Janella: Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
Axie: Patricia Nelson of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
WHERE DREAMS DESCEND (2020)
Janella Angeles is a Filipina-American writer who works in children’s publishing by day while penning novels by night. She majored in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College, but found the most valuable way of learning to write was in creating glorious Harry Potter fanfiction and reading obscene amounts of books. When she’s not reading, you can most likely find her writing like she’s running out of time.
PUBLISHING BACKGROUND: JANELLA
When I completed my first actual book (after many, many manuscripts that fizzled out) that wasn’t a work of fanfiction, I dreamed it would get me far. Sadly, querying a YA dystopian when dystopian was dead got me nowhere. My second book I worked on right after, a YA fantasy, landed me my agent! But that second book would not land me a book deal. After lots of tedious revising and sad rounds of submission, we inevitably had to shelve the project. In the end it was a blessing in disguise, because without those years of rejection and disappointment in my arsenal, I wouldn’t have had that as my fire to finish my third book, go on sub once again, and sell it shortly after. While my second time on sub was a much quicker story with a happier ending, those years of querying, writing, and failing behind the scenes made it all possible.
Axie Oh is a graduate of the University of California-San Diego where she studied Korean history and creative writing. She received her MFA from Lesley University in Writing for Young People. Her obsessions include: her dog, Toro, stationery supplies and milk tea.
PUBLISHING BACKGROUND: AXIE
My debut was actually the second book I ever finished, which I first drafted in 2013. In 2014, I entered a novel writing contest for marginalized writers hosted by my now-publisher Tu Books, which I won in 2015. I then wrote my 3rd book, a YA Fantasy, which got me my agent later that year. In 2017, my debut was released, and a few months later, my publisher asked for a companion novel, to be released Fall 2019. For those who like stats: I wrote and queried three books (beginning in 2012) before signing with my agent (2015) and getting published (2017).
Previously, we co-mentored in Pitch Wars and both also individually mentored in AMM. We both graduated from colleges studying concentrations in writing and literature–with Axie, earning her MFA in Creative Writing; and Janella, studying Writing Literature, and Publishing. Together, we have years of industry experience under our belts through various publishing internships with different literary agencies and publishing companies. Last but not least, we are super lucky to have many talented critique partners, many of whom have agents and/or book deals.
Having had mentors guide us on our own writing journeys and beyond, we love participating in programs where we can pay it forward and help other writers on their own journeys.
As a team, we’re really drawn to diverse stories and voices. We’re looking for writing that is strong and polished, and we have a soft spot for lyrical prose. While love doesn’t have to play a huge part, we’re always eager to squee over all the romance if it comes our way. Give us characters who fall in love, and give us characters to fall in love with.
But when it comes down to it, we’re looking for a story with a voice that will make us feel something. If you can make us laugh, cry, or feel a whole variety of emotions, then we’re already intrigued and invested. We truly do love the sort of stories that fall within our #MSWL, but also often fall in love with stories we didn’t know we were looking for.
- Own Voices
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
-For contemporary, we’re looking for romantic comedies, especially when they center diverse characters rather than sideline them
Tropes We Love:
-We like love triangles that are interesting and fresh. Don’t give us the default bland, nice guy vs. the obvious-choice-bad-boy. Make it complicated, full of feels, and we’ll love that love triangle forever (TATBILB, the show Baby Daddy, Vampire Academy)
-Enemies to lovers, friends to lovers; anything to lovers
Tropes We Hate:
-The alpha male and the damsel in distress
-Possessive, stalker-ish behavior perceived as romantic
-“You’re/I’m not like other girls” syndrome
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
- GIFS & EMOJIS
Our style is very collaborative, communicative, and slightly wild, but ultimately and most importantly, constructive! We are always on board to fangirl and cheerlead our mentee on, but we are also there to first and foremost offer critique and shape that manuscript into the best possible version of itself. We want to ensure our mentee has solid editorial support and back-and-forth communication from both of us throughout the revising stage. Aside from collaborative edit letters, we would also love to schedule Skype calls to discuss editorial notes, brainstorm, and answer any questions the mentee may have so we can all be on the same page. From big picture edits to smaller details to everything in between, we want to make sure our mentee comes out of AMM with an awesome experience, as well as a polished manuscript to take into the world.
Someone who takes writing seriously, but doesn’t take themselves too seriously. We like to joke around and keep things light! But at the same time, we want someone who is passionate about writing, willing to put in the work, and is not afraid of constructive criticism.
-A romantic comedy with diverse leads (think CRAZY RICH ASIANS, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, anything by Sandhya Menon or Maurene Goo)
-Glamdark stories (“glamdark” defined as stories with a glamorous, lush atmospheres and a darker edge a la Moulin Rouge)
-A romantic fantasy with elements drawn from a diverse heritage
-Strong group dynamics (between family or friends)
-Rivals to lovers, friends to lovers; basically, anything to lovers
-Bold, confident af heroines and soft cinnamon roll heroes
-A paranormal romance or contemporary fantasy with diverse characters (like VAMPIRES)
-Masked crusaders or vigilantes (Tuxedo Mask, Zorro, Phantom, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
-Non-western settings or mythologies (THE BELLES, WANT)
-Hades/Persephone and Orpheus/Eurydice retellings
-Female warriors that are rooted in a specific time and culture (Shieldwomen, female martial artists, Amazons, spies, or like the Warriors of Kyoshi from ATLA)
-Characters with unique hobbies or interests/talents (arts and music, sports, gaming)
DO NOT SEND US:
-Contemporaries that focus on a heavy topic
-Military or grimdark sci-fi/fantasy
-White Savior Stories
-Tolkien fantasy or magical creatures
-Anything that involves girl hate or features slut-shaming
Books: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Rebel Seoul, the Grisha trilogy, The Cruel Prince, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, The Belles, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, The Immortal Rules, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, The Night Circus, Vampire Academy
TV & Movies: The Mummy, Hayao Miyazaki films, Crazy Rich Asians, Jurassic Park, Rogue One, Korean dramas, Sailor Moon, Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, Baz Luhrmann films, Clueless, Legally Blonde, Wonder Woman, Veronica Mars, Coco, Moana, Pride & Prejudice, Brooklyn 99