On January 2nd, 2018 by eric

Opening for Queries Again, Here's What I'm Looking for in 2018

Posted In:
Agency | Wishlists

Happy New Year, bookish friends!

I'm open for queries again on January 8th, and these are the kind of books I'm looking for... as well as the sort I'm not.

If you're new here (hi!), it's a good idea to check out some of the books I've already been lucky enough to work on. Here's a running list, and there are a few on the homepage. I also keep a manuscript wishlist here, that I update now and again. This post is basically a condensed version of that, paired with some of my favorite reads of 2017, to give you an idea of what I love.

Now then, let's dig in!

Young Adult: These books hold the biggest piece of my heart. I'm eager to find diverse stories (especially in sci-fi and fantasy), YA that does a bit of genre blending, LGBTQ+ stories, and heartfelt contemporary stories that'll make me laugh and/or cry.

What sort of reads do I dig? My favorite YA novels of 2017 were Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, Want by Cindy Pon, Starfish by Akemi Bowman, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. That should give you an idea of the books I adore.

Science Fiction & Fantasy: I love accessible fantasy and sci-fi. John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow,  Fran Wilde, Chuck Wendig, Kat Howard, and Cherie Priest are among my favorites. My author Mike Chen's Here & Now & Then is a good example of what I like in genre.

S.A. Chakraborty's City of Brass and Sleeping Giants (as well as the sequel Waking Gods) by Sylvain Neuvel were my favorite SFF reads of 2017.

Cookbooks: I love platformed cookbook projects, from writers who know how to use a camera, or have a partner in food-writing-crime that can. And if you have an idea that isn't quite there yet, let's brainstorm!

I'm hard pressed to think of examples from last year, but my own author Lindsey Smith's book Eat Your Feelings is a good one.

Non-Fiction: I really like books that focus on pop culture, geekery, or teach readers about the odd and the unique... and I love it when all of that collides at once. Mary Roach's work is a great example, as is my own author Alex Ruben's book on Missile Command.

I'm also very interested in essay collections and memoir, from people who are writing and publishing pieces actively. My client Bassey Ikpi, whose memoir is due out in 2019, is a great example. You can spot her writing for Vice, The Root, Catapult, and numerous other outlets.

Some of my favorite essayists lately are Michele Filgate, Brandon Taylor, Mira Jacob, Morgan Jerkins, Nicole Chung, R. Eric Thomas, and Ilana Masad. They wrote pieces that made me cry, laugh, and think about my life last year. Morgan Jerkins' and Nicole Chung's books are two of my most anticipated reads of 2018.

Literary & Commercial Fiction: This year I really want to discover some unique voices in literary and commercial fiction. The sweet spot there, is work that does a bit of genre mashing. Think Station Eleven, The Last Policeman (one of my favorite books ever), The Night Circus, and novels by Tom Perrotta, especially like The Leftovers. I like literary novels with a splash of quirk.

My favorite adult novels that I read last year were The Last One by Alexandra Oliva and Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. Yes, I know they came out in 2016, but I read the 2017 paperbacks thanks. These were brilliant and the perfect examples of what I'm looking for.

I recently sold a literary novel that's in line with these, that I can hopefully announce soon.

What I'm Not Looking For & Dislike:

And now, a roundup of the kind of books I'm not looking for, as well as story lines I dislike. If you're working on something in any of these genres / categories, or something that tells this kind of story, I'm not right, sorry.

  • Middle Grade or Picture Books (pitch my colleague Maria!)
  • Angel & demon love stories, Heaven / Hell stories.
  • Adult epic fantasy or military sci-fi.
  • Books that are far over 100k+.
  • Non-fiction about sports or politics.
  • Thrillers about terrorism.
  • Portals.
  • Main-character-is-a-bigot-and-learns-a-lesson. Hard pass.
  • Redemptive story arcs for abusers. Nope.
  • New Adult books. Love them, but I don't know how to work on them.
  • Horror novels. I love them, but I don't know what makes a good one.
  • Anything comped as "Lovecraftian" (he was racist, not interested)
  • Anything comped to Orson Scott Card (if I have to explain this, we can't work together)
  • Commercial fiction about sports (exceptions made for sports YA, I love sports YA!)

And there we have it. Send me your books. Have a pitch? Here's how to query me.

24 responses to “Opening for Queries Again, Here's What I'm Looking for in 2018”

  1. I have a memoir I'd like to talk to you about.

  2. Tracey says:

    Do you have a word count requirement?

  3. Hi, Eric! I believe we were on a YA panel together at the FWA conference in October. Chuck Wendig RT’d you this morning and I am now in awe that you are on the radar of the brilliant Mr. Wendig and I got to sit next to you on a panel. 😊

    I want to ask if you represent previously self-published work at all. I have a YA post-apocalyptic/urban fantasy that I love and I think would be a really good fit based on this post. It’s my favorite story I’ve written but I’ve struggled to find its market as an indie. The readers who have found it have loved it. It’s currently still available for sale but if you’re open to a query I can take it down.

    Thanks!

    • eric says:

      Hm, it would depend really. If the sales are there, there's press, and the book looks gorgeous, I'd consider it. Couldn't say without seeing a full query though!

  4. R.D. Phares says:

    P.S. Literary website says submissions are closed until Jan 8. Should I still use their generic sub email and put it to your attention? Should I do that now? Or should I wait till the 8th? Don't want it to bounce.

  5. Do you have any aversion to self-published titles?

    • eric says:

      To represent and try to sell to a bigger publisher? It would have to have a lot of solid reviews, sales, and attention around it.

      If it's in-general, as in, would I have a problem with an author who has self-published books, the answer is no. Several of my authors have self published before. It shows hustle. It makes me love them more. 🙂

  6. This is really helpful. Super thankful for your attention to detail! My query will be in your inbox Monday morning! (Also, hope the time off with the family has been great; as a daddy of two, I know how crucial it is to take that time when you can get it).

  7. If I queried my travel humor book last year without response, might you be open to it this year if I query again? New year, new opportunities?

    • eric says:

      Can't hurt to try! I loooved No Touch Monkey! from a few years back, and would be up for seeing something like that in my inbox.

  8. J.R. Gordon says:

    I'm excited to have found you, Eric! Like the website and requirements. I'm happy to send a query for my literary fiction novel come tomorrow!

  9. Jon Davis says:

    Hi, Eric,
    I was curious. What about book series? Do you have requirements about those, if you do take them on?

    • eric says:

      I've sold two trilogies! I like series, as long as the first book could potentially exist on its own. If not, then its not for me.

      • Jon Davis says:

        Okay, thanks anyway. I appreciate the answer-back. (The series runs along the lines of the Eddings Belgariad series with the sense of 'to be continued' but I understand the necessity for the stand alone feel).

  10. Kat says:

    Hi Eric,
    How do you feel about romance novels with urban fantasy feels?

  11. Chelsea Craig says:

    You are the first person in the industry whom I've noticed mention Orson Scott Card while also bringing up his rampant homophobia. THANK YOU. I've been discouraged whenever I hear authors praise him without mentioning this issue at all.

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