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! 
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