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 Bob Diforio of D4EO Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 2.05.57 PMBob Diforio is a literary agent and founder of D4EO Literary Agency.

In fiction, he is seeking: mystery, thriller, crime, mainstream/upmarket fiction, literary fiction, and women’s fiction.

He is a nonfiction generalist who seeks good ideas by writers with good platforms. He also represents some memoir. His nonfiction areas of interest include, but are not limited to: business, finance, health, sports, current affairs, relationships, cooking, reference, self-help, and humor.

Bob spent 17 years at New American Library [Dutton / Penguin USA] in positions ranging from VP Sales to President and Publisher, Chairman and CEO. There he helped launch the paperback careers of Erica Jong, Robin Cook, Stephen King, Ken Follett, and Robert K. Tanenbaum. With Odyssey Partners, he led the management team of NAL in a leveraged buy out of the company from Times Mirror in 1982, purchased E. P. Dutton a year later, and sold the combined company to Pearson PLC in 1986, which merged the company with Viking Penguin to create Penguin USA.

 

Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 2.15.25 PMLucienne Diver is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

She is seeking: any commercial fiction field from young adult up, with an emphasis on strong characterization and stories which emotionally invest the reader. This includes sci-fi, fantasy, romance, romantica, suspense, mystery, thriller, crime, and any kind of young adult. Diverse voices welcome.

Lucienne joined TKA in 2008, after spending fifteen years at New York City’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency. With her sharp eye and gift for spotting original new voices, Lucienne is one of the most well-respected agents in the industry. A lifelong book addict, she graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Potsdam with dual majors in English/writing and anthropology. She thus came well-equipped for her work as an agent.

Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of more than forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, romantica, suspense and young adult. Her authors have been honored with the RITA, National Readers’ Choice, Hugo, and Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Awards, and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A publishing veteran, Lucienne has superb industry knowledge, numerous editor relationships, and a keen understanding of the foreign rights market. She is a member of the Association of Authors Representatives, RWA, MWA and SFWA.

 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 2.56.06 AM.pngMarlene Stringer is a literary agent and the founder of Stringer Literary Agency. She is a member of the AAR, The Authors Guild, RWA, MWA, ITW, and SCBWI.

She represents: mystery, thriller, contemporary and urban fantasy, science fiction, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, young adult / teen, and women’s fiction. She also represents select nonfiction, including parenting, history, music, sports and popular science. “If your manuscript falls between categories, or you are not sure of the category, pitch and we’ll let you know if we’d like to take a look.”

Note that she does not represent picture books, plays, short stories, poetry, academic, or memoir.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kaitlyn Johnson of Belcastro Literary

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 9.55.15 PMKaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency.

After receiving a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, Kaitlyn refused to leave the concept of nightly homework behind. A literary agent for Belcastro Literary Agency, she is also a freelance editor at her own company, K. Johnson Editorial. Kaitlyn started her literary journey as a copyeditor for academic publisher codeMantra, a YA editor for Accent Press, a Conference Assistant for GrubStreet, Boston, and a former agent with Corvisiero Literary Agency. She has written various articles for Writer’s Digest and has had a flash fiction story published in the anthology A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed.

She is seeking:

  • upper middle grade
  • young adult
  • new adult romance
  • fantasy works (yes, that very much includes urban!) and time travel
  • romance (erotic elements OK)
  • historical fiction: anything other than Henry VIII, Shakespeare, American Civil War, Greek gods/myths
  • contemporary can grab her attention only if the concept is unique and well executed
  • LGBT (as well as characters questioning their sexuality) welcome in all above genres

Kaitlyn is NOT accepting:

– Nonfiction
– Chapter or picture books
– Horror, thriller/suspense
– Novellas, poetry, or short story collections
– Storylines heavily dependent on religious motives/events/themes

Her favorite authors/books include the following: Cornelia Funke (Inkheart series); Michael Buckley (Undertow series); John Green (more Looking for Alaska, less An Abundance of Katherines); Gayle Forman (Just One Year and Just One Day); Lois Lowry (The Giver series); Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins). Her favorite TV shows are Doctor Who, Buffy, Supernatural, Firefly — basically the nerdier the fandom the better.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amanda Leuck of Spencerhill Associates

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 11.15.11 AMAmanda Leuck is a literary agent with Spencerhill Associates.

She is seeking: strong, character-driven stories with an unforgettable voice. She’s looking for literary and commercial YA, select adult sci-fi and fantasy, and romance in all genres, including edgy romantic suspense, contemporary, and paranormal with a fresh twist.

About Amanda: Amanda Leuck started her career  in various facets of the media, including work on a TV talk show, at a fashion magazine, as a print journalist, and as an on-air traffic reporter. After graduating from New York University, Amanda went on to study literacy and literature at the post-graduate level. It was then that she developed a passion for the publishing industry. Amanda started at Spencerhill Associates as an editorial assistant, and was promoted to agent in August 2014. Her Twitter handle is @MandiLeone.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Saritza Hernandez of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 2.29.20 PM.pngSaritza Hernandez is the VP and a Sr. Literary Agent at the Corvisiero Literary Agency.

At the 2020 workshop, she will be taking pitches and also teaching a class.

While Saritza’s personal tastes lean toward romance (all kinds), she is currently acquiring commercial fiction in all categories from middle grade to adult as well as graphic novels from diverse voices. In nonfiction, she’s actively looking for narrative nonfiction, health/body/spirit, and cooking books.

Known as the first literary agent to represent marginalized authors in the digital publishing landscape, Saritza’s clients have been awarded the RITA, Lambda Literary Award and selected among the NYPL’s Book of the Year. While she is a leading literary agent in digital publishing deals, her recent sales to traditional publishers include Macmillan and HarperCollins. A geek with a passion for all things Star Wars, Star Trek and Harry Potter, her love of great storytelling is what has driven her work in the publishing industry for the past 17 years. An avid coffee-drinker with a Kindle book obsession, she enjoys a steaming cup of strong Cuban coffee every morning while escaping into worlds and stories from all walks of life. A strong advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community, she enjoys fresh voices in Young Adult and Adult genre fiction.

In addition to taking pitches for herself, Saritza is also representing the entire agency and their genres. She is open to hearing pitches for all her co-agents in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, romance, thrillers, adventure, paranormal, young adult, middle grade, picture books, historical romance, new adult (both romance and non-romance), and graphic novels. In nonfiction, she can take pitches for parenting, education, self-improvement, science, and business.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Vicki Selvaggio of Storm Literary

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Vicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary (formerly with Jennifer De Chiara Literary).

Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to Storm Literary Agency as a Literary Agent and Partner. Previously with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, she was drawn to the publishing scene first as an author. As a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio, Victoria’s desire to help writers and illustrators reach their publications goals inspired her to become an agent.

With over twenty-five years as a business owner, Victoria is excited to help grow the agency’s client base with talented writers and illustrators, while also helping build the agency from within with motivated agents who possess the same ideals, literary interests, goals, and approaches to the industry.As a frequent presenter at conferences, library events, contests, etc., Victoria is always interested in meeting writers and illustrators, and hearing about unique projects! While Storm Literary is primarily a children’s book agency, Victoria will be accepting pitches for new adult and adult projects from conference attendees.

She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michael Joy of The Seymour Agency

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 11.01.53 PMMichael L. Joy is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency.

Michael is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Creative Writing program and a board member of the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, where he is the co-chair of their annual mystery writing conference, SleuthFest. (SleuthFest.com). He is a professor of English, musician and recovering programmer living in Southwest Florida.

Fiction:

  • character-driven commercial fiction in mystery/crime/suspense/thriller (including graphic novel script format.
  • Stories that transcend genre and have the potential to attract a wider audience (aka: Upmarket fiction)
  • new perspectives – #OwnVoices, race, gender, LGBTQ, or sub-culture – different POVs, obstacles and outcomes. Situational humor is good, but not required.
  • Cozies will be a tough sell unless the “community” is something extremely different.

No talking or communicative animals. No Romance, but romantic elements are good if done well. Don’t force it.

Nonfiction:

  • art, music, pop-culture or sub-culture topics, including positive mental and physical health for artist
  • True crime
  • Business Self-Help: How to survive and keep positive while starting a business, running a business or working a high-pressure job.
  • I’d be excited to look at graphic novel formats for non-fiction also.

No politics or religion.

The key to selling non-fiction is having an existing platform – first-hand expertise or experience – no arm-chair quarterbacking. If you’re going to write about winning the World Beard and Moustache Championship, you better be a competitor or a barber…or better yet, be both.