Emelie Burl

Susan Schulman Literary Agency LLC

My Manuscript Wish List®

Emelie joined Susan Schulman in 2021 after fourteen years of working as an independent bookseller. She is looking for books for all ages. She loves stories with hope and humor with an edge (Edward Gorrey, David Sedaris, Jenny Lawson), strong female leads, LGBT+ and/or BIPOC Joy, and magic of all sorts. She does not love stories centered around murder, suicide, or sexual assault. Some of her recent favorite books include The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab, Foxheart by Claire Legrand, and Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson.


Right now I’m really looking to build my adult narrative nonfiction list, with a big emphasis on the word narrative. I absolutely love learning about the world, different cultures, and the way that things work, but I truly believe that the best way to learn anything new is through story. Books that I wish I represented in this category would be Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, which changed me on what felt like a biological and spiritual level, But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman, which made me rethink everything I thought I knew, and Stiff by Mary Roach, which fascinated and entertained me in the weirdest way possible. I’m interested in all sorts of subjects, as long as you make it fun and interesting, but I tend to steer clear of anything directly dealing with religion or politics.

My picture books list is very full right now, so I’m not really looking to acquire in this area. However, the right book could get through. So in that vein, I’ll cautiously say that I love clever, witty, laugh-out-loud stories like The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak, but I also love really sweet stories like Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima. I don’t love sickly sweet books that are too sentimental (think anything by Nancy Tillman) or books that are too on the nose about how to handle a new concept, like “new baby” or “how to handle death or divorce” books. If you’re going to tackle these things, it should be a part of a larger story.

When it comes to Middle-Grade books, I love the work of Erin Entrada Kelly, Claire Legrand, Rebecca Stead, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Dee, Terri Libensen, Kelly Yang, and Lemony Snickett. Basically: I love when authors know just how much darkness a kid can handle, and how to guide them through it. I also love fantasy, but give me less “the whole world is a stake” and more “my world is at stake.” Oh, and humor! Make me laugh as well as cry.

In YA, I’m all over the place, but the one thing I don’t love is thrillers. If you’ve written the next One of Us Is Lying, I’m not your girl. Don’t bring me your murders, suicides, or sexual assaults. That doesn’t mean that your books can’t tackle tough subjects, I just don’t want them to be what the whole book is about. Bring me your When Dimple Met Rishi comp, your witchy girl squad story, and all the diversity (racial, sexual, and neuro) you can find. Right now, I would love to see more indigenous representation in YA, but as with all my requests for diversity, I’m looking for stories where the tension isn’t all about that person’s diverse identity. Lastly, just as with MG, I love fantasy in YA, but I’m bored with “the world will perish if I, the chosen one, do not act now.” 

For Adult Fantasy, I have one rule: make it cozy. Basically, my dream is to have a book I represent show up on MegsTeaRoom on TikTok. So, send me your next Legends & Lattes, your next TJ Klune! Show me just how wonderful and magical the world can be. I love a good magical realism book and I’m all about character growth over political schemes. Sure, Frodo and Sam were on a very important mission and its important to hear that tale, but what was Rosy Cotton up to back in the Shire all that time? Was she waiting for Sam or was she dating other hobbits? How was her pub doing? (Please don’t actually send me your LOTR fanfic, but you get it).

Long story short: I might seem all over the place, but all I really want is to help make the world smile… with books. If yours fits that description, let’s talk.

Fun facts about me:

  • I’m currently playing in at least two different D&D campaigns.
  • I have two huskies who I love beyond any reasonable measure.
  • I’ve lived in three different states and two different countries. And counting!
  • I’m an avid knitter, yarn spinner, and gardener, stitching my homestead together one skein at a time.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to emelie@schulmanagency.com

Please send your query letter and first three chapters to emelie at schulman agency dot com