Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 7.50.28 PM.pngLaura Bradford is a literary agent and founder of Bradford Literary Agency.

She continues to actively build her client list and is currently seeking work in the following genres: Romance (historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, category, contemporary, erotic), urban fantasy, women’s fiction, mystery, thrillers, young adult, upper middle grade, as well as some select non-fiction.

Laura Bradford established the Bradford Literary Agency in 2001. She considers herself an editorial-focused agent and takes a hands-on approach to developing proposals and manuscripts with her authors for the most appropriate markets. During her own misadventures as a writer, Laura came to understand the importance of having a friendly but critical eye on your side, a career strategist in your corner and a guide who can lead you through the travails of publication.

Her recent sales include books placed with Penguin Random House, Grand Central, Harlequin, Kensington, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Sourcebooks, Hyperion, and many others.

She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) and Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and she is an RWA-recognized agent.

Laura is not looking for: picture books, chapter books, inspirational novels, poetry or screenplays

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Masha Gunic of Azantian Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 5.53.22 PM.pngMasha Gunic is a literary agent with Azantian Literary.

Masha started her career in publishing as an intern at the Azantian Literary Agency and has since held internships at Red Fox Literary and Writers House before working as an Editorial Assistant at Abrams Books on the children’s side for two years. Her love for books across genres, as well as her desire to find and foster great talent, drove her to make the transition from editorial back to the Azantian Literary Agency on the West Coast. Right now, Masha is only looking to acquire middle grade and young adult novels.

Middle grade: “I am excited to find middle grade novels across all genres. Bring on the adventure, the creepy, the spine-chilling horror, the historical, the imaginative, and the laugh-out-loud funny! I look for dramatic and funny middle grade books with a relatable voice and strong friendship and family themes. Brave or whimsical adventure novels are a sweet spot, especially those starring underdogs and antiheroes. I love low fantasy in general (and am still upset I never got that Hogwarts letter!), as well as heartbreaking contemporary fiction with exceptional character development. Some of my favorite middle grade books include WISH by Barbara O’Connor, the FIVE KINGDOMS series by Brandon Mull, THE NEST by Kenneth Oppel, ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein, CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY by Karen Cushman, HOLES by Louis Sachar, THE ROYAL DIARIES series, and the GOOSEBUMPS series by R.L. Stine.”

Young Adult: “I’m looking for exciting, high-concept and commercial young adult novels that keep me reading chapter after chapter until I’m all done and craving more, as well as unique literary works and contemporary fiction (including comedies, drama, romance, thrillers, and mysteries with satisfying twists). I’m also open to historical fiction, science fiction, low fantasy, and magical realism, but I’m not the right match for high fantasy. Above all, I’m drawn to young adult novels with a strong voice, masterful writing, beautiful world-building with a vivid setting, and complex characters that are truly unforgettable. A few of my all-time favorite books include the CONFESSIONS OF GEORGIA NICOLSON series by Louise Rennison, THE PRINCESS DIARIES and ALL-AMERICAN GIRL by Meg Cabot, THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand, SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han, CINDER by Marissa Meyer, THE WRATH & THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh, and THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Ernshaw.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sandra O’Donnell of RO Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 5.49.11 PM.pngSandra O’Donnell, Ph.D. is a literary agent & founding partner of RO Literary.

In fiction, she’s looking for stories with compelling characters that jump off the page — historical fiction, courtroom dramas, upmarket fiction and historically-based conspiracy thrillers that keep her up all night.

For nonfiction, she seeks narrative nonfiction, memoir, cultural studies, popular culture, history, and religion/spiritual.

Currently, she is not accepting submissions for poetry, science-fiction, fantasy fiction and non-fiction titles on the topics of military and political science, or books on business.

Sandra has been involved in the writing community and the business of books for over twenty years. “A Walk on the Moon is one of my favorite movies,” she says. “And not just because there is an incredible scene in it that involves Viggo Mortensen and a waterfall. I love this movie primarily because of the last scene where Marty, Pearl’s husband asks her the quintessential question that we will all ask ourselves someday if we don’t write the book that is begging to be written, ‘Who stopped you?’ ”

She studied writing at the graduate level at the University of Utah while working on her master’s. While there, she taught writing in the Writing Program and learned as much from teaching as she did from her classes. After her Master’s Sandra went on to ghostwrite, edit and co-author a number of books for the academic market. She also earned her Ph.D. in History from Arizona State.

In 1996, Sandra and a partner formed Snowgoose Cove a boutique publishing company. As a publisher, Sandra learned what it takes to make a title successful by guiding authors through the editing, launch, and marketing of their books. For Food Talk: A Man’s Guide to Cooking and Conversation Sandra and her team arranged a 12 state book/PR tour, selling out of the first edition of the book within six months.

For the past few years, Sandra has been working with authors to take them from draft to polished manuscript. Many of the authors she’s worked with have gone on to find excellent agents, editors, and publishers. However, many projects have languished once they have left her charge. Frustrated authors asked her time and again why she couldn’t be their agent. Why Sandra couldn’t guide them through the next stage with the love and care she’d used shown during the development phase of their books. After much consideration and discussion with her partner Laura Rothschild, RO Literary was formed.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jessica Watterson of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 5.24.23 PM.pngJessica Watterson has been a literary agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency since 2013.

A graduate of the University of California at Irvine, Jessica has immersed herself in books and literature from the time she could first read. While in college, she started an indie review blog that has featured author interviews and reviewed several self-published books that eventually ended up on the New York Times Best Seller list.

She is seeking: Jessica is always on the hunt for new and diverse voices, and is most interested in all genres of romance, and women’s fiction.

For historical romance, she favors settings in America, Scotland, or somewhere outside of the traditional Regency setting.

In the contemporary sphere, she loves novels with strong characters that jump off of the page and stay with you long after you have finished the book.

In paranormal romance, she is looking for anything unusual and unique, vampires need not apply.

In regards to romantic suspense, it takes something different and edgy to capture her attention, and she greatly enjoys anything Kristen Ashely has written in this genre.

She also loves Women’s Fiction that concerns itself with elements of life that can greatly change one’s perspective and outlook on cultures and experiences.

She is also interested in author illustrated picture books that capture the fun and joy of reading between adults and children.

She’s particularly on the hunt for:

  • diverse and #OwnVoices contemporary women’s fiction and romance.
  • Non-regency historical romance.
  • light contemporary women’s fiction.
  • historical women’s fiction with romantic elements.

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

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 2.16.13 PM.pngBeth Marshea is a literary agent and the founder of Ladderbird Agency.

Ladderbird is a boutique literary agency. Beth has a long love of literature, which started as part of a family of bookworms. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She became determined to find a way to merge her business passion and her love of literature, which she did as an agent. Beth is passionate about writing that pushes genres and boundaries and challenges the reader to accept a new point of view.

She is seeking:

literary fiction​: “We love literary fiction, particularly if it has an unusual setting or involves a deep look into problems with social constructs, gender roles, wealth disparity or racial tensions (particularly written by minority writers from any group). Literary is a genre where we really need to see beautiful, well thought out writing that lets us dive into ourselves and discover something new. We’re not especially limited in what we’ll look at, but it should be new; I don’t need another book about the difficulties of addiction.”

women’s fiction​: “We’d love to see a women’s adventure story that is smart, sharp, funny and page-turning!​​ Something like Stephanie Plum meets Indian Jones. In women’s fiction, we want strong characters, not people who are falling about over a breakup. We want women that inspirational and clever, not characters that need saving.”

fantasy​: “We are specifically looking for non-European centric fantasy. We would especially love to see fantasy that draws its inspiration from African, Indian, or Japanese culture. We like accessible fantasy that can reach a broad audience, I’m not interested in epics. Fantasies that are submitted to Ladderbird should be plot driven with strong well developed characters. We’d love to see something fun, magical and​ fast paced. I am especially draw to fantasy that is folkloric and draws inspiration from the old tales of the region of their focus.”

science fiction: “We would love to see quick, exciting, fun adventures. We prefer sci-fi that is closer to speculative fiction than deep sci-fi. They can involve space, but should not be space operas or epics. ​We love sci-fi that shows how technology impacts the world, especially in a positive way. We are especially interested in acquiring works have a utopic rather than dystopic environment, but we’ll look at both. We’re looking for the next Nnedi Okorafor!”

crime​ novels: “We’re looking for crime novels that have a strong setting, foreign or regional. We want fabulously developed characters that are interesting and relatable. We do not want police procedurals (no Law & Order!). We like the focus to come from the perspective of the criminal and offer insight into the illicit side of life while still being quick and fun, especially the ‘accidental’ criminal.”

young adult sci-fi & fantasy: “We are looking for YA sci-fi/fantasy that conforms to the same requirements as our adult sci-fi and fantasy but has a younger protagonists. YA should be able to reach both younger readers and adults. The themes should be universal and easily accessible for all readers.”

Ladderbird is NOT seeking:

mainstream/commercial fiction​
horror
thriller
historical fiction
young adult contemporary
middle grade
picture books​

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Hannah Mann of Writers House

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 5.08.57 PM.pngHannah Mann is a literary agent with Writers House.

She is seeking: Young adult, middle grade, and picture books. Details below.

Young Adult: “I especially love realistic and witty YA (that includes drama, romance, comedy, thrillers, mystery—or hybrids of these!), but I’m open to low fantasy and magical realism that doesn’t account for too much happenstance. I’m a sucker for unique line-by-line writing and (flawed!) character and relationship driven plots–true-to-life fiction with larger-than-life personalities. Setting is secondary to characters and relationships for me, but I love when it’s almost a character in itself. Seamlessly incorporated cultural bytes (music, food, art, language, books, and specific family traditions) are always good. I also love innovative modernizations and re-tellings of Shakespearean and other classics (including John Hughes movies).”

Middle Grade: “I look for funny and dramatic (or both!) MG novels about friendships (including those with animals), and the complexity of individual families. Brave or whimsical adventure stories starring unlikely characters and underdogs are great, and I look for honest, funny, and unique voice here, full of heart, smarts, and humor.”

Picture Books: “While I’m presently focusing on acquiring older formats, in general, I look for artful, human, and/or humorous stories and artwork driven by expressive characters. I seek illustration with something fresh going on (or that pays homage to a classic with its own modern layering). I’m additionally a fan of tender/gentle picture books.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Faye Atchison of McBride Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 5.04.02 PM.pngFaye Atchison is a literary agent with McBride Literary.

Faye is interested in in both commercial and niche fiction and nonfiction. Fiction interests include YA, speculative fiction (science fiction and fantast), commercial fantasy, women’s fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, paranormal, unconventional westerns, and anything with unique, well-drawn characters and a dark or offbeat sense of humor.

Her nonfiction interests include pop culture, music, history, health, inspirational (but not spiritual), and extremely well-written narrative nonfiction.