Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Annie Bomke of Annie Bomke Literary Agency

Annie Bomke is a literary agent with Annie Bomke Literary Agency.

Annie has over a decade of experience helping authors succeed. Her books include Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver, winner of the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and nominated for a Lammy Award, Strand Critics Award, Barry Award and Anthony Award, and the Barnes & Noble bestselling Poppy McAllister cozy mystery series by Libby Klein. She has edited a wide range of projects—from hard-nosed business books to otherworldly historical novels. Authors have called her the pH test for good writing, and a bedrock for literary quality control.

Annie has loved the publishing industry since her position as an Editorial Assistant at Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine founded by Francis Ford Coppola. She explored her love of books managing Alcala Gallery, an art gallery and rare bookstore, and even had a brief stint as a technical writer for a Department of Defense contractor.

She represents a wide variety of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction, including commercial and literary fiction, upmarket fiction, mysteries (from hilarious cozies to gritty police procedurals and everything in between), historical fiction, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, literary/psychological horror, self-help, business, health/diet, cookbooks, memoir, relationships, current events, psychology, and narrative nonfiction.

Annie spends her free time reading, going for walks in the park, and dancing. Her favorite authors include Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Tana French, and Paul Auster.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Emily Williamson of Williamson Literary

Emily Williamson is a literary agent and the founder of Williamson Literary.

In adult fiction she is looking for lyrical prose, stories with unique settings, adventure, international, fantasy/sci-fi or science inspired, magical realism. For children’s, she seeks stories that talk up to kids, that inspire and build confidence with cleverness and humor. Prefers middle grade over YA; no picture books. Nonfiction interests: history, sports, science, environmental, narrative, and a solid author platform. Currently looking for science or adventure/travel narratives in the vein of books such as Shadow of the Silk Road or The Sports Gene.

Williamson Literary is a small but vibrant and actively engaged literary agency in Baltimore, Maryland.

Emily is a native of New Jersey, graduated from American University (BA Anthropology) in 1997 and Johns Hopkins University (MA Writing) in 2012. She began her editing career in 2011 with Chrysalis Editorial* in Washington, DC. In 2016 she founded Williamson Literary, driven by the desire to help great writers achieve their publishing goals.

As a writer, she understands the investment of time and heart it takes to follow this challenging path. It is the core of Williamson Literary—to support the careers of dedicated writers who deserve to see their ideas and imaginings realized. Williamson Literary is also about building relationships: agent-author, agent-publisher, author-publisher.

In the past, Emily spent 13 years as an archaeologist traveling all over the US and abroad in search of many things…sometimes finding nothing. It is this varied, nomadic past that has influenced her own writing and her particular interests as an agent. Emily does other things. She is a painter (see Twitter page). She loves the outdoors, cuts her own firewood, and plays fantasy football. She’s one of those annoying people who can’t eat gluten; she binge-watches Netflix shows; loves to travel; and her preferred clothing season is Autumn.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Em Lysaght of Ladderbird Literary

Em Lysaght is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

​Em is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She is looking for queer fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels for all age ranges. Outside of agenting, she draws comics about queer monsters being friends and travels the globe scoping out stationary stores.

She holds an B.A in Comparative Literature from Occidental College, a publishing certificate from NYU, an MLitt in Ancient Greek Monsters from The University of St Andrews in Scotland, and a handful of college credits from art schools across the US.

She is seeking:

She is looking for genre-blending commercial queer Fiction in YA/MG/Adult/Graphic Novels with a particular focus on BIPOC authors and authors of marginalized identities.

She wants:

  • Rich and subtle world building like Wilder Girls or The Mortal Engine series
  • Normalized trans and non-binary existence in worldbuilding, like the Tales of the High Court series
  • Shamelessly manga and fanfic inspired stories like Foxhole Court
  • Silk punk, Asian attitudes, historical revision that doesn’t think Europe invented the world (Socrates was born after Confucius died! Genghis Khan was a contemporary of King John! Guns were being used in China before the English invented longbows!)
  • Reworking myth and gods and their influence, like The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps and American Gods
  • Sexy, dark, magical horror, like the Hexslinger series
  • Queer romance with high stakes, like Lord of the White Hell
  • Middle Grade protagonists who cry and fail and try anyways, like How to Train Your Dragon
  • F/F romance, friendship, and intersectional girl gangs against the world
  • Ride-or-die friendships and high stakes, like The Raven Cycle

She does NOT want:

  • Nonfiction
  • Genre fiction that perpetrates the racist, colonial, imperialistic, sexist, ableist tropes of the past
  • Non-intersectional representation; no victories at the expense of another group
  • Precocious (read: bratty) MG protagonists
  • Low stakes, excessive realism

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Latoya C. Smith of Arthouse Literary Agency

Latoya C. Smith is a literary agent with Arthouse Literary Agency.

In fiction, she seeks high-concept women’s fiction; high-concept mystery, thriller and horror, romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, cowboys, historical, LGBTQ, paranormal, sweet), comedy / romantic comedy, and young adult (no SF/F). In nonfiction, she is strictly seeking platform and market-based books in the areas of memoir, how to, advice, relationships, health, wellness, politics, current events, history, sports, pop culture, and business.

“Having worked for corporate New York publishing houses, independent and boutique presses, and with self-published authors, I have a well-rounded knowledge of book publishing with a core network of relationships with authors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals. I graduated Cum Laude from Temple University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in African American Studies. I have been featured in Publishers Weekly, Forbes, and USA Today, as well as on various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. I am the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple Award for Editor of the Year, the 2017 RWA Golden Apple Award for Agent of the Year, and the 2017 Literary Jewels Award for Editor of the Year. In early 2014, I appeared on CSpan2 where I contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing.”

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

Beth Marshea is a literary agent at Ladderbird Literary.

​Beth is the owner and Lead Agent at 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 loves the outdoors and is also a certified lifeguard.

She is seeking:

For added emphasis, in all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, from LGBTQIA+ writers, from Black, 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 representation across categories as well.

Across categories she would love to see more works that show joy in marginalized communities.

Adult nonfiction wants:

Beth is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, hidden or weird histories, issue-driven books, and books that offer new ways to look at spiritualism, witchcraft and paganism.

She is not a good fit for books on the Judeo-Christian religions.

Adult fiction wants:

Literary Fiction- She is looking for work with exceptional voice and beautiful style, unusual settings, and works that involve clever plots with dynamic characters. She wants to see work that brings to light new perspectives on old ideas. Of particular interest are multi-generational stories that show family dynamics, stories centered around found family or friendship, Currently she is especially interested in seeing works by and about BIPOC communities, especially Latinx and Indigenous writers.

Mainstream/Commercial Fiction- She’d love to see more multicultural Meet-Cutes/RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), Family Drama, stories about friendships of any kind, work that is light and fun, but emotionally poignant.

Mysteries- Would love to more atmospheric mysteries with a twist. It might be an unusual setting, or simply written from BIPOC perspective to give this genre a new voice.

Thrillers- She loves a thriller that really keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing! She’s particularly looking for thrillers set outside of the United States. She does not love thrillers that feature violence towards women as their main plot.

Fantasy- Books that are fast-paced with wonderful (ideally non-European) characters. She’d love to see more dark fantasies based on non-European folklore, especially Latinx (new imaginings of El Cucuy, El Sombrerón, Duendes, etc…)!

Science Fiction- She really wants grounded Sci-Fi with characters that are engrossing, tight plots, and really beautiful voice. She prefers stories set near future, featuring unusual tech, that are not focused around the US. She’s not the best candidate for a space opera or any military Sci-Fi.

Young Adult wants:

Contemporary- She is very actively looking for stories about found family, the difficulties of friendship, LGBTQIA+ Rom Coms, anything that is really poignant and pulls at your heart strings, especially if it is set outside of the U.S.

Mysteries/Thrillers- Stories with high stakes and complex friendships stretched thin. In YA, Mysteries/Thrillers of almost any kind are appealing as long as they are emotionally focused and bring a new point of view. She is not a fan of the unreliable narrators, but is a huge fan of group heists.

Fantasy- Very similar to Adult Fantasy, she prefers dark folkloric tales, but is very glad to have a happy ending! Tales that feature friendships rather than romance as their base and really dig in to the full emotions of that particular love and struggle.

Middle Grade wants:

She’s 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 also interested in Fantasy that explores similar themes. Books she’s loved are: Lalani and the Distant Sea, Wonder, Pet, and Lily and Dunkin

Picture Book wants:

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 an adult to enjoy.