James McGowan

Literary Agent

James McGowan (he/him) is a literary agent at BookEnds Literary Agency, representing award-winning authors and illustrators.  Over the past decade, James has worked across all departments at BookEnds–including the social media and finance departments–which informs his tactical approach to representing clients. He also serves on several committees within the Association of American Literary Agents.  James currently lives in Staten Island, where he graduated with a Master’s in literature from the College of Staten Island. He is the author of the picture book GOOD NIGHT, OPPY! To learn more about his work, visit the BookEnds website or his website. To send a query, please only use QueryManager Watch our interview with James on YouTube!

Client Books

James McGowan Wishlist

James represents a wide range of age groups and genres, but at this time, he is focused on building his adult and illustrator lists only In adult fiction, James is seeking upmarket/book club fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense and thrillers. In all genres, James is looking for works from diverse, marginalized, and/or underrepresented voices. Broadly, things he is drawn to in a novel are: commercial, high concept plots, exciting settings, strong characters you could follow anywhere, fast pacing, a fresh spin on a familiar trope, something to say about world or culture without being too heavy-handed, grounded speculative elements and/or accessible world-building, unique magical elements, rich prose, twists you can't see coming (or ones you enjoy anyway, if you do), books that blend genre, and a sentence that sticks with you. Titles and authors that inspire James’ list include, in no particular order (* denotes recent 5-star reads): Upmarket/Book Club: True Biz, Memphis, Portrait of a Thief, Pachinko, Free Food for Millionaires, My Sister the Serial Killer, Miracle Creek, Lessons in Chemistry, Real Americans*, Emily St. John Mandel Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: The Push, Listen for the Lie*, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, The Overnight Guest, I Have Some Questions for You, More Than You'll Ever Know, The Golden Couple, What Lies in the Woods, Only If You're Lucky*, House of Glass*, Night Watching*, Tana French, Attica Locke, Kia Abdullah, Mary Kubica, Wanda M. Morris, Liz Moore Fantasy/Speculative: Ninth House, The School for Good Mothers, Masquerade, The God and the Gumiho, Babel, The Will of the Many, Godkiller, The Familiar, S.A. Chakraborty, Sabaa Tahir, R.F. Kuang, NK Jemisin, Fonda Lee*, Pierce Brown James is eager to find the next novel that everyone is reading and recommending. He keeps an open mind when reading, so when in doubt, send a query.  James is always looking to add more illustrators to his list. He’s open to working with illustrators with board book, picture book, chapter book, and/or graphic novel aspirations. (See the illustrators he currently represents here.) To submit, please visit Query Manager.

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