Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Maria Vicente - Finding Hope

Maria Vicente - P.S. Literary Agency

I've never written a post about a literary agent before, and I hope she doesn't mind the mention. While researching some content for another post, I came across Ms. Vicente's website. It is very informative and I recommend all aspiring authors check it out!

The research I was doing was directly related to my post, "What Literary Agents Don't Want". I couldn't let hope die without a fight, without exhausting all my search options. Maria Vicente is one of the exception I spoke of in What Literary Agents Don't Want.

My search today entailed: Literary agents seeking witches, vampires, shape-shifters, and so on. popped up! I followed the link and began reading the content on her website, as I said, very informative. This is what I found under her "Representation" tab: (I copy/pasted as not to miss a single word)

Literary Representation

I am an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency. Below is an overview of categories I represent as well as my current “wish list” items. I will consider manuscripts in the following categories even if your story doesn’t fit with the contents of my wish list. I’m always looking for a unique manuscript or book proposal. Surprise me with something new and exciting!
If you’d like to send me a query for potential representation, please take a look at P.S. Literary Agency’s Submission Guidelines and send your query letter to

LITERARY FICTIONI am interested in realistic adult literary fiction or literary fiction with a touch of genre (horror, science fiction, fantasy), but I’m not currently looking for genre-focused manuscripts (something you’d find in the speculative fiction section of your local bookstore). I love magical realism. I’m looking for excellent writing combined with a high concept plot.
Literary Fiction Wish List:
  • Magical realism. Example: Of Bees & Mist.
  • Contemporary literary fiction. 
  • Contemporary twist on classic detective fiction. Great mystery, a femme fatale character, etc. Example: an updated The Big Sleep.
  • Modern historical fiction (novels set in the early 20th century; 1910-1960).
  • Realistic stories with a touch of horror/thriller or fantasy. Examples: Night FilmThe Golem and the Jinni, The Night Circus.
  • A serial killer story. Introduce me to the next Dexter.
  • Manuscripts that play with narrative structure and/or incorporate different mediums (art, photography, illustrations, etc.).
YOUNG ADULTI am interested in a variety of YA genres: contemporary, horror, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism. I enjoy literary prose and a strong, unique voice.

Young Adult Wish List:
  • Psychological horror. The creepier, the better!
  • Contemporary with an incredible main character who has interesting quirks and hobbies. Example: Fangirl.
  • The novel version of a teenage TV drama like Dawson’s Creek or The OC (in-depth character development for an ensemble cast, complex friendships and relationships, clever dialogue, and relatively over-the-top plot).
  • Magical realism. Ex: The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
  • Science fiction with a tone similar to Fringe (creepy) or Firefly (comedy). A female lead character like Olivia Dunham would be a nice bonus. 
  • Contemporary with a focus on friendship rather than romance.
  • A break-up story. Either a relationship or friendship break-up, filled with drama and honest emotion.
  • Contemporary with LGBTQ characters. Not necessarily an “issue” book. I like stories that involve identity politics and characters who go against gender norms.
  • A story from a witch’s point of view. I love villains.
  • Fairytale retelling with macabre sensibilities.
  • Manuscripts that play with narrative structure and/or incorporate different mediums (art, photography, illustrations, etc.).
MIDDLE GRADE & CHAPTER BOOKS I am interested in contemporary, magical realism, fantasy, and horror for middle grade projects. Chapter book submissions need to be never-before-published topics and have series potential, so something that won’t grow tiresome after one or two books.
Middle Grade Wish List:
  • Realistic with a quirky plot. The perfect mix of commercial and literary.
  • Graphic novel.
  • Short story collection. Ideally every chapter should be its own story, but connect through one common theme or setting. Example: Wayside School series.
  • Animal story with a classic feel. My all-time favourites are Watership Down and Silverwing.
  • Contemporary Sweet Valley Twins series. This doesn’t need to focus on twins — friends or sisters would be just fine. Contemporary stories about real-life issues for younger readers, featuring likeable characters they can relate to.
  • Cute chapter book series for young readers. I’d love something featuring dinosaurs or unicorns.

PICTURE BOOKSPicture book submissions should be high concept and character-driven (nothing too didactic). I like whimsical and eccentric characters with a fun story to tell. Author/illustrators are preferred.

NONFICTION I’m interested in nonfiction that covers the following categories: pop culture, geek culture, pop psychology, design, and lifestyle. I love online and pop culture, particularly television and its many fandoms, so I’m always willing to look at projects with that angle. I’d love to see lifestyle and design books like cookbooks, DIY guides, fashion or art themed projects, etc. I also welcome blog-to-book proposals. I expect any nonfiction book proposal to offer a new perspective on an entertaining topic.

If you look closely at her Young Adult Wish List, you will find a short entry stating: "A story from a witch's point of view. I love villains." This is what promptly caught my attention. The main character of my manuscript, Willow Young, is a witch! However, she's not a villain. But, she's a witch! I also found in her Fall 2014 Manuscript Wish List: "I’ve always loved witches. I want one to call my own for the rest of forever. I’m looking for an excellent YA told from a witch’s point of view. I have no other specifics; I’ll know it when I see it." My excitement took over and I immediately sent Ms. Vicente a query letter!

I'm not saying I expect representation simply on the fact that she loves witches. What I am saying is: There are still Literary Agents out there looking for submissions with paranormal elements. If you review Ms. Vicente's wish list you'll find that she's currently seeking manuscripts that other literary agent's "don't want". She is absolutely one of the exceptions, and I found hope.

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