What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
I think people want well-written books with a great plot. It’s hard to know what will be big and what won’t be. If I knew what the trends were going to be, it’d make my job a lot easier! Personally, I think authors should write what they are passionate about and not be too consumed with whether it is on trend or not.
However, because I’m sure every agent says that and I want to answer the question, I will say that I know books set in space, both in YA and adult, are something that a lot of publishers have on their lists, so it’ll be interesting to see if that takes off.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
For adult fiction, I’d like a great general fiction or women’s fiction novel that has a big love story but is not a romance (à la JoJo Moyes or Taylor Jenkins Reid). I’d also like to see a women’s fiction novel that tackles friendships. And to be topic-specific, I’ve been saying I’d love to have a book like the movie Fatal Attraction—a dark thriller/suspense novel that deals with the complexities of relationships, especially where morals are questioned.
In YA, I’m looking for sci-fi/fantasy books with great worldbuilding and contemporary stories that deal with real teen issues (I am a sucker for a good romance).
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I’m not closed to any real topic, because I think a good author can make any topic work so long as they put their own spin on it. However, I will say that, personally, I don’t want to see any books where the focus is the characters dealing with cancer or some other type of fatal illness. Those just aren’t my type of books. In addition, I think YA books about princesses are dying out a bit, so I’m not too interested in seeing that, either.
What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
As an agent, I get to see everything in its most raw form. I love seeing an author’s idea bloom into an entire world. Brainstorming a story and helping guide an author to where they want their stories to go are probably my favorite parts of my job. I feel like I get to live in that world with an author before anyone else gets to experience it, so when it finally is out among the masses, it is probably almost as exciting for me as it is for the author.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Learn to take constructive criticism. From an agent’s perspective, we hate passing on projects that we see potential in, so when we give you feedback and make suggestions on how you can improve a project, really think about it and don’t immediately discard it because you were rejected. Learn from your rejections. Also, know that publishing is such a subjective industry. What one person might love, another might hate. Keep trying! And finally, be professional and courteous—this industry is small.
Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary & Management fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of 7 and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. She holds a B.S. in business administration from California State University, Northridge, and received her J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Although she loves all things romance, she is also searching for books that are different and will surprise her, with empathetic characters and compelling stories. She previously worked for over two years at Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency before starting her own agency. After spending 14 years in California, she is thrilled to be back on the East Coast living in New York City.