#MSWL

I am actively growing my picture book, middle grade, young adult, and adult lists.

Please take a look at the manuscript wish list below to see if your work may be a good fit!

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What am I looking for? Picture book author-illustrators, a wide range of middle grade and YA, and more speculative-leaning or genre-bent upmarket adult works. I’m committed to working with writers from diverse backgrounds and am looking to put forth a list of outstanding creators who will be able to provide windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors (thank you, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop) into all kinds of experiences. I’m particularly looking for own-voices stories about historically underrepresented characters, identities, and cultures.

No matter the genre or age-range, I crave a distinctive voice and strong thematic point behind the work—I want to run screaming to my friends and family about your book because there is so much to discuss. I love character-driven stories that revolve around BIG topics (discussing things like mortality or grief in a new and hopefully somewhat uplifting way is always an instant lightbulb!). One might say that I have a great affinity for what used to be known as ‘issue books,’ however, I would argue that I’d like to represent authors and stories that stand for more than just a good yarn; I’d like to represent authors who provoke conversations around important and necessary topics in our world today. I don’t just want contemporary versions of these stories, either. Send me your fantasy, your sci-fi, your genre-bender! 

So please, send your horizon-expanding work on over to me. I can't wait to give it a read. 

 
 
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Picture books

I love humor when it comes to picture books! Some of my favorites include: 

  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

  • The Hat Series by Jon Klassen

  • Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch by Diana Murray

  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

  • Accident by Andrea Tsurumi

  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood, Illustrated by Don Wood

I also love sparsely designed books: 

  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

  • Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

I love interactive books:

  • Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley

  • The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

And sometimes, I just love a transcendently beautiful and meaningful story:

  • Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat


Middle grade

  • The Landry News by Andrew Clements

  • Beatrice Zinker, Upside-Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

  • The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School / Holes by Louis Sachar

  • Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

  • *Skeleton Tree by Kim Ventrella

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young adult 

  • Anything by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

  • Contagion by Erin Bowman

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty / The Diviners by Libba Bray

  • Private by Kate Brian

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

  • Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

  • *Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

  • *Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

  • *Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart

  • *Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley


adult 

I really love novels that that don’t quite fit the mold, that are more than they seem at first glance. Some of my favorites include Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, and a novel I worked on called You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce. I also have a soft-spot for literally anything by Shirley Jackson, Octavia E. Butler, and Jorge Luis Borges. 

The weird, the strange, and the speculative are certainly my focus in adult works, but it doesn’t always have to be something dark. I also love lighthearted magic in this category. 

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Particular topics/ideas I’m intrigued by…  

  • ‘I do not write dark books. I write candles. I write fire.’ - Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Unapologetic and intersectional feminist narratives

  • Healthy portrayals of masculinity

  • Atmospheric YA horror

  • Literary and socially conscious horror

  • Anything inspired by myths, folklore, or legends particularly those that are non-western in origin

  • Dark futures / apocalypse with a touch of hope

  • Outbreak / contagion discussed in a new and innovative way

  • A novel in seasonal movements

  • A YA that takes a nuanced and hard look at relationship violence

  • A literary thriller set in a confined space (ex: a cargo ship)

  • Anything involving the ocean

  • Please note, a touch of whimsy is always, always welcome.

Are you a visual person? Me too!

Take a peek through my #MSWL Pinterest board.

I’ve also been trying to collect all my #MSWL tweets in a moment. You can find them here.

Anything I shouldn’t send you? 

Yes, your racist, misogynist, ableist manifesto. Don’t send me that. 

 
 
I grew up wanting the world to be stranger than it was. Now, I think what I meant, what I mean, is that I also wanted the world to be more…I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more; that the world was bigger and stranger and more magical than the one I could see.
— V.E. Schwab, ‘In Search of Doors’ Pembroke Tolkien Lecture 2018.

This sounds great! I'd like to query you. What are my next steps?

Thank you for thinking of me—seriously! I feel incredibly honored when writers select me to submit their work to. 

Please send your personalized query letter along with your first ten pages (pasted into the body of the email) to me at alevick (at) writershouse.com. Bonus points if you can tell me a bit about the intention behind your work.  

You can also take a look at my Publishers Marketplace profile here for more information.