Juliana McBride

Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List®

I represent authors who write adult literary and commercial fiction, young adult fiction, and select middle grade fiction.

At the moment what I’m really looking for are contemporary stories- what is commonly referred to as upmarket or bookclub fiction with a good hook and a strong voice. While all parts of a story should be in harmony, if I fall for the voice, it holds more weight than plot. I’m not afraid of mystery and suspense, and in the thriller space think psychological rather than police procedural. I’m a sucker for romance and especially witty dialogue and banter- but it has to feel fresh and utterly plausible.  I also love stories that are funny and sad; I want to go on that emotional journey with your characters!  And, I don’t mind a speculative angle or hook, but I am not looking for straight up fantasy or any kind of science fiction at the moment. I’m a big sucker for magic, but again, it has to be truly grounded in a contemporary setting if it’s there.

I’m a little full up on YA, but always drawn to stories grounded in contemporary settings; family, teen dramas with a heartfelt twist, romances, mysteries, thrillers and horror. If you can make me laugh out loud repeatedly, or cry, I’ll probably fall for your story! I’d love a really twisty dark academia YA. As with adult fiction, while I love a little bit of the impossible and fantastical, it very much needs to be grounded in the everyday, and feel fresh and genuine.

For the occasional middle grade project that I’m looking for, big feelings are wonderful, especially if  they deal with sensitive topics handled with a light touch, but the characters need to really feel authentic, and as follows, the voice needs to feel authentically middle grade.  Side note, for some reason stories that deal with divorce are probably not for me.

I love stories that take place in parts of the world or a time period not often explored, and I’m always looking for fresh new voices and underrepresented narratives.

I tend to be drawn to strong female characters, and quirky underdogs too. Regardless of genre the characters in your story have to be compelling and real, and the storyline not only believable but something I can’t put down. Don’t underestate emotional stakes and pacing. While I’m a fan of high-stakes as much as the next person- especially in terms of launching the beginning of a book, I think there is still a lot to be said for subtlety and economy of prose in the age of quick fixes.

All of the above aside, you can SURPRISE ME!  These wishlists are always so hard because I have so many exceptions to my “rules”.  If you think your manuscript might surprise and delight please please please send your query.





Fun facts about me:

I spent the first decade of my working life in book publishing, the second decade in the wine industry, and for this third decade of my employ I’m back on the other side of the book business and couldn’t be happier.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit your query via my querymanager: https://querymanager.com/query/JulianaMcBride

Guidelines & Details