It’s true. All agents have those things that are an auto-reject for us. Long ago I met an editor terrified of small spaces. She couldn’t read anything where anyone was buried alive. I don’t have that problem.
BookEnds agents are no different. Here’s a short list of just some of the ideas, plot points, or even characters that are a just not right for us.
- Memoir. While I am looking for nonfiction and love when people incorporate their personal stories into their nonfiction, I’m not specifically looking for
- A standard PI novel. I’m not interested in traditional old-school PI novels.
- Adult romance. I’m just not looking for romance books and if one crosses my desk, I’m likely going to reject.
- Paranormal creatures. I’m not, and never have been on the vampires, zombies, fairies, et al. train. I don’t know that I ever will be, but for now, anything like that will likely not grab me.
- Not following our submission guidelines. So if you’ve sent me the wrong genre, or haven’t used QueryManager and just emailed me. Although in those cases, I just won’t consider the query through email and will redirect you.
- Unlikable protagonists. I’m just not the right fit for a GONE GIRL type of book, but plenty of other BookEnds agents are. That said, I like dark characters, but they have to feel redeemable to me. Sydney Carton is one of my favorite characters of all time, for instance.
- Anytime a writer says they’ve been working on just this book for their whole life, or for a very long time. That shows me you’ve really been writing for yourself, not an audience. And if it took many years to write this one book, it’s hard to see how you’ll make a career out of writing.
- Genres and categories I don’t represent. For example, even if your non-fiction query is amazing, I represent fiction, so it’s not going to be a fit for my list.
- Slamming other books in your query, whether specific titles or insulting a genre in general. It’s hard for me to get behind someone with the attitude that tearing other downs will raise them up.
- Like others have said, areas I don’t represent–most specifically, sci-fi, fantasy, YA and children’s books.
- Adoption stories that don’t show sensitivity to the topic, whether it’s using negative adoption language or something like adopted siblings falling in love.
- I’m not going to name names but there are certain comp titles and authors that lead to an automatic pass from me. With romance especially, there are a few oft-used comps in particular that show me the writer really doesn’t understand the romance genre.
- Books for adults, including memoirs from adults about what they were like in their teens.
- Stockholm syndrome romance or romance with a huge age gap (like a YA romance between a 400+ year old vampire and a teen.)
- Picture books, middle grade or YA that speaks down to their audience.