Sunday, December 5, 2021

Ten agents at BookEnds Literary seek authors ~ everything from Board Books to Adult fiction and nonfiction

Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow
represented by BookEnds Literary

BookEnds Literary Agency

136 Long Hill Rd
Gillette, New Jersey

Note:  If you’re not yet on my newsletter list, send me an email, including your locale to: ~Brian

BookEnds opened its doors in 1999 and added its children’s division, BookEnds Jr. in 2017. They represent over 300 authors and illustrators. Altogether, there are eleven agents at BookEnds, with ten of them seeking new authors:

James McGowan is seeking board books, picture books, early readers and middle grade graphic novels, while for adults he wants mystery, suspense and crime, plus nonfiction dealing with current issues, popular science, and social science.

In board books and picture books. He appreciates a good laugh, and is always looking for a novel idea or fun spin on a familiar concept. In board books, a fresh concept is crucial. He loves heartwarming fiction, and books at the intersection of humor and warmth. James has a soft spot for nonfiction, and is interested in historical or STEAM topics.

James is always looking to add more illustrators to his list, especially those who have ambitions to write. He gravitates towards bright color palettes, witty and expressive characters, and creators who can tell a story in a single image.

In early readers and middle grade graphic novels. His tastes here run the same, and he’d love to find laugh-out-loud funny books. He’d also love to work on something with a paranormal or spooky/horror element. Think FAKE BLOOD or GARLIC & THE VAMPIRE.

In adult mystery, suspense, and crime, James’ tastes tend to be dark. He enjoys anything with a murder or missing person at the center. He looks for exciting settings, old tropes in new ways, and/or deep family secrets. He is open to dual timeline or multi-POV works. Titles and authors that inspire James’ list include Tana French, Attica Locke, and Rachel Howzel Hall, as well as The Push, and My Sister the Serial Killer.

In adult nonfiction he’d love to work on projects that discuss food, food insecurity, the education system, mental health, or race. James’ love of science runs deep, and his main goal with his nonfiction list is to work on projects that communicate cutting edge science in exciting ways. He’d love to see projects on psychology, astronomy, biology, ecology, weather, and climate. Bonus points if a popular science project weaves in current issues like The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan.

To query James go to: http://QueryMe.Online/jmcgowan   

Amanda Jain is currently looking for adult fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she wants adult horror, mystery, romance, upmarket & book club fiction, and science fiction & fantasy projects, and always enjoys historical fiction in all genres. 

In horror, Amanda would love to see submissions that feature coming-of-age stories like Stranger Things, stories that trend more psychological than bloody, and fresh takes on Gothic or haunted house stories.

In romance, she is particularly looking for historical projects that explore time periods often overlooked, such as 1930s America, or that show us well-known periods from a different viewpoint (eg South Asians in London during the Regency period).

 In any genre, she is most interested in those stories that transport the reader and provide a completely immersive reading experience. Some of her favorite non-BookEnds authors include Tana French, Simone St. James, Attica Locke, Tessa Dare, Riley Sager, Jesmyn Ward, and Brit Bennett.

In nonfiction, Amanda is interested in projects that explore history, the literary world, art history, material culture, archaeology, food history, social history, true crime, and popular science. She is particularly interested in seeing projects that look at the intersection of food and other topics such as gender, race, and economics, and would love to see a thoughtful exploration of food deserts in American cities. Some of Amanda's favorite non-BookEnds authors in nonfiction include Patrick Radden Keefe, Sarah Smarsh, Isabel Wilkerson, and Erik Larson.

To query Amanda, go to  

Naomi Davis seeks adult science fiction and fantasy, young adult and middle grade fiction, and picture books.

In science fiction she wants stories that let the character development take priority over tech. The surprising time/relationship structure of the short story by Ted Chiang Story of Your Life and its counterpart film Arrival are examples of stories that really catch Naomi's attention. Essa Hansen's Nophek Gloss is a prime example of worldbuilding that's strange and powerful and breaks all expectations, and Nadia Afifi's The Sentient shows a great balance of character and tech.

In fantasy, Naomi seeks new fantasy settings with unique magical structures that surprise the reader and change the rules readers associate with those worlds. The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso is a strong example of how magic exists in the world using towering, global stakes. N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth Trilogy is a wonderful example of the limitless nature of fantasy Naomi wants to see reflected in submissions.

In young adult and middle grade, Naomi is always on the hunt for strong fantasy with edgy themes and exciting, realistic voices. Naomi would love to read contemporary stories featuring powerful friendships. And maybe some groups of youth doing magic.

Naomi is also seeking picture books that show intersections of family, culture, and food, and stories that center disability experiences - both challenges and joy.

Naomi is queer and neurodivergent and always appreciates stories that reflect experiences they've had related to these identities.

To query Naomi, go to:

Tracy Marchini is looking for picture bookmiddle grade and young adult manuscripts across most genres, including contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, magical realism, historical fictiongraphic novels and nonfiction. She's also seeking picture book illustrators and author-illustrators.

For picture book fiction, she’s particularly interested in manuscripts that are laugh out loud funny or deliciously dark. For middle grade and young adult, she’s interested in underdogs, strong female characters and/or unreliable narrators. She believes that it’s important for readers of all backgrounds to see themselves reflected in the media they consume and, like everybody, is looking to bring that diversity to her list.

You can find her most up-to-date MSWL on the FAQs page of her personal website.

To query Tracy, go to:

Moe Ferrara is interested in fictional works for all ages, including picture books, middle-grade, young adults, and adult readers. Her favorite genres include contemporary, fantasy, historical, horror, magical realism, re-tellings, romance, science fiction and anything LGBTQIA-centric

Moe’s particularly keen to find books with pain-in-the-ass heroines, dark and creepy settings with lyrical voices, and books with well-thought out twists and turns. SciFi should be easily accessible and horror should not make her need to keep the lights on! Send her your LGBT+ books that are about more than just a coming out story.

Her list tends to skew towards children's fiction, but she is on the hunt for select authors in the above adult genres as well. Overall, though, she loves being surprised by books she never knew she wanted – so if it seems like a fit, query her!

Moe is also open to select narrative nonfiction titles dealing with LGBT+ history, theatre (including biographies or theatrical analysis such as Horowitz's Sondheim on Music), and music theory.

She is not a good fit for upmarket/literary fiction, cozy mysteries, true crime, women's fiction, high fantasy, hard sci-fi, or inspirational romances.

For the most up-to-date wants, see her #MSWL tweets#MSWL page, and various #MSWL posts on the BookEnds site. 

To query Moe, go to:

Jessica Alvarez is looking for nonfiction and fiction for adults. 

In nonfiction, she’s seeking  a wide range of prescriptive and narrative nonfiction, but is particularly looking for unique, entertaining voices – think Mary Roach or Sarah Vowell. She’d like to see more self-help, pop scince and true crime, and projects related to food, including cookbooks.

While she's open to memoir, please note that platform and hook are crucial. Jessica would like to see more projects relating to body image, women's issue, and LGBTQ+ topics.

In terms of fiction, she wants romance at all heat levels (including inspirational and category romance), rom coms, upmarket fiction, women's fiction, and cozy mysteries. She's open to light funny reads, as well as darker ones. 

Like everybody, she's looking for books that celebrate the full spectrum of human existence, and would love to see projects with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ characters. In no particular order, she's especially looking for books featuring the immigrant experience, adoption issues, the Amish, coroners and morticians, as well as physically and emotionally tortured heroes.

Note that Jessica is not right for paranormals, sci-fi/fantasy, young adult or children's books.

Check out Jessica's #MSWL tweets and #MSWL posts on the BookEnds site for more specifics on what she wants to represent.

To query Jessica, got to:

Kim Lionetti is hungry for unputdownable commercial women’s fiction and, like everybody, is actively seeking marginalized voices in this space and all of the genres listed here.  Whether dramatic and dark, or fun and quirky, she enjoys page-turners that pack a lot of emotion. 

As an avid romance reader, she’s also on the hunt for hilarious voices in romantic comedy that feel fresh and unique enough to stand out on what has become a rather crowded bookshelf. Combining those interests, she’s eager to find big, sweeping love stories that will appeal to book club readers, and straddle the romance and women’s fiction markets. 

Please note: Kim is currently closed to YA submissions, and only accepting adult fiction at this time.

 Some of Kim’s favorite non-BookEnds reads are Ayesha at Last, The Flatshare, The Au Pair, Mexican Gothic, How to Walk Away, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

To query to Kim, go to:

Jessica Faust, president of BookEnds, has set a 2021 goal to take on 10 new clients and is actively looking for marginalized voices in all genres listed here. Her fiction list focuses on literary and upmarket fiction, women's fiction, mystery, and suspense

In nonfiction, she is looking for books that will make her a better person, specifically fresh perspectives on race and feminism, personal development, self-help, mind, body, and spirit, and business. Her current goal is to represent more broad-based business books by women and business leaders of color.

Some recent reads that both inspired and informed her list include MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite, AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones, THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave, Kevin Kwan, and BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman (because she loves all things hockey). In nonfiction, she seeks more books like those by Rachel Rodgers, Ijeoma Oluo, Jen Sincero, and Luvvie Ijayi Jones.

Jessica (along with James McGowan) regularly discusses her recent reads on YouTube, where you can see what she’s most excited about and what latest reads are informing her list. You can also get a sense of the books she's reading and representing by following her on Instagram.

To query Jessica, go to:

Ramona Pina is the newest member of the team and like all new agents, she needs authors. Ramona is of course interested in carving a space for and elevating underrepresented voices.  

Fantasy, magical realism, sci-fi, paranormal romance, horror and non-disney princess retellings are her favorite genres. She loves dark fantasy themes like Sweeney Todd with dark humor or with lyrical voices like in Pan’s Labyrinth. 

In YA and Adult fantasy, give her a fast-paced adventure that focuses on sisterhood, stories that address concepts of faith and spirituality (not religion specific), or anything having to do with the sea besides pirates! Bring on the Kraken, the merpeople that swear to protect it (or destroy it), and other creatures of the watery depths.

For middle grade, take her on quests with female main characters who display bravery and perseverance that’s not in spite of gender, and on feel good adventures amongst friends like the Goonies. Suck her into a fictional magical family histories and the family drama (e.g., the Addams Family, 100 Cupboards, etc.)

She is also open to select nonfiction with a social justice tone that explores race, sex and class in America. Looking for the modern James Baldwin (not gender specific), or works like The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

Overall, Ramona is open and looking for character driven stories with incredible world-building that address real-life struggles. If you could marry the whimsy of “The Last Unicorn” with the ferocity of “Mulan,” then she’s ready to officiate!

She is NOT a good fit for ROMCOMs or NF War stories.

To query Ramona, go to:

Emily Forney is seeking fiction for middle grade and young adult audiences that feature new and progressive takes. 

She does work on picture books, but is focused primarily on nonfiction and historical stories, and is currently not taking on unsolicited picture books right now.

She would like to see more fiction from BIPOC and stories that do not necessarily feature trauma at the forefront of these character’s arcs (although she is open to reading anything complex and well done). She would love marginalized characters to have room to share joy, celebrate, fall in love, and be messy. Send her the best summer lovers, middle grade fantasies, adventure stories, and fantastical worlds.

Across all age groups, Emily is especially keen on finding good genre fiction in the form of re-tellings, magical realism, high fantasy, and spooky. For young adult, she tends to lean more in the fantasy and speculative realm, but would also like to find Jenny Han-like cozy, sweet stories. She's also a sucker for classic YA tropes (fake dating, high school contests with rivals to lovers, etc.).

For middle grade, she would love fantasy of all kinds, although it needs to be grounded and the world building cannot sacrifice the character development. Some of her favorite genres include speculative fiction, historical romances, the paranormal, spooky (not horror, please no horror), feel good camp stories, and fun historical fiction in the YA space.

She is not a good fit for thrillers, true crime, horror, war stories, science fiction, or memoir.

To query Emily, go to:

Author Tanaz Bhathena

If you’re interested in Kid Lit, check out our online  Writing for Children and for Young Adults  workshop with Patricia Ocampo, senior editor, Kids Can Press, and author Tanaz Bhathena, Saturday, January 15. Details here.Also see details of the weekly Kid Lit class here.

Beyond that, Brian Henry’s schedule continues to take shape...

Weekly classes:

Online: Exploring Creative Writing ~ Discover your creative side, Tuesday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m., January 25 – March 29 {no class March 8}. Details here.

In-person: Exploring Creative Writing ~ Discover your creative side, Thursday evenings, Jan 13 – March 24, in Burlington, Ontario. Details here

Online: Writing Kid Lit, Picture Books to Young Adult Novels, Monday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m., January 10 – March 28, 2022 {no class Feb 21 or March 7}. Details here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing ~ Grow as a writer

3 different sessions: 

Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:45, January 11 – March 22. Details here. Still space in this session!

Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., January 12 – March 23. Details here. Note: The Wednesday session is full. 

Friday mornings, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., January 14 – April 1 (no class March 4). Details hereNote: The Friday session is full. 


Online: How to Make Yourself Write ~ A Creativity Workout, Sunday, Jan 23, 2022. Details here.

Peacock House at The Briars
Writing Retreats:

Jackson's Point on Lake Simcoe: Writing Retreat at The Briars Resort and Spa. Get away to this modern lakeside resort built around a historic country estate.  Friday, March 4 – Monday, March 7, 2022. Details here.

Algonquin Park: Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, Friday, June 3 – Monday, June 6. Details here.


Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. If you're searching for more interviews with literary agents or a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.


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