Lauren Bajek

Liza Dawson Associates

My Manuscript Wish List®

I represent adult fiction, usually with speculative elements. I’m drawn to projects and authors who have potential to thrive on either side of the genre divide, and I am particularly seeking SFF that can appeal to mainstream readers. I also represent select adult nonfiction projects, and the rare non-speculative novel. I do not represent YA or children’s fiction.


I’m looking for books with strong genre elements (SF, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance) that are also accessible to readers who are less familiar with those genres. I represent both literary and commercial fiction, usually with a strong sense of the weird. On the literary end, I look for a sense of play; on the commercial end, I look for a big idea to anchor the novel.

I’m a theme-driven reader, and I love books with strong philosophical or social-commentary elements. I also have a taste for formal/structural play, and for writers with distinctive line-level prose, whether it’s ornate or austere. Here’s some more specifics on what perks my ears up in fiction:

  • Genre-mashing and genre-blending.
  • Plots revolving around diplomats, ambassadors, and translators; plots starring someone with niche expertise, where their expertise strongly colors the novel; culture shock; diaspora and third-culture stories; gossip and storytelling; puzzle and discovery plots.
  • Nonhuman intelligences that really feel nonhuman.
  • Speculative takes on big topics like ethics, justice, and gender, where the speculative element opens up possibilities that don’t exist for us here and now.
  • Moral and narrative worldviews other than the white, Western, Christian, capitalist worldview– whether speculative or rooted in real-world culture.
  • A strong grounding in fact: historical settings, portraits of subcultures, surprisingly accurate descriptions of niche skillsets. I’m a nerd and I love to learn things!
  • The feeling that reality is squishy– cults, manipulative relationships, unreliable narrators, surreal elements.
  • I’m drawn to horror elements, especially folk, weird, and gothic horrors. I like to feel unsettled, but I don’t like to feel scared, anxious, or disgusted.
  • Queer and trans characters and sensibilities, especially anything that pokes holes in tidy categories. Also, butches.
  • Elements of satire, farce, and deadpan humor.
  • Social commentary or criticism.
  • Collective action, indirect resistance, and other kinds of under-discussed heroism.
  • Fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood– but no forced-birth, infertility angst, kidnapping, or child harm, please!
  • Folkloric elements.
  • Sentient houses.
  • Werewolves, if it’s a truly fresh take.

And here are some things that I’m a tough audience for:

  • Prominent military elements, especially anything that requires me to pay close attention to fight or battle scenes, or root for empire.
  • Thieves and assassins.
  • Romantic elements driven solely by horniness or love at first sight; I need to see the emotional connection first and foremost.
  • Vampires, elves, D&D-style “races”– though I do have a soft spot for orcs and goblins.
  • Chosen ones and magical bloodlines.
  • The Hero’s Journey.
  • Elemental magics, or any other magic system with rigidly defined “types.”
  • Speculative elements revolving around sleep, dreams, or memories.
  • Dystopias that are the patriarchy but worse, or colonialism but happening to white people.
  • Please do not send me: Graphic on-page child harm, evil baby stories, or copaganda. If you are not sure if your novel falls into one of these buckets, it’s OK to ask.


My main areas of focus are: craft/DIY books; science and nature nonfiction, especially touching on ecosystems and plant/animal intelligence; and informational nonfiction with a strongly queer or non-white lens. I’m interested in knowledge traditions other than the white, Western scientific tradition.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

I ask for a query letter and first three chapters (or 25 pages) pasted into the body of an email. I respond to every query sent to my official inbox, so feel free to nudge after a month or two. Please check the agency website to see whether I am open to unsolicited queries.

I always appreciate seeing more work from BIPOC authors, queer and trans authors, disabled authors, working-class and poor authors, non-US authors, and authors from other marginalized and underrepresented communities. I do my best to give personal responses to marginalized writers, as I know this business can be demoralizing.

Vital Info