I recently took pitches at the Women’s National Book Association Pitch-O-Rama in San Francisco and to give folks in line something to read to calm the butterflies in their stomachs, I produced a flyer that listed what each of our agents was looking for from writers in general and in glorious specific detail. I thought I’d share it with a larger audience here:


* LAURIE MCLEAN(YA/MG/Adult Genre Fiction—Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense, Thrillers, Horror, Nouveau Western Blends)

Laurie Wants (from writers she meets at conferences or at online events only): Science fiction of any kind (space opera, hard SF, military SF, etc.); epic fantasy that somehow stands out from the crowd; magical realism; historical romance from the roaring 20s, medieval Scotland, Renaissance, or WWI; cozy mysteries featuring a protagonist I haven’t seen before and can’t wait to read more about; intellectual mysteries (think Sherlock Holmes); intellectual/psychologically-challenging horror; thrillers of any stripe; middle grade adventures (group preferred); YA mysteries/thrillers, diverse YA, YA featuring disabled protagonists, and YA historicals (esp. Renaissance, WWII, WWI and Civil War).

Really Wants: Diverse YA and MG written by diverse authors. Space opera that takes place on planets or ships. Science and medical thrillers. YA political thriller. Middle grade monster story.

Does Not Want: Horror with a lot of gore; YA issues-oriented realistic fiction; any paranormal or urban fantasy; anything with sex trafficking, rape, molestation/abuse; “preachy” kids books; YA post apocalyptic or dystopian fiction; any book with talking animal protags; novels in verse.


* GORDON WARNOCK (Non-fiction/Commercial Fiction/Literary Fiction/Graphic Novels/YA)

Gordon Wants: Whip-smart, fucked-up NA contemporary; YA and NA graphic novels; YA and NA illustrated contemporary fiction and essays; YA and NA memoir (with plot!); graphic nonfiction (especially history and biography); food and drink (especially drink) books; punk culture and nerd culture nonfiction

Really Wants: Those things with platform

Does Not Want: Family histories (unless you’re closely related to an internationally-known celeb/historical figure and have info that nobody else has), “OMG, I’m still a virgin” NA, spiritual or religious memoirs, psychics (but they should already know that)



Emily Wants: Contemporary middle grade with interesting voices, contemporary YA (so long as it stands out somehow), some NA and WF.

Really Wants: Smart, quirky MG with female protagonist; YA thrillers and horror (not paranormal), diverse epic fantasy YA–preferably written by POC

Does Not Want: Paranormal romance YA, MG designed to “teach kids about [X]”, stories told in poems, dude-focused SFF


* CONNOR GOLDSMITH (Science Fiction/Fantasy/Pop Culture NF/Romance-Erotica)

Connor Wants: Adult fiction: strong, unique scifi/fantasy, cerebral horror, psychological thrillers with a killer hook. Particularly interested in LGBT and/or racial minority topics.


* MICHELLE RICHTER (Commercial Fiction/Women’s Fiction/Mysteries/Thrillers)

Michelle Wants: Reading group fiction; women’s fiction (upmarket and a bit lighter, not too romance-y); literary fiction with commercial crossover potential; smart nonfiction with a platform on fashion, pop culture, science/health.

Really Wants: Family dramas like Ann Patchett, Anne Tyler, Tom Perrotta, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. Suspense, mystery (police procedurals, traditional, amateur sleuth); thriller; women’s fiction or mystery set in Ireland/Scotland/Russia that’s not romance and has something fresh, literary with a bit of magical realism like Age of Miracles/The Night Circus/The Wonder of All Things (Jason Mott).

Does Not Want: Memoir, cozy, paranormal, SFF, NA, things set in 1800s/WWII/1960s/1970s, anything with sex trafficking/abuse/molestation/rape, horror, erotica. Spy/military/political thrillers. Religion or fiction with religious or inspirational themes.


* SARA SCIUTO (KidLit: Board Books/Picture Books/Chapter Books/Middle Grade/Young Adult)

Sara Wants: All kinds of kid lit (she throws a wide net).

Really Wants: A high-concept YA that’s grounded in reality; a middle-grade novel with heart–could be contemporary or historical.