#SEACritterspub Agent Interview: Lisa Rodgers of the JABberwocky Literary Agency
Welcome to the #SEACritterspub interviews, where we spotlight agents and editors looking for Asian literature and / or Asian authors! This week it’s Lisa Rodgers from the JABberwocky Literary Agency!
What is #SEACritterspub?
This is an initiative started by Hanna Alkaf, Gail Villanueva, and I (all currently living in Southeast Asia) to help Asian authors (both diaspora and living outside of the US) learn more about querying and finding agents in the US! Aside from showcasing agents actively seeking Asian rep, we also post tips, advice, and occasionally offer query / 1st page critiques!
Before proceeding: please familiarize yourself with what a query is and how it works, general etiquette that authors need to know before finding an agent, and other helpful guidelines. Check out the #SeaCritterspub category on this blog (also located on the right side of this interview!) for more details!
Now, onwards to the interview!
1. Is there any information about yourself that you think people might like to know (literary agent experience, hobbies, etc.)?
I’ve been a literary agent with JABberwocky since 2012, specializing in science fiction and fantasy (adult and YA). My hobbies and interests include knitting, swing dancing, playing board games, hiking, and camping.
2. Are there any specific Asian MS preferences you’re looking for (e.g., contemporary K-drama, Chinese martial arts fantasy, etc.) ?
I’m open to any and all Asian inspirations, though I have a slight preference for Korean and Chinese influences. I’m looking for both fantasy and science fiction of all subgenres, though I particularly enjoy epic fantasy, space opera, and military science fiction. I really enjoy stories that feature assassins, heists, and forbidden things (romance, magic, beliefs, etc). I’m always looking for works that challenge the status quo, and characters who grapple with their own values.
3. What other things do you look for in a manuscript?
Fantasy / Science Fiction
- moral challenges for the protagonist, or morally ambiguous main characters
- a plot that’s more than just “the quest”
- cohesive and strong worldbuilding
- strong voice and strong* characters (*vulnerability can be strong, too!)
- space and spaceships! Think Battlestar Galactica or Firefly
- exploring what it means to be “human”
- tropes I love include: friends to lovers, marriages of (in)convenience, arranged marriages
- relationships with equal power dynamics and respect are very important to me
- I love awkward heroes and heroines
- hot and steamy is OK!
- something dark and twisty like Peaky Blinders
- near-death experiences, survival stories, or extreme environment settings
- non-Western settings and/or non-white characters
- I would love to see more works from authors who identify as nonbinary, genderfluid, queer, or trans, and/or who write characters with those identities.
- Ditto for ace/aro authors or characters.
Non-fiction: I’d love to hear from knitters, crochets, spinners (wool, not bicycles), quilters, etc. Pattern collections, craft reflections (like YARN HARLOT), or things tangentially related to handcrafts.
It should go without saying, but: I am happy to consider queries by persons, or featuring protagonists, of any race, color, creed, religion, national citizenship/origin, gender or sexual orientation, disability, age, or physical appearance, in any and all of the above genres.
4. What are your submission guidelines?
From the JABberwocky Agency website:
We only respond to unsolicited queries by mail when they are accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or, for international queries, an international reply coupon (IRC) if US postage is unavailable. We do not accept queries by phone, or by fax.
E-mail queries must be directed to an address listed below. Unsolicited e-mail queries sent to any other address are considered spam, and will be deleted unread.
- email to querylisa [at] awfulagent.com
- DO NOT SEND ANY MANUSCRIPT MATERIAL UNLESS REQUESTED BY THAT AGENT. Shipping full or partial manuscript pages via snail mail is both expensive for you and cumbersome for us!
- A brief one to three-page synopsis can be included with your query letter, but is in no way required. With an e-mail query, this synopsis must be pasted below your query letter; e-mail queries with attachments will be deleted, unread.
- You can mail your queries to:JABberwocky Literary Agency
49 West 45th Street, 12th Floor North
New York, NY 10036
- If you would like to make my life a little easier, you may use this formula for the subject line: “Query: Title (Genre)“
Are you an agent or an editor who’d like to participate in these interviews? Drop me an email at rin.chupeco[at]gmail[dot]com!