Can I tell you how much I love agent and editors “wish-lists”? It’s not because I’m trying to get an agent or editor interested in my work necessarily. I have an agent, Kris Rothstein and HER job is getting editors interested in my work.
It’s just fun to get an insight into what other people want to read, or what professionals in our industry think will sell. It’s interesting how far away agents wish-lists are from what is flying off the shelves in book stores. Agents are saying “dystopia is over” yet Delirium and Divergent are topping the NYT Bestsellers. Of course, agents are predicting that dystopia will be over by the time any books in their slushpile actually reach the bookstores (about two years). It’s a brave assertion, because really, who can be sure?
Vampires are over too, according to agents, and maybe this is true. But I have the feeling that maybe vampires are so over they might actually be ready to come back pretty soon. If I was an agent or editor, I’d be keeping a couple of vampires parked just in case.
Ultimately these wishlists are about taste. Two agents I follow on twitter recently shared the fact that they both wanted to see a YA retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I was pretty happy about that actually, since my WIP basically fits that bill.
Here are some other quirky things agents and editors are looking for:
Renee from Lyrical Press is looking for: “BDSM (male dom/female sub) hot enough to melt everything in my freezer…and I just did some serious food shopping and my freezer is packed, so bring on the burn!”
Uh…*blush*…I write YA and middle grade so, maybe not.
The Donald Maass Agency used to post wishlists monthly. These days they are doing writing prompts, but one of their previous wishlists practically went viral so you can find it memorialized in various places on the web, such as here. A couple of my favorites from this classic wishlist: A Huck Finn-like fantasy featuring a raft trip down the Mississippi, with magic. The next The World According to Garp, about an idiot savant.
Pretty specific, no?
Ellen Pepus from the Signature Literary Agency was looking for novels with a food theme, including recipes! And who can blame her?
In fact, I’d love novel that includes actual food. Like you buy the novel and it comes with vouchers for sushi or something. Right?
Mary Kole outlines her wishes at kidlit.com. My favorite of her requests? “A YA or MG set in a theater”.
As a theater brat I can relate. All those men in black t-shirts.
Sarah Davies from Greenhouse Literary (the agency of my friend Jeyn Roberts) is always very generous on her blog with detail what she sees to much and what she’d like to see more. Recently she asked for more ghosts, space and foreign settings, among other things.
What about a foreign ghost in space? Yes?
Immortal Ink Publishing will be open for submissions in May this year and they have a long wish list that can be summed up thus: “Be gruesome. Be dark. Be original”
I think I might get that printed on a t-shirt.
Entangled Publishing blogs a new wishlist every month. Their February 2012 wishlist includes: “roommates-to-lovers (bonus points if there are multiple roommates in on the plot to get the hero and heroine together), best-friends-to-lovers, forbidden office romance, and best-friend’s-older-brother (or best-friend’s-off-limits-younger-sister). Moderate to high heat levels welcome, “
Makes me sort of warm just reading their wish list.
Finally the Andrew Lownie Agency recently did a summary of what editors are looking for this year. These are UK editors so I’m not sure what to make of that. It’s possible that this is what US editors will be looking for next year, if publishing is anything like music and fashion.