Top 10 Themes, Characters and Genres I’m Looking For In Submissions Right Now

  1. The Book Club Book – The Help, Time Travelers Wife, etc. Accessible and well written fiction
  2. Pop Science – Time Magazine-esque non fiction (psychology, health, technology etc.)
  3. Upmarket Non Fiction – women’s, memoir
  4. Women’s Fiction – Elin Hilderbrand, Cathleen Schine, Jodi Picoult
  5. Adult Fiction – characters over 30 years of age
  6. Literary Fiction with Commercial Angle – Helen Dunmore, Barbara Kingsolver, Emma Donoghue
  7. Well Executed Romantic Suspense/Thrillers
  8. High Concept Plots
  9. Business and Tech books – Blackberry Planet, What Would Google Do? etc.
  10. Unique YA

As always for fiction: good writing, a marketable hook, believable characters, and a setting I want to spend time in. I want to laugh and I want to cry! See my post on how to write a great query letter.

For non fiction proposal writing: look at Rachelle Gardner’s post here about how to write a non fiction proposal and Lennie Literary Agency’s detailed PDF here.

Find the P.S. Literary submission guidelines here. Hope to find these, and a few surprises, in the query inbox in the coming months.

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Themes, Characters and Genres I’m Looking For In Submissions Right Now

  1. Well, possibly a bit too late – but just found this blog (which is excellent – full of useful information for starting and published writers)

    I have a question about submitting business books. There seems to be a massive gap in the market at the moment that is ‘semi-filled’ with the dummies-guide-to series.

    A YA friendly business book that works with the governments drive to get young people into entrepreneurship.

    I’ve worked really hard to come up with a concept that has all the information of a business text book, but made it student friendly by creating a new format for it.

    I originally blogged the content in it’s new format and the blog became extremely popular and has been shared across many big charities such as the bright ideas trust, princes trust, etc. I also tested the books with 500 students to prove that my format and content was more effective in getting young people into business.

    I now feel ready to share my books. The problem I have is that the new format is impossible to show to an agent without attaching a PDF / Screenshot – which is something that many literary agents do not accept.

    What’s the best way to get around this?


    1. Thanks for visiting Gal! Non fiction needs to be pitched to agents with a proposal and a proposal is a bit more lenient about how to include information. In the marketing section you can have screen shots. However, in the sample chapters section you will need to have it formatted properly. Hope that helps! I have posts on proposal writing if you search in the top right hand corner of the blog. Good luck!


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