Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gemma's 2017 Wishlist

2017 is here and I’m opening again to queries. I’m looking for a few wonderful authors and author/illustrators to join my list, and to help me find you, here are some detailed wishlist requests and a bit more about me.

My client list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions. Fun fact I’ve recently realised: Almost all my clients count THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams as one of their favourite books. That shared sense of quirky humour is something we all have in common, and something I look for in all my projects.

In general:
  • Funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential
  • Any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller)
  • For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance
  • Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention, particularly in the chapter book and MG markets
  • I’m looking for diverse voices, illustrators and stories across my list, but particularly for chapter books and MG. #ownvoices 

More specifically, I would like to see:
  • Animal POV for fiction
  • Romance, romance, romance for YA – I love to fall in love
  • Big concept, commercial MG
  • Murder She Wrote for YA – a little campy, with great settings and mysteries
  • Funny sci-fi – like HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE for MG
  • ‘Movie X’ meets ‘Movie Y’ pitches – I love a good one-line pitch
  • Gripping psychological thriller for YA that leaves you guessing until the end.
  • YA or MG with a unique way of telling your story – nonlinear narrative, novels in verse, multi POVs, letters, illustrated novels, or something else really creative!
  • Books that have obvious potential for animation
  • Fantasy MG with a strong voice and smart humour like THE VOYAGE TO MAGICAL NORTH by Claire Fayers.
  • Graphic novels for young fiction – on a big reading kick of these recently
  • A parody on the paranormal trope, with heart and real stakes. Think a Buffy spoof.
  • Funny characters, funny concepts, funny storytelling
  • Fiction set during WWII or the Chicago World’s Fair (I love most MG historical fiction)
  • Contemporary-ish YA – YA with a twist, like THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood.
  • My own DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES – I love dual POV
  • Meta books — books that break the fourth wall, a book within a book, books with in-jokes, books that reference themselves
  • Chapter books that remind me of shows like Phineas & Ferb, Danger Mouse, Ren & Stimpy
  • Author-illustrated picture books
  • I love living in Chicago, so if your book has a Chicago setting, please send
  • Clever twists on fairytales and nursery rhymes
  • Children’s non-fiction — I’m interested in history and science, but want very accessible books with an obvious hook

Things that aren’t for me:
  • Very high fantasy – but if your fantasy is more romance than revolution, then I’m your gal. I need the epic romance in my epic fantasy!
  • I’m not the best person for a very depressed MC, teen suicide books or books involving self-harm
  • Historical fiction that is very American – Civil War-era for example.
  • American sports books – I don’t really understand baseball, American football or hockey as much as I’d need to enjoy these
  • Picture book texts – I’m taking a break from these while I focus on my current picture book authors

Other facts:
  • I am a twin, so I love twin or sibling stories
  • I currently live in Chicago, but previously have called London, New York and Cambridge home – all these settings make me feel nostalgic
  • As a kid, I was obsessed with Egyptian history, and could write in fluent hieroglyphics

Favourite movies
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Heathers
  • Groundhog Day

Favourite TV shows
  • Red Dwarf
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Murder She Wrote

Best book I read in 2016
  • THE RADIUM GIRLS by Kate Moore - I would love something similar for the YA or MG market. 

Favourite Authors
  • Douglas Adams
  • Robert Rankin
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Jasper Fforde
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Erin Jade Lange
  • Jenny Valentine
  • Rebecca Stead
  • Kate DiCamillo
  • Katherine Applegate
  • Morris Gleitzman

I’m so excited to be open to queries as I’ve found most of my clients in my submissions – I can’t wait to read your work. You can follow me on twitter for more wishlist requests as the year continues @gemma_cooper

Email your query letter and your first 10 pages pasted into the body of the email to cooperqueries@thebentagency.com

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Wishes and Wish Lists from the TBA Agents!

We’ve had a fantastic 2016 here at TBA, and are all very much looking forward to 2017. January is always an exciting time to dive into our submissions inbox and look for that gem that we'll be talking about all year. So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled a wishlist for all the TBA agents, so if you have anything that matches this check out our submission guidelines and send over. We can't wait to read!

Jenny Bent:

  • Twisty, creepy, bone-chilling suspense with a female protagonist for an adult or YA audience 
  • Quirky, unusual, interesting YA—crazy twists like those in SUICIDE NOTES FROM BEAUTIFUL GIRLS and KILLER INSTINCT, wildly visual worlds like the ones in CARAVAL and SPLINTERED, or outrageously funny like KILL THE BOY BAND
  • Emotional book club fiction with a strong hook and/or evocative setting like THE LIFE LIST or GHOST BRIDE or the forthcoming LIGHTKEEPER’S DAUGHTERS by Jean Pendziwol
  • Magical MG with a instant classic feel

Gemma Cooper: (Gemma will be opening to submissions on 3rd January)

  • Looking for diverse voices, illustrators and stories across my list, but particularly for chapter books and MG. #ownvoices 
  • YA or MG with a unique way of telling your story - nonlinear narrative, novels in verse, multi POV’s, letters, illustrated novels, or something else really creative! Be different. Surprise me
  • I'm really looking for YA right now and am open to anything but dystopian and angels. Send me your swoony romance, your teen X-Files, your epic fantasy, your re-invented Buffy, your ghosts and anything you can comp to a movie starring Christian Slater. I would go nuts over a voice driven YA with an end of the world feeling romance
  • I’d love a new MG epic fantasy, or a MG with a splash of magical realism. If your MG has a strong voice in any genre, I want to read it
  • And to be a little specific, can someone send me a MG or YA set during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair? Ideally a mystery

Beth Phelan: 
(Beth will be opening to submissions on 3rd January)
  • Queer POC in MG and YA contemporary, something bright and funny and happy and hopeful. Especially if told in a groundbreaking new way, experimental — I want different storytelling structures and #ownvoices
  • Lyrical fantasy in MG and YA that feels cinematic, visual, lush
  • Stirring suspense, hair-raising thrillers, with plenty of family secrets and dark histories, #ownvoices

Susan Hawk:
  • I’m looking for diverse voices and authors, in just about any category or genre: picture book, chapter book, middle-grade, young adult; contemporary, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.  I’m drawn to heartfelt books rich with emotion and humor, and unique points of view
  • I love MG and YA fantasy!  I want to fall in love with your main character, be completely immersed in a world that's surprising and original, and on the edge of my seat, wondering what-will-happen next -- give me high stakes and sneaky twists
  • Epistolary novels; a novel-within-a-novel; a journal format; secret letters; found documents – I’d love to see a story for MG or YA readers that centers around these kind of elements
  • Calling author-illustrators!  I'm a big fan of Molly Idle, Carson Ellis, Barbara McClintock, Marla Frazee, Christian Robinson, and Sergio Ruzzier.  If your work is as fresh, original and thoughtful as these, please be in touch

Molly Ker Hawn:
  • Elegant, emotional literary fiction for young adults like THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES
  • #ownvoices projects for middle-grade and YA readers that invite the reader to get to know a culture or community with which they might not be familiar
  • Fast-paced, highly imaginative YA fantasy like REBEL OF THE SANDS 
  • YA or MG contemporary fiction that explores sexism in a realistic and relatable way
  • Super-smart, super-romantic, feel-good YA fiction like SEVEN DAYS OF YOU 

Louise Fury:
  • Heavily illustrated MG or YA graphic novels
  • A YA that involves a labyrinth, especially one that includes a mystery or pushes the boundaries of realistic contemporary
  • Anything funny, short and uplifting
  • A cookbook with a big hook/idea
  • Interesting, fun and of-the-moment pop culture and non-fiction projects! 

Heather Flaherty:
  • Always always want epic-yet-relatable YA fantasy, with beautiful and sometimes dark worlds, unlikely heroines, and civil unrest. 
  • Would love a sibling/family story in contemporary YA, a la I’ll GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson, or a mother-daughter Gilmore Girls-esque story, maybe with a STEM angle!
  • Commercial women’s fiction, with strong females in interesting and thought-provoking situations. Females in male roles, females choosing themselves, females making change. Both period and contemporary
  • I’d love to find the next GIRL ON THE TRAIN, that isn’t GIRL ON THE TRAIN or anything close to it plot-wise. I want the feeling that book evokes: something creepy, and page-turning, and twisty, and sexy, and disturbing, and… 
  • Quirky, funny, heartbreaking, wonderful non-fiction for people who don’t read lots of non-fiction. Pop-culture, humor, Lifestyle, industry-books-for-people-who-don’t-read-industry-books (like Alison Green’s ASK A MANAGER website), heartbreaking books that make you feel less alone (like Emily Trunko’s DEAR MY BLANK and LAST MESSAGE RECEIVED)

Victoria Cappello:
  • I’m really looking for of-the-moment literary fiction that engages with important contemporary geopolitical events like the Syrian civil war, for instance, or Cuba in the aftermath of the embargo lift
  • I love suspense and mystery novels of all stripes—psychological, super creepy, procedural, etc.
  • I’m also always in the market for lyrical and atmospheric historical fiction that’s set in the 20th century

Happy Holidays! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Adult Fiction Interns needed!

We have intern positions open for an adult fiction reader.  To become an intern reader for the Bent Agency, you do not need to have any kind of publishing experience, but you should love to read and be familiar with all sorts of fiction in these categories.  In particular, it’s helpful to be familiar with the books on the New York Times bestseller list. 

We’re looking for someone who enjoys books by authors such as:

- Erin Morgenstern
- Tana French
- Eleanor Brown
- Jacqueline Sheehan
- Jodi Picoult
- Gillian Flynn
- Lori Roy
- Laurie Notaro
- Celia Rivenbark
- Elin Hilderbrand
- Kristin Hannah
- Jeannette Walls
- Kate Atkinson

This is an eclectic list, so obviously you don't need to like everyone on it. But basically, you should like at least two of the following genres: humor, memoir, upmarket women's fiction and literary suspense. 

You do not need to live in New York since this is a remote internship. We do ask for a ten-hours-a-week commitment. Please note that it is unpaid. 

The internship is a great way to learn more about an agent’s work and decision-making process. Past interns have been writers for children, children’s librarians, elementary school teachers, MFA students, and passionate readers.

The agency runs a monthly educational chat for all of our interns, led by a different agent/on a different topic each time. (Past and upcoming topics include: How publishers create marketing plans, Do we need literary agents anymore?, Digital and social publishing, Literary scouts: What do they do? What are the entry-level jobs in publishing? -- we try to make them as useful as we can.) These are optional, and the days/times vary because all the interns have different 'day job' schedules.


1. Send an email to intern@thebentagency.com and put “Adult Fiction intern” in the subject line. 

2. Tell us why you want the internship and something about yourself, or include a resume if you have one (although it's not necessary). 

3. Include two lists: the last ten adult fiction books you've read and your top ten favorite adult fiction books of all time.

If you've applied in the past, you're welcome to apply again. We usually get a great many applicants and the application period will close fairly quickly; watch this space for details! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Subsidiary Rights Deal Announcements

Congratulations to the following TBA clients on their subsidiary rights deals! 

Meira Drazin’s HONEY AND ME sold in Israel to Miskal. 

Jessica Townsend’s NEVERMOOR trilogy sold in Finland to Otava in a pre-empt, in the Netherlands to Luitingh-Sijthoff in a pre-empt, in Hungary to Kolibri Kiadó in a pre-empt, in Israel to Kinneret in a pre-empt, in France to Pocket Jeunesse in a pre-empt, in Spain to Planeta in a pre-empt, in Turkey to Domingo in a pre-empt, in Denmark to Gyldendal in a pre-empt, in Brazil to Rocco at auction, in Poland to Media Rodzina in a pre-empt, in Norway to Vigmostad & Björke at auction, in Italy to Il Castoro at auction, in China to Citic in a pre-empt, in Greece to Psichogios, in Sweden to Semic at auction, in Bosnia to BTC Sahinpasic, in Romania to Nemira at auction, in Germany to Dressler at auction, in Taiwan to Sharp Point, in Serbia to Urban Reads at auction, in Bulgaria to Bard at auction, in Indonesia to Noura, and in Russia to Robins at auction.

Emily Trunko’s DEAR MY BLANK sold in Finland to Otava and in Brazil to Companhia das Letras.

Emily Trunko’s LAST MESSAGE RECEIVED sold in Brazil to Companhia das Letras.

Sherri Smith’s FOLLOW ME DOWN sold in Poland to HarperCollins Polska and in Estonia to Paikese Kirjastus.

A.G. Howard’s UNTAMED sold in Brazil to Novo Conceito and in Italy to Newton Compton.

A.G. Howard’s SPLINTERED sold in Serbia to Publik Praktikum.

Lori Nelson Spielman’s THE LIFE LIST sold in Finland to Otava.

Lynsay Sands’ FALLING FOR THE HIGHLANDER sold in Japan to Futami Shobo.

Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL sold in Slovakia to Egmont and in Ukraine to Krajina Mriy.

The first two books in Geneva Lee’s Royals Saga sold in Turkey to Pay Kitap and books one, two and three sold in Bulgaria to Egmont.

Angie Thomas’ THE HATE U GIVE sold in Serbia to Urban reads and in Bosnia to BTC Sahinpasic.

Jonathan Janz’ CHILDREN OF THE DARK sold in Germany to Voodoo Press.


R.M. Romero’s THE DOLLMAKER OF KRAKOW sold in Hungary to Maxim.

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES sold in Poland to Jaguar.

Francesca Zappia’s ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS sold in the Netherlands to Leopold in a pre-empt.

Liz Maverick’s WHAT A GIRL WANTS & ADVENTURES OF AN ICE PRINCESS sold in Germany to Rowohlt.

Becky Albertall’s SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA sold in Serbia to Urban Reads.

Tilli Schulze and Lorna Collier’s MY THOUGHTS ARE FREE sold in Germany to Aufbau.

Jacqueline Sheehan’s THE TIGER IN THE HOUSE sold in Germany to Aufbau.

L.H. Cosway’s Hearts Series (Books 1 - 3) sold in Germany to Lyx.

Aditi Khorana’s THE LIBRARY OF FATES sold in Germany to Dressler and in Turkey to Pegasus.

Lori Wilde’s THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE COLLECTION sold in Germany to Weltbild.