James McGowan

Literary Agent

James McGowan began his career right where he is: at BookEnds. He joined the team as an intern in the summer of 2015, and as the joke goes, they couldn’t get rid of him. He has worked in all departments at the agency and is now a literary agent representing a talented list of award-winning authors and illustrators. James’ list focuses on illustrated projects for young readers (board books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade) as well as adult nonfiction and mystery/suspense novels. In addition to being an agent, James is a children’s author. His debut picture book Good Night, Oppy! launched from Astra BFYR in 2021. He is born, raised, and currently living in Staten Island, NY. He is a professional snacker, a huge fan of Jeopardy!, and fluent in sarcasm. To learn more about James, his wishlist, or upcoming client books please visit the BookEnds website or his personal website. To send a query, please use QueryManager. And to find a growing archive of thoughts no one asked for, follow James on Twitter and Instagram. Watch our interview with James on YouTube!

Client Books

James McGowan Wishlist

James is open to queries! James represents a wide range of age groups and genres, including board books, picture books, middle grade, and adult fiction. At this time, he is focused on building his adult list only. Check back here for the most up-to-date information about his wishlist. In adult fiction, James is seeking upmarket/book club fiction, speculative fiction, mystery, suspense and thrillers. Some things he is drawn to in a novel are commercial, high-concept plots, exciting settings, fast pacing, a fresh spin on a familiar trope, grounded speculative elements, rich prose, and a sentence that sticks with you.  In all genres, James is looking for works that feature diverse, marginalized, and/or underrepresented voices. Titles and authors that inspire James’ list include, in no particular order: True Biz, Memphis, Portrait of a Thief, Pachinko, Ninth House, The School for Good Mothers, The Push, My Sister the Serial Killer, Miracle Creek, More Than You’ll Ever Know*, None of This is True*, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife*, Babel*, The Overnight Guest*, I Have Some Questions for You, The Golden Couple, What Lies in the Woods*, Tana French, Attica Locke, Kia Abdullah, Mary Kubica, and Emily St. John Mandel. (* denotes recent 5-star reads). He is eager to find the next novel that everyone is reading and recommending. James keeps an open mind when reading, so when in doubt, send a query. James is always looking to add more illustrators to his list. He’s open to working with illustrators with board book, picture book, chapter book, and/or graphic novel aspirations. (See the illustrators he currently represents here.) To submit to James, please visit Query Manager.

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