Hannah Sheppard

D H H Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List

Hannah Sheppard studied English Literature at the University of Liverpool where she set up a small poetry press in her spare time. She has since spent over a decade working in trade publishing: first at Macmillan Children’s Books and more recently running Headline Publishing Group’s YA and crossover list where she published Tanya Byrne’s critically acclaimed Heart-Shaped Bruise.

She joined the D H H Literary Agency in 2013 because she realised that being an agent gave her more time to do what she loves most – using her editorial experience to help writers develop their ideas for commercial success.

Hannah represents authors across children’s fiction (from 9+ including teen and YA) and a small number of adult fiction authors (her main interests are thrillers and romance). Hannah does not​ represent picture books.

She likes stories that push the boundaries, have a strong voice and, often, a dark edge – although she’d love to find a great contemporary romance too.​

Fun facts about me:

I got into running during lockdown. I ran 800 km in 2020. I'm aiming for a 1000 this year. I've also set myself a challenge to run a half marathon every month this year - 21k every month in 2021. I don't know what possessed me and as July flies by my sense of dread grows... tell me what you've done to get yourself through these trying times.

I also love knitting, crochet, swimming, reading, vinyl, ice-skating (I'd love to treat myself to some off-ice skates so that I can figure skate without the rink...one day) and dream of some day having a dog.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to hs.submission@dhhliteraryagency.com

Please send a cover letter, the first three chapters (or about 10,000 words) and a brief synopsis (one page preferred). All work should be typed in size 12 font with double spacing for the extract.

I prefer this all pasted into the body of the email and will not look at attachments. Even if you can’t double space in this way I’d still prefer the initial submission in the body of the email but single spaced.

Please put ‘Query: Your Title*’ in the subject field. *updating this to your specific title...

Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be read - but I’m happy for you to resend your submission to correct this.

I will be in touch as soon as possible but if you receive interest or you’re offered representation elsewhere and haven’t heard from me please do let me know.

Please make sure you use my submission email address (hs.submission@dhhliteraryagency.com) and not my primary email - submissions sent to that address will not be read.

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Fiction: Children's, Commercial, Crime, General, Horror, LGBTQ, Middle Grade, Romance, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary YA, Crime & Thriller, Diversity, Feminism, Gothic Horror, Psychological Thrillers, Rom-com, Women's Fiction, love stories
I'd like the next...

Generally I’d love to see:

  • Clear, compelling hooks
  • Strong voices that pull me right in
  • Great storytelling and plotting
  • Diverse (in all senses) casts and authors

Specifically these are some of the things I'd like to find...

Children’s Fiction

1: Age 7-9: Funny Series Ideas – clear hook, not school based. Something that centres friendship between boys.

2: Age 9-11: Exciting stories where the world building is as rich as the magical plot (but with a contemporary feel, not a voice that feels overly authorial). Something that feels fresh when compared to the current magical middle grad market.

3: Age 9-11: Heart-lifting, emotional, but with humour to the voice and a clear hook.

4: Age 12+: Something funny. Maybe about sibling dynamics (actually, sibling dynamics could apply to 3 too)

Adult Fiction

1: Thrillers: High concept, dark, pacy, suspenseful, twisty, hooky (what’s the pitch line that makes certain I HAVE to read your book?)

2: Women’s: Fresh, concept led… funny

3: Women’s: Epic love stories with a twist to the idea…maybe a speculative element (The Time Traveler's Wife) or something quirky about the structure (One Day)

4: General/Women's: Big family/friendship group stories that make me feel. Think This Is Us, the latest series of Cold Feet, Life Itself (make me sob). What does it mean to be human, to love and to have misconceptions and flaws…

5: Crime: I love a cold case…like ITVs Unforgotten. The psychology of the criminal who has lived for years thinking they’ve got away with something only for it to be exposed with the police slowly circling in…

My favorites include...

2020 was a funny old year but the books that got me through it have made me think a lot about my wish list.

I struggled to read for pleasure for a lot of it and turned to audio books to see me through. Here I discovered and devoured Menna Van Praag’s books – The Dress Shop of Dreams, The Lost Art of Letter Writing etc. They reminded me of my secret favourite, cosy Netflix watch Good Witch and various made for TV Hallmark Christmas movies and I’d love to find a book/series that would appeal to the same audience.

The book that finally broke me out of my physical book reading slump was V. E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Adie LaRue – I got completely lost in it one Saturday afternoon in that delicious way that sometimes happens when you don’t look up for hours without realizing it. It made me think of The Time Traveler's Wife and to a degree The Binding and I’d love to find something that had a big, original idea at its heart.

In children’s fiction I’m also looking for those hooky, original concepts – mostly in middle grade (readers of 8+) and some teen and YA. In middle grade funny would also be great.

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