#SEACritterspub Agent Interview: Laura Zats


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 Laura Zats from Red Sofa Literary!

Laura Zats

Agency: Red Sofa Literary

Laura represents: YA, Scifi, Fantasy, Romance/Erotica, Horror, Middle Grade, Mystery, New Adult, Romance, Women’s Fiction

MSWL | Twitter

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 in this page (also located on the right side of this blog!) 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.)?

In addition to being an agent for the last (almost) five years, I’m a a tabletop RPGer, a tea-drinker, and an incredible napper. I’d love to see stories where the first two make an appearance.

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

Anything on my MSWL is fair game, but as I have a background in cultural anthropology, anything myth/folktale/storytelling focused is a win, but only from an emic perspective. In general, I’m interested in post-colonial and anti-colonial narratives in whatever shape that may take. I’m also ALWAYS looking for Asian hero/ines in romance novels.

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

• Young Adult — Fiction, I’m looking for all genres here, and am especially interested in settings or characters I haven’t seen before and queer romantic relationships if there’s a romance. Some examples of recent YA (that I didn’t sell) that I loved include When Dimple Met Rishi, Bone Gap, The Hate U Give, And I Darken, Walk on Earth a Stranger, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Forest of a Thousand Lantern, and An Ember in the Ashes.

I will always love anything that reminds me of Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, or Diana Wynne Jones.

• Science Fiction/Fantasy — In these genres, I love everything from big, commercial voices to literary crossover novels. As I have an anthropology degree, I’m interested in well-drawn cultures and subverting traditional Chosen One, quest, and colonial narratives. I will fall on the floor and salivate if your writing reminds me of N.K. Jemisin or Nnedi Okorafor. No white dudes on quests, dreams, or Western ideas of Hell, please.

• Romance/Erotica — I am looking for all settings and subgenres here. Must have verbal consent throughout and a twist to traditional romance tropes. If you send me the next The Hating Game, I will be the happiest agent in all the land. Please no rape, querying anything shorter than 60K, or shifters.

Note: I am interested in working with marginalized authors across all genres. Does not have to be #ownvoices. I love third-wave feminism and geekery in my books. Please see #mswl on twitter for more wish list specifics.

4. What are your submission guidelines?

From the Red Sofa Literary Agency website:

We highly encourage everyone to send an email and/or query letter initially, before attempting to send a full book proposal or sample chapters. If there is an interest, we will directly contact the author. Once these materials are received, there is usually response time of 6-8 weeks if it’s the Fall/Spring/Winter, this will depend with our individual conference schedules and commitments to our current authors.

Materials to have ready:

  • A personalized query letter addressed to Laura. No sample chapters / manuscript yet.
  • The full ms (should we request a partial or the full ms)
  • If querying via email, please only put the contents of your query IN the email. We will not open attachments unless they have been requested in advance.
  • Send query to [email protected]

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

Keep it short, to the point, and always, ALWAYS answer 1) Who the MC is 2) what they want and 3) how they’re going to get it and/or what’s standing in their way.

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!