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James McGowan’s 2020 MSWL

Happy New Year! 

I’ve officially recharged after what was an incredible 2019, and I’m excited to share what’s at the top of my MSWL (manuscript wishlist) for 2020. First, please note that all queries to BookEnds should go through our online QueryManager database. You can find my submittable form at, and any of my talented colleagues over at

Going into 2020, I’m looking for the following genres:

  • Adult upmarket and literary fiction
  • Adult crime, mystery, and thriller novels
  • Fiction and Non-Fiction picture books of any kind
  • Select middle grade and young adult fiction

I am eager to continue growing my list in these areas and would love to see a query from you. At the top of my wishlist is:

  • Crime/Mystery/Thrillers with compelling settings. I recently read MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER and loved learning more about Lagos while doing so. Or THE DRY by Jane Harper, set in Australia. I’d love to find books in that vein. 
  • I’d love to see an upmarket family story. Think THE OTHER AMERICANS by Laila Lalami, MIRACLE CREEK by Angie Kim, or LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng. Those types of stories always hook me in and keep me there as we unravel the secrets a family holds.
  • I’d really love to add some humorous non-fiction picture book writers to my list. Things like Stacy McAnulty’s EARTH, MOON & SUN books. SKULLS by Blair Thornburgh. I’d love to see any topic! Space, ocean, climate, animals, weather, etc. etc. etc.

Those items are at the top of my list, but even if you haven’t written exactly that within the genres I’m seeking, I’d still love to consider your query. And, if you’re not sure if we’re a fit, query anyway. Can’t wait to learn more about you and your books.


Category: McGowan


One comment

  1. By mystery, do you include cozy? I’m never sure if agents mean cozy when they say mystery, because some agents list mystery and cozy.

    I am hoping to start querying in April and am compiling my agent list. I’ve been adding agents who say mystery on the assumption they include cozy, but it would be nice to get an agent’s opinion =)

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