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

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.16.13 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency.

Ladderbird is a boutique literary agency. Beth has a long love of literature, which started as part of a family of bookworms. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She became determined to find a way to merge her business passion and her love of literature, which she did as an agent. Beth is passionate about writing that pushes genres and boundaries and challenges the reader to accept a new point of view.

She is seeking:

literary fiction​: “We love literary fiction, particularly if it has an unusual setting or involves a deep look into problems with social constructs, gender roles, wealth disparity or racial tensions (particularly written by minority writers from any group). Literary is a genre where we really need to see beautiful, well thought out writing that lets us dive into ourselves and discover something new. We’re not especially limited in what we’ll look at, but it should be new; I don’t need another book about the difficulties of addiction.”

women’s fiction​: “We’d love to see a women’s adventure story that is smart, sharp, funny and page-turning!​​ Something like Stephanie Plum meets Indian Jones. In women’s fiction, we want strong characters, not people who are falling about over a breakup. We want women that inspirational and clever, not characters that need saving.”

fantasy​: “We are specifically looking for non-European centric fantasy. We would especially love to see fantasy that draws its inspiration from African, Indian, or Japanese culture. We like accessible fantasy that can reach a broad audience, I’m not interested in epics. Fantasies that are submitted to Ladderbird should be plot driven with strong well developed characters. We’d love to see something fun, magical and​ fast paced. I am especially draw to fantasy that is folkloric and draws inspiration from the old tales of the region of their focus.”

science fiction: “We would love to see quick, exciting, fun adventures. We prefer sci-fi that is closer to speculative fiction than deep sci-fi. They can involve space, but should not be space operas or epics. ​We love sci-fi that shows how technology impacts the world, especially in a positive way. We are especially interested in acquiring works have a utopic rather than dystopic environment, but we’ll look at both. We’re looking for the next Nnedi Okorafor!”

crime​ novels: “We’re looking for crime novels that have a strong setting, foreign or regional. We want fabulously developed characters that are interesting and relatable. We do not want police procedurals (no Law & Order!). We like the focus to come from the perspective of the criminal and offer insight into the illicit side of life while still being quick and fun, especially the ‘accidental’ criminal.”

young adult sci-fi & fantasy: “We are looking for YA sci-fi/fantasy that conforms to the same requirements as our adult sci-fi and fantasy but has a younger protagonists. YA should be able to reach both younger readers and adults. The themes should be universal and easily accessible for all readers.”

Ladderbird is NOT seeking:

mainstream/commercial fiction​
horror
thriller
historical fiction
young adult contemporary
middle grade
picture books​

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kerstin Wolf of D4EO Literary

Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 5.12.00 PM.pngAfter years of interning at a number of literary agencies and publishers, freelance editing, and bookselling, Kerstin Wolf got her start as an agent in training at The Booker Albert Literary Agency before joining D4EO Literary as a literary agent in February 2019.

When not reading, editing, or doing anything related to publishing, Kerstin enjoys practicing martial arts. She has the most experience in judo, boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. She also likes learning new languages. She has studied Spanish for a number of years now and also has some experience in Arabic, German, American Sign Language, Basque, Japanese, and Old English.

She is seeking the following for Middle Grade:

  • Fantasy of any kind
  • Science fiction
  • Mysteries along the lines of The 39 Clues series, York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, and Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
  • Horror along the lines of Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
  • Graphic novels

She is seeking the following for Young Adult:

  • Fantasy of any kind
  • Science fiction
  • Horror along the lines of Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Paranormal
  • Historical with magical elements
  • Steampunk along the lines of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • “Geeky” contemporary romance along the lines of Geekerella by Ashley Poston and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Graphic novels

She is seeking the following for New Adult/Adult:

  • Fantasy along the lines of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series and Villains series and Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
  • Women’s fiction
  • Romance along the lines of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Anna Michels of Sourcebooks

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 3.03.41 PMAnna Michels is an associate editor at Sourcebooks, an independent publisher located outside of Chicago. Over the course of her three years at Sourcebooks, she has worked on a wide variety of projects, most recently focusing on acquiring adult fiction and memoir.

She is looking for: commercial/mainstream literary fiction with interesting settings and a strong narrative voice (such as Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman); mystery (particularly historical and crossover literary—think Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger) and psychological suspense; and memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling. She can take pitches on behalf of other Sourcebooks editors for young adult books, adult romance, and nonfiction gift books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Chrysa Keenon of CYLE Literary

ChrysaChrysa Keenon is a literary agent with CYLE Literary.

She is seeking: For adult novels, she seeks humorous romance, LGBTQ+ romance, and low fantasy. In young adult, she seeks humorous/lighthearted contemporary romance, fantasy LGBTQ+, diverse romance, magical realism, and stories about characters from marginalized backgrounds. She also will consider fairytale retellings/spinoffs and middle grade fantasy.

Chrysa holds a degree from Taylor University in Professional Writing with minors in Public Relations and Creative Writing. She began her agenting career as an intern at The Seymour Agency and gained experience in the editorial world at GenZ Publishing. She is the recipient of the Blue Seal Award for 1st place YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy fiction and 1st Place News and Feature Story from the Indiana Collegiate Press, among others. She has over 400 publications and currently works as a content writer for a Midwest bridal magazine. Chrysa enjoys puns, coffee, and traveling to oceanside cities.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lindsay Smith of Speilburg Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 11.31.03 PMLindsey Smith is a literary agent with Speilburg Literary.

Lindsey is interested in cookbooks, lifestyle, health, pop culture, gender issues, self-help, true crime, and current events. She is especially interested in podcast-to-book ideas, journalists who specialize in specific research, and cookbooks that have a niche and/or narrative voice. Please do not pitch diet books.

Lindsey is excited to work with first-time authors as well as those who are established. She is seeking nonfiction only, specifically prescriptive nonfiction that is compelling, and voice-driven, with the ability to shed light on a topic that might be unknown. She especially loves projects and people that bring humor to serious situations.

Lindsey got her start in the publishing industry as an author. After her own publishing success, she started working with other writers to help launch their books and shape their careers. To date, Lindsey has worked with over 1,000 authors and negotiated book deals even before becoming an agent. Her unique perspective helps shape her passion for the industry and her role as an advocate for her clients.

Formerly a publicist and hailing from the world of self-publishing, Lindsey understands the importance of branding, and she works with each client not only to sell a book but to build a career.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 9.47.12 AM.pngAlexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

She is seeking:

Young Adult: “I’m looking for writers who have the ability to turn their pens into paintbrushes; in other words, beautiful writing. The genres I’m most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are my weakness, as are stories that include space and science. Please do not me those. I’m looking for strong YA voices, and ones that go beyond the coming-of-age story. I love stories that explore culture, race, sexuality, and identity. I’m passionate about representing literature from diverse and underrepresented voices.”

Middle grade and children’s picture books: “I love all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Children’s picture books with or without pictures intrigue me, and I’m most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore.”

Adult fiction: “I’m not looking for romance, but I am looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels. I’m interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. I’m open to most genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for.”

Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com, the PR Manager for a local Chicago circus, and an all-around literary bookworm. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing in 2015. Previously she’s worked as an Acquisitions Editor for the award-winning anthology Hair Trigger, interned as a publicist for Kaye Publicity, and was a loyal volunteer for Columbia’s annual Story Week: Festival of Writers event for the past four years. Ever since she was little, her main goal has been to inspire with words, just like the many beloved books and authors have done before her.

 

 

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Emily Clark Victorson of Allium Press

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 12.09.01 AM.pngEmily Clark Victorson is the co-founder and publisher of Allium Press of Chicago.

After receiving degrees from Oberlin College and the University of Michigan, Emily moved to the Chicago area, where she has lived for over twenty-five years. Prior to starting Allium Press, she worked as a librarian, historian, and book designer for such organizations as the Newberry Library, the Chicago History Museum, and History Works, Inc.

Allium Press was founded in 2009 as a small, independent press and
publishes literary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, middle grade, and
young adult fiction — all with a Chicago connection.