Posted on September 24, 2013 in Archive

#MSWL on Twitter reveals the wish lists of the literary world


Twitter has revealed an interesting and amusing trend – literary agents, editors and publishers are cataloguing their manuscript wish lists by using the tag #MSWL.

If you’d like to see a list of the requests, young adult writer KK Hendin has created an Agent and Editor Wish List Tumblr page that links to many of the tagged posts, in no particular order.

Many seemed to be aimed at young writers, such as the following tweet by Lindsay Ribar (@lindsayribar):
“Things not on my MSWL include elves, dragons, epic battles of good vs. evil, and unlikely companions who meet in an inn and go on a quest.”

Some are looking for adaptations of quirky parts of pop culture:
“And if someone figures out a way to convert Dr. Horrible into a brilliant, charming YA/MG novel, I’m in! #MSWL”
– Barry Goldblatt (@Barrygoldblatt)

Others read like friends tweeting other friends about their food cravings.
“I could totally go for an unapologetic horror manuscript with lots of death and bizarre elements!”  – Bree Ogden (@breeogden)

And some are just plain weird.
“On my SF wishlist: A mystery series set in outer space. A space western. A sex-strike romantic comedy set on a space station.”
– Deborah Nemeth (@debnemeth)

While this doesn’t completely reverse the dynamic between editors and authors, it is certainly an interesting shift in how the process usually works – these tweets are somewhat reminiscent of the ‘Wanted’ section of a newspaper. Twitter could now be a hunting ground for those looking for an agent.

It can also be a great way for authors to refine their work according to what literary agents want – now that we know there’s an agent out there that wants a outer space sex-strike rom-com, budding Author A could, if they wish, tweak their sex-strike-rom-com to be set in outer space, and send it off to Ms. Nemeth. It seems almost too easy.

However, take note – don’t just sit down and start an 18-month quest to write a book about time goblins just because an editor declared on Twitter that that’s what they want to read, this very second. Because by the time the summer publishing schedule rolls around, all interest might be lost.

Liquid State - #MSWL - books

Publishers are looking for their next great literary love – even time goblins stand a chance.

And goodness knows, there’s only so much of a market for time goblins who steal minutes and hours of your life.

It’s a great use of Twitter and technology in general, and creates an opening for a dialogue between editors and potential authors, where previously there might have been none. Authors can now use Twitter to easily search for editors looking for their particular genre and apply to them directly, rather than making blind stabs in the dark at random publishers.

As a great little side note – with such perfect, totally premeditated timing, September 24th (today) is the scheduled date for the next #MSWL Twitter party!

So go get your pointy party hats and your smart phones, and keep an eye on the #MSWL hashtag for real time updates on what the many literary agents, editors and publishers of Twitter are looking for in their next book.