Sarah LaPolla

Sarah LaPolla

Bradford Literary Agency

My Manuscript Wish List

​​I represent primarily YA fiction, but am looking for select MG and Adult fiction as well. My passion is for multi-faceted characters, unique perspectives, and strong narrative hooks. I particularly love characters who surprise themselves, make mistakes, develop with (and because of) the plot, and whose stories remain hopeful. I’m also actively seeking #ownvoices narratives and diverse casts of characters in every story I represent.


What I’d love to see more of in each genre:

  • 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.
  • Psychological/literary mystery. On the adult side, think along the lines of Tana French or Megan Abbott. NOT cozy mysteries/amateur sleuth​. For MG or YA, I want character-focused as well, especially for psychological mysteries, but have a unique twist that puts the teen character at the center of the mystery in a believable way.
  • ​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. Like YA, MG is not a genre, but for the sake of this profile I’m including it here. I love MG that’s a little bit dark and a little bit magical, and always has a strong relatable voice. (Think of books like Counting by 7s, When You Reach Me, Rules for Stealing Stars, or anything in the style of Roald Dahl or Neil Gaiman.) The target readers for MG are 9-12, and their stories should be brimming with the same possibilities and complexities that they are.


Please check my #MSWL tweets for more specifics! If I don’t mention what you happen to be writing, double check my bio on the Bradford Lit website. When in doubt, just query!

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

Please email sarah [at] bradfordlit [dot] com with your query + 1st five pages pasted into the body of the email. The subject line should read: “Query: [title].”


Queries sent as attachments will not be opened.


Guidelines & Details


As a new addition from The Manuscript Academy, #MSWL’s educational sister company, we are now offering ten-minute e-meetings with a select group of our agents and editors to discuss your work, what you can do better–and how to maximize your chances of success in the submissions process. You’ll be able to pick from Skype, Hangouts, or a phone call–and, yes, this works internationally. Please see our FAQ, our step-by-step guide to booking your meeting, a list of participating agents and editors–and consider joining our Facebook group, a free, friendly community of writers cheering each other on through this process.

Please note: Meetings are posted once monthly, and then often sell out. If there are meetings available, you’ll see them bolded on the calendar below after clicking “Set Time Zone.” 

Want an email when new meetings go up? Click here.


Vital Info

Fiction: Family Saga, General, Horror, Literary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Favorite sub-genres:
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