MSWL Manuscript Wish List

In Adult, Ernie is looking for:

  • Fantasy
    • Including High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Science Fantasy
      • I'm looking for second world fantasy with unique world-building elements, original settings, or based on peoples and histories that are traditionally underrepresented in the genre. In urban fantasy, I prefer stories that feature gritty action, complex characters, unusual plot structure, or any combination of the above. Retellings, but only if it's a fresh take on a concept that hasn't been overdone. I'd especially like to see writers whose characters share their marginalizations, with stories that come from a place of truth. I'd love to see more true diversity in SFF, more BIPOC or LGBTQ+ characters in Fantasy stories with unique, underrepresented settings.
        Favorite authors include: N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Erin Morgenstern, Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Robin Hobb, Sarah Gailey, R.F. Kuang, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Josiah Bancroft, Daniel José Older
    • Anything that comps THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, or WARRIOR (HBO Max)
    • Fantasy that comps Peaky Blinders or Harlots or both.
    • Fantasy with cultural roots like BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF by Marlon James
    • LGBTQIA+ Adult Fantasy
    • Fantasy that blows me away with a brand new, entirely unique magical system
    • IP MAN meets THE MAGICIANS with magic martial arts schools or clans instead of a magic university
    • Adult Asian-based or Asian-American fantasy
    • Historical fantasy like JONATHAN STRANGE but from a different culture
    • Afrofuturist Fantasy or any BIPOC Fantasy story with BIPOC characters. Send me everything that comps N.K. Jemisin
    • Urban Fantasy-Mystery like MAGIC FOR LIARS or RIVERS OF LONDON, but not like THE DRESDEN FILES--no werewolves or vampires please
    • Magical libraries, magical bookstores, magical book stalls with back alley portals to magical worlds. You get the picture.
    • Fantasy set in Boston or an alternate-Boston. Give me a Boston version of THE CITY WE BECAME, UN LUN DUN, or NEVERWHERE.
    • Contemporary fantasy or magical realism like BIPOC ADDIE LARUE or THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY
  • Science Fiction
    • Including Science Fantasy, Climate SF (Cli-Fi), Time Travel, Alternate/Parallel Universe, Speculative
      • I'm especially excited for cerebral our-world stories, distant future stories, near future stories (must have exceptionally unique elements or be something unusual and original). I'm also receptive to Science Fantasy with original concepts, Military SF, AI, and some cyberpunk. I'm not particularly drawn to dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science-based zombie/vampire effect, or superheroes/powers, unless they're completely unique and based on peoples or histories that are traditionally underrepresented in the genre. I'd especially like to see writers whose characters share their marginalizations, with stories that come from a place of truth. I'd love to see more true diversity in SF, more BIPOC or LGBTQ+ characters in Sci-Fi stories with unique, underrepresented settings.
        Favorite authors include: Nnedi Okorafor, Ted Chiang, Octavia E. Butler, Cixin Liu, John Scalzi, Michael Mammay, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Tamsyn Muir, Chuck Wendig, Rob Hart
    • Rescue mission from poor/dying Earth upward through each distinct orbiting level of society to the uppermost/richest hardest-to-penetrate level. Think race/gender-flipped SENLIN ASCENDS meets Altered Carbon S1.
    • Climate Fiction like Paolo Bacigalupi's THE WINDUP GIRL and THE WATER KNIFE
    • Anything that comps SPACE SWEEPERS or MANIAC (Netflix)
    • Time travel stories with strong characters at their heart, think 11/22/63 by Stephen King or KINDRED by Octavia Butler
    • SF 'one room'–style mystery set in the future, where near-ageless conniving matriarch is the prime suspect in deaths of all her adult offspring. Like Speculative KNIVES OUT flipped on its head.
    • LGBTQIA+ Adult Sci-Fi
    • Mars rovers meets Battlebots
    • Fabulist Urban Spec Fic like China Miéville's PERDITO STREET STATION
    • Africanfuturist SF, or any BIPOC SF story with BIPOC characters. Send me everything that comps Nnedi Okorafor.
  • Magical Realism
    • In Literary and Upmarket Fiction, Fabulism, and Fantasy/Speculative crossover
      • I'm not so much into stuffy, self-important literary fiction, but if your adult literary or upmarket fiction sits firmly within magical realism, fabulism, speculative, or out-of-the-ordinary retellings, I'd be all over it. In those, I prefer full characters with genuine issues and needs, inner-city settings, gritty and strange, inexplicable or experimental, not just from communities I know, but from those you make me want to know more about. I'd especially like to see writers whose characters share their marginalizations, with stories that come from a place of truth. Not just traumas, but your joys as well.
        Favorite authors include: Marlon James, Emily St. John Mandel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, David Mitchell, Claire North, China Miéville, Haruki Murakami
    • Contemporary fantasy or magical realism like BIPOC ADDIE LARUE or THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY
    • Black version of UTOPIA AVENUE featuring Magical Realism in Motown or the golden age of Rap
    • Anything that comps Claire North
    • Literary or Upmarket Magical Realism like Carlos Ruiz Zafón's THE SHADOW OF THE WIND
    • Magical Realism set in Boston or an alternate-Boston.

A few things I'm not looking for: Greek mythology or derivative adaptations, ghosts or supernatural/paranormal, graphic physical abuse, glorification of racist themes.

NOTE: Ernie DOES NOT represent Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children's, Women's Fiction, Romance, Non-fiction, faith-based/religious manuscripts, poetry, short stories, novellas, chapter books, graphic novels, or erotica. Ernie is also not considering previously published or self-published books at this time.

A note regarding marginalization: In every genre he accepts, if protagonists and POV characters are from a marginalized group, Ernie prefers stories told by writers who share that marginalization. Public acknowledgement of a writer's marginalization is NOT a pre-requisite, as the privacy and safety of every writer is paramount. However, false and misleading claims of a marginalization are unaccaptable. With all that being said, submissions where neither the author nor any POV characters identify with a marginalized group will not be excluded from consideration. Honesty is always the best policy, and if writing from one's own experience is not something you believe is important, I may not be the right agent for you.

Jump to Ernie's Submission Guidelines

Guidelines forQuerying