Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Agency

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 2.39.57 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency.

At the 2020 Tampa workshop, she will be taking pitches from attendees, and also teaching a speech.

Beth founded Ladderbird Literary Agency with the intention of bringing diverse stories tot the forefront. She has a long love of literature, but found herself disappointed by the homogeneity of canonical work. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration and decided to merge her passions and create her own agency. Beth is passionate about writing that pushes genres and boundaries and challenges the reader to accept a new point of view.

 

What she’s looking for:

Beth is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, hidden histories. or weird histories, and issue-driven books.

Her first love is and always will be literary fiction, where she’s looking for work with unusual settings or work that involves clever plots and dynamic characters that bring to light new perspectives on old ideas. Particular areas of interest are stories set in Mexico or Central America. In addition, she’s especially fond of magical realism. Think: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, The Little Snake by A.L. Kennedy, The Vegetarian by Han Kang, and anything by Haruki Murakami.

Adult fiction:

Mainstream/Commercial Fiction: Multi-gen family sagas (ideally multicultural) meets cutes/RomComs (especially LGBTQ+).

Women’s Fiction: Smart, sharp, and funny, especially centered around F/F relationships, friendship or romantic,

Literary Fiction: Work with unusual settings and/or involving clever plots and dynamic characters that bring to light new perspectives on old ideas. Particular areas of interest are stories set in Mexico or Central America. In addition, she’s especially fond of magical realism.

Mysteries: Beth loves unusual settings and prefers cozies,

Thrillers: Work about anything other than rich suburban women.

Fantasy: Books that are fast-paced with wonderful (ideally non-European) characters.

Science Fiction: Near future; unusual tech; not focused around the US.

Kidlit:

Young Adult: Contemporary (friendship stories; found family; non-US based settings) mysteries (high stakes), thrillers (stories with big twists; no unreliable narrators), fantasy (character-driven and really original).

Beth is starting to acquire a very select list of middle grade and picture books. In middle grade, she’s looking for fun, compelling characters that deal with real problems that middle schoolers face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. In picture books, she’s dying to find books with really cute hooks like “The Day the Crayons Quit,” or nice messaging like “Not Quite a Narwhal.” She’d love to find a book that brings parents and kids together with language simple enough for a young child to read, but engrossing enough for and adult to enjoy.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ali Herring of Spencerhill Associates

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 6.33.40 PM.png Ali Herring is an assistant literary agent with Spencerhill Associates.

A former magazine associate editor, Ali has a diverse background in communications and editing. She graduated valedictorian of her class at Berry College in 2001, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Ali is excited to find new voices and build great relationships within the writing community.

She is seeking commercial young adult and middle grade (espescially sci-fi, fantasy and adventure), romance, Southern women’s fiction, and Christian/inspirational fiction – all with a marketable hook, captivating voice, fantastical world building and inventive plots.

For middle grade: commercial MG with a humorous/witty voice, likable protags and awesome sidekicks; meaningful, realistic situations built around great plots (think Wonder); and uplifting, relatable, empowering stories for girls.

She’s a voracious reader of sci-fi, but not a huge fan of superheroes, vampires (except for Edward), witches, erotica or anything overtly dark.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 3.39.35 PMNicole Resciniti is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency.

Nicole has been listed by Publishers Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW’s 2012 Agent of the Year. She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level.

Do you have the next project to feed her book addiction? A smart, tight read she won’t be able to put down? A signature voice she’ll fight to represent?

She is seeking: Happily-ever-afters are a must for romance. Mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, and inspirational novels are welcome. A consummate science geek and card-carrying Mensa member, Nicole would love to find the next great science fiction/fantasy novel or action/adventure masterpiece. Currently also on her wish list: high concept middle grade, any kind of romance, and really fresh voices in young adult.

Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Like Mary Sue, Nicole taught in the public school system and has worn many hats before heeding her calling to become a literary agent–for which she will forever be indebted to agency founder Mary Sue Seymour. “I have the best job in the world. I read for a living and make author’s dreams come true.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Erica Bauman of Aevitas Creative Management

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 3.10.25 PM.pngErica Bauman is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management.

Erica represents a wide variety of authors for both children and adults, including acclaimed YA author Andrew Auseon and Broadway performer Tiffany Haas.

Erica is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and has worked in the publishing industry for the last seven years. Before coming to Aevitas she worked at Spectrum Literary Agency.

Based in New York, Erica is currently focused on representing a wide range of authors across middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as some select narrative nonfiction projects. She is most interested in novels that straddle the line between literary and commercial, imaginative tales with a speculative twist, fearless storytellers that tackle big ideas and contemporary issues, and working with and supporting marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity.

“For middle grade, my interests span all genres, from contemporary to mystery to fantasy. I love quirky, funny stories and main characters who are misfits (and proud of it). I’m especially on the lookout for eerie horror (like Coraline) and really unique magic.”

“For young adult, I am a lover of all genre fiction, especially fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. I love stories based off of mythology, folklore, and obscure fairy tales, and novels that cross genres. I’m especially on the lookout for stories inspired by classic literature/ballet/opera, mysteries and thrillers with unreliable narrators, and books that play with structure to tell a story in a really unique way.”

“In adult, I gravitate towards stories that have a commercial premise and beautiful writing. I love voice-driven, witty romcoms, historical novels (especially mysteries), and light SFF and magical realism. I’m on the lookout for books starring nerds, and stories that make me laugh.”

“Across all age ranges and genres, I’m eager to support and work with marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity.”

“That said, I’m probably not the best for projects involving the following:

Serious literary fiction
Vampires/werewolves/zombies
Serious family drama
Intergalactic war/alien invasions
Dead pets
Erotica
Manic Pixie Dream Girls
Instalove.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance Katharine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 11.44.03 AMKatharine Sands is a literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in New York City.

She is the author of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye and has been a guest speaker on writing and publishing for Poets and Writers, The American Society of Journalists and Authors, UCLA, New York University, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Katharine is seeking all types of fiction, memoir and nonfiction. Katharine likes books that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks, which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. When reading fiction she wants to be compelled and propelled by urgent storytelling, and hooked by characters. For memoir, femoir, and himoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed. Katharine has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books including fiction, memoir and non-iction. Among the books she represents are: The Apothecary’s Curse, by Bram Stoker Award nominee Barbara Barnett; and Girl Walks Out of a Bar, a memoir by Lisa Smith that was featured by People as Notable Nonfiction.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leah Pierre of Ladderbird Literary

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 12.43.24 PM.pngLeah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

A Texas native, Leah moved to the east coast to pursue her dream of working in publishing. Leah spends her time enjoying the company of fictional characters more than people. When not in the company of fictional characters, Leah hangs out with friends and family, cooks, and catches up on movies and TV shows.

She is seeking: “I am looking for diverse and unique work that is faced paced, that I will not be able to put down, and will leave me on the edge of my seat. As much as I pretend to hate them, I do love a good plot twist and a shocking ending. I love stories with a complex cast of characters and I am a sucker for camaraderie, banter, and the tight-knit, family-like group of friends trope.”

Adult novels: romance (ideally interracial), fantasy with elements of myth and legends, historical fantasy/fiction, social-justice-inspired espionage/heist.

New adult novels: romance, coming-of-age, finding one’s identity, F/F friendship, the college experience as well as the post-college experience.

Young adult novels: Fantasy with elements of myth and legend (lesser know myths/legends i.e. Middle Eastern), Meet-Cute/Coming-of-age that involves romance and self-discovery/self-love, Contemporary, realistic and raw family-centered novels, mysteries and thrillers (unreliable narrators are okay), fairy-tale retellings, and a good heist concept.

“A lot of what I am looking for does overlap, so please use your best judgement when submitting. If you’re not sure, give it a try.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sally Apokedak of The Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 11.27.21 AMSally Apokedak is a literary agent with Apokedak Literary (formerly with The Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency)

What She is Looking For (in Her Own Words):

Picture Books: I’m looking for author/illustrators. Not really looking for authors only right now.

Middle Grade Books: I love boy-centric middle grade books. I love boys who love science, boys who go on adventures, and boy geniuses. I love fantasies. I love any genre if the voice is strong–if the author is strong and not stumbling.

YA Books: Fantasy is my favorite, and if there’s romance, I love it even more. I still like dystopian, and fairy tales. I love mysteries and don’t see many of those for young adults. Books with characters who are spiritual and books set in worlds with established religions always strike me as being deeper and more realistic than books with no religion. We are more than physical beings, after all.

Nonfiction For All Ages: I’m interested in devotional books, Christian living, science for young children, and biography. But you may try me on anything.

Adult Inspirational: I’m looking for adult books for the Christian market, particularly fantasy and romantic suspense.

What I Don’t Like: I am not a huge fan of issue books, preachy stories,  gay lit, or sexual content. I read novels  for fun, not to grow. If the fun story makes me grow, that’s a plus, but I’m not looking for overt lessons in regards to how to be saved from sin, love gay people, or recycle my garbage and save the world. Supernatural books, with angels, demons, or any mix thereof, will probably not catch my fancy. I’m not salivating for werewolves, vampires, ghosts, fairies, or zombies. (Orcs, hobbits, and dragons are what I love.) I’m not into dark and angsty books, and I really like endings that, if not completely happy, are at least full of  hope. For young boys, I’m OK with some scatological humor, but I like characters older than ten to be a little more mature and a little less enamored with their own bodily functions than the real-life boys they are patterned after. Any picture books that rhyme where all the rhyming words are one or two syllables, are not going to be right for me, I’m pretty sure.