Submission Wish List
The big picture: I focus entirely on children’s and young adult books. To that end, I’m looking for commercial-leaning middle-grade and young adult novels, and picture books by author/illustrators. I’m also open to non-fiction projects for these age groups.
Note: I feel conflicted saying I’m focusing on a diversity as if it is a “wish list” item, but I really am taking detailed stock of my list and the books I choose to shepherd to publication. To that end, I very much want to see more commercial fiction featuring kids of all backgrounds. Please know I am looking for you.
I like modern art styles, whimsical-with-heart stories, light humor, and simple read-aloud prose. I'd love books that comp to MAX THE BRAVE, WE FOUND A HAT, and anything by Emma Dodd. I'd love to see younger PBs for the 0-3 year set: rhythmic, lyrical, bed-time appropriate books for non-verbal kids. For the older PBs, something like THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK is my holy grail.
+100 for women and POC author/illustrators, whom I don't see enough in my inbox.
For the best sense of my taste, please visit the LDLA illustrator page.
Fiction (MG + YA)
My tastes run more commercial than literary, so I'm mainly looking for high-concept or commercial-leaning novels. That means big concepts, good plots, and good twists. I like to say my tastes lie at the intersection of timeless and fresh. (For examples, look at THE SELECTION, which draws on fairytales but remixes them, or BRIGHTLY BURNING, which is Jane Eyre in space. Both pull from literary tradition but update them in surprising ways.)
I’m not picky about genre (sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, contemporary, romance, historical, all good) so long as there's a strong plot (make me keep turning pages, please) told by a strong voice. I want books that I can come back to over and over again. I read to escape, not to get punched in the face, so take me far away with an irresistible voice, but don't make me suffer along the way. (This is to say: I am NOT a fit for issue-driven books.)
Keywords: imagination, escapism, other-worldiness, nerdy inspiration, high emotional stakes, diverse, plot-driven, heartfelt.
For picture books and middle-grade, I'd love to see topics kids would find fascinating explained in creative ways and formats, especially for the younger ages. For MG and YA, I'd also love to see narrative non-fiction, i.e. great, real-life voices with a rich, relatable, emotional story to tell kids.
Retellings will always pique my interest, but if I see another Peter Pan, Oz, or Alice retelling, I’ll scream. Shakespeare would be better. (As my favorite English teacher always said, “If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it must be Shakespeare.”)
Related to retellings: the more playful or inventive the update the better. Literal retellings can feel dull. I want things with fresh spins.
As of this writing, I have more room for MG on my list than YA…just saying…
Talking animals (in novels) are just not my jam. I’d rather read about people.
Christmas isn’t going to be a selling point for me. It’s not a nostalgic or magical event I can relate to.
Stories about spirituality or faith are interesting to me, but not with dogmatic or polemical bents.