellis, Frank Morrison, and Emily Winfield Martin. I’m open to many different illustration aesthetics from hand-drawn to digitally rendered to collage to unconventional mediums. I love having a wide range of styles on my list, and the main thing I’m looking for is a unique, distinctive look. See below for more specifics on what I’m looking for in the picture book space, in terms of types of projects.
Visual MSWL—If you’d like to see a visual version of my manuscript wishlist, head over to my MSWL Pinterest board.
Client Books—If you’d like to see some of the books I’ve represented, head over to my Amazon list. (But don’t forget to support your local bookstore!)
Submission Guidelines—check out my submission guidelines on my agency’s website.
- Thrillers—I love pageturning thrillers, and want to work with people who want to build their careers around writing them. I love Gillian Flynn, Jessica Knoll, Lisa Jewell, and I’m excited to see what Samantha Downing and Wendy Heard write next. I would love to see a fresh take on the genre from a POV we haven’t seen featured as prominently. Some of my favorite thrillers include Luckiest Girl Alive, The Woman in Cabin 10, Final Girls, Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Then She Was Gone, My Lovely Wife, and Hunting Annabelle.
- Book Club Fiction—If you dream of Reese Witherspoon or Oprah ushering you into her book club, then I want to see your work! I love interesting voices/POVs, dual timelines with a historical feel, rhythmic language, and anything that is both an engaging and accessible read, while being thought-provoking and layered at the same time. I love the feeling of when I finish reading a book and immediately need to talk to someone about it. Some of my favorites include The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Dollhouse, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Where’d You Go Bernadette, Daisy Jones & The Six, Room, The Girls, The Mothers, and Anxious People.
- Romantic Comedies—I’d love to work on “frothy beach reads” that have both humor and heart. I love a strong voice + unique perspective. I need a commercial hook here. Some of my recent favorites include Beach Read, The Unhoneymooners, Real Men Knit, Maybe in Another Life, The Rosie Project, Waiting for Tom Hanks, The Proposal.
- Graphic Novels—I’d love to find some interesting contemporary graphic novels for adults. I’d be interested in nonfiction, humor, or romance. Epic fantasy or space operas likely won’t be the best fit for me, but I’m open to taking a look at a wide range in this space. I’d also love a really unique format outside the box of the traditional graphic novel format, something like Caroline Preston’s books The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt and The War Bride’s Scrapbook.
- Quirky Gift Books—I represented The Compendium of Magical Beasts, which is all about the anatomy of magical creatures, and would love to represent more gift books like this, especially a concept with series potential. I would love to see humor here, paired with a concept that makes it an irresistible impulse buy. I’d love to build an empire the way Austin Kleon has built an empire around his Steal Like an Artist series. I also love books that toe the line between gift book and lifestyle/cookbook/craft book like The Year of Cozy, How to Hygge, and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. I’m open to different topics and styles, but here are a few topics I’m specifically interested in: linguistics, pop science, historical footnotes. I’m also open to interactive journals with a great concept.
- Concept-Driven Photography Books—I’d love to do a drone photography book, for example. I’d also love to do something with a humor angle, like The Art of Clean Up.
- Devotionals—I’d love to represent more concept-driven devotionals with unique hooks for the Christian market. I represented a knitting devotional called Knit, Pray, Share and loved the specificity of it.
- Family Narratives—I love books that reflect families and their beautifully ordinary experiences, particularly families and characters who haven’t been represented as much as white families traditionally have in picture books. Examples: Hair Love, My Papi Has a Motorcycle, Honeysmoke, Under My Hijab, Alma, Julian is a Mermaid, Tell Me a Tattoo Story.
- Humor—I want the next hilarious, commercial-feeling, NYT Bestseller. It’s important to me that kids really love and are delighted by the books I represent, and humor is a great entry point into reading for kids who are intimidated by books, so I take silly books seriously. 🙂 Some of my favorite humor-driven books are: We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, Dragons Love Tacos, The Bad Seed series, Where Bone?, When Unicorns Poop, The Day the Crayons Quit, Maria the Matador, Mabel: A Mermaid Fabel, Miss Hazeltime’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, and Rot: the Cutest in the World.
- Magical books—I love magical stories that feel like the type of book that will stick with a child throughout their life. Anything by The Fan Brothers, David Litchfield, and Emily Winfield Martin. A few of my favorite magical books: The Night Gardener, The Antlered Ship, Ocean Meets Sky, The Bear and the Piano, The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, and Lights on Cotton Rock.
- Mermaids—Send me all of your mermaids!!
- Karaoke—I’d love a joyful picture book about karaoke, sort of like the karaoke equivalent of Hip-Hop Lollipop.
- Traditions—I love picture books about family traditions/cultural traditions, especially when there is food, cooking, baking, or recipes involved. (Think Fry Bread or Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao.) I’d also love to see other family traditions, like holiday traditions (loved Night Tree, Mooncakes), house-cleansing or blessing ceremonies/traditions, etc. I also love books like Home and A World of Cookies for Santa which shows how people around the world do the same kind of thing in different ways. Check out my client Tina Cho’s upcoming picture book My Breakfast with Jesus for another example of this.
- Atmospheric—I love a unique atmosphere/strong sense of place in books across the board. Because picture books are fully illustrated, they create the unique opportunity to create a really visually dazzling atmosphere, and I’d love to have more atmospheric picture books on my list. I loved Hello, Lighthouse, for example.
- Spooky—I love spooky stories! Ghosts, haunted houses, cobwebs. If it was somehow possible for an author/illustrator to do a spooky-yet-entirely-kid-friendly picture book about rusalka, I would die of happiness. Some of my favorites include How to Make Friends with a Ghost, and The Ugly Doodles.
- Raccoons—I know that raccoons can be vicious and terrifying… but they can also be so adorable! I’d love to have a raccoon picture book on my list. Preferably a funny one!
- Creativity—I am very much a creative person, so I love picture books about art and creativity, like the The Dot, Ish, The Ugly Doodles, The Wonder and Beautiful Oops.
- Funny Christian picture books—I would love to see more funny Christian picture books in my inbox!
- Own Voices—I love slice of life stories with a strong voice, like Front Desk, and Stand Up, Yumi Chung! I’m eager to have a diverse swath of identities and experiences represented on my list.
- Magical Realism or Contemporary Fantasy—I love any stories with light touches of magic or fantasy that are still accessible to readers who aren’t “genre readers.” Some of my favorite magical MG tales include Circus Mirandus, and No Ordinary Thing.
- Graphic Novels—Some recent faves of mine were Pashmina, Making Friends, Witch Boy, and Fish Girl. I’d also like to put out into the universe: I would love to find the next Brian Selznick type of creator.
- Historical Fiction—I am a history nerd and love historical fiction that feels like it’s uncovering a fresh story, especially a historical footnote or narrative that has been glossed over in textbooks. I’m open to historical fiction novels in verse, as well. I love Brown Girl Dreaming, Ship of Dolls, House Without Walls, and Indian No More.
- Mystery—I’m hungry for a good mystery! I will never forget reading The Dollhouse Murders when I was in fifth grade and having to close the book for a moment because I was so scared. I want to work on books that inspire that same level of book-induced fright! Give me an Agatha Christie-esque whodunit.
- Epistolary Novel—I’d love an epistolary novel between two pen pals, or some sort of unique format.
- Graphic Novels—I am really eager to acquire more YA graphic novels. Recent faves of mine include Pumpkinheads, and The Prince and the Dressmaker. I’d love to find something equally as atmospheric and fun as these two.
- Mermaids—Like I said up above, I’m looking for something very specific here! I’m not looking for the falls-in-love-with-a-human trope, the human-discovers she’s a mermaid trope, or an epic fantasy that features wars and kingdoms and sea politics. I want a quiet mermaid novel that shows what life under the sea is like in a dreamy, magical, lyrical way. Something that a non-genre reader could get into.
- Unique Form—I love stories that are told in unique formats like letters, emails, texts, etc. in the vein of Technically, You Started It or The Truth Project.
NOT QUITE MY CUP OF TEA:
- Sports stories
- Space operas
- Amish Fiction
- Angel/Demon narratives
- High/Epic Fantasy
- Stories with a “dreamscape” element