My Manuscript Wish List®
I’m an Editor at Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
Please note: The following are merely examples of the types of things I enjoy in storytelling, NOT the be-all-end-all of what is needed for a story to be “good” and not even a be-all-end-all list of all the things I enjoy. The more I do this job, the more I realize there are exceptions to everything, and I’ve certainly acquired stories I wouldn’t have thought I’d end up adoring. These are just some similarities shared by the stories I love.
Let’s get started, shall we? 🙂
I tend to lean toward commercial and high-concept novels in the middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) fiction spaces. My go-to genres include contemporary, fantasy, science-fiction, and mystery but I’m also open to other genres/sub-genres (thriller, novel-in-verse, fairytale or fairytale retelling, etc.).
My main goal at the moment (August 2023) is acquiring a YA Fantasy that has a lighthearted tone/is NOT dark fantasy – more on my fantasy tastes below!
Across MG and YA, I enjoy stories that:
- Have very conversational narrative voices, especially if the voice is funny/humorous or sarcastic
- Are generally lighthearted, though it’s fine if they touch on serious topics
- I ah-dore stories that take big life questions and build a plot around them (like Neal Shusterman’s Unwind and Arc of a Scythe series).
- Are based on the writer’s lived experiences and realities
- Feature strong and healthy friendships, romances, and/or sibling relationships (for me, you can have conflict without toxicity)
- Center characters who are part of historically underrepresented races/ethnicities/genders/orientations but aren’t “issue” books. In other words, stories that explore these cultures without the main conflict being about that aspect of the main character’s (or characters’) identity – though it can certainly still touch on and acknowledge the difficulties of being part of a marginalized community
- Are lighthearted/exhibit Black Joy…please!!
- Explore college/university life (still petitioning for New Adult to become a concrete category!)
In terms of genres for both MG and YA (and in no particular order):
- Stories set in glamorous/elite prep schools (Gossip Girl series, The Clique series)
- Boarding school stories that aren’t necessarily dark/thriller-esque (just kids dealing with the difficulties of forced proximity to different types of personalities)
- Teen/kid spies or con artists (The Gallagher Girls series, Alex Rider series, The Con Code)
- Whacky/silly stories (Sideways Stories from Wayside School)
- ROMANCE (especially romantic comedies!)
- Stories with healthy relationship dynamics and particularly the kinds of relationships the YA market hasn’t seen nearly enough of in traditional publishing, such as (but certainly not limited to): Black love; polyamorous relationships; relationships involving transgender and/or non-binary characters; relationships involving ace characters; etc.
- I love slow-burn—give me all the ~yearning~ and romantic tension
- Other beloved tropes: friends-to-lovers, enemies(or rivals)-to-lovers, fake relationship/fake dating, oh-no-there’s-only-one-bed, etc.
- High-concept fantasy with lush, intricate world-building (the Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space series) and clear magic systems (Children of Virtue and Vengeance)
- Royalty (Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard)
- Fantasy grounded in our world (Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky or Magic Tree House series)
- Stories set in our world with largely unexplained magical occurrences (Opposite of Always or In Some Other Life)
- Fantasy in a futuristic setting
- Fantasy with heart, humor, and a “classic” feel (How to Save a Queendom)
- We absolutely stan Amari and the Night Brothers over here! It has the exact combination of magic, technology, and lightheartedness that I ADORE (and am looking for)
- One of my dream acquisitions is a whimsical contemporary fantasy with a world that has the clever wordplay of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Phantom Tollbooth (NOT a retelling; the fun with words/language is the emphasis)
- Another dream acquisition is slice-of-life stories that take place in high fantasy settings (bonus if the main plot is a romance). In other words, the high fantasy elements are simply facts of that world and nothing more so they aren’t the focus
- Grounded sci-fi with super advanced technology (Iron Man, The 100 series)
- Dystopia and time travel stories welcome (All Rights Reserved, The Hunger Games, The Reluctant Assassin, The Selection)
- “Everyday”/regular life detective stories (Cam Jansen books by David A. Adler or the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol) or adventurous mysteries like the 39 Clues series
- Stories that involve puzzles, secret codes, etc. (Escape from Lemoncello’s Library, The Mysterious Benedict Society)
- Psychological thrillers in the vein of the Pretty Little Liars series
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (YA contemporary thriller)
- Golden Ticket by Kate Egan (MG contemporary)
- Twice as Perfect by Louisa Onomé (YA contemporary)
- And Other Mistakes by Erika Turner (YA contemporary)
- The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jairgirdar (YA contemporary romance)
- Study Break (edited) by Aashna Avachat (YA contemporary anthology)
- The Melancholy of Summer by Louisa Onomé (YA contemporary)
- The Changing Man by Tomi Oyemakinde (YA speculative thriller)
- Mermaids Never Drown (edited) by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker (YA fantasy anthology)
- Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao (YA contemporary platonic-comedy)
- Where Sleeping Girls Lie by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (YA contemporary thriller)
- The Beanstalk Murder by P.G. Bell (MG fantasy)
- Four Eids and a Funeral by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé and Adiba Jairgirdar (YA contemporary romance)
- Sisi Americanah by Jane Igharo (YA contemporary romance)
- Love in 280 Characters or Less by Ravynn K. Stringfield (YA contemporary romance)
Fun facts about me:
- I’m Nigerian (Omo Yoruba)
- I love GIFs and reaction pictures/videos (and rely on them heavily)
- I’m really a night person so yes, I may respond to an email at 3 in the morning…
- I LOVE bullet journaling and will happily talk about it with anyone who will listen.
Agents: if you have a manuscript that may interest me or if you just want to connect, feel free to reach out!
Authors: At the moment, I only accept agented submissions/queries. Please do not query me directly unless included in a conference I participate in.