Around the world, what are agents and publishers looking for?

Next week I’ll spend four days in the ancient cave town of Matera at the Women’s Fiction Writers Festival. The conference is open to men and women and it focuses on what’s happening around the world with books.

I received this extremely informative list of what agents in which countries are looking for in their manuscript submissions. It’s a priceless guideline. Read on for an insight into the international publishing scene.

USA

CHRISTINE WITTHOHN BOOK CENTS LITERARY AGENCY
“I’m looking for: nail biting mysteries and thrillers that pull me in and don’t let me go until the final page; romances that have me falling in love with the hero and cheering for the heroine; compelling women’s fiction that makes me laugh out loud or cling to a box of tissue from my sniffles; and young or new adult that has emotion and angst coming off the pages in waves.”
KIMBERLY CAMERON - KIMBERLY CAMERON & ASSOCIATED LITERARY AGENCY
“I am looking for fiction of all kinds, including historical, contemporary, women’s, science fiction, and horror (no kidding!) In the world of non-fiction, I like history, popular science, biography and memoir.”

DEBORAH GROSVENOR - GROSVENOR LITERARY AGENCY
“I am looking for story-driven nonfiction and quality commercial fiction, historical fiction and mysteries. I love books with an exotic setting, particularly set in Italy and the American South. If I had to name the perfect novel, it would be big, set in another time and/or place, have a rich and intricate plot, and have characters so well defined and colorful that we would feel a real sense of loss when the book ended.
For nonfiction, I love history, biography, politics, current and foreign affairs, memoir, science, food, health, the environment, adventure and travel.”

PETER MILLER - PMA LITERARY AND FILM MANAGEMENT
“The world of publishing and what literary managers such as myself do to represent new authors is evolving on a weekly business. I have been doing this for decades and do it every day, globally so I have a little experience. An author must not only have a great book, and great future but also have a specific knowledge and game-plan of how to build social media in order to grow their fan base. I look for authors who write cutting-edge fiction or non-fiction with global marketing and motion picture and television production fiction. I have made many authors millions of dollars and at this stage of my career I only take on major clients and projects and clients and sincerely hope you are one of those authors. My goal is to think BIG, and DO BIG and BIG THINGS will happen”.

ANGELA JAMES - CARINA PRESS
“Carina Press will consider most genres of adult commercial fiction (we do not publish inspirational, women’s fiction, family sagas or literary fiction). If your manuscript is 15,000 words or longer and is a genre adult fiction story (that is not inspirational fiction, women’s fiction, family saga or literary fiction) we will consider it! We will not look at manuscripts under 15,000 words, nor will we consider YA, children’s books or any non-fiction, including poetry and memoirs. We publish a majority of romance but are also very interested in and publish science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thrillers, and niches such as steampunk, male/male, time travel, westerns, futuristics and unusual historicals. If you have something new and fresh in a genre we acquire, we would be happy to read your story.
Important note: We do not require non-romance genre fiction books to have romantic elements. We read, acquire and publish non-romance with no romantic elements as well! If you have a mystery, thriller, science fiction or fantasy that has no romantic elements, we want to see it”.

UNITED KINDOM

JULIA CHURCHILL AM HEATH LITERARY AGENCY
“I’m looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA fiction. I’ll also be scouting for adult writing talent for my AM Heath colleagues in London. For one-on-ones, I’d like to see a short pitch and the first ten pages.”

LEAH THAXTON - FABER&FABER
“I am looking for humour, spirited adventure and passionate storytelling. Archie Green and the Magician’s Instruction a sort of young Harry Potter typifies what I am looking for and has already sold in 9 territories prior to publication. In YA, strong, voice-led drama is key, the likes of Winterkill, a powerful and lyrical trilogy that sits alongside Patrick Ness with its restrained prose and acutely observed narration.  As ever, I am on the lookout for fresh storytelling and stories that burst off the page – or quietly shimmer upon it!.”

KIMBERLY YOUNG - HARPER FICTION
For the HarperFiction Commercial Women’s Fiction imprint, the team is actively looking to add to its brilliant list of big brand authors and sparkling debuts. This month we have hit the HB top ten with The Holiday Home by much-loved Fern Britton, published R&J debut pick The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke, have hit the top 20 with Churchill’s Angels our new saga series by Ruby Jackson and are launching the much anticipated sequel, Revenge Wears Prada by global bestseller Lauren Weisberg whilst hitting the digital charts with a hot new adult book, The Edge of Always by JA Redmerski. I think these books illustrate the range of amazing authors we publish and are seeking to acquire.”

FRANCE

STEPHANE MARSAN - BRAGELONNE
“Having been the #1 French Fantasy publisher for the past 12 years I’m still very eager to find great Fantasy novels: epic, captivating, with great scope and larger than life characters, but more importantly with emotions: human feelings, desires and goals matter far more than world building or strange artifacts. Magic lies in the heart of the protagonists. I want compelling heroes and moving antiheroes. I’m also looking for Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Horror, preferably with a strong romantic and/or sexy content, and all kinds of romance: paranormal, historical, contemporary, YA, erotic”.

ITALY

JACOPO DE MICHELIS  -  MARSILIO EDITORE
“I am looking for thrillers, preferably thrillers with a social context, and literary fiction. Generally speaking, I prefer authors with a specific viewpoint and a specific voice; authors who look at the world with new eyes and can tell a story in a new fresh way. I am not interested in commercial fiction but rather in quality literary fiction which however can be marketed, and which can generate enthusiasm among readers, make them think and make them feel”.

DONATELLA MINUTO - GIUNTI EDITORE
“I am looking for emotionally compelling or humorous women’s fiction across all genres. The important thing is that the book must work. I am on the lookout for thrillers, mysteries or books with suspense, both Italian and foreign, for historicals, crossovers and romances”.

GIULIA DE BIASE –  SPERLING & KUPFER
“I am looking for women’s fiction, whether of emotional journeys or family stories or love stories up to and including erotica. Whatever the genre, the one thing I am looking for above all is stories that entertain. The books must be written with the reader in mind, they must be plot-driven and they must be compelling for the reader and must give the reader what s/he wants–emotionally compelling stories with characters the reader can identify with, the kind of plot the reader simply has to read to know how the story ends. that’s what I want–stories from storytellers”.

MARIA CRISTINA GUERRA  - THESIS AGENZIA LETTERARIA
“We’re looking for women’s fiction with a humorous twist, family sagas, love stories and even chicklit as long as it is fresh and possibly in an Italian setting. We’re looking for mysteries particularly with female leads, thrillers and erotica. Whatever the genre, however, it must be a compelling and entertaining read, it must grab the reader right from the start. The story must be emotionally compelling, a real page turner. We also like real life stories told in first person, particularly if there is a strong and very personal voice and the story is moving. We are not looking for fantasy or horror”.

GERMANY

MARIA DUERIG - ULLSTEIN
Ullstein Buchverlage is publishing about 300 titles/year, fiction and non-fiction, hardback, trade and mass market paperback which makes Ullstein Buchverlage one of the top ranking publishers in Germany with a considerable number of bestsellers each year. Our non-fiction is mainly narrative and covers memoirs, popular science, humour, sex, celebrities, current affairs and all kinds of topical issues.
“As editorial director for fiction I am looking for a large range of titles, upmarket literary novels, thrillers, mysteries, women’s fiction, historical novels, romance, adventure, humour. I will not read fantasy or childrens books, but might consider YA with cross over appeal. One of my major aims is to build up authors over time and to strengthen our backlist, in short: to be a publishing house our readers can turn to regularly and find “their” authors and “their” books”.

matera

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2 Responses to Around the world, what are agents and publishers looking for?

  1. Ingrid says:

    I might just see you there Lisa! Just working out the logistics!

    Ciao, Ingrid

  2. Lisa says:

    Hope so Ingrid – introduce yourself!
    ciao
    lisa

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