Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 28, 2021

Agent: Em Lysaght Ladderbird Literary Agency

Em began her career in publishing bouncing between many roles on either side of the publisher/agent divide, before landing in Foreign and Subsidiary rights with companies like Scholastic and Insight Editions. She joined Ladderbird as an Agent in 2019 and is now based out of Oakland, CA. She holds a 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.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children’s, Commercial, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Horror, LGBTQ, Middle Grade, Mystery, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

She reads widely across genre and age range and is particularly looking for queer and POC authors taking on genre tropes in commercial fiction.

  • 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
  • Strange grammatical magic, like Diana Wynne Jones
  • Graphic novels inspired by manga and Miyazaki

She does NOT want:

  • Non-fiction
  • 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

Submission Guidelines

Submit to Em:

Please send the first three chapters, synopsis (detail! spoilers! I want them), and query letter via my submission link below. Please do not email queries.

Follow Em on Twitter: @mmmlysaght

For more on Em go to


Talk tomorrow,


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