There are always those ideas and themes that are an auto-request for an agent (or an editor). They usually relate to personal passions or books we’ve read and loved. And BookEnds agents are no different. Here’s a short list of just some of the ideas, plot points, or even characters that are an auto-request for us.
- Magical food. I will request anything that has to do with magical realism in food. It’s one of the many reasons I LOVE Heather Webber’s MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE.
- Alaska. Ever since my trip to Alaska for the Alaska Writers Conference I’ve been obsessed with all things Alaska. Okay, I was obsessed before that, but now I’m really obsessed. I would love more books in all genres set in Alaska.
- Picture books with chickens! It’s not secret I love chickens, and I’m dying for a picture book featuring a chicken character. Now, with PB’s it’s a bit different– so it’s more of an “Auto-Read” if your querying picture book has a chicken, since the sample usually includes the full text. But, yes, send me your chicken PBs!
- Missing children. This one sounds bad, but I love stories centered around a missing child: Stranger Things, The Child Finder, Mystic River & Gone Baby Gone by Denis Lehane, the movie Searching… you get it. I’d love a missing kid book on my list! Adult or YA.
- #OwnVoices fiction by authors on the autism spectrum. As an autism mom, it’s very important to me to see more of these voices represented. But I’m also interested in the perspectives and stories of family members as well. Fiction only.
- Honestly, any query that mentions and clearly reflects one of the #MSWLs I’ve announced on Twitter or the BookEnds blog. Even if I read the blurb and am a little unsure, when they point out “hey, this is just what you said you were looking for”, it’s hard for me to say no to a look at the manuscript. The only exception is if I’ve just recently taken on another client that seems too close to what’s being pitched.
- Queries that use comps I love are fantastic. For example, if someone said their YA rom-com was HOT DOG GIRL meets WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, I’d be so excited! (Assuming those comps actually fit their book of course 😉 )
- Cats! Much like James and his not-so-secret love of chickens, I love cats. I’m not so sure this is an auto-request so much as an auto-attention-grabber, because sadly, having a cat in your book isn’t quite enough to make me request it. It still needs to be a genre I rep, and the concept stand on its own (not furry) feet!
- Boarding schools. I am dying for that perfect boarding school book. The catch is, I don’t represent YA so it needs to be for adults. I don’t see a lot of boarding school queries, but when I do, it’s an auto-request.
- Vietnam. Like Rachel, this isn’t so much an auto-request as it is an auto-attention-grabber. Between a personal connection to Vietnam and my deep envy of Kim for representing The Kiss Quotient, mentioning the country or culture in a query always catches my eye.
- Picture book trade non-fiction with a fantastic hook (looking for more pb non-fic that isn’t a biography.)
- Middle grade or YA non-fiction for the trade market about a subject that either hasn’t been explored fully, or is being explored in a new way.
- Contemporary MG or YA graphic novels.