Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Agent Gemma Cooper Presents: Generating the Next Ideas.

Date(s) - 07/14/2018
11:30 am - 12:45 pm

Meet Gemma Cooper, agent at The Bent Agency.

Title of Presentation: Generating Your Next Ideas. Learn about what the market is looking for and what makes a book high concept.


I started my publishing career in New York, spent several years working in London, and now live in Chicago, where I work with authors all over the world. The best part of my job is getting to be the first fan of an unpublished book and then its champion — nothing beats talking up your passions to other book fanatics!

My list is typified by character-led stories, and voice is the most important thing I look for in submissions. My sweet spot is middle-grade fiction, especially a good mystery, fantasy or adventure, but really any middle-grade with a strong voice will get my attention, whatever the subject matter or setting. For young adult fiction, I prefer a contemporary setting, and I’d love a standout young adult romance or something with strong friendships or sibling relationships. If the setting isn’t contemporary, then it needs to be unique with an obvious hook. I also work on a lot of younger fiction, and have a soft spot for funny chapter books aimed at 7+ with big concepts and series potential. For picture books, I’m only looking for author/illustrators, not picture book texts. Author/illustrators writing for any age will get my immediate attention, particularly in the chapter book, graphic novel and middle-grade markets.

For non-fiction, I’m interested in history and science, but I want very accessible books. I’m looking for diverse voices, illustrators and stories across my list, but particularly for chapter books and middle-grade. Overall, I would say I have quite commercial taste across all age ranges—if you can pitch your book in one line, or it works great in an ‘X meets X’ comp, I want to read it!


You can read more about her here:

This will be an hour presentation and 15 minutes of Q&A. Please submit your questions prior to the event by email Cynthia Mun. Contact info is nevada [at] scbwi [dot] org.

You will need to have a Zoom account. Zoom accounts are free.

This event is open to members only.

$20 for members until May 15.

$25 for members after  May 15.

Included in the fee for 2018 Mentorship Program.

Gemma is currently closed to queries; however, for those that participate, she will open queries for a window of time.

Manuscripts DUE 6/17 10am. Email them to

Title your manuscripts – Lastname-Genre-titleofyourmanuscript

Formatting – read the bottom of the webpage: