September 10, 2012

Monday Pep Rally: Agent for a Day



If you've ever in your life attempted to get something published, you've undoubtedly heard something along the lines of "This business is so subjective." And you've probably been frustrated too. But of course, as readers, aren't we equally subjective? We don't just read whatever touches our fingertips at Barnes & Noble; we know what we like, and that's what we aim for... kind of like a literary agent or an editor!

Of course, one way to up your chances of getting published is to educate yourself on what agents are looking for. You can almost always find at least a general idea of their preferences on QueryTracker, an agency website, or by following them on Twitter. But perhaps most helpful of all is when an agent actually posts a wishlist, in which they state things as specific as "A redux of an Old Testament story" or "A book about a mermaid-centaur hybrid whose powers come from eating dead people." Or they might tell you that they absolutely don't want something like dark YA or paranormal or anything where werewolves teach sea turtles lessons about abstinence.

This week's question: If you were an agent for a day, what would be on your wish list?

Post your answer on your blog, then share the link in the comments below! Be sure to check out everyone's answers!

19 comments:

Tristina said...

I spent an entire morning thinking about mermaid-centaur hybrids the LAST TIME this came up.

For instance: HOW? WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?

*brainsplode*

Jane | @janelebak said...

Wouldn't a mermaid-centaur hybrid be a hippocampus?

Megan said...

So I came up with three SUPER GENERAL things for my wish list. :)

http://meganwhitmer.blogspot.com/2012/09/ya-misfits-pep-rally-monday-my-wish-list.html

Melanie Stanford said...

I'd like to read a ballet book. There's a couple I've heard about and put on my TBR but I've yet to read any.

Diana Gallagher said...

No lusting turtles on my list, but there's a little Beyonce!

http://dianagallagher.blogspot.com/2012/09/if-i-were-agent.html

Sarah Negovetich said...

I'd love to see more realistic magic/fantasy stories. The kind that are cemented in so much reality that you can't help thinking "OMG, that could totally happen. In fact I think it did happen to my neighbor."

Dahlia Adler said...

A hippocampus, huh? Man, it's a good thing I write contemporary because I know nothing, obviously!

Since this is my post, I'm just gonna leave my comment here, and YES I HAVE GIVEN THIS AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF THOUGHT.

I'd love to see contemporary romance, always. It's just my favorite thing in life. But NO TRIANGLES UNLESS THEY ARE LEGIT. I'd also like dark YA, especially school shootings for some twisted reason, but not so much the drug stuff. And DEFINITELY more manuscripts with psychological themes or just straight-up psychological thrillers.

For straight-up contemporary, unusual settings (boarding school counts, even if it's a little overdone) are definitely preferred, and I love me some band books - bring on your books about bands/music/musicians!

No sci-fi. No fantasy unless it's of the knight/castle/legend variety OR has a hilarious voice. In any and every genre, funny will always be the number one thing that makes me fall in love with your book. Y SO SERIOUS, some of you YA books?

And bible reduxes! Bring on the bible reduxes!

Carrie-Anne said...

I'd love to see more third-person YA. I'm taking YA Lit for a master's program, and at least 95% of the books on the reading list (both required and to pick among) are first-person. Most of those also seem to be first-person present tense. I'd love to see a return to the older style.

I'd also love to see some good historical YA. This "sexy historical" trend really bugs me, since I never read historical fiction to see contemporary characters in period clothes. The thicker the better. I'm always leery when I see a historical that's only like 250 or 300 pages, since it makes me wonder how much research really went into it.

In particular, I love historicals set outside of North America. I'd love to see more Japanese historicals, Russian historicals, more books set during WWI, some good Civil War historicals, something set in ancient India, prehistoric books, and something set during the Golden Age of Islam.

noellehenry said...

More straight up contemporary YA romances, whether they be sweet and funny or dark and edgy. I'd also love to see some historical YA romances set in unique time periods. Like Carrie-Anne suggested--WWI or WWII would be really cool.

Some more action-adventure YA thrillers would be really great too.

noblevalerie.com said...

Thank you for the prompt...I posted my answer here:
http://noblevalerie.com/2012/09/10/agent-for-a-day/

Marieke said...

I love this idea! My answers here: http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/musings/?p=1780

Spoiler: FANTASY <3

Jenny Kaczorowski said...

I posted mine!

http://jennykaczorowski.blogspot.com/2012/09/monday-pep-rally-agent-for-day-winner.html

Alex Brown said...

This prompt was awesome :)

http://alextriestoblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/puts-on-agent-hat-ya-misfits.html

erica m. chapman said...

I can't post on my blog because of pitch madness, BUT. I would be looking for something dark and twisted. I LOVE a good contemporary. I LOVE love stories, with the angst and the will they won't they and the mystery. Jennifer Echols does this SO WELL.

Great post!!! I promise I'll post next week!

Darci Cole said...

I don't have time to write a post on this, but here's my answer: I LOVE love stories and adventures mixed into each other. I love fantasy, magic, and mystery. More stuff like Mistborn, Belgariad, Eragon, Myst, and more. Stuff with it's own world, cultures, and history, where I can escape to. I eat that stuff up and I feel like it's not as popular as it deserves to be.

Amanda Foody said...

I'd be looking for more science fiction, historicals set in unique times, and romance that literally makes my heart ache.

N. Hughes said...

Ooh, great question! Okay...

1) Wit/sarcasm/dry humor. This will get me involved in a YA book of almost any genre, even genres I don't usually read. For example, I almost never read contemporary, but I adore John Green.

2) Strong (but realistic) female characters who are confident in themselves, speak their mind, and never simper (unless they're secretly stealing the simper-ee's wallet).

3) An impossible romance. Forbidden love (classic Romeo and Juliet, but the "forbidden" part has to be truly believable, not just "Mom said I can never see you again! *sob*"), mortal enemies (see: Legend by Marie Lu), etc.

4) Something that sucker-punches me with the unexpected, like in the movie Breaking Dawn part 2. Although I despise many aspects of the Twilight series, you gotta admit when you saw that one part where the camera panned down, you felt it in your gut. I like that feeling, and it's even better when it's COMPLETELY out of the blue, but makes total sense. I love that "Why didn't I REALIZE that? OF COURSE that had to happen!" feeling.

5) Fantasy with a twist. There's a lot of humble heroes born to save the world. What about the bad guy? What if they were one-upped by an EVEN WORSE bad guy, and were forced to save the world? See: Megamind.

Kim Kasch said...

Horror, or suspenseful horror, or romantic horror...I think I see a theme here

Q said...

Great question. ^_^ Way to distract anxious Pitch Warriors!

Me? Dark, spooky, quirky, twisted = <3

My (ridiculously specific) list is here:

http://whimsyandwords.blogspot.com/2012/12/monday-pep-rally-agent-for-day.html

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