Kelly Dyksterhouse

The Tobias Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List

I am looking to acquire middle grade and young adult novels and narrative nonfiction, as well as author-illustrator created picture books and graphic novels.

I am especially looking for high-concept middle grade and young adult novels with high-level writing.

For picture books, I am drawn to picture books that are character driven and have a strong narrative arc, and I particularly love books with a surprise or subversive twist to them that make me laugh. I also love lyrical texts with a classic feel. In terms of nonfiction, I am looking for nonfiction picture books about a little known period of history or that focus on the natural world.

In middle grade, I'm looking for a wide range of genres. I enjoy high-concept, fast-paced adventures with a commercial hook, either contemporary or speculative, as well as literary works featuring lush, lyrical writing. I love ghost stories, magical realism, historical fiction and mysteries--books that get you to look at the familiar in a different light and to see the possible in the impossible. For fantasy and sci-fi, world building is really important. I'm on the lookout for high-stakes adventures that take place in unique and immersive worlds and relevant themes. I enjoy books that feature ensemble casts, unlikely heroes, underdogs, surprise friendships and complicated, yet hopeful, family dynamics. I am particularly interested in books written by and featuring underrepresented voices in ways that showcase kids being kids in all the above scenarios. For nonfiction, I'm interested in projects that shed a light on a little known historical time period or discovery, projects that focus on the natural world, and issues of social justice. In all genres, I'm looking for beautiful writing and strong voice.

For YA, I'm looking for fiction that is layered, has a distinct voice, unique world building, and is grounded in a universal emotional desire. I seem to be drawn toward literary works that have a commercial hook, and I'm interested in genre mash-ups. So whereas I don't love sci-fi, I'd jump at a mystery set in space; I would also really love a historical that feels relevant or that has a light magical twist. I find that I'm especially drawn to YA that has vivid, immersive worlds or contained settings--settings that almost function as a character themselves. As with MG, I enjoy books with ensemble casts and fast action. I'm not usually a great fit for straight romance, but I do enjoy a romantic thread in all my books. I always enjoy a good enemies to lovers story. A couple of specific wishes: I would love a smart, funny heist, eerie thriller, and a rom-com that is layered and has thematic depth.

You can learn more about me and the kinds of things I look for in books at kellydyksterhouse.com.


Fun facts about me:

I love all things animals, traveling, hiking, boating, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and I have a particular talent for falling asleep during movies.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to QueryMe.Online/KellyDyksterhouse

Submissions are only accepted through Query Manager. For picture books, you may submit the entire manuscript in addition to your query. For novels, please submit a query, a one-page synopsis, and the first ten pages of your work. Illustrators, please make sure to provide a link to your portfolio or website.


Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Agent
Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children's, Commercial, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Historical, Literary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Picture Books, Young Adult
Non-Fiction: Biography, History, Science, Sports

Favorite sub-genres:
I'd like the next...
  • This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  • Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
  • Best Friends by Shannon Hale
  • The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson or Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • The Verdigris Pawn by Alisha Wishingrad
  • The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
  • Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

My favorites include...
  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
  • The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfield
  • Goodnight, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  • The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
  • Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • A Girl Called Mister by Nikki Grimes
  • Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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