Literary Agent Gemma's best picks ... and a BONUS! Nosy Crow publisher Kate Wilson tells us what she's looking for
I’ve read some truly spectacular novels in 2012 and I would love to find some similar manuscripts in my New Year slushpile. Below are a list of my favourite books of the year and what I took from them that I want to see in my inbox.
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. A beautifully written, potentially award-winning novel, with surprising twists and turns, all with a main character who springs to life from page one.
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. Realistic characters in a multi-layered mystery, dripping in voice and written with such strong awareness of language. (Rebecca wrote my all time favourite book When You Reach Me – I love her!)
The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander. Funny, character driven, boy middle grade. Clever concepts and really likable main characters.
Butter by Erin Lange. A book that tackles a big issue, but layers this with realistic characters in realistic situations.
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton. Something a little different and quirky, with friendship at the heart of it. I’d love an amazing friendship novel.
Wonder by R.J.Palacio. An heart warming story with real characters that has crossover appeal – I’d love something that could be jacketed as adult or MG/YA
Bad Kitty Gets A Bath by Nick Bruel. Ridiculous fiction for 5+ that has series potential. Author/illustrators sending this into my inbox would be a Christmas miracle.
Also, I’d love to find: A middle grade boy action/adventure. I don’t mind if it’s sci-fi/fantasy/thriller/crime. I just want a pacey, page turning, exhilarating adventure for boys. A middle grade or young adult mystery/crime that has a Poirot feel to it – red herrings, strange clues that make no sense and the gathering everyone in a room for the big reveal. A sexy YA romance that isn’t derivate of others on the market. I love a strong female character, so please don’t send me wet main characters for YA.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my wish list and favourite books of 2012. Hopefully some of you will find these in your stockings...if you have been good.
... and here's another publisher for you!
|Photo by Dominic Turner|
Kate Wilson is the founder and managing director of Nosy Crow, a multi-award-winning, new, independent publishing company whose staff include children’s publishing industry veterans who were looking for a different kind of challenge. Nosy Crow publishes children’s books for babies to 12 year olds and highly-interactive, multimedia apps for children from 2 to 7.
On the first day of Christmas, the slushpile gave to me… the ability to break away from the pattern of these blog posts!
So here, simply, are some of the things the team at Nosy Crow would like to find over the next few months:
Seasonal picture book storiesThis year, we published an instant book – The Snowman’s Journey – based on this year’s John Lewis ad: we turned it round in three weeks from idea to delivery to the warehouse, and sold it exclusively to John Lewis and Waitrose. I wrote it in 24 hours, and the book was illustrated with screengrabs from the ad. Read our blog post about it.
This year, we also published Snow Bunny’s Christmas Wish, illustrated by Rebecca Harry, but written in house. And last year, we published Just Right for Christmas, which I wrote for Ros Beardshaw to illustrate.
There is a bit of a theme emerging here: we really struggle to find original, appealing Christmas picture book texts, and this pushes us to write them ourselves. But we’d love to receive some really great Christmas writing.
But we’re open to Christmas books that are funny as well as beautiful and moving.
Picture Book texts generallyWe have more illustrators we want to work with than we have great texts to pair them with.
Louise Bolongaro started as Head of Picture Books in November, and is keen to find terrific new books, all with that Nosy Crow hallmark that they have real child appeal and a strong sense of who they’re for.
We’ve picture books like Pip and Posy that are for the youngest of picture book readers (18 months and older, say), and picture books like Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble that children in the first years of school could comfortably enjoy. We’re looking for originality (particularly new takes on popular themes, like Penny Dale’s mash-up of dinosaurs and construction vehicles in Dinosaur Dig!), humour and/or “heart” – something that is touching.
Great new illustrators
Girl-skewed fantasy fiction
We’re keen to find highly original fantasy story for readers of 9+, possibly with a girl central character, and possibly more than one novel long, that introduces readers to a fully-imagined (and again, highly-original) world. We are particularly looking for something that has international appeal.