MSWL = manuscript wishlist, and from time to time, literary agents will post what kind of stories they are hoping to be queried about. Sometimes, the #mswl gets trending, and there’s a massive influx of insider knowledge into the minds of those agents you desperately want to represent you.
I’d love to see a YA historical fiction about the Moulin Rouge during the turn of the century or the Great Depression. #mswl
— Bree Ogden (@breeogden) June 20, 2014
I would like to read an amazing-tragic-epic YA about a teen Tejano star, like Selena. (Or maybe gripping YA NF about actual Selena!) #mswl
— jennifer laughran (@literaticat) June 19, 2014
I would love to see a YA/adult fantasy novel based on Beethoven’s opera Fidelio. Cross-dressing + prison break + long-lost love FTW! #MSWL
— Hannah Bowman (@hannahnpbowman) June 9, 2014
Also, send me princesses with agendas. #mswl
— Bridget Smith (@bredalot) March 19, 2014
Some of the wishlists are ultra-specific, and some of them are more open-ended (i.e. “I want a character-driven MG with strong friendship themes.”), but in any case, they give you that extra insight into the mind of an agent and something you can comment on in your query to show you’ve done your research!
Image credit: Shawn Campbell, modified by me