Manuscript Wishlist (MSWL)

Last updated: August 2020

Mission Statement:

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:

  1. Picture books
  2. Middle Grade
  3. Young Adult
  4. Adult Fiction (as of 2020!)
  5. Graphic Novels
  6. Quirky gift books
  7. Devotionals for the Christian market
  8. Books for both the general market, and the Christian market

In 2020—This year I’m particularly eager to sign more:

  1. Adult Fiction. I’m looking for Thrillers/Suspense, and Women’s Fiction—from book club picks to rom coms.
  2. Picture book author/illustrators. Some of my favorite illustrators include Juana Martinez-Neal, Vashti Harrison, the Fan Brothers, David Litchfield, Anne Lambelet, and Emily Winfield Martin. I’m open to many different illustration aesthetics from hand-drawn to digitally rendered to collage to unconventional mediums, and love having a wide range of styles on my list. I’m primarily looking for a unique, distinctive signature look. See below for more specifics on what I’m looking for in the picture book space.

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.

ADULT:

  1. Thrillers—I love gritty, juicy thrillers, and want to work with people who want to build their careers around writing thrillers. I love Gillian Flynn, Jessica Knoll, Lisa Jewell. 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, Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Then She Was Gone, My Lovely Wife, Hunting Annabelle, and The Girl on the Train.
  2. Women’s 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 engaging and so thought-provoking and layered that you 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, Room, Where’d You Go Bernadette, Daisy Jones & The Six, The Girls, The Mothers.
  3. 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.
  4. Graphic Novels—I’d love to find some interesting contemporary graphic novels for adults. I’d be interested in nonfiction, or 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 like Caroline Preston’s books The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt and The War Bride’s Scrapbook.
  5. 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, science, historical footnotes. I’m also open to interactive journals with a great concept.
  6. 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.
  7. Devotionals—I’d love to represent more concept-driven devotionals for the Christian market. I represented a knitting devotional called Knit, Pray, Share and loved the specificity of it. Would love to do more devotionals with unique hooks!

PICTURE BOOKS:

  1. 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 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.
  2. 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. I loved We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, Dragons Love Tacos, The Bad Seed, 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.
  3. Magical books—I love anything by The Fan Brothers, David Litchfield, and Emily Winfield Martin. A few favorite magical books: The Night Gardener, The Antlered Ship, Ocean Meets Sky, The Bear and the Piano, Remarkables, The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, Lights on Cotton Rock, The Traveler’s Gift.
  4. Mermaids—Send me all of your mermaids!!
  5. Karaoke—I’d love a joyful picture book about karaoke, sort of like the karaoke equivalent of Hip-Hop Lollipop.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. See How to Make Friends with a Ghost for my spooky book crush, as well as an upcoming picture book called The Ugly Doodles by my client Valeria Wicker.
  9. Raccoons—I know, I know, raccoons are vicious and terrifying. But they’re also adorable! I’d love to have a raccoon picture book on my list. Preferably a funny one!
  10. Creativity—I am very much a creative, so I love picture books about art and creativity, like the The Dot, Ish, The Ugly Doodles, The Wonder and Beautiful Oops.
  11. Funny Christian picture books—I would love to see more funny Christian picture books in my inbox!

MIDDLE GRADE:

  1. 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.
  2. Magical Realism—This is my favorite genre in any age group, so I’d love to have more of it on my list.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 love Brown Girl Dreaming, Ship of Dolls, and House Without Walls.
  5. 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.
  6. Epistolary Novel—I’d love an epistolary novel between two pen pals, or some sort of unique format.

YOUNG ADULT:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Unique Form—I love stories that are told in unique formats like letters, emails, texts, etc. I loved Technically, You Started It.

NOT QUITE MY CUP OF TEA:

  1. Memoirs
  2. Sports stories
  3. Erotica
  4. Space operas
  5. Amish Fiction
  6. Angel/Demon narratives
  7. High/Epic Fantasy
  8. Stories with a “dreamscape” element

11 thoughts on “Manuscript Wishlist (MSWL)

  1. I’ve been trudging my way through scads of (oh-so-dry) MSWL this week, and none have been particularly exciting or inspiring until now. This! This is how picture books should be! Full of substance and delight!

    My background in public health has already inspired me to start working on picture book ideas for 6, 10, 15, and 22. I’m a bit giddy to see someone else in this industry with a passion for diversity, science, Christ, social justice, fair trade, and glow worms! You’ll be hearing more from me in 2018.

    Like

  2. It made my heart smile to read your request for books on applying Christ’s teachings as well as books on the Jewish tradition. That is Christ’s teachings in action. I’m cooking up some sticky spaghetti to gently toss at your lovely wall. Julia Richardson

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Should I just e-mail you my query? I didn’t see any submission guidelines, and I want to make sure it gets the the correct place. Thanks so much!

    Like

  4. I have the same question as Lindsey Slater (above). What is the best way to get a submission to you? Thank you, and God bless.

    Like

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