#SEACritterspub Editor Interview: Carl Engle-Laird from Tor Publishing


APRIL, 2018

Welcome to the #SEACritterspub interviews, where we spotlight agents and editors looking for Asian literature and / or Asian authors! This week it’s editor Carl Engle-Laird from Tor!

Carl Engle-Laird

Editor at: Tor

Carl is looking for: Adult speculative fiction, queer fiction, YA with adult crossover potential  


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!

Also note that unless specified, many editors do not accept unsolicited / unagented manuscripts, but agents looking for editors interested in Asian lit may take advantage of this list!

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’m an editor for Tor.com Publishing, where I’ve been acquiring and editing speculative fiction since 2013. I edit both novels and novellas, including award-nominated fiction by Asian authors such as the Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang, Runtime by SB Divya, and Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw. Although I no longer regularly acquire short stories or novelettes, you can read the short fiction I have acquired, or I can be found on Twitter @englelaird.

2. Are there any specific Asian MS preferences you’re looking for (e.g., contemporary K-drama, Chinese martial arts fantasy, etc.) ?

While I’m only interested in speculative fiction, I acquire a broad range of fiction, spanning science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I’ve published wuxia-inspired epic fantasy, near-future cyberpunk, neo-noir, and everything in between. Furthermore, while I’m often skeptical about privileged individuals writing across lines of privilege to claim the stories of those less-privileged, I don’t believe that a story from an Asian author needs to be an #ownvoices story to be valid or interesting. I’m interested in work from authors on the margins, no matter what they choose to write about.

3. What other things do you look for in a manuscript?

I’m less interested in urban fantasy in general, but I’m sure the manuscript will hit me someday that topples that preference. Regardless of genre, I’m particularly interested in queer fiction. I publish adult work, although a YA with significant crossover potential into the adult market (cf Binti and Every Heart a Doorway) might work for me. No MG. It’s most important to me that a manuscript have a strong, clear voice that draws me into its world than that it hit certain tropes.

4. What are your submission guidelines?

  • As a rule, I do not accept unsolicited, unagented material, but if you put #SEAcritterspub (for Asian fiction only) in the subject line of your submission email I’ll make an exception.
  • If you do have an agent, please have them send me the manuscript instead of sending to me directly.
  • Submissions can be sent to [email protected].
  • I will consider fiction of 20,000 – 60,000 words, in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats.
  • Please send a brief query letter along with your full manuscript.

5. What are things people should remember when sending you queries? Any advice regarding what catches your attention / what turns you off?

As any editor, I prefer queries to include clear, realistic comps to recent work, to help place the book in genre and help me envision a plan for publication.


To view the full list of agents currently seeking Asian lit / rep, go to this Google doc!

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!