This week's Agent Spotlight features Eddie Scheider of JABberwocky Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions, actively building his list.
“Schneider is an Iowa graduate, where he studied fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction (mentors include Yiyun Li and G.C. Waldrep). He is also a graduate of New York University, with an M.S. in Publishing, and started out in book publishing with a post at Folio Literary Management.
“He has also been, at various points in his life, a magazine editor, computer salesman, short-order cook, archery instructor, freelance graphic designer, and ultramarathoner.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“JABberwocky Literary Agency, established in 1994 by Joshua Bilmes, is the world's leading agency for fantasy and science fiction, and our interests extend beyond these to many areas of trade fiction and non-fiction.” (Link)
What He's Looking For:
Literary, humor/satire, graphic novels, fantasy, science Fiction, MG and YA. Non-fiction interests include science, history, and narrative nonfiction, for adult trade.
From an Interview (07/2011):
“I would most like to see more middle grade science fiction. The adventure inherent to the genre lends itself really, really well to MG, but I haven't been getting enough of that. While I do like dystopian fiction, I want to also see sf that does something besides rewrite "Lord of the Flies" with more technology and various forms of warmed-over fascist governments.
“I'm also happy to look at realistic MG novels, as well as fantasy in its myriad forms.” (Link)
Sent via E-mail (11/2010):
“I am most passionate about literary fiction, sf/fantasy, and narrative non-fiction that involves the sciences, history, and contemporary social issues. I also have a particular interest in young adult and middle grade fiction. More on what I’m looking for in these, and the other genres I enjoy working with, follows.
“Literary fiction – When I’m not reading a client manuscript or submission, my nose is often in a literary novel. What I go for are novels that have a strong stylistic voice, a palpable narrative (even when they start to experiment, one non-client example being Italo Calvino’s IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER), and that are engaged in areas that expand beyond the middle-class concerns endemic to the literary novel of the last few decades.
“Science fiction - I love sf, and some of my favorite novels fall into this category. What I particularly enjoy here are novels in which the characters and writing show the same level of thoughtful attention as the -ologies being explored. Two examples of (non-client) novels that I enjoyed in this vein are Walter M. Miller Jr.’s A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ and David Mitchell’s CLOUD ATLAS.
“I am also very much interested in sf written from non-Western cultural perspectives, as well as sf written for YA and middle grade readers. On the lighter side, if you have a thrilling space opera, send it my way! That’s my favorite kind of popcorn.
“Fantasy - With fantasy, my favorite novels have tended to be those that toe both the real world and the fantastic. In any case, I go for stories with intricate, imaginative settings that are internally consistent, address political and social concerns, and have often found myself preferring tight writing to florid. One example of a (non-client) novel that I particularly enjoyed like this was Ursula K. Le Guin’s LAVINIA.
“Fantasy is perhaps the broadest genre of all, so it might help to pinpoint areas of special interest to me. These include magical realism, urban fantasy, and S&S/epic fantasy set outside of the Northern European milieu from which the genre originated. I’m also very interested in YA and middle grade novels in any of these areas.
“Graphic novels - I am interested in graphic novels by either an author/illustrator, or already established author-illustrator team. Here, I prefer realistic subject matter to speculative, though I will certainly consider material with sf/fantasy elements. An example of a (non-client) graphic novel I really liked was David Mazzucchelli’s ASTERIOS POLYP.
“I’m also interested in graphic projects that either are, or resemble, comic strips. Here, what I’m after are projects that are well-written, humorous, and incisive. One example of a book I enjoyed in this vein was Nicholas Gurewitch’s THE TRIAL OF COLONEL SWEETO.” (Link)
See the agency website for non-fiction particulars.
What He Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, early readers. He advises that mysteries, high fantasies, hard sci-fi, and military sci-fi be directed to Joshua Bilmes. (Link)
His Advice to Writers:
"The best thing a writer can do to further his or her career is to make time every day to write, and to spend that writing time wisely. To spend it wisely means to continually try to improve. It's very similar to trying to become a concert pianist or an Olympic athlete, in that the writer much go all out in each day's writing. The more time a writer is able to dedicate each day, the fewer the number of years it will take to develop.
"The next thing that's necessary is for the writer to take agent research (and short story market research) as seriously as his or her writing. This means sending material to the right person, in the requested format, and being conscientious of how the process actually works.
"Lastly, it is also a very good idea for the aspiring author to join a writing group with one or more published authors in which people are honest with one another, and not cloying with encouragement or constantly fixated on their own work. Because humans learn better when they can see each other's body language, it's best to try to join a group that meets in person regularly, but online groups can also be helpful, in lieu of a good local group." (Link with more)
"Any decent agent will have the sense to carefully choose editors, and the result is that editors often get back to us quickly, and read the manuscript themselves as opposed to dumping it on an assistant or intern." (Link)
"I admit to being reticent to read someone's self-published novel, because it implies that the author has poor impulse control. That being said, there are books that people (publishers and agents alike) just don't get, and have to be shown, by sales success, that they ought to get. The world of vanity presses is also like playground basketball. The best playground players might make it in the pros, but most couldn't, and those that do will typically need some guidance before they really fulfill their potential." (Link)
Yes. "Typically, what I will actually do once I have a manuscript I'm interested in, is to work with the author to polish that manuscript so that all of the plot works, and that other things which an editor might use as excuses to pass on a project are also dealt with." (Link)
A list of clients can be found on the JABberwocky website here.
As of 7/2011, Mr. Schneider is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 4 deals in the last 12 months and 9 overall. Recent deals include 2 sci-fi/fantasy, 1 fantasy, and 1 young adult.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
NOTE: The agency regularly closes and reopens to submissions. Always check the website before querying.
Snail-Mail: Send a query with SASE.
E-Mail: Send a query pasted in the body of an e-mail. No attachments.
A 1-3 page synopsis can be included but is not required. Do NOT send any manuscript material unless requested. Do not query by fax or phone.
See the JABberwocky website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Mr. Schneider’s response time on queries seems to be one to two weeks with occasional instances over a month. Requested material usually gets a response within a month, sometimes two.
What's the Buzz?
Eddie Schneider has been agenting for a couple years now and is building a MG/YA list for the agency (as well as representing adult projects) with a focus on sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. Word around the web is great and his clients seem to love him. I can’t wait to see the agency’s children’s list grow!
Worth Your Time:
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Eddie Schneider at Middle Grade Ninja (07/2011).
Interview with Eddie Schneider at Fear of the Dark (06/2011).
Agent Advice Interview with Eddie Schneider at Guide to Literary Agents (03/2011).
Around the Web:
Keep an eye on the agency’s main webpage for news and updates!
You can find Eddie Schneider's conference/event schedule here.
JABberwocky Literary Agency on P&E (recommended).
Agent Appreciate Day post on Eddie Schneider by client E.C. Myers (12/10).
If you have an AvantGuild membership, check out this article on the agency: "Pitching An Agent: Quirky Queries Wanted."
Please see the JABberwocky website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 7/25/11.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/25/11.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.