Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Agentopia: Gemma Cooper

Welcome to the first of our new monthly feature: Agentopia. For more information and to see other Agentopia posts, click here.

Many thanks to Gemma Cooper, an agent brave enough to be our first Agentopia guinea pig participant!


Gemma Cooper is a literary agent at Bright Literary Agency, which is a division of Bright Group International, a global children’s content agency with offices in London and New York. (Bright Literary Agency blog can be found here.)

Gemma represents children’s authors and author/illustrators – everything from picture books to YA. She joined BLA in November 2011 to grow the fiction portfolio and is particularly looking for MG and YA. Her key focus is development of new authors, and using her editorial experience, she enjoys helping authors make their manuscripts shine.

When she is not working (which is almost never), she writes scary MG books and is represented by Joanna Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary. Gemma drives a bright pink car and lives in a c1800’s old rectory, which would be described by an estate agent as ‘needing extensive renovation.’(Follow her on Twitter)


For both MG and YA, I am obsessed with strong voice. I’ve found recently that this has meant I’ve struggled with third person POV. However, I have just taken on a client with a MG boy third person POV, but it was so well done it felt like first.

  • Boy voice YA – it’s my favorite thing in YA and so hard to do well. 
  • Contemporary or issues books – I’m seeing a lot of urban fantasy, so I’d love a nice juicy contemporary.
  • A thriller or something fast paced with lots of action. 
  • A crime novel or some sort of heist.
  • A younger tween friendship based novel – think Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

  • I would like to see some of the paranormal elements that work so well in YA filtered down into MG.  
  • An amazing literary novel with great voice and perhaps a slight magical or mystical element.  
  • I love Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, so I’d love to see some funny space stories. 
  • Author/illustrators writing MG or chapter books would get my immediate attention!


No paper submissions please!

Please email the first three chapters plus a synopsis (1-4 pages max, ideally). Please send these as .doc or .pdf attachments and add a short cover letter to your email.

All submissions to be sent to literarysubmissions@brightgroupinternational.com

I read and respond to all submissions personally, so it can take between 2-6 weeks for you to hear from me.