What are some upcoming trends?
I’ve never been one to chase trends, but it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that the election results will have an impact on publishers’ and readers’ interests in the next few years. Editors are already talking about publishing books that matter—not “message” books, but books they care deeply about, books that have a real reason to linger in readers’ homes, lives, hearts. Since every trend has a counter-trend, perhaps we’ll also see a desire for escapism in the form of lighter fantasy and adventure that takes us out of the everyday angst. Some are predicting dystopian might come sweeping back in. I think we will see continued growth in nonfiction, especially [books] with more emphasis on critical skills, such as how to discern accurate information. And I believe independent bookstores and libraries will be even more important as community hubs in the coming year.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I keep a wish list going that I tweak and refine. One ideal book that I’d like to see is what I would call a grand middle-grade or YA historical novel that reinvigorates the historical fiction genre for young readers. I loved how All the Light We Cannot See became a must-read in adult fiction and I’m looking for the equivalent big, historical novel for younger readers. I’m also keeping my eye out for unique, outstanding illustrated fiction, and it would be great to see diverse perspectives. I gravitate toward smart, layered writing with a heart—not just show, but substance—so it would be fantastic to get that kind of writing in a hooky commercial novel. Most of all, I hope writers, especially those writing for young people, will think big. The book that defies all of the norms is the one that will break out and set the high bar for other books.
How are you working with self-published writers?
I see many queries from writers that apologize for books they self-published before they knew what to do. When I work with self-published writers I bring my professional background as an editor, publisher, and agent, to the equation and counsel them to see beyond their own singular vision to the market and the reader.
What don’t you ever want to see again?
The only things I don’t want to see again are topics I specifically say in my submissions guidelines that I don’t represent. For example, I’m quite upfront that I don’t represent adult horror or science fiction, yet I continue to receive queries in genres I don’t work in.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
Since much of my client list is children’s and young-adult writers, along with some women’s commercial fiction, I would say that the strength of the children’s publishing community is unique. There is an incredible range of talent in this field, starting with authors and illustrators. Editors and publishers really care about what gets published. Librarians and booksellers think critically about the reader. I’m grateful every day to be part of this vibrant, vocal community.
Andrea Cascardi has held senior editorial positions at Random House and Disney Publishing and was an agent with Transatlantic Agency for 10 years before taking the Publisher role at Egmont USA. As an editor, she acquired and edited Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, the Raffi Songs to Read series, and Pura Belpre Medal winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez, among many other award-winning books. As an agent, she represented many bestselling and award-winning titles including Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery Award winner Moon Over Manifest and Printz Honor winner Navigating Early, e.E. Charlton-Truillo’s Stonewall Book Award winner Fat Angie, and New York Times bestseller Nubs. Following the sale of Egmont USA, she has returned to Transatlantic Agency.