Countdown to Conference Interview Six Agent Laura Bradford

Hello everyone. This morning I’ve posted agent Laura Bradford’s interview that she was nice enough to participate in. I know lots of people are interested to know what Ms. Bradford is looking for so here you go everyone and Ms. Bradford, thank you for participating.


Sayde:    Tell us what you think is hot and what’s not?

     Ms. Bradford

    Paranormal is still pretty hot.  I think that lots of publishers are happy to see interesting mashups that keep paranormal exciting and fresh.  Darker, more intense material has been easier to sell than lighter, frothy work lately, generally speaking.  I think straight contemporary romance is one of the tougher genres to sell right now, though there are a number of houses looking for contemporary romance/women’s fiction hybrids a la Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs, Sheryll Woods or even Lisa Kleypas’ contemporaries.  Historical seems to be doing well, too though there are always settings and time periods that are easier to sell than others.  Example:  Civil War or Revolutionary War set American historicals and Native American-themed historicals are pretty tough to sell.  Regency and Victorian era-set European historicals are easier to sell. 

Sayde:    What types of work are you most interested in seeing at the 2010 Silken Sands Conference?

     Ms. Bradford

    I do more single title work than category, so that is my general preference, but I am really open to any romance subgenre except for inspirational.  I also handle mystery, thrillers, women’s fiction, urban fantasy and young adult.

           Sayde:    This question goes back to the “writer rumors”, but so many times I’ve heard that agents/editors will throw out a manuscript if they see grammatical errors. Personally, this is a huge one for me as I am grammatically challenged.  Many times authors will edit and edit then send to a contest and have their manuscript ripped to shreds because they used “ing”, “ly” or “was” to much for the judges liking. Do you look for these issues when reading requested material or is it more about the story?

    Ms. Bradford:
    I will notice those errors when I am reading, of course, but unless the material is so riddled with typos and grammatical mistakes that I suspect that the author didn’t bother to proofread at all, I can ignore them.  The voice and the characters are much more important to me than the fact that a few typos slipped through.  I am the world’s worst typist and my typing fingers and brain rarely communicate.  I understand as well as anybody that sometimes a few mistakes slip through.  I don’t judge that harshly on things that are that easy to correct if the rest of the work is rock solid.


           Sayde:    What is your opinion on emarket vs. traditional print? I know this is a hot topic and we all appreciate whatever comments you can give us.

          Ms. Bradford:

       They are just different animals.  Success in the ebook market can look like something very different than success in traditional print publishing.  The pay is different, the pace is different.  I do not think that all ebook publishers are created equal (same with traditional NY print publishers) and it is true that I regard certain epublishing credits differently depending on the publisher (same with NY publishers).  I know that it is possible to make 6 figures a year epublishing (or at least that was true a couple of years ago) just like I know it is possible to make 6 DOLLARS a year epublishing.  Any way an author can financially support herself through her writing whether she is epublished or traditionally print published, I think deserves respect.

          Sayde:    I know that when I am researching an agent or editor, I Google them, check their Facebook page, and tweet them. I read their posts and blogs.  I try to see if their tastes would lean toward my writing style or not. And I try to get a feel for their personality to see if we might “mesh well” if the opportunity ever arose. If you have a manuscript on your desk, do you ever check the same accounts for that author?  Do you ever check to see what he/she is posting? If so, have you been influenced by what you’ve learned?

    Ms. Bradford:

    Sometimes I look, sometimes I don’t.  I usually don’t until I am very close to making an offer of representation or else the author has told me she is previously published and I need to look up her credits.  I am mostly on the lookout for a lack of professionalism.  It is less important to me that you have an expensive, fancy-shmancy website (since lots of folks upgrade their websites when they make a sale anyway) than you comport yourself in a professional manner on your website and blog or on twitter etc.  I really don’t want to see an author discussing her sex life with her husband on her blog or bashing her fellow authors or shoving her polarizing political views down everyone’s throats.  I expect authors to treat their work as a business and to exhibit good judgment.  If the Author in question is published and known to travel in the same circles as any of my clients, I will even sometimes ask those clients whether the author I am considering is a complete whackadoo or not. And yes, I have been influenced by what I have learned.


           Sayde:    If an author has queried you and you’ve rejected that query/partial and the author emails you asking for details on why you’ve rejected their ms, what is your process here? Do you give specific reasons on why the manuscript may not have been for you?

    Ms. Bradford:

    I am not a fan of authors emailing to ask why the material has been rejected after I pass on the material.  I might not remember, in the first place, even if it is only a couple of days later.  I get 700-1000 queries/submissions a month.  I do sometimes write specific, personal pass notes if it was something I was on the fence about or if I liked certain elements enough to warrant me asking for future submissions or a revision.  I write personal pass notes if it is for a submission I requested at a conference agent appointment.  Otherwise, I have a form rejection note.  If I have passed on material, however, I think it is perfectly acceptable for an author to send me a query for something different.  Just because I passed on your work doesn’t mean I passed on YOU forever.  I have signed plenty of authors on the second or third submission they sent me.  It happened just this week, in fact.

              Sayde:    As a final wrap up could you tell us some of your pet peeves in the industry? Or is there anything happening in the industry you’d care to comment on or discuss?  We’d love to hear some of your views and opinions on the state of the craft and the market.

          Ms. Bradford

Industry pet peeves?  I don’t really have a lot of those. Don’t send me a nastygram telling me what a tasteless jerk I am if I pass on your work.  I can do without those emails.  Attempt to follow the specific submission guidelines of the agent/editor you are querying.  In general, to close, I think that 2010 is going to suck a lot less than 2009 did as far as the publishing business goes.  I sense that publishers and editors are ready to start taking risks again.  Yay for that

Again, thank you to Ms. Bradford for this, I had no idea just how many queries she received a month WOW. What a busy lady and I will admit, yes I follow her on twitter and I believe it was last week when she wore her Captain Efficiency hat.  🙂 Go Ms. Bradford!


6 Responses

  1. I am glad to hear that you think publishers are ready to start taking risks again. That’s good news for all of us on a quest to be published. Looking forward to meeting you at Silken Sands.

  2. Thanks for the interview. That was helpful. I am so releived to hear Ms. Bradford predict that 2010 will be better than last year. so far, it’s looking pretty good for me. 🙂

    Caroline Clemmons

  3. Wonderful interview. Thank you. Romance dominates sales AND Ms. Bradford believes 2010 may have publishers willing to take risks with new authors! I’m willing to bet new writers let out a collective breath that could stir bushes with that news! Looking forward to meeting you at Silken Sands.

  4. Uh…define whackado. J/K.

    Great interview and thank you for taking the time to do so.

    Funny enough, I had googled around trying to find a current interview featuring you, but hadn’t found one.

    Researched you and the Bradford Agency over a year ago after hearing not only good things about what you do, but who you are as well.

    Look forward to meeting you in person, at SS.


  5. Meant to thank Sayde too for the interview…

    So Thank You Sayde!

  6. […] agent Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency gave an interview to Southern Sizzle Romance. What interested me the most was hearing her take on paranormal. She certainly doesn’t see it […]

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