Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Agent/Author Claire Friedman & M.K. Lobb Guest Post w/Seven Faceless Saints Giveaway on 2/1/2023
  • Lori Steel Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/6/2023
  • Bethany Funk Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/23/2023
  • Agent/Author Lizz Nagle & J.A. Nielsen Guest Post w/The Claiming and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/6/2023
  • Kristen Terrette Agent Spotlight Interiew and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/20/2023

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Sarah LaPolla

This week's Agent Spotlight features Sarah LaPolla of the Bradford Literary Agency.
Status: Ms. LaPolla is no longer a literary agent.
About:Sarah LaPolla joined Bradford Literary Agency as an agent in 2013. She had previously worked in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown, Ltd., and became an associate agent there in 2010. Sarah received her MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) from The New School in 2008, and has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ithaca College.” (Link) She represents middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction.
About the Agency:
“The Bradford Literary Agency is a boutique agency which offers a full range of representation services to authors who are both published and pre-published. Our mission at the Bradford Literary Agency is to form true partnerships with our clients and build long-term relationships that extend from writing the first draft through the length of the author’s career.” (Link)
Web Presence:
Bradford Literary.
Publisher’s Marketplace page.
Glass Cases (blog).
Manuscript Wish List.

What She's Looking For:
General fiction, literary fiction, magical realism, science fiction, psychological mystery, literary horror, middle grade, young adult fiction.  (Link)
From Her Website Bio:
Sarah represents MG, YA, and adult fiction. "In MG and YA, she is seeking literary fiction, sci-fi, “low”/contemporary fantasy, horror, rom-com, and mystery. Sarah tends to be drawn to stories that don’t shy away from the darker side of adolescence and often feature characters who defy the odds.
Regardless of age demographic or genre, Sarah would like to see more hope and humor, even in the darkest of stories. She is especially interested in diverse casts of characters and in authors who shine a light on voices that have been historically underrepresented. Sarah’s authors tend to reflect larger themes within a character-focused story that, whether overtly or subtly, challenge the status quo.” (Link)
From Her Manuscript Wish List:
What I'd love to see more of:
  • Contemporary. Contemporary fiction, for me, exists in many genres. Thriller, mystery, horror, literary, and realistic/upmarket fiction. I'd love to see more humor in general, but particularly in novels that seem rooted in darkness. A good book should reflect the reader - diverse, curious, and capable of holding complex thoughts and emotions within a single story. I am particularly drawn to stories about women and girls, and characters who challenge the world around them in whatever way that means to them.
  • Low fantasy/urban fantasy. I'm not the best fit for high fantasy, but give me something grounded in the real world with fantasy elements, and I'm in! The plot should be tied to the world, but can stand on its own as well. (i.e. Don't just tell me your book is about people who can speak to the dead. Tell me specifics. Who is the MC? Who does she speak to? Why is this a direct conflict for her?)
  • Science fiction. I love futuristic sci-fi that fully imagines what our world might look like. Dystopian settings, alien invasions set on earth, or anything that plays with our current reality is more my speed than a space opera would be, but don't be afraid to try me anyway. How the present shapes the future you create is important to me. Pay attention to current technological advancements, present-day politics, and progress made as a society. I have no interest in futures where women, people of color, or LGBT characters remain in support roles and only straight white men get to have the final authority.
  • ​Literary horror​. I'm less interested in jump-scares or gore, and more in atmospheric/creepy settings with social commentary and strong character arcs at their core. ​(Think Stepford Wives, Get Out, The Babadook, or stories involving witchcraft, ghosts, haunted houses, or anything written by Shirley Jackson.)
  • MG. I love MG that's a little bit dark and a little bit magical, and always has a strong relatable voice. The target readers for MG are 9-12, and their stories should be brimming with the same possibilities, complexities, and contradictions that they have at that age. (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“Non-fiction, picture books/children’s, inspirational/spiritual novels, category romance, or erotica.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?
She likes to be a part of the editorial process, so it’s important for her to have mutual trust and respect in her relationships with her author.

Dislikes (Don’ts): Gimmicks, ignoring submission guidelines, trend-chasing.

Tracey Neithercott, Stephanie Scott, Evan Roskos, Pam HarrisAJ LarrieuCory Putman OakesKaitlin Ward among others.

Query Methods: Ms. LaPolla is no longer a literary agent.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail a query letter with the first chapter of your manuscript in the body of the e-mail. Include genre and word count.   (If you meet her current requirements to submit)
Put QUERY in the subject line followed by the title of the manuscript and any short message needed. No attachments unless requested.
Please see the Bradford Literary Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Response Times:
The agency’s approximate response time for queries is 2-4 weeks. If you have not received a response within 1 month, resend your query and note you’re resending.
Ms. LaPolla’s response time on queries seems to range from minutes to a week or two.  Requested material usually gets a response within days to a couple months.

What's the Buzz?
Sarah LaPolla joined Bradford Literary in 2013 after five years with Curtis Brown. She maintains a small list of authors who appear happy with her representation.
I recommend following Ms. LaPolla on Twitter @SarahLaPolla and subscribing to her blog, Glass Cases.

Worth Your Time:
Interview with Literary Agent Sarah LaPolla at Slice Magazine (05/2018).
How Authors Can Stand Out at Nathan Bransford (05/2018).
20 Questions Answered by Sarah LaPolla at Wow! Women on Writing.
Q&A with Sarah LaPolla at Scripts & Scribes (04/2015).
Query Questions with Sarah LaPolla at Michelle4Laughs (08/2014).
Meet Sarah LaPolla, associate agent from the Bradford Literary Agency! at All the Write Stuff (03/2014).
Query, Sign, Submit with Sarah LaPolla at Write For Apples (06/2013).
Agent Sarah LaPolla returns to MWW at Midewest Writers Workshop (06/2013).
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Sarah LaPolla at Middle Grade Ninja (03/2013).
First Five Frenzy with Sarah LaPolla at Chasing the Crazies (03/2013).
Interview: Sarah LaPolla, Literary Agent at The Madeleine Project (01/2013).
Fizzy Fangirling – An Interview with Sarah LaPolla! at Fizzygirl (01/2013).

Around the Web:
Keep an eye on the News page of the Bradford Lit website for client news, new releases, and recent deals.
Guest Post: Sarah LaPolla on Finding Her Voice as an Agent at Cynsations (08/2013).
Agent Sarah LaPolla – Bradford Literary at Writing and Illustrating (08/2013).

Please see the Bradford Literary Agency website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:
Last updated: 4/27/19. Updated again 5/13/2020
Last Reviewed By Agent?  5/1/19

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.


Matthew MacNish said...

You people are so cool. Like rock stars.

Pam Harris said...

Yay! So glad that you spotlighted Sarah. She's truly awesome, and her editorial feedback is just incredible. Good luck to everyone who's thinking about querying her. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great spotlight. I've heard such great things about Sarah and you've found out so much about what she likes and dislikes. I'm definitely adding her to my list. Thanks!

Myrna Foster said...

This is extremely helpful. Thank you.

Elizabeth Briggs said...

Yay new spotlights! Thanks for all your hard work.

Anita said...

Her take on horror is funny!

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

I am beyond impressed with the thoroughness of your post. Thank you!

K. M. Walton said...

Sarah = Awesome

That pretty much sums her up. But I forgot about brilliant, funny and incredibly hard working.

She is THE BEST. I am so happy you spotlighted her, Casey!

Shana Silver said...

Chiming in here to say that Sarah really is the best agent out there! She gives great editorial feedback, she's very supportive and communicative, and she loves Buffy. Which means she has excellent taste.

Thermocline said...

You just got back and already you're hard at work. Thanks, Casey!

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks so much for the info. She passed on my last manuscript. I think she'll like my next one, but I have to finish the last few chapters, edit, get critiqued, and edit some more. It's not going to be anytime soon!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great interview! I love how you guys tell us all we need to know. Sarah sounds wonderful, but I know she's not for me because she doesn't rep what I write....I'm so glad you guys are here for us.

Have a great weekend! I can't wait to read your interivew of Judith next week!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Super in-depth review! Ms. LaPolla seems like a great agent. You do such a good job with these agent features.

Jade said...

Hi ladies! I'm pretty sure Sarah is with Bradford Lit these days. :)

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you, Jade. I'll try to get her profile updated soon!.