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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jolene Haley of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Jolene Haley is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Jolene Haley has been in the publishing industry since 2012 on both the publisher and agency sides in editorial, marketing, publicity, contracts, and agent positions. She has worked for literary agencies such as Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and The Bent Agency. Her well-rounded experience and extensive background in PR and marketing provides a unique perspective and a solid foundation to support authors as they build their careers.

To get a better idea of my reading tastes, here are some of my favorite books: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Haunted by Danielle Vega, Point Horror series, and anything from Laura Griffin, Simone Elkeles, or RL Stine.

If you comp your book to any of these shows, I would love to see your work: Forensic Files, Good Girls, Outer Banks, Pretty Little Liars, Destination Unknown, Dead to Me, Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Riverdale, Scream, Twisted, Star-Crossed, Supernatural, and Friday Night Lights.

Middle Grade wishlist: (ages 9-13)

I am particularly drawn to adventure, contemporary, horror, magical realism, and mystery novels. I love character driven stories with humor and authentic voices.

I’d love to see:
• Contemporary featuring stories of family, first love, and overcoming obstacles.
• Chilling tales of horror a la R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, including creepy dolls, ghosts, and books set at camp.
• Stories involving a diverse group of friends coming together to solve a mystery or a crime, like The Goonies or Stranger Things.
• Magical tales, especially ones set at boarding schools.
• A diverse and modern-day Babysitter’s Club series or Sweet Valley Twins series.

Young Adult wishlist (ages 14-19):

I am interested in a wide variety of YA genres: adventure, contemporary, horror, magical realism, mystery, romance, and thriller. I love strong, unique voices and am always looking for diverse, inclusive reads. I have a soft spot for misunderstood characters and love interests.

I’d love to see:
• Feel-good coming of age stories like Stand by Me or Now and Then.
• Dark stories and tales of terror! Send your books involving ghosts, witches, tarot, haunted houses, cemeteries, or things that go bump in the night.
• A novel that reads like a true crime podcast.
• Myths and legends from your part of the world.
• Mysteries that involve friends banding together. If your novel can be likened to a more diverse Clue, Nancy Drew, or the Hardy Boys, send it in.
• Stories featuring your local girl gang (girls supporting girls).
• Romance in every subgenre, in every heat level. From slow burn romances to enemies-to-lovers to feel-good romances, I love them all.
• Stories involving heists of any kind.
• Adventures involving pirates, mermaids, or the ocean in any capacity.
• If your book’s aesthetic is in the dark academia realm, I’d love to see it.
• I’m forever wishing for a book that brings the same kind of autumn magic that Ray Bradbury conjured in his writing.
• Magic and witches, witches and magic, magic and witches, witches and magic. Oh, and curses too.

Adult fiction wishlist:

I am interested in the following genres: adventure, chick lit, commercial women’s fiction, mystery, romance, true crime, and select horror. I am drawn to unreliable narrators, dark and gritty tales, and stories with lots of twists and turns.

I’d love to see:
• Cozy mysteries with a lovable detective. Bonus points if it reminds me of Murder, She Wrote.
• Any and all mysteries and true crime novels.
• Romantic suspense featuring a strong lead and a hot, irresistible love interest, working together to solve a crime.
• Feel-good romance that can make a reader laugh and swoon simultaneously, especially small town romantic comedies.
• A ghost hunter rom-com or a tarot reader / psychic rom-com.
• Any and all ghost stories or stories about hauntings.

Nonfiction wishlist:

I seek well-researched and focused books on:
• Mind/body/spirit
• True crime
• Spiritualism, witchcraft, and/or magic.


• Chapter/Picture books
• Military/Political thrillers
• Pandemic stories
• High Fantasy
• Science Fiction
• Screenplays
• Novellas/Short Story Collections
• Any books where animals get hurt.

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