View Full Version : Agent Wish Lists

08-13-2016, 08:28 AM
After lurking for a while on the Agent Wish List site, I've come to the conclusion that most of them, at least in the YA genre, are looking for 1) YA versions of recent hit TV shows; 2) YA takes on current events, i.e.. "love at the Olympics"; 3) Anything LBGTQ (am I missing a letter?); 4) diversity; 5) different worlds; 6) exotic cultures, settings; 7) historical retelling of the classics in a YA format. Unfortunately, I don't write any of these things. It kind of makes it hard to start something new (see my other post in Novels).

08-13-2016, 09:14 AM
Wishlists are simply what they most want to see. It doesn't mean they don't want to see anything else.

Do you have a wishlist of things you'd want to see in books you buy, particularly things you don't see enough of? Do you never buy books that don't have those elements?

Write a brilliant book in a genre they like with no elements they hate, and they're not going to pass just because you didn't hit the thing they tweeted about wanting two weeks ago.

08-13-2016, 10:10 AM
Also, by the time you write and edit and beta and edit again a novel, those wish lists will have changed.

Old Hack
08-13-2016, 10:12 AM
Popmuze, I assume this is the thread in Novels you referred to (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?321346-How-Much-Is-Enough).

Sage, I think you've nailed it.

08-13-2016, 03:36 PM
Also, by the time you write and edit and beta and edit again a novel, those wish lists will have changed.
^^^ This +1

Not to mention the fact that while you're looking at the agent's wish lists, so are a thousand other writers, and by the time you're ready to query that "Game of Thrones/My little Pony techno-thriller" you saw being asked for on Agent B's list, they (and every other agent of techno-thrillers) may have already seen it done a hundred times.

08-19-2016, 11:19 PM
Exactly. After Hunger Games, everyone wanted dystopian. Now no one will touch it. Just write the story you want to write. Is there a chance you'll end up in the wrong market with it? Sure. But then write the next one and maybe you can dust off that first one later if the market shifts again.

08-19-2016, 11:48 PM
I had an agent reject one of my books that had a ghostly element in the end and said she isn't into paranormal that much and then when I came across her wish list, one of the things she had listed was ghosts, so you never know. I wouldn't go by the wish list even if they say exactly what they want. They could change their mind in a heartbeat.

08-20-2016, 12:28 AM
Not to worry. Nothing I write is even remotely on anybody's wish list. On the other hand, I've had sixteen books published.

08-20-2016, 02:06 AM
So I guess you had the answer to your own question all along :Thumbs:

Aggy B.
08-20-2016, 04:11 AM
Of course, the other thing is that you can look at the stuff popping up on MSWL and then write something else because chances are things that seem common to multiple agents are about to become oversaturated. (And I'm not talking about things like "diverse characters" but things like "ghost story set in a circus" or "YA Ghostbusters" etc.)

Personally, I think if you have a book ready to go agent hunting with, it doesn't hurt to look at MSWL and see if you can use it to focus your first round of queries. But that's different than writing something specifically because it's on a list.

Also important to note that a lot of the agents who rep non-YA stuff don't tend to participate in MSWL or PitMad or PitchWars, etc. So the overemphasis on YA in those events is more because agents who rep YA are there, but they aren't the entirety of the agenting world. (I don't think it's a question of younger agents being more tech savvy, and more like younger authors tending to want to use Twitter and social media to query more than they want to do the normal email/snail mail route. So the agents go where it seems the authors are hanging out.)

08-20-2016, 01:12 PM
Adding to the refrain that MSWL is not the only barometer to judge agent interest. It can be one useful data point, but as Aggy said, it may not realistically cover all interested agents.

08-20-2016, 07:11 PM

08-20-2016, 09:49 PM
So I guess you had the answer to your own question all along :Thumbs:
Most of them are non-fiction. My use of the Wish List was mainly to see if anyone was interested in the book I am querying. Or to see if they have it on a list of things they used to be interested in and are no longer looking for.