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

Beth Marshea is a literary agent and is the owner of Ladderbird Literary Agency. She has a BA in Literature and a Masters in Business Administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Outside of agenting, Beth teaches writing in her local community with a focus on bringing reluctant writers and readers into the magical world of books. She relentlessly searches for more ways to encourage writers to create stories that matter! Outside of books, she loves the outdoors, all things water related, and has a strong attraction to abstract art.

In all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, Black writers, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more Non-binary and Ace representation across categories. 

Beth loves deeply character driven stories that showcase joy, resilience, love, clever twists, exciting moments of action, thought provoking concepts, and really anything that can make her get deep into her emotions.

In adult nonfiction:

Beth wants cultural phenomena like Heike Steinhoff’s Hipster Culture: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives.

Hidden or weird histories are always a favorite, especially stories that refocus marginalized groups of historical figures as the center. 

Issue-driven books like How to be an Anti-Rascist by Ibram X. Kendi, and any books centering around activism. 

Beth is utterly and bizarrely fascinated by the world of global fashion from its historical context through its present day incarnations. 

She is interested in new ways of looking at non-Western religions, spiritualism, witchcraft and paganism.

In Young Adult & Middle Grade nonfiction:

She would love more biographies on celebrities who change culture.

Prescriptive books on Self-Care and Mental Health for Teens and Tweens

Pop culture books!

In Picture Books nonfiction:

Biographies of forgotten leaders from marginalized communities. 

Forgotten stories of historic events, particularly if it has a cute animal hook like The Cat Man of Aleppo by Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel

Adult Literary Fiction:

Beth is looking for works with exceptional voice and beautiful style like Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez.

She loves multi-generational stories that show family dynamics like The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

She also loves stories about found family or friendships.

Adult Mainstream/Commercial Fiction:

Beth would love to see more Meet Cutes/RomComs from multicultural backgrounds like A Pho Love Story by Loan Le.

Family dramas are always welcome.

She loves workplace stories that are fun but emotionally poignant.

More queer stories all around, especially from BIPOC communities.

Adult Mysteries:

Atmospheric mysteries with a twist! Books like Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

She would love to see more mysteries centered around something other than a murder (although, she still loves a good murder).

Voicy, creepy (largely or subtly), and haunting with or without supernatural elements will get her every time. 

Adult Thrillers:

She wants a story that is truly going to keep you on the edge of your seat guess!

She’d love to see more thrillers set outside the United States.

Adult Fantasy:

Beth is especially looking for dark Folkloric Fantasy! She’s especially fond of Latinx mythology like El Cucuy, El Sombrerón, Duendes, etc… If you really want to get her excited, she is obsessed with finding a Dark Fantasy written by an Indigenous author centered around the Qallupilluit. 

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction:

She would love to find more stories about found family, the difficulties of friendship, queer RomComs, really any story that pulls at your heart strings!

Young Adult Mysteries/Thrillers:

Beth will always look at a boarding school mystery from marginalized writers!

She also loves mysteries that harken back to a Nancy Drew type of sleuthing or a Scooby Doo style group heist. 

She loves stories with high stakes and friendships stretched thin.

Young Adult Fantasy:

Like Adult Fantasy, she prefers dark folkloric tales, but is very glad to have a happy ending. 

She loves stories that feature friendship rather than romance as their base and really dig into that struggle!

Middle Grade: (Please note that Beth acquires a very small list of Middle Grade)

She is looking for contemporary stories that have fun, compelling characters dealing with real problems that Middle School kids face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. 

She’s interested in Middle Grade fantasy that covers similar themes to Lalani and the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada, or Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera.

Picture Books:

Beth is extremely selective about acquiring picture books. She is looking for stories with great hooks and characters that stick with you.

DEFINITE PASS (Do not send her)

She is not looking for stories of trauma, and cannot accept works that feature sexual violence, or violence to children or animals, or war whether real or imagined. This is not to say these stories are not important, but rather she must protect her own mental well-being. ​

In both fiction and non-fiction, she is not a good fit for books on the Judeo-Christian religions, military stories, or stories focused on police. 



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