Below is a list of things I am currently wishing for, but it’s NOT a definitive list. Sometimes I don’t know I want something until I see it! This list is a result of my musings and random thoughts. Let’s call it a living document!
What I represent, in the most general terms:
- Picture books, including board books (both from authors and author-illustrators)
- Middle grade fiction and nonfiction, including chapter books
- Young adult fiction and nonfiction
What I would love to come across in my email box right now (but not limited to):
- One of my main goals as an agent is to promote diversity in children’s literature and help give voices to characters and authors who have not often been hear from. I’m from a multicultural, multilingual family myself, and know what it’s like to be a kid and not see yourself represented in the books you read. A book like Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown would have been so important to me! Diversity comes in a lot of forms and I’m open to all of it, across all kids and teen genres, with special interest in Own Voices writing.
- Picture books (fiction): I am kept very busy by my current picture book clientele so I am being extremely selective about taking on new picture book clients. I am most open to modern-humored author-illustrators who have an established following on social media (like Instagram); books that take on a universal theme but from a fresh, new angle; modern, commercial books about nature and the environment, tolerance, non-traditional families and outer space always pique my interest.
- Picture books (nonfiction): Again, I’m being super picky here, but I’m interested in COMMERCIAL nonfiction picture books (books for the trade market, not books for the educational market), including picture book biographies–especially unsung heroes and moments in history featuring children, women, people of color, individuals with disabilities. I’d be happy to see educational picture books for the COMMERCIAL TRADE market (so not straight informational books), coming at a subject from an unexpected, interesting angle that a kid would read for fun, not just for school. OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW by Melissa Stewart or THE BLUE HOUR by Isabelle Simler are good examples.
- We had a lot of success with New York Times-best selling picture book, RESCUE & JESSICA. I think there is more room in the market for books featuring heroes with disabilities. Looking for a really expertly-told story with compelling characters that is not heavy-handed with a moral or lesson. The book could be funny, heart-string tugging, or both!
- Picture books with a social activism-bent to them. Resist!
- Picture books that are topical, relating to something going on in the world, the news, in the zeitgeist.
- Picture books by authors with a wide-reaching platform (manuscripts still need to be expertly-written)
- Picture books related to law and justice (I am a former lawyer who is still drawn to topics in the law)
- Board books (especially from illustrators) that feel really fresh in the current market. I have a new baby and she is particularly interested in high contrast board books–I’d love to see an exciting take on that micro-genre.
- I am 1/2 Peruvian and I would love to see a picture book by a Peruvian author, featuring Peruvian main characters and culture. I would love to do a picture book about a famous Peruvian or Peruvian-American.
- Very specific picture book interest: A metaphorical “we love you” picture book for parents who have children using alternative methods (IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc.) a la WISH by Matthew Cordell. Having had a baby via IVF myself, I have not yet gotten through WISH without crying. Not sure if I ever will! Would love to add to the books available to parents like me.
Middle Grade & YA
- I am actively looking to expand my middle grade and young adult author clientele. One of the most important things I am looking for in any YA or middle grade novel is a STRONG VOICE. This is a big requirement for me. I also love imperfect characters that readers can really root for.
- I am very keen on developing my YA clientele. I’m mostly interested in commercial, reality-based YA featuring a strong voice, memorable characters, resonant themes and a pitch perfect premise. I’m always into humor. I have always loved shows and movies geared towards teens that often have a series they are based on–Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Riverdale. Also series for 20-somethings like Younger and The Bold Type. I would love to represent a highly commercial series with adaptation promise like these–particularly if they are featuring people of color as protagonists. The Latina Gossip Girl? The African-American The Bold Type? The Asian-American Pretty Little Liars? Etc. I’d LOVE to do represent something like that!
- Middle grade requirements same as with YA! Although I am more open to fantastical elements and adventures. Illustrated, funny MG is very cool with me.
- Take me on a middle grade adventure! I can handle magic, a little fantasy. Stakes that are high! Not so interested in time-travel.
- I always appreciate YA or MG novels that have a basis in history or true events–as long as the time period is thoroughly researched. Unusual or unsung parts of history are always interesting to me. I would love to represent an author like Lauren Wolk. I love her two middle grade novels, WOLF HOLLOW and BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA. I also like novels that come to a story through a very specific, unique lens where the reader gets to learn about a world or topic they didn’t know much about. A great example is THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin.
- YA novels that feel really timely or topical like Angie Thomas’s THE HATE U GIVE are very compelling to me.
- YA or MG memoirs. Specifically, I would love to see a YA memoir related to the modern Native American teenage experience. An author with a great personal story and a great platform.
- ***Very interested*** in acquiring MG or YA narrative nonfiction. Ideally, a journalist who has covered a story involving young people and there’s more to tell–in novel form. THE 57 BUS by journalist Dashka Slater absolutely blew me away and I desperately want to represent writers like her and stories like that!
- Authors/illustrators with a large social media following and impressive platform, Instagram, Snap Chat and YouTube in particular.
MG and YA Graphic Novels
- Nonfiction MG and YA graphic novelists in memoir or related to history, science, current events. I’d like to see these humorous, outside the box, commercial takes in these genres. See Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series.
- I’d accept graphic novel manuscripts without an illustrator for the right project.
What I am not looking for (sorry!):
- Adult anything. If you have an adult nonfiction query, consider my colleague, Sharlene Martin, who specializes in that genre. MLM’s Natalie Grazian specializes in adult fiction.
- Christian books. Check out MLM agent Adria Goetz, who is representing adult and children’s Christian fiction and nonfiction books.
- Hard fantasy or sci-fi (not my thing). Check out MLM’s Britt Seiss who specializes in this genre.
- Protagonist finds out she/he has a magical/paranormal ability on his/her birthday YA or MG (flooded/fatigued market).
- Dystopian YA or MG (flooded/fatigued market)
- Picture books where the moral leads the story, lesson-based, didactic books (trade publishers don’t want these either)
- Rhyming picture books (I most often find them cloying, sorry!) UNLESS you are a VERY thoughtful and creative rhymer who has studied the art.
- Manuscripts that have not been through a thorough editing process, that have not been seen by eyes other than the author’s