Thursday, June 27, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Laurie McLean

Laurie McLean spent 20 years as the CEO of a publicity agency and 8 years as an agent and senior agent at Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco.

Following her stint as the CEO of a successful Silicon Valley public relations agency bearing her name, Laurie was able to switch gears in 2002 to immerse herself in writing. She penned three manuscripts before deciding that the life of a literary agent was her destiny. Laurie has been writing professionally since high school–first as a journalist, then as a public relations agent, finally as a novelist. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the State University of New York and a Master’s Degree at Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Journalism.

At Foreword, Laurie specializes in adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, horror, etc.) plus middle-grade and young adult children’s books. She does not handle non-fiction, or commercial, literary or women’s fiction, nor does she handle children’s picture books or graphic novels. She prefers to receive the first ten pages and a 1-2 page plot synopsis of a completed/polished manuscript via email (no attachments, please…cut and paste your submission into the body of your email query) at:

For more on Laurie, check out her blog at, follow her on Twitter @agentsavant, and visit her Facebook page at

Prior to founding Foreword, Laurie was also the Dean of San Francisco Writers University and on the management team of the San Francisco Writers Conference. In 2012 Laurie co-founded two ePublishing companies with two of her client partners: for vintage out-of-print romance books with Linda Wisdom; and for out-of-print classic tween and teen books with Douglas Rees.

And now Laurie McLean faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
Otherland, a series by Tad Williams
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?

The Matrix
Across the Universe
A tie for third between the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings series (I know that’s like 10 movies, but that’s how I roll.)

TV Shows:
Twilight Zone (the original with Rod Serling)
Dr. Who (with the 9th doctor, Christopher Eccleston)
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client? 

A fabulous writer
A wonderful storyteller
A hard worker
Someone who’s open to learning and growing
A pleasant, or even better wickedly funny, personality
A person who makes me motivated to sell their stories

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for? 

In general, I’m looking for all types of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Mysteries and Thrillers for adults, tweens and teens. If you want to drill down further, I’m especially interested in supernatural, paranormal, epic fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, sci-fi thrillers, psychological horror, every category of romance except inspirational and erotica, cozy mysteries, and any kind of thriller where I cannot stop turning the pages. 

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing about being an agent is change. No two days are ever the same and the industry is in such turmoil and chaos it’s always interesting. Many opportunities crop up often and sometimes simultaneously. It’s perfect for my Triple A personality. My least favorite thing is the hurry up and wait pace I have to endure sometimes. That and having to reject so many hopefuls because I am only one person and until they make a cloning machine, can only handle a finite number of clients.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)
Publishing is a journey. Enjoy every step along the way. You will never be satisfied with where you are (securing an agent, selling your first book, selling another book, becoming a bestselling author, becoming THE most bestselling author of all time), so find things to love about it instead. Celebrate your successes. And don’t reply to hater reviewers no matter what.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

I would lunch with William Shakespeare, if only to finally discover his true identity. If we could invite Douglas Adams along too? That would be nirvana. Or maybe he owns the restaurant and comments from behind the bar.  :-)


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