What I’d Like To See

January 6th, 2012 • Kate

wishlist1In preparation for reopening to queries on Monday the 9th, I thought it might be worthwhile to put up a little more detail of what I’m looking for in manuscripts to represent — and just as importantly, what I don’t care to see more of.

In general, I’m open to young adult and middle grade fiction only. Not adult political thrillers, not memoirs, not self-help books, not cozy mysteries, not economic treatises.

However, within MG or YA, I love thrillers, mysteries, romance, science fiction, fantasy — just about anything in terms of genre! What I am tired of seeing, or what would need to be truly, stunningly, absolutely exceptional to catch my eye, is anything with vampires, werewolves, guardian angels, or ghosts. I’ve also talked before about my distaste for books about chosen ones and destiny as the main plot device, and I’ll add to that an unlikeliness to love a traditional high fantasy quest novel — aka, anything I could play out as a D&D campaign. Do your characters all meet up in a tavern on their way to seek a unique item that will help them defeat a big bad? Let me roll up my elven hunter, but please don’t expect me to offer representation. Which is, of course, not to say that great books don’t exist out there that fit those descriptions, but a) they already exist, and b) they’re just not for me at this time.

I don’t want to see queries about absolutely boring or “normal” people that nothing interesting ever happens to, until the one time it does. Make me care about your characters — or hate them — from the first line of your query, but don’t let me be ambivalent.

So what DO I want to see? I remain interested in finding a great YA novel about a teen professional athlete — something like a gymnast or figure skater, not a team player, who has to juggle being a teen with the rigors of their professional life. I’m also intrigued by the idea of book about a teen parent, so try me if you have one of those. But I’m always interested in great characters living interesting lives and doing cool things, written well, so if you have that, send it my way!

I’ve been lucky enough in the past to get some of the books I’ve asked for — like MG boy books, or YA science fiction — so I hope this proves as helpful to you in directing your queries as it may prove beneficial to us at some point in the future!

Filed Under: Slushpile


10 Responses to “What I’d Like To See”

  1. Writer Says:

    Thanks for this post! It's always great to get an immediate sense on what agents are looking for. I'm wondering if this means you are through all the queries you received before your hiatus?

  2. DaphneUn Says:

    Not quite yet, but I will be by Monday!

  3. Stephanie Says:

    I'm sorry, I have to say it! Hiatus? Did Daphne go bonkers? I thought you were spending time with family for the holidays. Oh, word choice, you get us every time. 🙂

  4. Writer Says:

    I'd delete my comment if I knew how. Thanks for making me feel unwelcome, though I'm sure that wasn't your intention.

  5. Krista V. Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Kate! I actually have a WIP about a teenage tennis phenom who plays to be the best and a high school football kicker who plays for the love of the game. I'd forgotten you were interested in a manuscript with a teenage athlete, so that's exciting!

  6. Chelsey Says:

    I never thought before about people novelizing their D&D campaigns, but the fact that it must happen makes me go a little head tilty….

  7. @araTHEwriter Says:

    Are you open to New Adult novels where the protagonists are 21 & 24? Also, are you seeing more in this "new" genre?

  8. DaphneUn Says:

    I think it depends — they would need to work as YA for me right now. New Adult is still more of a single publisher's marketing initiative than a viable, widespread genre.

  9. Cynthia Says:

    Thanks for the information, very helpful!

  10. Lisa Says:

    I love when agents do posts like this! Thanks!