Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Literary Agent Interview: Hillary Fazzari Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Hillary Fazzari here. She’s a literary agent at Bradford Literary Agency.

Status: Hillary anticipates opening to YA and adult queries on May 1st. Please check the agency website to find out when she reopens to these submissions.

Hi­ Hillary! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Hillary:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

Hi Natalie, thank you so much for having me! I started agenting in fall of 2023 but have been in the publishing world for a lot longer than that.  I actually started out working at Scholastic before moving into the agenting side of publishing where, starting in 2018, I begun working as a reader and editor at several literary agencies before moving into being Laura Bradford’s assistant and editor at Bradford Literary, which has been a great home for me and a great place for me to start my own list!

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

The Bradford Literary Agency is a boutique agency that offers a full range of representation services to both published and pre-published authors. Our mission is to form true partnerships with our clients and build long-term relationships that extend from the first draft through the length of an author’s career.  And we’re really well established in the industry.  Our agency was founded by Laura in 2001 and has repped many, many authors since, including bestsellers, award winners, and more! In addition, we’re a very editorially focused agency, which we find to be one of the best ways to help authors build strong, sustainable careers. In the current market, having an editorially focused agency is often SUPER helpful!  The market is swamped with great, potential material right now, pretty much in all of the areas I work, so having an agent in your corner who’s not just about making sales but is also about helping you with the rest of the writing/editing process can be pretty major.  And we at Bradford as a whole believe that the best author-agent relationships *should* extend beyond sales, so we’re also partners, advisors, careful listeners, troubleshooters, editors, and advocates of our clients.

 What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

I represent MG, YA, and adult material, though in adult at the moment I’m only looking for rom-coms (and rom-com adjacent stuff), romantasy, and SFF with a heavy romantic bend.

In MG and YA, I am open to all genres.  I love commercial voices, big ideas, and standout premises that make you go “Whoa, that is cool!”  But most of all, I’m looking for stories that are written to showcase a protagonist’s agenda.  Which is not to say that other types of stories can’t be fabulous, but since I work with the commercial market, there are often parameters outside of my control limiting what I can sell into it, and at this point (usually) in order for me to feel that I have a strong enough chance of selling a project, what I need to see is a protagonist who enters the first chapter with a goal that will ultimately cause the rest of the plotline to happen.

Strong romantic plots or subplots in YA in particular but also in MG are a good way to hook me, as are unique settings and consumable ideas.  I love flashy premises:  contemporary stories set in glittering worlds (both domestically and abroad), political intrigue, embassy stories, spies, assassins, heists, well-built but accessible magic systems, genre mixing, adventure, excitement, and of course lots of feel-good romance and other types of important relationships. I 100% adore squad goal friendships and I’m always here for stories featuring family dynamics in voice-y, important, or charming ways.

Some books that are very indicative of my taste are:

Anything by Rick Riordan or the Rick Riordan Presents line

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

The Chronicles of Egg by Geoff Rodkey

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

The Embassy Row series by Ally Carter

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

You can find out more about my tastes at my Manuscript Wishlist page: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/hillary-fazzari

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to see in the genres you are interested in?

Absolutely!! Middle-grade is really rough right now from a market perspective, but I’d still love to see a big, incredibly accessible new middle-grade series that can do the same thing for this current generation of kids that the Percy Jackson series did a decade ago (and that Harry Potter did a decade before that): aka create a world and a fandom that can really make kids feel seen and full of agency, and that’s just fun, full of high stakes, and/or magical things.  Essentially, I’m looking for something that’s not derivative of the other two but can be a whole new world that has the same level of accessibility and makes kids really, really want to be a part of it—a world that showcases how diverse our own world is and has a setting and characters that just cling onto the imagination and can become part of the cultural resonance surrounding a whole generation of readers.

I’d also love to see some romantasy with crisp worldbuilding that feels accessible, can draw on key trope-y, fun elements of the subgenre, but is still different from what I’ve seen before:  essentially what Divine Rivals was when it came out—this fresh take on a big romance set against a well-developed but new-feeling, highly accessible fantasy world.  And I’m really, really eager to see more romantasy set in non-Western worlds starring BIPOC characters and all BIPOC casts (which, incidentally, is something I’d love to see in all other genres as well!)

I’m always on the lookout for high stakes, glitzy romance that feels fresh.  I’d love to rep a story starring a tennis player and a book that includes martial arts, especially, again, if it’s glitzy, fun, and high octane.  And of course, simply winning a tournament or big match doesn’t have to be the character’s main goal:  they could be the daughter of the president, caught up in an adventure (and also playing tennis) or a fantasy spy who just happens to be really good at martial arts.

Black joy books are something I’m *always* looking for!  And queer, disabled, LGBTIA+, and neurodivergent voices are all very, very welcome!!

Overall, I’d say I prefer fun books to issues books; though at the same time I do also want books with strong character arcs and emotional depth, so I’m looking for substance that is embedded in fun—for emotion that’s part of something that overall feels cathartic.  And I want books with concise, easy to conceptualize pitches that feel fresh, fun, and timely (and usually easy to sum up in one-sentence since that tends to be what works well right now on the commercial market).

I’m always happy to look at projects that can do this and utilize settings such as international schools, music/film venues and/or training companies or production studios that aren’t American, language immersion programs, and more.  And I’m a big fan of Asian dramas (pretty much all genres, though especially historical and rom-com) and UK period pieces and would love to see some more of the flavor of some of the international shows I’m a fan of drawn into American publishing.  

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

I am not able to, at this point, take on graphic novel scripts unless an artist is already attached, and I’m not the right person for anything picture book at the moment (though I’m happy to look at MG with illustrations:  stuff like the How To Train Your Dragon books for instance).  In terms of specific things that usually don’t catch me:  I’m not the right person for a story where the dog dies; I don’t often love terminal illness or cancer books; and I prefer happy endings to sad or nebulous ones.  It’s going to be hard to sell me on a book set in the 70s, 80s, 90s, or early 2000s—I usually prefer fully contemporary stories or else more deeply historical work.  And I’m never looking for stories that feel colonialist, that “fix” a character with a disability, or are centered on issues as the biggest part of the character’s journey.  Which is not to say I don’t love characters working through trauma—because I do!  It’s just a balance there for me usually.

I’m also rarely on the lookout for literary, literary-leaning, or upmarket YA or adult work, though I’m happy to look at more literary leaning material in middle-grade.

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

It’s very important for me to be an agent who uplifts and amplifies voices that have marginalized, whether I personally rep those authors or not, but in terms of my own clients, I want to be the sort of person who is a good partner, not just in editing their work and selling it but also in terms of helping them career plan and navigate the weirdness that can be the traditional book market.  I am very editorial, so I work hard with prepping stories for sub, and I’m very data driven, so I want to use that knowledge and capacity to help my clients career plan in ways that will help them reach where they want to be with their careers.  My own personal philosophy is to support not push, so I’m going to prioritize my clients’ well-beings, which means I fully acknowledge that I work for them and not the other way around.  And I don’t ever want my clients to feel weird or uncomfortable about coming to me with whatever is on their minds!

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

Yes, I am very much an editorial agent.  I was an editor for years before I moved into agenting, so I do very substantial edits with clients as needed and am never afraid of really breaking things down into their parts to ensure a story can ultimately be its best version.  I’m also always happy to just talk ideas with my clients and am delighted at whatever point in the process they want to bring me in:  brainstorming, outlining, writing, rewriting, editing—I’m happy to be there for all of it!

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

I take queries through QueryManager, and you can reach my QueryManager submissions’ page here: https://querymanager.com/query/3240

In terms of what I need:  I ask for a query letter, a synopsis, and the first chapter of the project.

I’m absolutely not picky about the salutation, whether you spell my name right, or anything else!  And I’m always very open to authors updating queries after they’ve sent them to me, so if you query me and then need to update something, please, please feel free to!  I look at queries with updated pitches or updated first chapters all the time.

And I also don’t need queries to be perfect!  What I’m really looking for is whether at the heart of each project there’s a pitch that shows me I’d be a good partner for the author at this point in their career. Some projects I love but feel need more revisions than I can commit to at a given time (because even though I’m very editorial, I’m also only human), so I do sometimes ask for R&Rs, and I’m always very open to authors re-querying me if their books have undergone pretty significant revisions since the last time I’d seen them.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

I don’t have any specific dislikes; I’m not a picky person in that sense.  Though the thing to keep in mind is that my agency (and I) usually only ask for the first chapter, so that first chapter is carrying a heavy load.  It’s really the one thing, in addition to the pitch, that needs to draw me into the story.  Though, again, it doesn’t have to be perfect!!! I usually need concept, emotion, and catchiness over just simple perfection.

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

I aim for responses to queries in 8-10 weeks, and I try to respond to full manuscripts I’ve requested within 8-10 weeks more, though the reality is, it can sometimes take longer.  When I’m open to queries I often get 1000-1500 a month, which when paginated out at about 10-12 pages of material per query equals a monthly query volume approximately the length of around 60 three-hundred-page books.  And I do request a fair amount of fulls at the moment, which means it can take me time to get through everything.  So if you’ve not heard from me and you think you should have, I’m never upset by a nudge!  I might not respond immediately, but I will have tabulated the nudge for sure!  And I always appreciate getting them.  QueryManager is a great system, but occasionally things can get buried in it, so a nudge might draw right back up something the system really buried for me.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

Absolutely!! I rep both authors who have been self-published before and who have been published by smaller presses.  And I also rep hybrid authors who self-publish some books themselves and have others I sell for them traditionally.  I don’t have different advice for them, except that it is helpful to know if you’ve self-published or small press published before because this becomes part of the fabric that makes up what potential audiences, future sales, and resales can look like.  And for career planning purposes, again, just being ready to talk about your big picture ideas for your career with potential agents can also be very helpful.


12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Riv Begun, K. M. Watts

Interviews and Guest Posts:

13. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.

My Manuscript Wishlist page: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/hillary-fazzari

All of my #MSWL tweets in one place: https://mswishlist.com/agent/HillaryFazzari

Links and Contact Info:

14. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

I take queries through QueryManager at: https://querymanager.com/query/3240

Sometimes I run special query sessions usually for specific pitch events that I’m participating in on social media, and I do sometimes do these when I’m technically closed to all other types of queries, so it’s always a good idea to check my agency page and my Twitter to see if I have any special query forms pinned anywhere since sometimes the links for those are different than my main QueryManager link.

My agency page: https://bradfordlit.com/hillary-fazzari-agent

My Twitter:  https://twitter.com/hillaryfazzari

Additional Advice:

15. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

This one gets thrown around a lot, but reading a lot and really being familiar with where your story would sit on the market can be really helpful.  I go for stuff that’s market hot and also for stuff that I just love, so it’s not like your book has to be exactly like the rest of the market.  But reading what’s newly releasing in the categories you’re writing in (or writing adjacent to) can be super helpful in terms of keeping up of with the market, even if what you decide to do is ultimately subvert or challenge some element of it.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Hillary.

Giveaway Details

­Hillary is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through May 4th. If your email is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that’s okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you follow me on Twitter or mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments, and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or email 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.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Wednesday, May 1st I have an interview with author Stacy Stokes and a giveaway of her YA speculative thriller The Darkness Rises and my IWSG post

Monday, May 6th I have an agent spotlight interview with Miriam Cortinovis and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, May 8th I have an agent spotlight interview with Jenniea Carter and a query critique giveaway

Monday, May 13th I have a guest post by debut author Sandy Green and a giveaway of her MG novel in verse Ghost Writers: The Haunting of Lake Lucy

Wednesday, May 15th I have a guest post by Rose Atkinson-Carter, a freelance writer for Reedsy

Thursday, May 16th I’m participating in the Moms Rock Giveaway Hop

Monday, May 20th I have an agent spotlight interview with Caroline Trussell and a query critique giveaway

Tuesday, June 1st I’m participating in the Berry Good Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, June 2nd I have an interview with author June Hur and a giveaway of her YA historical mystery A Crane Among Wolves and my IWSG post

I hope to see you on Wednesday, May 1st!









Yalda Ash said...

Fantastic interview! Hillary's editorial agent style speaks to me and I would love a query critique.

Caitlin Rieser said...

I would love a query critique! I critiqued Hillary in the past--unfortunately, it led to a rejection, so I'd love to know if there are specific areas I could improve as I continued with the querying process.

Jacqui said...

Good interview. Sad that you aren't looking for historical fiction!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That's interesting about MG being a tough market right now. I hadn't realized that.

Liz A. said...

That's a very specific wish list. It's good to see.

Carol Baldwin said...

Very thorough Interview! No need to enter me.

Shamaila J said...

I love how detailed you are about what you are looking for. I would love to participate in the giveaway. My email is shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Shanti Thirumalai said...

Hi Natalie,
I'd love to participate in the giveaway.

Kris B. said...

Great interview! I adore how approachable Hillary is, and I would love to be entered for a query critique.

Paula said...

Great interview. I shared post on FB and Twitter. Sad to see MG continues to be a tough sell. Hopefully, my MG Fantasy will be different enough to break through. Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview! I appreciate the insight Hillary shared. I would like to be entered into the query giveaway: ALwrite [at] vivaldi [dot] net. Thank you!

Diane T said...

Another wonderful interview! I appreciate the detailed answered and would love a shot at the giveaway!

Tonja Drecker said...

She sounds like a fun agent with both feet on the ground. I'll pass on the giveaway and enjoyed the interview.

Cel said...

Another insightful interview! I've recently revamped my manuscript and query and would love a chance for it to be seen by Hillary.

Sandra Cox said...

Another great interview. Thanks for sharing and much good wishes to you both.

Randi said...

Hillary has been on my radar as an ideal match for my manuscript for awhile, but I haven't queried her yet because my category doesn't fit what she's looking for at the moment. I'd love, love, LOVE the opportunity to get her feedback on my query!!

Anonymous said...

A great read. I love her recs and think Hillary’s openness towards queries and concepts is just wonderful! I am open to a query critique :) clarkin_sophia@wheatoncollege.edu

Grace Z. said...

Love the insight! Interested in the giveaway

Alexis H. said...

This interview is awesome! I've been so excited to query Hillary. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. My email is alexishatcherfernandez@gmail.com

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Clark said...

Wow! Hillary has been on my list since I made a list! I would love the chance to get her feedback on my adult rom-com adjacent novel! As a BIPOC author this opportunity is invaluable and this blog has been so helpful. Thank you Natalie and Hillary! I also follow you both on Twitter/X (:

Amelia G said...

Fantastic interview, and great insight on the MG climate! I’d love to participate in the giveaway. A critique from Hillary would be amazing given her editorial expertise, and my Percy Jackson-adjacent MG fantasy could be up her alley :)

Stephanie Smith said...

I loved this interview. Many thanks to you both. I'd love to be entered in the query critique giveaway.

Kassandra said...

I have been dying for her to reopen her queries! And I would love to be considered for a query critique. Thank you Literary Rambles for this interview and for the query giveaway opportunity :)

Jamie said...

Thank you both for this interview! It was very insightful. I'd love to entered in the giveaway.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great interview! Always so useful to know exactly what an agent is looking for.

Rosi said...

Thanks for another interesting interview. Lots to mine here. I will pass on the giveaway.

Fundy Blue said...

This was a great interview, Natalie. Hillary is very clear about what she's looking for and doesn't mince words. I can tell that she has a lot of energy. Someone will be lucky to have a query critique. Unfortunately what I'm writing isn't in her wheelhouse, so I pass on the giveaway so it can go to someone who fits it better. Have a great week!

Karen K. said...

I appreciate how detailed Hillary is about what she is looking for, and as a disabled writer, I appreciate her interest in disability rep. (Disability is often left out when it comes to marginalized voices. Please enter me in the query critique giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Would love to be entered for a query critique! Great interview.


Isabel said...

Great interview! I would love to be entered for the query critique giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity!

Melisa Ozen said...

Hillary sounds like a fantastic agent to work with. I love how open she is, and would love to be chosen for her critique giveaway.

The email I used to follow Literary Rambles is melisaozenryan@gmail.com. It is different from the one I'm using to submit this comment because for some reason the other email will not let me comment. Hopefully, it won't be an issue.

Thank you so much for everything you do to help writers in the querying trenches!

Anonymous said...

Insightful interview - thank you! I would be interested in a query critique.

Michael Devine said...

Cool interview - definitely interested in a query critique. Thank you!