What Agents Want

We all need to write the stoies in our heads. We know that. But - what then? Query, query, query, right?. And research, research, research, right??!!

Well, here we are on Writing Wednesday, sending you good vibes and some agent wants (just in case your story happens to be a little flexible and can fit one of these). Follow your heart, and then query your perfect match. We wish you the best of luck!! (note: we highly recommend Query Tracker, Agent Query, and P & E.) Oh, and we write YA/MG, so we're mentioning only that. If you write something else, click on the links and see what's write right for you! (in fact, always click on the links before querying!)

oh, and my (erica) completed ms is a contemporary romance, my half-done WIP is an MG ghost story and I've got a couple upper/edgy YA in the works (but trying to finish one before I end up with a drawer [er, harddrive] full of 15,000 words beginnings!)

Kathleen Ortiz at Lowenstein Associates : YA: male POV romance, cyberpunk, complex thriller with a strong MC, historical fiction with a commercial hook (think outside the box), apocalyptic (as in during, not before or after). MG: contemporary or fantasy adventure, a boy book (beyond "friends"), a technology slant, steampunk.

Mary Kole at Andrea Brown: This list as been there for awhile, but since she hasn't updated, assumably it's still active: YA that's edgy and dark (with voice); YA/MG ghosts, murders, and mystery (highlight some creepy ghosts); anything set in a theatre; really good issue books; YA dystopian; YA in verse; MG with an incredible voice.

(interjecting advice from WriteOnCon about Pippen Properties - advice I wish I would've known a few weeks ago): The tone of your query can get you far. Your voice as a writer is visible even as you introduce yourself. Watch every noun, verb, and in between words too, they all count. no no to jumping right into your synopsis, let us know who you are and what you're about. also  if you really feel like we're perfect, offering us a one-month exclusive gets major brownie points, and we often read give the query priority. one more yes to high fantasy, yes to fantasy, yes to everything...

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Alyssa Eisner Heinkin at Trident Media: YA epic romance, snarky contemporary, a YA counterpart to Steig Larsson (erica says, really?? I had no idea this could exist!!)

Jill Corcoran at Herman Agency: YA/MG out-of-the-box paranormal with a huge payoff at the end, MG with true middle school emotion (think hormonal, yet babes-in-the-woods), commercial (always).

Greenhouse Literary: thrillers, historical, "something wonderful."

 Taylor Martindale at Sandra Dijkstra: gritty contemporary, unique paranormal/urban fantasy, and any story with a captivating voice.
There are, obviously tons more. I don't tweet or I'd maybe pick a few more up there (yes, we have a twitter account, that's ALL christy.) If you know more, please post in the comments. We're all here to help!!

So, what about you? What are you writing??


  1. Great agent tips, thanks Ladies :)



  2. You are TOTALLY writing the ghost story to fit Mary's wish list, aren't you? ;)

    Great tips--thanks! My goal is to send off a batch of queries by the end of the week. I'll take these into consideration before I do. :)

  3. Awesome list!! I'm currently working on a YA contemporary romance. I really want to take my time with it, especially since I've never written in the genre before (me is scared...).

    Oh, and by the way, you won a query critique from me!!! *fist pump* Check my blog for details!!

  4. Thanks for the info. I'm revising a YA paranormal/scifi romance. I know complicated. I'm also working on 3 other YA paranormal romances.

  5. Thanks for the agent list. It's a snow day today, so I want to get a few queries out while I have the time.

  6. Thanks! Those are great! I may even be bothering some of those agents when I finish my edits...

  7. Thanks gals, this is awesome stuff!

  8. These are awesome! You rock for putting this together. I think I'll have to check into the peeps over at Pippin. ;)

  9. Cool links! My current stance is to pretend I don't know about querying until my WIP is complete, but I think about it from time to time. :)

  10. You're welcome everyone!! My MG ghost story is actually in honor of my almost-10-year-old son, whose favorite show is currently Ghosthunters (I know, he's weird). But yeah, if Mary Kole wants ghosts, far be it for me to deprive her of them (hehe). Now, to FINISH it!!

    Amparo - thanks for the query crit, I'll pop over to yours in a minute!! I think their will always be a place for cont. romance (please, please, please), but the trick is getting that all-important voice. Character-building (growing, changing, etc) instead of the world-building of fantasy. True love filled with insecurities and quirkiness and epic fails instead of "perfect girl meets perfect guy." Oh, and fun secondary characters are great, too!

    Good luck with querying, everyone (and with writing, of course!!).

  11. Hi, Erica,

    Did you guys get this INSANE BLIZZARD with THUNDERSNOW! Two feet of snow dumped on the city!

    Great agent tips. Thanks.


  12. Having made the decision to self publish via the internet is extremely liberating. I'm no longer concerned with what this agent or that publisher wants. I've already had two publishers make comments and I've had some agents start following me on twitter. I think times are changing. I'm free to write the stories that speak to me.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author


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