Monday, February 20, 2017

Heather is looking for Adult Fiction Interns

I have openings for interns! I’m looking to fill positions for Adult Fiction interns focusing in Women’s Fiction, Female-Centric Thrillers, Horror, and general Upmarket and Literary Fiction.
You do not need to have any kind of publishing experience, but you should love to read and be familiar with all sorts of fiction in these categories, particularly with books on the New York Times bestseller lists. The internship is a great way to learn more about an agent’s work and decision-making process. Past interns have been writers, librarians, teachers and educators, MFA students, and passionate readers. You do not need to live in New York—this is a remote internship. We ask for a ten-hours-a-week commitment. 

While this internship is unpaid, TBA values our interns' contributions, and holds monthly educational chats for all of our interns, led by a different agent/on a different topic each time. And in between those events, I answer as many questions about the publishing process that I can. I ask for a six-month commitment, but most of my interns have ended up sticking around for a year or more! 


To apply for the Adult Intern position, send the information below to:, with subject line "Adult Intern."
  • Tell me why you want the internship, and a little about yourself, including relevant experience. Feel free to attach a resume if you feel it would help – though it’s not necessary.
  • List your top 10 favorite books of all time
  • List the last 10 books of fiction you read

If you've applied in the past, you're welcome to apply again. Watch this space and @HeddaFlaherty on Twitter for details! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Welcome John Bowers to TBA!

Hi all, I’m thrilled to begin building a list here at the Bent Agency.  We already have an amazing roster of writers, and it will be my great pleasure to find talented authors of adult literary fiction, science-fiction and nonfiction to join under the Bent Agency banner. 

You can learn a little bit more about me here, and take a look at the agency’s submission guidelines here.  For those considering sharing your work with me, the following should give you a good sense of my overall tastes. 

In general, I’m most intrigued by fiction that:

·      Is smart, edgy, and dark
·      Is timely (particularly politically)
·      Features an unreliable narrator
·      Is atmospheric and gritty
·      Delves into conspiracy theories
·      Features down-and-out characters (especially from the South), but crafts them so that they 
       exist well beyond stereotype
·      Has a charged sense of hyper-realism
·      Offers a character-driven story with a sweeping, historical scope
·      Evokes a sense of internal and/or civil unrest
·      Treats the lives of regular people as though they existed on a grand scale

With that said, here’s some of the fiction that I love: 

·      STONER by John Williams
·      ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
·      THE SHIPPING NEWS by Annie Proulx
·      BARKSKINS by Annie Proulx
·      COMING THROUGH SLAUGHTER by Michael Ondaatje
·      SUTTREE by Cormac McCarthy
·      FAY by Larry Brown
·      THE OPTIMIST’S DAUGHTER by Eudora Welty
·      ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Falkner
·      THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
·      100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
·      CIVILWARLAND IN BAD DECLINE by George Saunders
·      THE DISPOSSESSED by Ursula Le Guin
·      THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
·      WHITE NOISE by Don DeLillo

As far as nonfiction goes, I’m looking for books that:

·      Help us understand the world
·      Showcase hard truths
·      Uplift and enlighten us

Some of the titles that have most affected me include: 

·      THE WORST HARD TIME by Timothy Egan
·      FACTORY MAN by Beth Macy
·      ALL THE SHAH’S MEN by Stephen Kinzer
·      KING LEOPOLD’S GHOST by Adam Hochschild
·      RIVER OF DOUBT by Candice Millard
·      THE ASCENT OF MONEY by Niall Ferguson
·      THE POWER BROKER by Robert Caro
·      DIRTY WARS by Jeremy Scahill
·      THE LOOMING TOWER by Lawrence Wright
·      OUTLIERS by Malcom Gladwell
·      MONEYBALL by Michael Lewis
·      BARBARIAN DAYS by William Finnegan

For anyone curious about my tastes beyond books, I enjoy:

·      Literally every one of the Coen brothers’ films
·      Westworld
·      Mr. Robot
·      The Wire
·      Hypernormalisation
·      Citizen Four
·      Ex-Machina
·      All of Wes Anderson’s films (but not equally, and yes, it’s true)

Alternatively, here’s a short list of what I’m NOT interested in: 

·      Epic, high fantasy
·      Space opera (I like science-fiction, but the kind that’s geared towards the near future and 
       is also technology-based.)
·      Stories that romanticize a particular time or place
·      Stories that primarily explore the lives of college students

If you have something you think I’ll like, I’m currently open to queries and invite you to query me at  I’m very much looking forward to the stories you have to send me.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

TBA Monthly Wishlist - Feb 2017

It's time again for the Monthly Wishlist! Here's the project that each TBA agent would love to see in their submission inbox. If you have something that fits with the below, please check out our submission guidelines and send it over. We can't wait to read!

A fun YA romance that still has a hooky concept. I want to read about first love and romance; lots of kisses an added bonus. Think LOVE & GELATO, or LOVE, LIES & LEMON PIES - Gemma Cooper

I want reading group women’s fiction with lots of heart and preferably set in the UK; a love story that makes me cry, or something a little darker in the vein of Liane Moriarty - Sarah Manning 

I would love to see some diverse, poignant, young women’s fiction with a magical realism slant - Beth Phelan 

I’d love to see YA fantasy with high political stakes and a smart, courageous protagonist (like Kestrel in THE WINNER’S CURSE) or a YA contemporary with a demonstrably strong feminist main character. And I’m always looking for MG contemporary, historical, or fantasy that feels timeless and emotionally powerful - Molly Ker Hawn

I’m still dying for a literary novel set during the thirteen-day span of the Cuban Missile Crisis in small town USA - Victoria Cappello

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gemma's 2017 Wishlist

2017 is here and I’m opening again to queries. I’m looking for a few wonderful authors and author/illustrators to join my list, and to help me find you, here are some detailed wishlist requests and a bit more about me.

My client list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions. Fun fact I’ve recently realised: Almost all my clients count THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams as one of their favourite books. That shared sense of quirky humour is something we all have in common, and something I look for in all my projects.

In general:
  • Funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential
  • Any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller)
  • For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance
  • Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention, particularly in the chapter book and MG markets
  • I’m looking for diverse voices, illustrators and stories across my list, but particularly for chapter books and MG. #ownvoices 

More specifically, I would like to see:
  • Animal POV for fiction
  • Romance, romance, romance for YA – I love to fall in love
  • Big concept, commercial MG
  • Murder She Wrote for YA – a little campy, with great settings and mysteries
  • Funny sci-fi – like HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE for MG
  • ‘Movie X’ meets ‘Movie Y’ pitches – I love a good one-line pitch
  • Gripping psychological thriller for YA that leaves you guessing until the end.
  • YA or MG with a unique way of telling your story – nonlinear narrative, novels in verse, multi POVs, letters, illustrated novels, or something else really creative!
  • Books that have obvious potential for animation
  • Fantasy MG with a strong voice and smart humour like THE VOYAGE TO MAGICAL NORTH by Claire Fayers.
  • Graphic novels for young fiction – on a big reading kick of these recently
  • A parody on the paranormal trope, with heart and real stakes. Think a Buffy spoof.
  • Funny characters, funny concepts, funny storytelling
  • Fiction set during WWII or the Chicago World’s Fair (I love most MG historical fiction)
  • Contemporary-ish YA – YA with a twist, like THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood.
  • My own DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES – I love dual POV
  • Meta books — books that break the fourth wall, a book within a book, books with in-jokes, books that reference themselves
  • Chapter books that remind me of shows like Phineas & Ferb, Danger Mouse, Ren & Stimpy
  • Author-illustrated picture books
  • I love living in Chicago, so if your book has a Chicago setting, please send
  • Clever twists on fairytales and nursery rhymes
  • Children’s non-fiction — I’m interested in history and science, but want very accessible books with an obvious hook

Things that aren’t for me:
  • Very high fantasy – but if your fantasy is more romance than revolution, then I’m your gal. I need the epic romance in my epic fantasy!
  • I’m not the best person for a very depressed MC, teen suicide books or books involving self-harm
  • Historical fiction that is very American – Civil War-era for example.
  • American sports books – I don’t really understand baseball, American football or hockey as much as I’d need to enjoy these
  • Picture book texts – I’m taking a break from these while I focus on my current picture book authors

Other facts:
  • I am a twin, so I love twin or sibling stories
  • I currently live in Chicago, but previously have called London, New York and Cambridge home – all these settings make me feel nostalgic
  • As a kid, I was obsessed with Egyptian history, and could write in fluent hieroglyphics

Favourite movies
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Heathers
  • Groundhog Day

Favourite TV shows
  • Red Dwarf
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Murder She Wrote

Best book I read in 2016
  • THE RADIUM GIRLS by Kate Moore - I would love something similar for the YA or MG market. 

Favourite Authors
  • Douglas Adams
  • Robert Rankin
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Jasper Fforde
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Erin Jade Lange
  • Jenny Valentine
  • Rebecca Stead
  • Kate DiCamillo
  • Katherine Applegate
  • Morris Gleitzman

I’m so excited to be open to queries as I’ve found most of my clients in my submissions – I can’t wait to read your work. You can follow me on twitter for more wishlist requests as the year continues @gemma_cooper

Email your query letter and your first 10 pages pasted into the body of the email to