A new year, a new wish list

Happy 2012, everyone! I trust you all enjoyed the holidays and had memorable New Years Eves—and if you can’t remember them, so much the better…

Well, now it’s back to work. As promised in my last blog post, here’s my wish list for 2012. Dedicated readers of the DGLM blog might recall I posted similar lists at the end of 2010, but now with a full year of agenting under my belt I’ve tweaked the list a bit to reflect the areas I’ve found myself focusing on, as well as the areas where I’ve had the most success:

ADULT NARRATIVE NON-FICTION: This is definitely the most exciting category to me right now. If there’s an amazing book-length true story out there, I want to hear it. History, memoir, sports, music, immersion journalism, popular science, health, animals—whatever the subject, if you’ve got the credentials to write about it, send it my way.

ADULT MEN’S FICTION: I’m certainly still in the market for good, original thrillers and mysteries. However, after falling in love with THE ART OF FIELDING and enviously witnessing its success, I’d love to expand a bit into more literary territory. I’d love to find a Tom Perrotta, a Nick Hornby, a Chuck Palaniuk, a Don Winslow—in other words, a great storyteller with writing chops. And if it’s genuinely funny, so much the better.

MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION: I’m still looking for that great middle-grade adventure to take the place of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson—who’s going to step up in 2012 and deliver?

REALISTIC YOUNG ADULT FICTION: Looking at the YA clients I’ve signed this year, I’m realizing that while I certainly enjoy a well-done YA fantasy, more often I’ve been drawn to realistic teen fiction. Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t be high-concept or have a fantasy/sci-fi element—think Pete Hautman, Libba Bray, David Klass, M.T. Anderson—and historical fiction is certainly viable if the era hasn’t already been done to death. Basically, what I’m really looking for are those teen characters, perspectives, and issues that feel true to an actual teen’s experience, as opposed to the more escapist words of paranormal/dystopian fiction.

PICTURE BOOKS: Nothing really has changed here: I’m still pretty much only interested in professional illustrators who can write. It’s about time someone created the next great children’s book character or a high-concept project like Bob Staake’s LOOK! A BOOK! One new thought: if anyone’s got a good nonfiction project, I’d love to see it, too.

Being that it’s the first day back in the office, preceded by two nights of staying up late to watch the Giants and Rangers (bless you, DVR!), I’m still a little foggy and probably forgetting some key areas. But hopefully that’s enough to open up the floodgates, and I’ll probably revisit as the year goes on. After all, to me that’s one of the most enjoyable things about agenting—as the market shifts, so can your areas of interest.

Best wishes for 2012, and let’s see what you’ve got!

3 Responses to A new year, a new wish list

  1. Jemima Cole says:

    I’m pretty sure I could be the next Joe Perrotta.

    I doubt, though, that I could be the next Tom Perrotta, author of Joe College, who I think is who you meant.

    • John says:

      Jemima, surely you’re familiar with Joe Perrotta’s bestseller OH, HOW I LOATHE MY OLDER BROTHER TOM?

      Seriously, thanks for the catch. Indeed, I had JOE COLLEGE on the brain, plus I have a client named Joe for whom Tom Perrotta wrote a blurb.

  2. If I love Tom Perrotta, does that make me less girly somehow? Every time I read his books, I get caught up in this, “Why am I doing this to myself? These people are horrible!” But, I can’t look away. I thought Little Children was completely engrossing. My husband just thought it was gross. Oh well.

    Someone out there wants realistic YA! This is so exciting.

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