What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
It’s always difficult to predict trends because of how slowly things move in the industry, but I think we’ll be seeing a lot of books that engage with social justice themes; books that are trying to make sense of, or are engaging at some level with, the current political climate. Other things I think we’re moving toward include embracing more genre-centric conventions in traditionally literary storytelling, experimenting with speculative elements, and publishing bolder, more unabashed voices across the board.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I’d love to see all of the above as well as stories that engage thoughtfully with gender, race, and class; that highlight intersectional experiences of privilege and disadvantage; that explore issues of technology and miscommunication, power and control, and choice and consequence. Morally gray situations are always of interest to me, as well. On the other hand, I also enjoy humor, and I like seeing it incorporated with purpose in every project I take on. And I’d love a lovely, transportive romance or romantic comedy in all the categories I work in.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Anything to do with terrorism, especially fueled by religious extremism.
What would you like to change about the publishing industry?
I’d like for it to be more transparent and inclusive in every way. I'd like to see us move toward fairer compensation practices, make pointed efforts to ensure all spaces are more representative of the world we live in, and have frank, productive conversations about how to improve working conditions and environments for every member of our community.
Saba Sulaiman (@agentsaba on Twitter) is an associate agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, Connecticut. She is looking primarily to build her middle-grade and young adult lists and is particularly interested in contemporary realistic stories. She’s also open to category romance (all subgenres except paranormal; literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction; tightly plotted, character-driven psychological thrillers; cozy mysteries à la Agatha Christie; and memoir/essay collections. Being a first-generation immigrant who is constantly negotiating her own identity and sense of belonging in a place she now calls “home,” she is committed to highlighting more diverse voices with compelling stories to tell—stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exist in this world and that address urgent and often underexplored issues in fiction and nonfiction with veracity and heart.