Gemma Cooper

Gemma Cooper

The Bent Agency

My Manuscript Wish List

I represent authors who write for children, from picture books to young adult, fiction and non-fiction.

My client list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions. I love younger fiction, and have a soft spot for funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with series potential. For middle-grade, I’d love to see a good mystery or adventure, but really any MG with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting (historical, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, thriller). For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting and I’d love a standout YA romance or something with strong friendships or sibling relationships. For picture books, I’m only looking for author/illustrators at the moment, ideally with a big hook/short text and an obvious on-sale date (books for Mother’s Day, Halloween, Christmas etc.) Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention, particularly in the chapter book and MG market. For non-fiction, I’m interested in history and science, but want very accessible books with an obvious hook.

More specifically right now I would like to see:

  • Animal POV for fiction
  • Romance, romance, romance for YA – I love to fall in love
  • Big concept, commercial MG
  • Movie X meets Movie Y pitches – I love a good one line pitch
  • 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!
  • Books that have obvious potential for animation
  • Graphic novels for young fiction – on a big reading kick of these recently
  • A parody on the paranormal trope
  • Funny characters, funny concepts, funny storytelling
  • Fiction set during WWII or the Chicago World’s Fair (will look at most MG historical fiction actually)
  • The movie Pump Up The Volume in book form
  • Contemporary’ish YA – YA with a twist, like THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER
  • 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,  Dangermouse, Ren & Stimpy
  • Author/illustrated picture books

Things that probably aren’t for me

  • Very high fantasy – if your fantasy is more romance than revolution, I’m your gal, but I need the epic romance in my epic fantasy!
  • Heavy issue books. I’m not the best person for a very depressed MC, or books involving self harm
  • Historical fiction that is very American – Civil War era for example.
  • Picture book texts

Ultimately, I will always fall in love with something if the voice sucks me into the story, so if I haven’t specifically mentioned your project, do still think of me!

Fun facts about me:

I am a twin and my brother is my favourite person in the world

I currently live in Chicago, but previously have called London, New York and Cambridge home

As a kid, I was obsessed with Egyptian history, and could write in fluent hieroglyphics

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

Please email cooperqueries[at]thebentagency[dot]com with the first 10 pages of your manuscript embedded/pasted in the email alongside your query letter. For author/illustrators, please paste your text, and attach 3 or 4 low res images alongside links to your portfolio.


I look forward to reading!

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Fiction: Children's, Picture Books, Young Adult

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary YA, Diversity, Humor, Illustrated, Literary Middle Grade, chapter books, picture books
I’d like the next…


Inside Out

My favorites include…

My favourite books:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Once by Morris Gleitzman

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Landline by Rainbow Rowell (I love anything she writes)

The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams


My favourite movies:

Hot Fuzz


Groundhog Day 


And finally, favourite TV:

Red Dwarf


Buffy the Vampire Slayer

My Upcoming Events: