Gemma Cooper

The Bent Agency

My Manuscript Wish List®

I started my publishing career in 2010 in New York after eight years working in the recruitment industry. I’ve been lucky to live and work in Chicago and London since then, experiences that have given me a global approach to representation. I’m now back in London, where I work with authors all over the world and sell directly to publishers in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. I became a director of our London office in 2020 and have represented New York Times and Sunday Times bestsellers, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winners, the Australian Book Industry Overall Book of the Year, and books that have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Edgar Award, the Booktrust Blue Peter Book Award, and many more.

The best part of my job is getting to be the first fan of an unpublished book and then be its champion — nothing beats talking up your passions to other book lovers.

My list is typified by big-concept, commercial series fiction. I’m an upbeat person and I tend to connect to characters who are the same; my current client list is a great snapshot of my taste. If you can describe your book in one line, or in an ‘X meets Y’ elevator pitch, I want to read it. I like books that have obvious potential for dramatic adaptation, be they a funny pre-school TV series or a big-budget feature film. I’m very keen to see writers from underrepresented communities, particularly those who write chapter books and middle-grade fiction.

My sweet spot is middle-grade fiction, where I have the widest taste: anything from mystery to fantasy, historical to funny, adventure stories to serious topics, verse, illustrated, and all the gaps in between. Really, any middle-grade novel with a strong voice and/or a big hook will get my attention.

In young adult fiction, I’d love a standout romance, funny YA with a hook, or something high concept with strong friendships or sibling relationships – contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy based in the real world. I’m not the agent for YA high fantasy or books with dark subject matter.

I work on a lot of younger series and I love high-concept funny chapter books with series potential aimed at ages 7+. I’m also looking for graphic novels and highly illustrated books for emerging readers ages 5+, with simple concepts but laugh-out-loud pre-school humour. Author/illustrators in the chapter book, graphic novel, and middle-grade markets get my immediate attention.

I’m not looking for picture books. For children’s nonfiction, I’m interested in history and science, and anything that can be published in an interesting format. I’m also open to select webcomic adaptations in the areas of humour and gift books.

A few more things about me: I love Christmas, travel, choosing the perfect present, ‘90s movies, Murder She Wrote, Red Dwarf, cinematic world-building, being a bit extra, theme parks (especially impeccable attention to detail in theming), and a good twist I didn’t see coming.

More specifically right now I would like to see:

  • 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
  • Something you can comp to DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
  • 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 the Chicago World’s Fair
  • 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
  • Books set in Chicago and New York
  • Chapter books that remind me of shows like Phineas & Ferb,  Dangermouse, Ren & Stimpy

Things that aren’t for me

  • High fantasy – if your fantasy is more romance than revolution, I’m your gal, but I need the epic romance in my epic fantasy!
  • I’m not the person for books involving self harm, anxiety, abuse and depression
  • Historical fiction that is very American – Civil War era for example.
  • Picture book texts

Fun facts about me:

I have a twin brother.

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

I worked in NYC as a real estate agent for two years.

I love Disney and Lego

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