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Profile Summary

John Jarrold has worked in the publishing industry since 1988 as an editor, publishing director, and script doctor, working both in-house and as a freelancer. He has also been a radio commentator on publishing, featured on the BBC. In 2004, John set up his own agency and editorial services company.

Throughout the course of his career, John has followed his passion for science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres by working with some of the biggest names in SFF publishing and authors, from the director of Orbit to setting up Simon & Schuster UK's science fiction and fantasy imprint, Earthlight. Over the years, he has worked with some of the SFF greats such as Tad Williams, Iain Banks, Lois McMaster Bujold, Michael Moorcock, Orson Scott Card, Joan D. Vinge, Anne McCaffrey, and Robert Jordan, to name a few! Do note, however, that John is only interested in science fiction, fantasy, and horror for adult markets only. If your book is targeted to YA or children's, he is not the agent for you. 

With a background as a commissioning editor, John is very commercially minded. He notes that while he may love a book but still pass on it if he feels it would not be commercially viable. John also expects potential clients to have a thorough knowledge of the current market. If you are only able to talk about SFF from twenty years ago, you are unlikely to know what sells in the current market. Do your research before submitting and include a handful of references to current writers doing similar work.

His business is both a literary agency and a freelance editorial service, but note that John keeps both functions entirely separate: you may either submit to him as a hopeful client or engage him for editorial services, not both.

John is an active member of the UK SFF community and loves talking about his passion. He often holds Q&A sessions on Twitter, so be sure to follow him and ask him questions when you have the opportunity.

Detailed data

John Jarrold
Agent since:
Short biography:
I've run three science fiction and fantasy imprints in the UK since 1988 and edited many well-known authors. I've been the sole proprietor of John Jarrold since 2004. Before this, I was Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster and Editorial Director at Little Brown UK. My full C.V. is available on my website.
Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Fantasy, Horror, Science fiction
Authors & books liked:
Iain Banks, Charles Stross, Rick Stein, Francis Pryor, Malcolm Pryce, Lauren Beukes, China Mieville, Jasper Fforde, Charles Yu, Kate Mosse, P. D. James, George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, Herman Melville
Other loves & passions:
Apart from SF and Fantasy (and literature in general), my main interests are film, archaeology and history, sport, opera (particularly Mozart), cookery, military history and hardware, computer games, both world wars, music in general, mythology, Romantic poetry, Shakespeare and the history of theatre, and English literature.
How to make a submission:
Agency standard.
Other advice and background:
I certainly think the first chapter is extremely important. But the thing is, it is both subjective and emotional, as well as involving the part of my brain that weighed books up as a commercial publisher for fifteen years. I've turned down books I loved personally, when I didn't feel they were commercially viable. So basically, both sides of me have to feel something is special. Of course, it's about the writing, the story-telling, the characters. And about depth, sophistication, and terrific dialogue helps. Try to pin it down, it slips through your fingers... Never, NEVER re-send a book to an agent or publisher unless they have specifically asked you to do so. In almost every case, once you've said no, that's it.
Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Follow on Twitter:
Interesting links:
The following names represent the full agency client list: David Barnett, Chris Beckett, Chaz Brenchley, Eric Brown, Saxon Bullock, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Crowther, Cory Daniells, Rjurik Davidson, Stephen Deas, Ian Cameron Esslemont, Christopher Evans, Toby Frost, Eric Furey, Debbie Gallagher, Jon George, Justine Hopkins, Rhys Hughes, Stephen Hunt, Paul Kearney, Leigh Kennedy, Jasper Kent, Garry Kilworth, John Marshall, Suzanne McLeod, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Mark Charan Newton, Philip Palmer, Ruaridh Pringle, Harvey Raines, Hannu Rajaniemi, Robert V S Redick, Rod Reeds, Ian Sales, Gaie Sebold, Dirk Strasser, Martyn Taylor, Richard Webb, John Whitbourn, Neil Williamson.
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: John Jarrold

Agency details

About the agency:
The agency specialises in representing SF, fantasy and horror novelists for the adult market. They are not taking on new clients in any other areas of fiction or non-fiction, or writers of YA or children's fiction. The agency is small and focussed, and John is also a very keen editor.
Address for submissions:
No data
Office address:
No data
Email address:
Phone number:
No data
Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Other - see details
Further submission info:
If you want your novel to be considered by the agency, please e-mail one paragraph about your work as well as comparisons with two or three recently-successful authors in the same genre (not long-term bestsellers) â so Iâ m aware you know the genre well, as it stands in 2012 â and the first six chapters as a Word Document attachment using the address below â youâ re also welcome to ask questions. The agency does not charge a reading fee. If your submission is not dealt with in two weeks, please follow up by e-mail.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
Member of the AAA:
Overseas offices:
Accepts overseas writers:
Follow on Twitter:
Latest news:
More about the agency:
The agency specialises in representing SF, fantasy and horror novelists for the adult market. They are not taking on new clients in any other areas of fiction or non-fiction, or writers of YA or children's fiction. The agency is small and focussed, and John is also a very keen editor.

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