2023: MSWL and a Blog Revival

Another year down in Publishing and, my, my, my…what a year it has been! It indeed almost feels like we are entering the third year of 2020 as many of us have finally caught Covid after escaping it for so long (some of us caught it twice…as a whole family…*shudders*), others are just now hitting pandemic burnout while many more are still recovering. Other highlights include a union strike, attempted merger, and another stab at the ever-present struggle for work-life balance in an industry where the term “just one more chapter” goes beyond the voracious reader and becomes a mantra for late night edits and submission reads. Not to mention the Great Twitter Implosion of ’21. Which is sort of kind of how I made my way back to this blog. As a fully human being with a fully human way of being, I drift back to something familiar in a world that only offers me more unknowns.

It’s an ideal spot for me to craft my thoughts, perhaps lend advice or tips, and for those looking to get to know me as a person, a place to find my Voice and personality where I can fully express them. A place that allows me the time to think and consider how best to put together my thoughts before sending them off into cyber space (even at the rollicking hour of 4am) and so I hope many who followed me on Twitter will be willing to meet me here as well.

In the coming year, I hope to give this website a makeover, update some pages that have may been neglected, as well as add some new ones, so please forgive the mess currently. Likewise, I hope to give everyone a little glimpse inside my world, scary as that ride may be, and to perhaps also show a little of who I am as an agent as well as a human being.

However, for now, as I am planning to reopen my query box on January 15. 2023, I would love to share my Manuscript Wishlist this year! So, without further ado, things I am aching to see in my inbox, as well as some things that I might need a little bit of a break from.

KAT’S 2023 MSWL

Within the Literary and Upmarket space, I will always and forever continue to look for stories featuring historically underrepresented voices, however I would also like to see the premises of these stories stretch into new conversations. As literary in particular is an intentional address of socio-political themes through either a macro or micro lens, I think it’s important to also move beyond what we’ve covered so extensively so that we’re creating dimension and range within the representation of our communities.

I will always love a good family saga, particularly ones that focuses around immigrant/migrant families, however I would also love to see a family saga that not only addresses 1st gen v. 2nd gen divide, but takes it to the next level. I would love to see more family sagas featuring mixed families as well. I have a particular ache for stories that focus on reconnecting. We have a whole new world of readers that are working on decolonizing and seeking to return to pre-colonial practices and traditions they’ve lost from generations of assimilation. I would LOVE to find a literary or upmarket work that highlights that journey!

Other stories I’d love to find in my inbox:

  • church trauma (because almost all of us have a story and I’ve been watching way too many documentaries while on my break)
  • Contemporary Native voices (I am looking for both issue-driven as well as non-issue driven works. Particularly anything that brings attention to the MMIW crisis.)

So if this is what I’m looking for, then what am I shying away from within literary works? Stories that focus on privileged, white suburbia. Unfortunately, I do feel the Americana, Jack Kerouac style stories, or repressed suburban moms have run their course for me. Unless the book really opens doors to a new level of conversation, I would probably say another agent would be a better fit.

The literary speculative and fantastical realism space, again, hold a special place in my heart. Particularly when they are edged with something not exactly of our world, whether it be magic, science, or creepy future political forecasts. For this reason, I do prefer my fantasy and science fiction to be more focused on grounded stories for now.

I think the biggest things I’m shying away from in SFF tend to be more in the commercial sphere. I’m just not the right fit, at least right now, for the epic, large ensemble, military space operas that I feel I’ve seen one too many times; as well as the large, sweeping fantasies with multiple POVs. Again, not to say that a Space Opera or secondary world fantasy would not make my list, but I’d really love to find a singular character focused story with a close POV.  

Book retellings that have been on my wish list forever, but I haven’t found yet:

  • Faust
  • Picture of Dorian Gray (bonus points if you can tie it to the music world a la Velvet Goldmine)
  • Dante’s Inferno (anyone who has ever cried their eyes out to What Dreams May Come understands my need for this)
  • Fairy Tales/Myths outside of the Euro-centric ones we’ve already seen.

When we are talking romance, I’m wanting to see a little more blend into uplit area with solid B plots to support the story. I like steamy reads, but I also like to fill in some of the more explicit blanks myself. High tension, slow burns, and all the good feels? Please send my way!

Within YA, I’m looking for strong commercial hooks with punchy plots, or quiet books with a strong, engaging pull. Whether they make me laugh, cry, or think, they must all come with heart! I will never get sick of stories about rich kids behaving badly or at least some low-level debauchery. Secret societies and secret family histories. Journeys of self-discovery, especially when dealing with intersectionality. Always. I will always want these books.

For nonfiction, I’m still looking to expand my list however I am still not the right fit for works of a more prescriptive nature. Narrative non-fiction, fun, pop-culture pieces, and selective memoirs are all still right up my alley!

For more information on my submission guidelines, please feel free to visit www.maassagency.com/kat-kerr for more info, including my QueryManager link!

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