#SEACritterspub Agent Interview: Rachel Brooks of the BookEnds 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 Rachel Brooks from the BookEnds 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.)?
After three years as an agent at the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel Brooks joined BookEnds in June 2017. Prior to that she was apprentice to agent Louise Fury. Originally from Washington (and then from all over as an Air Force brat), Rachel now resides with her gamer husband and chatty rescue cat. When not working, her other interests include trying new recipes, playing World of Warcraft, and spending time by the ocean.
2. Are there any specific Asian MS preferences you’re looking for (e.g., contemporary K-drama, Chinese martial arts fantasy, etc.) ?
A young adult or women’s fiction manuscript that breaks my heart and almost puts it back together in the vein of K-dramas Goblin: The Lonely and Great God or Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is probably up my alley. I also would love to find something like Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Hwarang, and I’m Not a Robot, with their balance of humor and heart. While these are South Korean shows, I’m interested in Asian stories and writers from all countries.
3. What other things do you look for in a manuscript?
In adult romance she’s looking for high-concept stories. She’s seen the tropes before, so the voice has to feel fresh and stand out in the market. In young adult she especially wants to read manuscripts by authors of color and LGBTQIA authors (although this applies to adult projects too). In women’s fiction she is selectively looking for commercial stories with a strong hook. She likes lighter reads in the vein of Sophie Kinsella, while also darker ones like Liane Moriarty. She enjoys women’s fiction with dynamic multi-generational or sister relationships. She’s open to multiple POV stories, so long as the voices are distinct. She’s not the best fit for inspirational or mother/child stories. For cozy mysteries, she wants a fun series theme set in an idyllic small town with a lovable sleuth (Examples: Krista Davis’s Paws & Claws series, Laurie Cass’s Bookmobile Cat Mysteries, and Peg Cochran’s Cranberry Cove series).
4. What are your submission guidelines?
Submissions to BookEnds should be made electronically through the Query Manager database. Rachel’s submission form: http://queryme.online/RachelBrooks.
5. What are things people should remember when sending you queries? Any advice regarding what catches your attention / what turns you off?
Only one agent at BookEnds can consider your query/manuscript at a time, so please wait until you’ve heard a decision before querying a second BookEnds agent. We love finding new clients, and have found many of our current ones through the good old query slush pile.
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!