Rachel Beck joined Liza Dawson Associates in 2020 after working at a boutique literary agency for 4 years. She has been in the publishing industry since 2009 and worked at Harlequin editing romance novels for nearly 6 years before transitioning her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for authors. She lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, three young children, and endlessly entertaining cat.
Looking for: Upmarket/book club women’s fiction, a la Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Amy Hatvany, Liane Moriarty, Diane Chamberlain. Books that explore sensitive, controversial, or morally gray areas in a complex, sympathetic way and reminds us how difficult it is to be a modern woman, but also how rich and rewarding. Topics such as motherhood, fertility issues, addiction, sexism or sexual assault, messy family dynamics.
Light-hearted millennial fiction or contemporary romance—a la Kristan Higgins, Emily Henry, Sophie Kinsella. Beach reads, but with plenty of heart that takes you from laughing to crying in an instant. Books that address the struggles of your twenties and thirties, such as dating woes, career fulfillment/advancement, deciding whether to have kids or not, social media pressures.
Domestic suspense—character-driven, psychologically intense reads. Must feel fresh from page one, with characters who are mind-blowingly insane or compelling or extreme or fascinating. Characters and plots I won’t be able to stop thinking about.
Contemporary young adult—no fantasy, but apocalyptic, cyberpunk, etc., okay. Heavy, issue-driven YA, i.e., mental health, sexual assault, eating disorders, abuse, trauma, suicide, LGBTQ+ issues, dealing with death/grief, etc. Think authors such as Courtney Summers, Amber Smith, Jennifer Niven, John Green, Ann Brashares, Kathleen Glasgow, Robin Talley and Jandy Nelson.
Select nonfiction—feminist material; career/business/personal growth books with new focus points; extreme underdog, survival, accomplishment, or rising-from-poverty type stories; select health and wellness books (especially mental health, rare/underrepresented diseases, or memory conditions); sports (football/the NFL; marathoner/triathlete memoirs), books on cult life or extreme religion.
Not looking for: Middle grade, picture books, epic/high fantasy, erotic romance, short stories, poetry