Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Molly's 2013 Wish List

New year, new wish list. I’ve been with TBA a year now and it’s been terrific fun watching the market evolve and refining my own tastes. My client roster is growing, so here’s what I’m looking for this year:

Middlegrade fiction! Especially…

  • Funny, contemporary stories about real kids in real situations
  • Stories that feature a strong sibling dynamic
  • Adventure stories
  • Literary fiction with a strong voice

Young adult fiction! Especially…

  • Romance, either contemporary or historical
  • Funny contemporary fiction with a ‘hook’  -- think ROCKOHOLIC: ‘Girl kidnaps the rock star she’s obsessed with and hides him in her garage!'
  • Well-researched historical fiction
  • Thrillers
  • Gothic novels and straight-up ghost stories (not to be confused with paranormal romance) – think THE DIVINERS
  • Stories set in wartimes real and imaginary, with high stakes – think CODE NAME VERITY or HOW I LIVE NOW
  • Stories about religious sects and cults
  • A story set in a theme town
  • A story that P.G. Wodehouse might have written…if he were writing for children in the 21st century 

And New Adult fiction! Romances or thrillers, please.

Here’s what I’m not looking for:
  • Snark. Wit is great – I love wit – but sarcasm is not wit. I’m over the eye-rolling “whatevers”
  • Paranormal/urban fantasy. No vampires, werewolves, angels, succubi, shapeshifters, etc.
  • Time travel (I said I wanted it last year, and I got tons – I don’t need any more right now)
  • Stories set in the 1980s
  • High fantasy, for the most part. I’ve been suffering from ‘fantasy fatigue’ for the last year or so, and it took THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS to snap me out of it. But if you've written something as personality-driven and engrossing as that, send it to me

I’m actively looking for projects from authors in the U.S. and the U.K. (and elsewhere, of course, but British publishers are clamoring for U.K.-based authors who can actively participate in promoting their books).

If none of the above describes your project, but you think it might be a good fit for me, by all means send it along. I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings to my inbox!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Query Round Up and Wishlist--post by Gemma

Happy New Year! 

The beginning of 2013 marks just over three months since I joined the Bent Agency. It’s been an exciting time, and I have to say I’ve been impressed with the quality of my submissions. I rarely get queries for genres I don’t represent, and most people remember to paste in the first ten pages (or at least resend them immediately as instructed by my auto-response). I’m lucky to have found my submissions a fun place to dive into!

At a recent conference, I was asked how I approached my query inbox. I joked that I creep up on it slowly so as not to frighten it away, while all the time thinking what a great topic for a blog post that question would be. 

How I read my queries

I go through queries from oldest to newest, and usually check the inbox for half hour or hour at the beginning or end of the day.  I read all queries myself, and usually the same way - I glance at the genre and age range, skim read the plot/blurb/synopsis part, and then head to the pages. From reading these, I make one of three decisions.

1) Pass – the pages didn’t grab me enough and I wouldn’t be the right agent to represent it.

2) Request – I loved the pages and after reading the query more thoroughly, I also loved the concept. I only request fulls when I am serious about reading the whole manuscript.

3) Maybe – I set these aside to come back to.

The maybe pile is the hardest one to make a  judgement on. As I mentioned, I don’t arbitrarily request fulls as I know how much anticipation and excitement this request gives a writer. I want to ensure I really want to read the whole manuscript before sending that email.

The maybe pile helps me with this. When I’m reading queries, sometimes a submission can stand out as good because I’m comparing it to a run of things that are really not right for me. However, when I look at it fresh, I can make a better judgement. I have offered on things in my maybe pile, so it’s not necessarily a bad place to be. With fresh eyes, I can often think, ‘man, I wish I’d asked for this last night so I could read the next chapter now!’

The types of things I’ve been requesting

·         YA historical with great voice – my most requested genre
·         Literary MG – again, I’ve requested a few of these.
·         Diverse MG in a paranormal/fantasy setting, where the plot isn’t at all about diversity
·         YA with a psychological bent, or a clever twist
·         YA retelling that feels fresh
·         YA Sci-Fi with boy POV
·         Gross-out chapter book/younger fiction
·         Animal-based chapter book series
·         YA contemporary romance

What I have signed

I have signed a fantastic young fiction (8+) with series potential - set in a Roald Dahl type world of not quite normal, with a strong voice and amazing cast of characters.

I am also seriously considering a YA historical murder/mystery that has Agatha Christie elements with a Downton Abbey feel.

What is still on my wish list

I wrote a blog post just before Christmas about my favourite books of 2012 and a very detailed wish list.

Key things to take from this are:
·         Boy POV – still very keen on this, but tending more towards MG at the moment. Character driven or action/adventure. Funny or high suspense. Please keep sending.

·         Books that make me cry. I‘d love more heartwarming stories that genuinely get under my skin.

·         A YA romance. I want to fall in love!

·         Still on the historical kick, so keep them coming. Any age, but I do prefer them to have a diary-type feel, so generally 1st POV.

·         Any sort of mystery/crime for YA or MG, please!

You can send me children's or YA submissions to with your title and genre in the subject line, and your first 10 pages pasted under your query letter.   Submissions guidelines can be found here.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what 2013 has to offer. Happy to answer any questions in the comments. 


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two new remote internship openings!

We are once again looking for two remote (unpaid) interns, people who like to read books by authors like:

Tana French
Eleanor Brown
Jacqueline Sheehan
Jodi Picoult
Gillian Flynn
Lori Roy
Laurie Notaro
Celia Rivenbark
Elin Hilderbrand
Kristin Hannah
Jeannette Walls
Kate Atkinson

This is an eclectic list, so obviously you don't need to like everyone on it! But basically, you should like at least two of the following genres: humor, memoir, upmarket women's fiction and literary suspense.

You do not need to have any kind of publishing experience or even publishing aspirations. We are just looking for people who love books and love to read.  You do not need to live in New York, this is a remote internship.  Please note that it is unpaid.

Please send e-mail to Please put "generalist intern" in the subject line. Tell us why you want the internship, attach a resume if you have one although it's not essential, and list the last ten books you read and your ten favorite books.

Please do not apply if you are primarily a young adult/middle grade reader. It's fine if you do some of that, but we already have our young adult/middle grade specialists in place.

If you have applied in the past you are more than welcome to apply again.

We ask for at least a 10 hour a week time commitment.