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 Berkley, Grand Central, Harlequin, Kensington, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, Hyperion, Flux, Macmillan, Adams Media, Egmont USA, John Wiley and Sons and Mira Books.
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 and young adult as well as some select non-fiction.
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, middle grade novels. She can be found on Twitter @bradfordlit.
We asked Laura some questions about herself. Here are her answers.
1. What would most people be surprised to know about you?
I have been asked this question before on a handful of blog posts that are floating around out there so I am running out of new surprising things to share, LOL. I’ll give you a mix of some known surprising things and some new surprising things….
1) Years ago, for five months (the polar summer season) I worked as a janitor at a scientific research base in Antarctica.
2) I have never seen any of the Godfather movies.
3) I came to agenting by way of being a writer. It turned out I really didn’t like being a writer AT ALL and it wasn’t something I tried for too terribly long. I’m pretty happy it led me to being an agent, though, so the time was well spent.
2. If you could go anywhere on vacation and money was not object, where would you go and why?
With the right traveling companion, I’d like to do a trip around the Mediterranean: Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece & Italy. I have been to Italy before but if I am going to be in the area, I’m tacking it on again, LOL.
After I worked in Antarctica, I had an opportunity to fly home to the US via wherever I wanted to go. I spent a couple of months dreaming about the places I’d most want to go and that was the trip I settled on. In Antarctica, I’d worked with a lot of rather intrepid travelers who’d been to some pretty exotic places and their wanderlust rubbed off on me. But I knew that I probably wasn’t someone who would be up for trekking through Nepal with only $100 & a backpack of t-shirts to barter with for a 4 month stretch like some of my friends would. So the Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy plan seems like the right mix of challenge for me, travelling by myself.
Unfortunately, by the time I was about to leave Antarctica to go home, there were some political things happening that had created an atmosphere of a lot of anti-American tension around the world and it wasn’t really safe, not if I was travelling alone. I still went to Italy, but left off the rest of the itinerary. I’d still like to make that trip, though!
3. What excites you about your job?
I love a lot about my job. I signed a new author this week and that was completely awesome. I know I am going to soon get to share a ms I am completely excited about with editors I like and respect and hope that they get just as excited about it. The anticipation is fun!
And earlier this week I sold a book for another client that was a real book-of-the-heart for her and I know that this sale means more to her than any of the others before. It wasn’t just A book for her, it was THE book. Knowing I had a part in helping to make that happen feels pretty amazing.
4. What would you like authors to know about working with an editor or agent?
Communication is really important. Your editor or you agent is really your partner and good communication makes the partnership work well. Nobody is a mind-reader so it is important to express your needs and expectations and plans.
Your editor and your agent both have vested interests in your success. We want you to do well and want to help that happen. Talk to us. More than likely, we’re human.
5. What would you absolutely love to see come across your desk right now?
That is a hard question to answer, honestly. Because there are mss I want to cross my desk because I personally want to read them (even though those things aren’t that sellable at the moment) and then there are the things I want to cross my desk because I can sign them, sell them and make a living. It would be lovely if EVERYTHING was sellable and there weren’t any markets in a down cycle so I wouldn’t have to make that distinction.
I’d really love an amazing, twisty, unexpected thriller with complicated characters and a really strong voice in the manner of Chelsea Cain. I LOVED Heartsick, like whoa. Often, I think writers of thrillers and romantic suspense think the “badness” of their villains is enough to carry the suspense elements. It’s a creepy stalker! It’s a serial killer that murders people really creatively! But you read enough suspense, eventually you will have read about every kind of crime and murder, so I think there needs to be a lot of depth and voice when it comes to the characters–that can get missed in the genres that tend to be more plot-driven.
I’d love to get a really fabulous historical mystery, preferably with a smidge of romance.
I’d love a Thelma & Louise-esque road-trip caper. A buddy book. Hijinx ensue!
I’d love for some of the non-contemporary romance subgenres to be a bit more robust right now. I LOVE historical romance and I’d like it to be less tricky to sell at the moment. I am optimistic it will cycle back around though. And then I can live it up reading all the historical romance categories I adore: medieval, westerns, Victorian, the Gilded Age and more.