Editor: Dutton Books

Dutton Books for Young Readers

My Manuscript Wish List

Julie Strauss-Gabel, Dutton Books

img_2733Dutton Books for Young Readers publishes middle grade and young adult fiction and select nonfiction. My goal is to publish authors for a career, and I am lucky to have many long-term partners. This makes me highly selective, but not closed. I am always looking for exceptional new talents. For representative backlist titles, see the "favorites" sidebar.

My taste runs toward contemporary. My YA list tends to be older, with literary crossover appeal. Common themes and elements you will find in books I publish: smart humor, lyrical writing, coming-of-age stories, no fear of content, delight in the weird, a surprising twist or touch of magic, genre-blending, cues from folklore (but not typically retellings), intense emotion, honesty, reinvention. Though my list is mostly fiction, I'm always very open to exciting nonfiction and memoir.

There is no one definitive list, but some trends worth noting in my backlist:

Contemporary YA with adult/crossover appeal. Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars (John Green), Hold Still, We Are Okay (Nina LaCour), Anna and the French Kiss, Belzhar, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone.

Weird and surprising. Magical realism/speculative fiction. Grasshopper Jungle, Imaginary Girls, Spontaneous, Summer & Bird, Tales of the Peculiar.

Middle grade with a strong lyrical voice, lasting appeal. Adam Gidwitz, Furthermore, Summerlost, Wolf Hollow.

Not so much: high fantasy, sports, chapter books, trend-chasing. I'm open to anything done well, but books in genres I publish less (traditional/high fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, series) need to offer something that makes it uniquely right for me.

More than anything, I want the book that only that writer could write, and needed to write. Books that chase trend or are purpose-built for the market are not the books for me.

I always pay attention to quality writing, exceptional voice, surprising craft, and true ambition. I need to be impressed by the writing and voice within the first few pages. But while I'm looking for that immediate excellence, I believe very seriously in developmental revision. I need perfect building blocks, not a publication-ready manuscript. I expect writers to be willing partners in revision.

My list is eclectic, but I see myself and my taste in every title. I love working with agents who understand what connects those varied titles and know when they have something just right for me. I definitely don't need to see every submission. But my goal is to be the first person you think of for that perfect fit.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to jstrauss-gabel@penguinrandomhouse.com

I accept agented manuscripts and queries via email with your cover letter/pitch in the body of the email. If at all possible, please attach manuscripts as Word documents, not as pdfs. (Pretty please.)

Dutton and Penguin Young Readers accept simultaneous submissions, including simultaneous submissions within the division. Though it is not a requirement to submit, I am always appreciative of highly targeted/limited submissions and impressed when submissions reflect an insightful understanding of my list.

Please note that Dutton is not acquiring picture books.

Vital Info

Editor
Fiction: Children's, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Non-Fiction: Memoir

Favorite sub-genres:
I'd like the next...

My favorites include...

A very few of my personal favorite titles include Winnie-the-Pooh, The Westing Game, The Haunting of Hill House, and Feed. Shirley Jackson is a great example of my personal taste: strong writing and emotional honesty that's also transgressive and disruptive.

Select titles I have edited, include:

  • Summer & Bird by Katherine Catmull
  • The Matched Trilogy, Atlantia, and Summerlost by Ally Condie
  • This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl
  • The Grimm Trilogy and The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
  • Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  • The Theodore Boone series by John Grisham
  • Hold StillThe Disenchantments, Everything Leads to You, and We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • Sophomores and Other Oxymorons by David Lubar
  • Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
  • Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready
  • The Winnie Years series by Lauren Myracle
  • The Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins
  • Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
  • Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
  • Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
  • The Boy from the Basement by Susan Shaw
  • Grasshopper Jungle and The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith
  • Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
  • Popular by Maya Van Wagenen
  • All Better Now by Emily Wing Smith
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  • The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman and Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

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