Zoe Howard

Howland Literary

My Manuscript Wish List

After working with Howland Literary and Lookout Books while earning my BFA in Creative Writing and Certificate in Publishing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I am now building my own list of adult literary fiction and adult nonfiction. I am also a literary publicist at Pine State Publicity.

More than anything, I am drawn to writing that lingers—on language, on character development, on the subtleties of character relationships, on place, on a niche subjects—and makes the details discovered there pop. I would love to read writing that explores boundaries: poets writing prose, region-specific writing about the coastal or “convenience store” south and the western United States, non-traditional narrators, unhinged women in fiction, and so on.

Across the board, I’d love to see:

  • Region-specific writing: Southern writers on the coastal and “convenience store” south, writing about the Western US. Specifically, I would love to see underrepresented voices from these regions. 
  • Writing that is fascinated with material culture in all forms: our objects, histories of the things we use and keep, consumer culture, relics, and so on. 
  • Off-kilter nature writing, or books set in muggy, remote, and enriching environments (show me your swamps, marshes, and the creeks behind your houses).
  • Melancholy: bring me your memoir and characters who know they can’t have what they want. 
  • Parasocial relationships between “normal” people and celebrities (or micro-celebrities), and codependent relationships. 
  • Writing about women on the internet, in all forms!
  • Stories that immerse me in the life of one person: their obsessions, habits, spaces, relationships, work, favorite things. 
  • Writing that appreciates religions and subverts our expectations about them.

In adult fiction, I’d love to see:

Voice-driven stories that subvert reader expectations of their subject matter.

  • Subversive, sexual, queer women gone rogue—Melissa-Broder-type characters who are shamelessly off-putting, and have not only rejected gender roles, but all social expectations entirely. 
  • “Not queer enough,” or not recognizably queer characters, bisexual characters, all LGBTQ+ characters experiencing joy. 
  • Contemporary, literary takes on the Western that critique genre tropes. 
  • Casual magic, or magical realism that is grounded in a mundane life. 

In adult nonfiction, I’d love to see: 

Narrative nonfiction, memoir, and essay collections that blend personal narratives with research.

  • Memoirs on the relationships between person and place. 
  • Writing about niche TikTok genres and internet culture. 
  • Essay collections that blend pop culture knowledge with personal narratives.
  • Writing that engages with para-social relationships, celebrity, and so on.
  • Religion/spirituality.
  • Any niche subject that the author is so interested in.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to https://querymanager.com/query/zoehoward

I am only accepting submissions via my personal Query Manager link. Please include your title, word count, genre, synopsis, and query letter. For fiction, please include the first 20 pages of your manuscript. For nonfiction, please include your book proposal.


Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Favorite sub-genres:
I'd like the next...

My favorites include...

Patti Smith, Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz, Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington, Heavy by Kiese Laymon, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Kevin Wilson’s story “A Room at Madame Terreur’s,” Pam Houston, Across the Universe, the Binchtopia podcast, Troop Zero, Empire Records, cowboy poetry, The Pisces by Melissa Broder, 1970s Classic Rock Legends, denim, A Star is Born (2018), Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, Ali Smith.

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