Gemma’s 2017 Wishlist

2017 is here and I’m opening again to queries. I’m looking for a few wonderful authors and author/illustrators to join my list, and to help me find you, here are some detailed wishlist requests and a bit more about me.


My client list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions. Fun fact I’ve recently realised: Almost all my clients count THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams as one of their favourite books. That shared sense of quirky humour is something we all have in common, and something I look for in all my projects.

In general:
  • Funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential
  • Any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller)
  • For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance
  • Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention, particularly in the chapter book and MG markets
  • I’m looking for diverse voices, illustrators and stories across my list, but particularly for chapter books and MG. #ownvoices 


More specifically, I would like to see:

  • Animal POV for fiction
  • Romance, romance, romance for YA – I love to fall in love
  • Big concept, commercial MG
  • Murder She Wrote for YA – a little campy, with great settings and mysteries
  • Funny sci-fi – like HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE for MG
  • ‘Movie X’ meets ‘Movie Y’ pitches – I love a good one-line pitch
  • Gripping psychological thriller for YA that leaves you guessing until the end.
  • YA or MG with a unique way of telling your story – nonlinear narrative, novels in verse, multi POVs, letters, illustrated novels, or something else really creative!
  • Books that have obvious potential for animation
  • Fantasy MG with a strong voice and smart humour like THE VOYAGE TO MAGICAL NORTH by Claire Fayers.
  • Graphic novels for young fiction – on a big reading kick of these recently
  • A parody on the paranormal trope, with heart and real stakes. Think a Buffy spoof.
  • Funny characters, funny concepts, funny storytelling
  • Fiction set during WWII or the Chicago World’s Fair (I love most MG historical fiction)
  • Contemporary-ish YA – YA with a twist, like THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood.
  • My own DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES – I love dual POV
  • Meta books — books that break the fourth wall, a book within a book, books with in-jokes, books that reference themselves
  • Chapter books that remind me of shows like Phineas & Ferb, Danger Mouse, Ren & Stimpy
  • Author-illustrated picture books
  • I love living in Chicago, so if your book has a Chicago setting, please send
  • Clever twists on fairytales and nursery rhymes
  • Children’s non-fiction — I’m interested in history and science, but want very accessible books with an obvious hook


Things that aren’t for me:

  • Very high fantasy – but if your fantasy is more romance than revolution, then I’m your gal. I need the epic romance in my epic fantasy!
  • I’m not the best person for a very depressed MC, teen suicide books or books involving self-harm
  • Historical fiction that is very American – Civil War-era for example.
  • American sports books – I don’t really understand baseball, American football or hockey as much as I’d need to enjoy these
  • Picture book texts – I’m taking a break from these while I focus on my current picture book authors

Other facts:

  • I am a twin, so I love twin or sibling stories
  • I currently live in Chicago, but previously have called London, New York and Cambridge home – all these settings make me feel nostalgic
  • As a kid, I was obsessed with Egyptian history, and could write in fluent hieroglyphics


Favourite movies

  • Hot Fuzz
  • Heathers
  • Groundhog Day

Favourite TV shows

  • Red Dwarf
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Murder She Wrote

Best book I read in 2016

  • THE RADIUM GIRLS by Kate Moore – I would love something similar for the YA or MG market. 

Favourite Authors

  • Douglas Adams
  • Robert Rankin
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Jasper Fforde
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Erin Jade Lange
  • Jenny Valentine
  • Rebecca Stead
  • Kate DiCamillo
  • Katherine Applegate
  • Morris Gleitzman

I’m so excited to be open to queries as I’ve found most of my clients in my submissions – I can’t wait to read your work. You can follow me on twitter for more wishlist requests as the year continues @gemma_cooper

Email your query letter and your first 10 pages pasted into the body of the email to cooperqueries@thebentagency.com

Gemma's posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *