Beth 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.
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.
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.