Thao Le

Fantasy, contemporary

On Submission

Elly Ha is a Korean-American dark fantasy and contemporary writer who goes by she/they pronouns. Their love for writing began with the grotesque of the Discovery Health Channel and the magical worlds within games like The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. They tend to write on subjects of mental illness, queerness, and the Asian American diaspora because they are ace/aro, non-binary, depressed, and anxiety-ridden. If not writing, they are out at Kung Fu Tea, playing on their Nintendo Switch, or wishing they had a cat. Though she uses gender neutral pronouns in this bio, she is perfectly okay if you call her by she/her pronouns. Elly is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

When I first started querying, I was a sophomore in college. I spent a little more than a year querying three different books before landing my agent in April 2018 through #PitMad, with my fourth book! From April to November of 2018, I rewrote and revised the MS, and eventually went on sub shortly after.

I never really had any proper writing training. Even as an English major, I’m concentrating in Modern Literature and Culture, not Creative Writing. I’ve simply been writing as a hobby since I was a kid. But, as with the advice we hear all around the publishing industry, not having an English or Creative Writing degree is no big deal.

It gives me immense pleasure and fulfillment just to think about being able to help authors, young authors, authors of color, get their foot through the door in this rigorous and often unfair industry. I never had a community like book Twitter, and never had writer friends to lean on during my time in the query trenches. I want to be a part of someone else’s inherently lonely path up to where I’ve put myself.

All in all, I’m generally super open to genres and tropes that I haven’t even listed. I might not know what I want until I see it pitched to me! Even though I say I’m looking for fantasy, I’m currently supersaturated with fantasy so it’ll be tough to really grab my attention with something fresh and unique. That said, I’m more interested in fantasies rooted in ethnic cultures and religions outside of the USA. I also don’t mind direct pitches, even if that’s not really within AMM parameters. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me and be communicative! I’m a huge fan of transparency.

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Own Voices

Tropes and genres I love:
Wholesome contemporary
Dark fantasy
Friends/lovers to enemies
Healers and warriors
Super feminine girls who also kick ass
Tough characters who go by cute nicknames
Royalty disguised as commoners


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I will be very hands on, very editorial. Be prepared for tons of feedback and suggestions and mark-ups. I won’t be too picky about line editing, because I want to preserve your style and voice, but I will drop some comments. Don’t worry, though; I’ll always wrap up criticism with the good stuff. If I choose you as my mentee, it means I like your manuscript! It means I see potential, and I want to help carve it out.

Be prepared to consider potentially drastic revisions, IF they come up. I’m not saying it’s inevitable! Just saying, you should prepare to think about what’s best for the story. Not the plot or characters, but the story. I’ve learned that fear of change is one of a writer’s greatest enemies. I only know because my agent and I undertook a huge revision that took me nearly an entire year to finish. In the end, we fleshed out the best version possible of the book.

I’m pretty good at big picture revisions. Not my own, but for other people. BUT, I’m also high-key nitpicky. I like getting down to the nitty gritty details of worldbuilding, dialogue, consistency, etc. Nuances are important to me.
Communication! This is crucial to me. I prefer email, since I am a student with sometimes unforeseeable changes in my daily schedule. Nevertheless, I will definitely respond the same day. I always have my phone with me, and I will at least send you a read receipt. But, if you want, we can definitely schedule a talk over the phone! I prefer calls when brainstorming, or discussing potential major revision ideas together. And I’m completely open to DMing for instant feedback/comments.

All this said, I will not be an editor who demands you make all the revisions I suggestion. In the end, it is YOUR book! I only suggest what I think could make the book its best possible version. But, if you are not going to be open to thinking over any edits, you may not want to sub to me. No book is ever impervious to criticism.

Please do note that I am a queer woman/enby of color who struggles with mental illnesses. If your manuscript has ableist, or even vaguely racist or misogynistic language, I will point it out.

Someone who…

Is open to criticism and potential major revisions.

Has good communication skills. My anxiety skyrockets if I don’t know what your thought processes are. Please be open with me about everything!

Is not afraid to ask for my help or advice about anything, even outside of writing and publishing.

Takes deadlines very seriously. If you can’t keep a deadline, please please communicate with me. I’m very lenient as long as you do.

Wants to grow as a writer, not just to sign with an agent.

I’d love for us to become friends, and potentially even critique partners.


  • Young Adult.
  • All kinds of college YA.
  • Dark, gloomy, grotesque, and gore, on levels appropriate for YA.
  • Diverse YA epic fantasy and contemporary fantasy.
  • Settings other than the USA and Western Europe.
  • Unique magic systems. I’m really tired of elemental magic systems riffing off Avatar: The Last Airbender et al. Magic drawn from nature! From science! From outer space! Etc!
  • East Asian fantasies. Especially Korean-inspired!
  • Military fantasy, like if THE POPPY WAR were YA.
  • Contemporary stories of queer teens, teens of color, disabled teens.
  • Sex positivity. I don’t want to see slut shaming or double standards against girls.
  • Bakeries, cafes, and baristas.
  • Quaint stories that don’t really have a solid plot, but are all about investment in the characters or environment. Character-driven stories, not plot-driven stories.
  • Farm life, a la Stardew Valley.
  • Strong platonic and intellectual relationships between characters.
  • Asexual and aromantic characters!
  • The ONLY romance I’m into: between aromantic character(s). I want aromantic romances! If you don’t know what aromanticism is, please Google it.
  • Narratives centering Asian American diaspora.
  • Beautiful and/or poetic writing, like Roshani Chokshi’s.
  • Wholesome relationships between family members, especially with grandparents.
  • Medicine, stories within the medical field.
  • Apothecaries! Herbalism! Bonus if it’s a fantasy with these elements.


  • Genre romance, or romance-heavy plotlines.
  • Fae.
  • Books in which “diversity” is represented through fae, elves, dwarves, aliens, and other non-human races.
  • Any manuscript that includes the phrases “more than just friends” or “the opposite gender.”
  • Stories about North Korea or North Koreans, unless it is #OwnVoices.
  • K-pop narratives.
  • Non-white fantasies written by white authors.
  • Historical fiction.
  • Mystery.
  • Hard science fiction.
  • Memoirs and nonfiction, only because I do not have much experience with those markets.


  • THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kuang
  • AN EMBER IN THE ASHES series by Sabaa Tahir
  • ERZULIE’S SKIRT by Ana-Maurine Lara
  • STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • The Marvel Universe movies, particularly Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok
  • Voltron
  • Teen Titans
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Anime: NANA, Inuyasha, Oremonogatari, Black Butler, Akatsuki no Yona, Magi, Haikyuu!!
  • The Legend of Zelda, especially Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, and Breath of the Wild
  • Stardew Valley
  • Animal Crossing
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening
  • Final Fantasy X and XIII
  • Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Xena: Warrior Princess and Charmed. My favorite oldies!