Natalie’s specialty is commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal, and historical), upmarket women’s fiction, and select nonfiction.
Bradford Literary tries to respond to all queries in approximately two to four weeks. If you don’t receive a response within one month, they ask that you resend your query and note that you are sending it again.
To connect with and learn more about Natalie . . .
What advice would you give to querying writers?
Research agents; find the right fit – read Twitter, blogs, bios on agency websites. Don’t take rejection personally, or let it stop you – it only takes one yes.
Do you always read a query all the way through? If not, what would make you stop reading?
No. Most of the time what will stop me is if it’s just not what I’m looking for – and that can mean a person who is sending me a memoir, when I specifically say no memoir in my bio, or another dystopian vampire novel. I only turn to sample pages if I’m intrigued by the hook.
Is it okay for a writer to nudge concerning queries or partial/full requests?
What would you love to find in the slush pile?
I’m still dying for contemporary romance (adult) and upmarket women’s fiction/magical realism women’s fiction (think The Help or Time Traveler’s Wife). Something with a unique hook I haven’t seen before. Horror, gothic, and that doesn’t mean ghosts, more scary and chilling and atmospheric.
Once a writer has signed with you, what’s the next step?
It depends! Typically, edits, which can be brief (a few context points) to line edits, if the book calls for it. Very rarely, it will be me putting together the pitch and submission list and sending out.
How do you put together a list of editors to send to?
I research recent deals, look at my notes from meeting with them in NY, conferences, or phone chats, while others surface to mind as I read the manuscript.
Does the writer have input on the pitch to editors or do you take care of that?
I write the pitch letter, though I’ll usually start by looking at the query letter the author sent me as a starting place, and re-working it. If there’s no query letter, I start from scratch. I do ask the author for a bio, if I don’t have a few lines to pull from the query or blog/website. I’ve never had an author not happy with my pitch. J
Do you want to see sample chapters as a client writes or do you prefer to wait until the manuscript is finished? Or is it up to the client?
Usually this is up to the client. I’m never opposed to seeing a partial, though I do prefer polished manuscripts, which means, both author and critique partner edited. Some clients like to send me a synopsis to work with and polish before they start writing! I like throwing around ideas and brainstorming next steps to offer direction as well, which often happens when thinking of next books and career steps.
Can a client make suggestions or share a wish list when it comes to editors/imprints to submit to?
Yes – which ties in with sharing connections an author may have from conferences or workshops. I’m always open to ideas, though I may not agree – I may have some background info that steers me in a different direction or an editor I think is a far better match from interactions with him/her. I love to hear about a client’s dream houses – and often, it’s good to share what publishers the author has on his/her shelves – often they’ll write in an area that fits those publishers, which can be helpful to define the right fit, especially if it comes down to multiple offers later.
Do you forward editor feedback to writers?
I do, though I won’t ever forward on an editor’s email address or contact information. And of course, if it’s a phone call I’ll summarize. I send updates as I get them – if I’m checking in and expect several in a week, I’ll wait and send a weekly update rather than a daily email. And it is absolutely ok for a client to check in if there hasn’t been any news; the answer may be: no updates, but it’s ok to ask.
What kind of feedback or response do you hope for after sending a manuscript to an editor? A book deal, of course, but what kind of feedback is a good sign?
Personally, I think it’s a good sign when editors are offering detailed feedback, vs. a generic “just not for me.” It’s also good to get “nibbles,” such as an editor getting second reads or wanting to set up a call.
What is the next step if an editor shows interest?
This varies by publishing house. Some editors only need to ask their editorial director if they can buy a book, while others need to take it to several meetings (ed board, where the imprint editors read and weigh in, and then acquisitions, where sales and marketing will also weigh in). If we’re getting interest, I will tell a client what that house’s policy is, and how many hoops are left to jump through.
What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?
Keep writing! Network with other authors, start paying it forward. Work on a new idea to keep your mind off the one on submission!
*Just a side note, I have a client welcome kit which covers pretty much everything from these sign and submit sections! :)
What a treat to have you join us, Natalie!
Posted August, 2013 – Always check for current info and guidelines.