Sam is the Editorial Director and Right Hand of Darkness at JABberwocky. He is a native of Shelby, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Communications – Media Studies and Production. Before joining Jabberwocky in late 2012, Sam worked throughout New York City as a television critic, pizza guy, and several other glamorous positions. He’s an active nerd across all media from British television (Doctor Who and Black Mirror), to videogames (Injustice and Nintendo), to SF and fantasy novels (Prattchett, Adams, Gaiman), to college basketball (Go Heels, Go America). Sam is also active in the New York comedy scene at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater and making his own little rinky-dink videos in his spare time. He is ridiculously handsome, gut-busting witty, and prone to hyperbole.
For the time being, he is open for queries. You can email him (see instructions below) at querysam [at] awfulagent [dot] com.
If you need to reach him for some other reason, you can do so at sam [at] awfulagent [dot] com. If you query him at this address, it will be deleted unread.
You can also follow him on the ole twitter @samroebuck.
Also, he has a beard now. He feels this is important to know.
I AM OPEN FOR QUERIES!
You can reach me at querysam at awfulagent dot com. Send a basic email query and paste the first five pages into the body of the email. No attachments. Those get dropped faster than an 8am math class.
THIS IS WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR:
Fantasy: My tastes in fantasy generally run the gamut of the entire genre, but with a twist. I love epic and urban fantasies, but all of my clients approach those genres with a very weird eye. They see the unending beauty of the world we live in and go “yeah… this is great and all, but what if we had to deal with drunk dragons all the time?” I like fantasy that can be explained clearly in the title (i.e. Ryan North’s ROMEO AND/OR JULIET), brilliantly explained in a sentence (i.e. LAMB: Christ had a best friend named Biff), or can’t be explained at all without a map, index of characters, and a thirty minute symposium on the magic system (Discworld, Song of Ice and Fire, etc.)
A hint for those submitting the third example: Go read the back cover copy of Brandon Sanderson’s THE WAY OF KINGS. That’s how you pitch an epic fantasy.
Science Fiction: My tastes in sci-fi are far more narrow than fantasy. I like it more character and plot driven than science driven (in other words, the softer side of SF). I shouldn’t need a doctorate degree in order to understand your reasoning. Feel free to give me space operas, aliens, laser, transporters, and cyborgs. Just don’t forget to give me a little soul too.
Hard Science Fiction – as a favor to Jabberwocky’s C.O.O. Brady (the hard sci-fi fan in the office), I will start considering hard science fiction on his behalf. His tastes tend to run along the lines of Iain M. Banks, Ray Bradbury, Alastair Reynolds, and Charles Stross so if you have something that runs more Doctorate than Doctor Who, feel free to send it my way. If it passes my editorial once over, I’ll send it to him and he’ll double check your equations to make sure everything equals out.
Literary Fiction: I like un-pretentious fiction. I like it weird. I like Alissa Nutting’s TAMPA. I like Ben Winter’s THE LAST POLICEMAN (even though that technically might be SF). I like Christopher Buckley and Carl Hiaasen. Give me the weird and unique voices and stories that only you could’ve written.
Humor: One thing I’ve found in the book business lately is that if you’re not already an established comedian, comic strip artist, or a viral blogger/twitterer/internet personality, you’re not going to wind up in the “humor” section. So this is a seasoning I like with all the genres listed above. Now, let me say one thing. I know humor. I could literally write a dissertation on what you find funny and how that is caused by and effects your view of the world. I’m, unfortunately, the kind of person who goes “that’s funny” instead of laughing. I know what does and doesn’t work. Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett defined humor in science fiction and fantasy. I want someone to redefine it.
Diversity: I’m as bored hearing about white dudes in a western-based world as you are. I want to hear about POV’s completely different than mine told from someone that has lived outside the mainstream. I won’t turn away anything because of race, religion, sexuality, etc.
Other genres: My clients have included pretty much every other genre you can think of. I can successfully argue that some of their work is horror, thriller, mystery, historical, and more. But they all used these others genres to intensify, compliment, and contrast the genres listed above. So don’t shy away from me if you think your novel is too mysterious or too thriller for my taste. It might not be.
Tone: So this is a weird section and if your book doesn’t fit here, but does to stuff up above, don’t worry, send it regardless. But here’s the thing – I was blown away the first time I read Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot quote. I’m very aware we’re given a finite amount of time to do whatever it is we want to do and I respect and admire the people that choose to make life for others just a little bit happier (If all sound will die in the void anyway, we might as well sing). So I like my fiction to be on the optimistic side of things. I’m not a blind optimist, some of the stuff I represent is the darkest you’ll come across. But, I’ve come across some descriptions that I want to be applied to my clients: “bizarre sense of sincerity,” talking about the SNL sketches of Mike O’Brien; “her enthusiasm leaves a bruise,” about Ellie Kemper; and Film Crit Hulk often talks about how he wishes more stories were about the “the mundane heroisms of living everyday life.”
I am NOT looking for Young Adult (YA) or Middle Grade (MG) or New Adult (NA ). If you query me with these genres, they will be rejected. Sorry, but I got an inbox full of other stuff and life is short. Ripping band-aids, you know? Nothing against those genres, but it’s not my forte and you would be better represented by someone that understands them and knows what to do with them.
WHO I’M LOOKING FOR:
Basically I’m looking for the next Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, Piers Anthony, Christopher Moore, Christopher Buckley, George R.R. Martin, and Mark Twain.
Notice how there isn’t a woman or a person of color in that list? Yeah, I’d like to change that.
Other people/shows/things that aren’t really known for writing books but can nevertheless inform you of the type of fiction I’m looking to represent: Dan Harmon, Joss Whedon, Deadpool, Edgar Wright, Steven Moffat, You’re the Worst, Spike Jonze, Broad City, Happy Endings, Charlie Kaufman, Steve Martin, Judd Apatow, Key and Peele, Leslie Jones, Vince Gilligan, How I Met Your Mother, Aaron Sorkin, Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, Calvin and Hobbes, Donald Glover, Harpo Marx, Mel Brooks, Esquire Magazine, Ogden Nash, Louis CK, Ferris Bueller (the character, not his day off), limericks, Texts From Last Night, Archer, Eastbound and Down, Friday Night Lights, and Weird Al.