As many of you know, I’m newish to this agent game, even though I’ve been in the world of books, words, writing, and reading for quite a long time. People ask, “So, as an agent, what exactly are you looking for?” I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the question and put just the right words on it. I really want to answer that question. It’s difficult though. I can way more easily tell them some of the things I’m definitely not looking for. The list rolls off my tongue with ease: I don’t do picture books, Romance, Thrillers, Mysteries, Horror, Western or Christian fiction. Except for that something horrific and incredible came my way (Hi Damian!) and I just couldn’t say no to it. It’s that fabulous (and still horrible).
What I realize, when I look closely at my clients’ work and the manuscripts that attract me in the slush pile, is that there’s a theme running through much of it. I’m very interested in stories that touch upon issues of identity. An out gay teen kid who’s tired of being that gay boy. A tween girl on an all-boy’s baseball team. Former psych patient teens finding their way in a dystopian future. A widowed woman who learns something surprising about her dead husband. Newly orphaned adult siblings navigating three different ways through the mourning process.
I like (reading about) people on the brink. I like (reading about) people finding themselves. I like (reading about) people losing themselves. My friends will laugh when they read this post because even though I feel like this is an aha! moment for me, this is actually what I’ve been talking about for 20 years.
How do I fit in? Do I even want to fit in? Who am I, really? And who are you?