New year means new opportunities and for many writers, a new shot at finding the perfect agent to represent their writing. But what exactly are agents looking for in 2019? Well, we’ve done the hard work for you!
From children’s picture books, to YA, true crime and psychological horrors, we’ve got their wish lists for 2019. Have a look below and find the perfect match for your manuscript. Enjoy!
In 2019, Emma Finn, agent for C&W Agency will be searching for ‘more diverse voices writing stories we don’t tend to see; a big, brilliantly observed love story with real heart (like Normal People); a tightly plotted family or community drama (think Little Fires Everywhere); a strong crime debut in the vein of Tana French; and a high concept novel with a fantastic pitch and characters that live up to it. I always love to see a really strong sense of place, great dialogue and if I fall for the voice or dynamic at the heart of a novel, I will happily take a chance on a book even if there is a lot of work to be done’.
Sandra Sawickafrom Marjacq Scripts would love to find a moody historical, a ghost story with a good modern spin, or a thrilling court drama in the vein of American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson.
While Imogen Pelham, also an agent with Marjacq, has said that she would ‘love a brilliant twisty mystery, a big family drama, and more narrative non-fiction which finds the extraordinary in the ‘ordinary’.’
Laura has said she’s looking for ‘literary fiction, general commercial fiction and historical fiction, in general. In particular, I’d love to see some more uplift, big love stories, and really moving family dramas. I’d also love to see some really good original gothic or horror stories’ in 2019.
Madeline Milburn agent, Hayley Steedis searching for ‘commercial fiction across all genres including contemporary women’s fiction; uplifting love stories; high concept novels; grounded sci-fi; speculative fiction; gothic novels; horror; feminist reads; magical realism; tense crime and thrillers; cross-genre books; true crime and compelling memoirs, non-fiction focused on sport and female voices’ in 2019.
Julia Churchill, an agent with AM Heath and Co, is ‘open to storytelling for children of all ages, from picture books up to YA. I tend not to be prescriptive about what I’d like to see as each project I love surprises me and is unexpected’.
Tom Witcomb, an agent with the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, is ‘a big fan of horror and don’t think publishing has quite nailed it yet, so I’d love to see something along the lines of The Others, Little Sister Death, Babadook, Under the Shadow, or Hill House. Think ‘cerebral horror’ rather than traditional ‘haunted house’. Again, I’m not a fan of Victorian settings, so Woman in Black and Silent Companion aren’t for me. I’d like to find a cool espionage fiction with a repeat female lead, and a stylish international pilgrim-esque quality. I’d also like to find a moody atmospheric historical fiction (not Victorian), think Gallows Pole.
One of the biggest changes we’ll see this year comes from the Andlyn agency, Davinia explains, that ‘2019 will see the agency remit expand to include adult fiction and non-fiction. In the main I’m looking for commercial material and tend to lean towards lighter hearted fare. Most importantly I want to see stories which reflect a wider range of backgrounds. For example: a cosy crime a la Miss Marple with a Windrush generation sleuth; a Mummy Diaries type tale in a, less, frankly, middle class setting (and that does not necessarily mean gritty!), or a rom-com in an ageing static home community. Basically, much loved narratives which have been approached from outside the box. I’m not particularly looking for heavy sci-fi or high fantasy but would be interested in seeing material which could sit next to Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series.
On the non-fiction side, I’m very open as long as its information presented in a unique way. I’m not particularly on the look for memoirs, however. On the Children’s side – I’m no longer looking for illustrators or author/illustrators. My Picture Book list is closed, but as ever I’m on the hunt for middle grade and YA. All types of funny is generally a good thing when it comes to tone and again inclusivity is key.’
Going by these, 2019 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for writers. As we receive more wish lists, we’ll add them here, so keep your eyes peeled!
Don’t forget, you can peruse full agent profiles on AgentMatch. Not a member yet? That’s okay, start the year off in the right way and sign up for a free trial here.