Cecilia (“CeCe”) Lyra
P.S. Literary Agency
My Manuscript Wish List®
CeCe is acquiring both fiction and non-fiction on the adult side. For nonfiction, she is open to most categories, across the spectrum, including psychology, history, current affairs, science, politics, narrative journalism, nature and the environment, wellness, spirituality, business and economics, mathematics, parenting, lifestyle, and pop culture. As for fiction, CeCe is open to all genres, and particularly loves stories with dysfunctional, messy, and flawed protagonists. Her taste gravitates towards literary and upmarket fiction (in the vein of EXCITING TIMES by Naoise Dolan, WHITE IVY by Susie Yang, THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett), though she is also looking for commercial fiction with smooth writing (such as SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid and THE HUSBANDS by Chandler Baker). Books that are centered around feminist issues have a special place in her heart. Above all else, CeCe is looking for a story she can’t put down. A detailed wish-list and description of her taste can be found below:
In terms of NONFICTION:
- My taste in nonfiction is eclectic: no title is too serious or too accessible. Demonstrable expertise/experience is a must when querying for nonfiction.
- I appreciate original, well researched proposals that culminate in paradigm-shifting takeaways.
- If your project has a social justice angle, then I might be the agent for you.
- I am a fan of books that expose what’s hiding in plain sight, whether it’s an untold story, the unseen side of things we think we know everything about, and/or projects that unlock unexpected and enlightening patterns/connections.
- Psychology is perhaps my favorite field in nonfiction. I’d love to read stories about therapists and their patients.
- The human brain is an endless source of fascination. I’d welcome paradigm-shifting nonfiction with a neuroscience bent, particularly titles exploring the nexus between neuroscience and other fields, e.g., neuropsychology, neurosociology, neuropharmacology, neuronutrition, etc.
- Nonfiction proposals with an intersectional feminist angle immediately catch my attention. A few issues I’d like to see examined: occupational segregation, equal pay, and emotional labor.
- A few of the themes that I’m looking for in terms of nonfiction include: Privacy; Big Tech vs. Government; Flexibility, Climate Change, and Infrastructure. Bonus points if you’re conveying an original idea through a counterintuitive angle.
- I find that the best nonfiction books both educate and entertain. A recent favorite includes GIRLY DRINKS by Mallory O’Meara, and an all-time favorite is INVISIBLE WOMEN by Caroline Criado Perez.
- I consider memoirs to be a blend of fiction and nonfiction. AFTERSHOCKS by Nadia Owusu, WILD GAME by Adrienne Brodeur, and MY BROKEN LANGUAGE by Quiara Alegría Hudes are my all-time favorites. A good memoir reads like a novel and is packed with conflict, tension, and stakes.
- I am NOT the right agent for the nonfiction categories of sports, music, and true crime. I do NOT represent children’s books or YA, though, of course, my fabulous colleagues at PSLA do!
In terms of FICTION:
- I am a sucker for novels about dysfunctional families. Extra bonus points if they’re wealthy (think HBO’s Succession) because, let’s face it, reading about rich people in trouble is fun. Super extra bonus points if there’s an immigrant angle in there.
- Family stories are like catnip to me, whether family of origin, family of partnership, or found family. I adored L.A. WEATHER by María Amparo Escandón and THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD by Claire Lombardo.
- I love novels that deal with female relationships. Think: best friends; mother-and-daughter(s); sisters (incl twins!); sisters-in-law; mother-in-law and daughter-in-law; and girlfriends. Bonus points above apply.
- Psychological dramas in the vein of THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain are high on my wish-list, as are high-concept thrillers that keep me guessing. I devoured WE WERE NEVER HERE by Andrea Bartz and WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews.
- I’m hungry for horror that leans on eerie, atmospheric, and unsettling. MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia will forever be a favorite in this space. I don’t mind gore, but I’m typically not drawn to it. I prefer to feel scared, not grossed out.
- I’m looking for stories featuring morally ambiguous protagonists! Give me your liars, your thieves. Your unlikeable peeps! I do NOT like reading about perpetually happy characters who spend their lives being good and moral (snooze).
- I would love to see stories that feel like straight-up contemporary fiction only to surprise the reader with a speculative twist. THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalila Harris is a favorite of mine!
- Stories about best friends set against the backdrop of competitive, high-stakes, art-based industries: this is what I live for! Think THE BALLERINAS by Rachel Kapelke-Dale and SMILE AND LOOK PRETTY by Amanda Pellegrino.
- For romcoms, my taste veers towards genre-blends, i.e., a romcom that’s also a family saga or a romcom com that’s also a thriller. DIAL A FOR AUNTIES by Jesse Q. Sutanto is a great example and my all-time favorite romcom.
- I am eager for more high-concept sci-fi and fantasy with literary and upmarket feel. Examples of my favorites in this space include THE POWER by Naomi Alderman, THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker, and THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.
- I enjoy select historical fiction, particularly those with a contemporary feel that lean into setting as a character, whether that’s a dwelling (THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett) or a country (THE HENNA ARTIST by Alka Joshi).
- I enjoy provocative humor—humor that challenges the intellect. I am open to comedy of manners, satires, surrealist stories, dark comedies, etc. Humor that’s also a little sad is my sweet spot. MARRYING THE KETCHUPS by Jennifer Close is a great example of a wickedly witty story.
- I’m a sucker for short story collections, particularly those with a hypnotic, slice-of-life feel. THE OFFICE OF HISTORICAL CORRECTIONS by Danielle Evans and TELL ME WHO WE WERE by Kate McQuade are favorites of mine. Bonus points for voice-driven, idiosyncratic writing.
- Contemporary fiction in the vein of Curtis Sittenfeld, Meg Wolitzer, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Delia Ephron is something I’m always looking for. Liane Moriarty is an all-time favorite author. (And, yes, Delia is my favorite Ephron. Sorry, Nora.)
- I am passionate about representing under or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation whether explicitly (e.g., a nonfiction title on social justice) or subtly (a comedy of manners about a mixed-raced Latinx family). BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, disabled or chronically ill, and neurodivergent authors: I would love to hear from you. I’d love to get more submissions from fellow Latinx writers. Feminist stories will always have a special place in my heart. To offend misogynists is both my mission and pleasure. My desire to represent under- or misrepresented authors does not mean that authors must write about their under- or misrepresented experience.
- As long as your work does not fall under a category/genre I don’t rep (see above), I would eagerly welcome your query. It’s impossible to list everything I’m looking for and, besides, I enjoy being surprised by reading something I wouldn’t have thought I’d love, but that I do!
Above all, I am forever grateful (I’m talking pinch-myself-every-morning level of gratitude!) for the privilege of working with writers in their work of bringing into the world stories that generate empathy, escape, and enlightenment. To everyone who queries me: please accept my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for giving me a chance to read your work. Thank you, truly.
Submissions should be emailed to email@example.com
We only accept submissions via e-mail. Queries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address your query “to CECILIA LYRA” in the subject line of the email.
Your submission should consist of the following:
- Paragraph One – Introduction: Include the title and category of your work (i.e. fiction or non-fiction and topic), an estimated word count and a brief, general introduction.
- Paragraph Two – Brief overview (this is where you hook us!): This should read similar to what is found on the back-cover of a published book.
- Paragraph Three – Creator’s bio: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
- Sample Material: If your work falls into the following categories: adult fiction, adult memoir, adult non-fiction essay collection, or children’s fiction and non-fiction, please include the first ten pages of text only (if your work is illustrated, please include a link to your portfolio or sample art) within the body of your e-mail. Otherwise, please limit your submission to just the three paragraphs as indicated above.
- Do not send attachments. Please use text within the body of your e-mail.
- Please do not submit a full-length manuscript/proposal unless requested.
- Let us know if your manuscript/proposal is currently under consideration by other agents/publishers.
- You will receive an auto reply confirming receipt of your query. If you don’t, please check your junk/spam folder.
- Please do not query multiple agents at the agency simultaneously – if you don’t receive a request for further material within 4-6 weeks it means a no from the agency.