Hannah Andrade (she/her) started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly eager to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.
What was your path to becoming an agent?
As soon as I was old enough to grasp the idea that books didn't sprout fully formed from the ground but there was a whole process/team of people behind them, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I did a variety of internships during college and found my job with Laura Bradford (the president and founder of the agency) the year after I graduated. I was her assistant for several years, reading her materials and editing manuscripts and finding new clients, until I felt confident enough to make the transition into agenting myself. Actually, the first project was initially sent in for my boss, but I fell in love with the idea and wanted to represent it so that was the project that pushed me over the edge. :)
What elements does a manuscript need for you to want to offer representation?
Voice, voice, VOICE. Agents always say that we can work with our clients on plot and craft, but if the voice isn't relatable or engaging, there's not much we can do about it. Additionally, I really look for manuscripts that are hooky right off the bat. In the query, I love when we can get right to the point about who the story is about and why I should care. If the world's going to end, I want to know about it! If an alien species will take over the earth if the protagonist fails, I want to know!
How do you work with your clients?
I'm very editorially focused, so one of my favorite parts of the job is working with my clients on their manuscripts. I love everything from brainstorming with them to getting their vision for what they want their story to look like and the best way we can get that to come across to the reader. Because my client list is small (I'm still pretty new to this industry!), I have a lot of capacity to work more closely with my clients than I would if I was buried under a lot of clients. I'm a clear communicator and instantly turn around any feedback we receive on projects to my clients (unless I've heard otherwise from them!).
What's on your manuscript wish list?
I am currently looking to acquire middle grade, young adult, adult, and select nonfiction. As someone who’s spent a large portion of their life outside of America, I am very interested in stories that explore the intricacies of multicultural identities. I love stories of immigration (not relegated to America) and of first/second generation Americans who struggle balancing the values of their country with the culture and heritage of their parents (as in the tv show Ramy or Julie Tieu’s THE DONUT TRAP). As a Mexican-American, I would particularly love to see the stories that I grew up with showcased in new and creative ways—send me your Latinx folklore-inspired MG and YA!
I love strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres. I’m a huge fan of expansive world building and atmospheric settings, dark and transporting fantasy in my YAs, and MGs with macabre elements and dark humor. If you’ve got a MG version of The Addams Family, I would absolutely love to read it! I’m looking for stories with quirky characters/voices and love ones that feature dysfunctional families (like SAFFY’S ANGEL by Hilary McKay). If your story involves ghosts, riddles/puzzles, and/or whimsy, send it my way! I am particularly drawn to mysteries with unique hooks and compelling twists in both young adult and adult—if you have an Only Murders in the Building-esque story, I would love to see it!
I’d like to see stories that aren’t afraid to tackle darkness as long as there’s the light of hope at the end. I appreciate a bittersweet ending—because sometimes the best endings are the ones that leave a few unanswered questions.
If you have a manuscript that might be a fit for Hannah, you can query her for the month of July at firstname.lastname@example.org