My Manuscript Wish List®
Samiha graduated from Brooklyn College with a minor in English with honors and a B.S. in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. She actively seeks YA and Adult fiction. She is also accepting MG fantasy and chapter book series. (Due to religious reasons, she works only with female authors at this time.) In order of what she wants:
MG, YA, or Adult Fantasy:
- Settings with generic monotheistic systems
- Magic-less/cozy fantasy, but yes! to mythical creatures like The Princess Academy or Dragon Slippers
- #OWNVOICE Second-world fantasy
- Adventure, quest, or character-driven plotlines
- Urban fantasy is acceptable if the setting leans dystopian
- Middle-grade fantasy like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine or Skylight by Patchree Jones
- Chapter book fantasy like The Magic Tree House series; contemporary chapter books are allowed if there is a Muslim protagonist ONLY!
- Dream projects: Wuxia, Balkan-inspired fantasy, prehistoric Earth as a setting (e.g., mammoths, dinosaurs), chapter book/early middle-grade horse or dragon series.
YA or Adult Contemporary:
- Upmarket fiction (literary aspects + commercial plot)
- Anything that explores culture
- Slice of life/high school stories
- New adult/Adult romances (bonus to see a non-super-rich love interest)
Adult Historical Fiction:
- All time periods, with romance sprinkled in
- She has a sweet spot for period romance (e.g., North and South, The Red Palace)
- Anything after WW2 might be a hard sell unless it has an interesting set-up, e.g., Bangladesh’s independence in 1971
- Dream projects: Regency-era fantasy, Tang dynasty-inspired fantasy
- Counter-culture essays/collections
- Career-based memoirs (think: James Herriot’s veterinary series) OR memoirs during important life or historical events
- Books about Muslim communities, events, and anything that includes science with Islam!
- Dream projects: essay collection critiquing post-modernism, modern beauty standards, and secular religion.
Overall things she likes:
- Muslims in fiction
- Retellings, folklore, or legendary beasts
- Stories that are anti-colonial/imperialist
- Little or no magic
- Women working with men, not against, re: Studio Ghibli movies
- Romantic aspects should focus on witty remarks/pining/emotional
- If you think your story is “too generic” for the market, chances are Samiha would like it
- If your story compares to ANY book she’s acquired, she’d LOVE to see it! There’s never enough of our stories
- F/f friendships as an integral part of a story as well as female villains!
- Don’t stress about word count or the three-act structure when submitting; Samiha believes a story can be told at any length and in any way
- The inherent diversity of Muslims. While experiences vary, she leans toward orthodoxy (Sufism is orthodoxy! Samiha will die on this hill)
- Samiha is a hands-on editor. She will comb through your work!
- Anything to do with France, Belgium, or Portugal that doesn’t address their brutality of indigenous peoples
- “Issue books” (if they serve only to bash a culture, people, etc., to appeal to the modern gaze)
- Any level of erotica (descriptive/explicit actions), heavy romance before marriage
- “Stabby” heroines or morally gray protagonists unless written purposefully
- Sci-fi (genre blends of sci-fi are OK e.g., goldenpunk or silkpunk).
Fun facts about me:
I have an identical twin sister (she’s really smart), and I like to crochet.
Submissions should be emailed to https://querymanager.com/query/ShaherazadShelves
Please familiarize yourself with the two imprints and what each is looking for before submitting. I accept both unagented and agented submissions.