Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
My Manuscript Wish List®
Across the board, I look for a strong voice that sucks me in and fascinating characters who I want to spend time getting to know. I love stories with a central character arc where I get to watch a character grow and change, as well as stories that explore deep relationships between people. I’m always eager to see books from diverse voices.
I’m equally excited about books that are an absolute blast to read, and ones that will break my heart (as long as they still include a dash of hope!). I’ve also found that I’m a sucker for a slow-burn relationship, whether that’s a friendship or a romance—give me characters who aren’t so sure about each other to begin with, but who grow to have a deep connection. Right now, the categories I’m most looking to build in are adult upmarket fiction, young adult, and middle grade.
In both middle grade and young adult, I have a special soft spot for heartfelt contemporary and character-driven fantasy. Other genres I love include, but aren’t limited to, horror (particularly supernatural or cosmic horror), science fiction, adventure, historical fiction, and rom-com, as well as projects that blend genres in creative ways.
In adult, I’m especially seeking upmarket and commercial fiction, particularly in contemporary, speculative, and historical. My favorite books in this category are those that combine a strong hook and a propulsive plot with deeply developed characters and pervasive themes that will stay with the reader long after they turn the final page.
I’m also seeking adult fantasy that is grounded in some way—whether that’s contemporary fantasy, or a story with a specific hook to the world building or magic system, or a world that doesn’t feel too far away from our own. Books in this vein that I’ve loved recently include EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire, WITCHMARK by C.L. Polk, and THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern.
Additionally, I’m seeking select graphic novels, narrative nonfiction for children and adults, and picture book projects, especially those which would be a great fit in the classroom.
Here are some other specifics that I’m always eager for:
- Queer characters of all kinds, and especially stories about transgender, nonbinary, and asexual characters
- Genre blending
- Boarding school/university settings
- Theater stories
- Sports and competition stories that center underrepresented characters
- Dark academia
- Nautical settings (ships, lighthouses, anything with ocean vibes)
- Found families and sibling stories
- Fresh takes on old classics
- Unexpected subversions of familiar tropes
- Stories that deal with language
- Niche interests or groups
I am not the best fit for:
- Parody or satirical fiction
- Legal thrillers
- Stories about deadly viruses
You can query me at https://querymanager.com/query/michaelawhatnall.
Please see the link below for full submission guidelines for querying an agent at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. Every single query that comes in is reviewed, so please do give us 6 – 8 weeks for response.