Patricia Nelson

Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List®

I’m looking for middle grade and young adult fiction, women’s fiction (both upmarket and commercial), and select contemporary and historical adult romance. I am especially seeking novels by BIPOC, queer, and disabled authors in all genres that I represent.

On the young adult side, I have quite wide ranging tastes and am open to contemporary realistic stories as well as more fantastical premises (including sci-fi/fantasy as well as contemporary fantasy and magical realism) — as long as the book has a stand-out voice, beautiful writing, and a captivating and original plot. I tend to gravitate toward the quirky, strange, unusual and/or offbeat, and love innovative narrative structures when the author pulls them off.

For middle grade, I generally lean toward warm, heartfelt stories with pitch-perfect voice – and a touch of humor or a splash of magic doesn’t hurt.

On the adult side, I’m primarily looking for women’s fiction of all sorts, everything from lighter beach reads and romcoms to darker stories with a mystery or suspense thread. A compelling heroine, a strong voice, and a fresh, unique hook are key to grabbing my attention in this category.

Some specific items always on my wish list include:

  • heartfelt middle grade that deals with tough issues in a kid-accessible way
  • literary middle grade fantasy with immersive, imaginative worldbuilding
  • MG or YA novels by poets (either in verse or prose)
  • MG or YA in any genre that could be described as haunting, eerie and/or weird
  • clever, original MG or YA mysteries that keep me guessing
  • contemporary MG or YA featuring teens who get involved with their communities and care about social justice
  • MG or YA historical fantasy that brings a different time and place to life
  • cozy, Studio Ghibli-esque MG or YA that makes me want to sip a cup of tea in front of the fire
  • atmospheric YA or MG contemporary fantasy, especially anything witchy
  • voicey, diverse YA contemporary and/or romcoms
  • diverse YA fantasy with fresh worldbuilding and high stakes
  • magical realism in YA, MG, or women’s fiction
  • fun, splashy, diverse adult romcoms that will appeal to both romance and women’s fiction fans
  • historical women’s fiction set in the twentieth-century, especially if it sheds light on a real-world historical figure
  • upmarket fiction with a speculative twist, a la Station Eleven or The Power
  • LGBTQ+ protagonists in stories that aren’t (just) about coming out, bullying, or discrimination, in all genres/categories
  • fresh takes on female friendships or queer community, in all genres/categories
  • novels set in Michigan, Texas, California, Chicago or the Pacific Northwest
  • novels set outside the United States
  • in general, anything with a strong sense of place

And here are some recent movies/TV/pop culture I’ve enjoyed and would be excited to see books with a similar vibe:

  • For MG: Encanto, Turning Red, The Owl House, Netflix’s The Babysitter’s ClubThe Mitchells vs. the Machines, the documentary Lily Topples the World
  • For YA/adult: Yellowjackets, The Dropout, Ted Lasso, Dickinson, Palm Springs, Severance, The Afterparty, The Worst Person in the World, Shiva Baby, CODA, Plan B, Never Have I Ever, Taylor Swift’s folklore

Please note that I do NOT represent: nonfiction, memoir, adult sci-fi or fantasy, international espionage thrillers, chapter books, picture books, screenplays, or poetry collections.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

Please submit your query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript via form.

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info