What do Agents Want from Fantasy?

It’s never been a better time to be a fantasy writer.


The genre is undergoing epic change.

Tolkienesque white straight male hero stories birthed the fantasy genre for our modern age, but now their sword arm weakens. They won’t disappear completely, nor should they, because there’s a place at the feasting table for everyone.

But they won’t ever be the same. They’re changing, and their transmogrification will continue, like a cursed hero who eventually realizes what he thought was a curse is actually a blessing, and so he ceases to seek its lifting and begins to take advantage of it instead.

More importantly, a more diverse kind of fantasy is growing, not as a matter of some deluded form of political correctness, but because people are starving for it. Writers are writing the stories contained within their hearts, and publishers seek to sell books to a hungry audience. And just for the record, my definition of political correctness is that it’s what assholes call it when they get called out for talking like assholes.

Agents desperately want more diverse stories to sell to publishers. Every year on Twitter, agents put forth the kind of stories they’re seeking so authors can query them. If you look at tweets using the #MSWL hashtag, or visit the Manuscript Wishlist website, you can easily see this for yourself. A huge amount of requests were for MG, YA, or NA regardless of any other specified genre. But for those requests that were specifically for fantasy (and often sci-fi, too), a surprising proportion of them were similar to those below:

It’s diversity, stupid.

And look at the number of retweets and favorites these tweets also have. This shit is on fire.

What are you writing?



4 thoughts on “What do Agents Want from Fantasy?

  1. Reblogged this on This IS My Job and commented:

    Do you know the #MSWL hashtag? If you’re looking to publish traditionally, you should! Welcome to the agent’s wishlist. Most-requested element? Diversity! If you’ve got a story brewing that you think will never sell because it’s “too weird,” take another look. It may just be what agents are craving.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Core Attributes of Fantasy | The Fantasist

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