Q&A with Agent Laurie McLean

Today we feature the third in our lineup of Q & As with the amazing featured authors, agents, and editors of our upcoming YA A to Z conference. For more info about the conference, click here. And keep checking back here for more great Q & As throughout March and up to the conference on April 15 and 16!

Agent Laurie McLean will also be teaching an upcoming workshop in Houston on April 17 called Secrets of the Agents: Why It’s the Best Time EVER to Be a Writer. Click here for more info!

How did you get started in publishing?

After a 20-plus year career as the founder and CEO of a Silicon Valley publicity firm, I decided to retire early and write a romance novel as a present to my mom for her 80th birthday. Not only did she love it, she encouraged me to try to get it published. I went to the San Francisco Writers Conference and managed to interest an agent, Elizabeth Pomada, who eventualloy offered me representation. And even though Elizabeth was never able to sell the book, I became an agent at Larsen Pomada Literary Agents instead.  You never know what magic will happen when you go to a writers conference.

What’s the average number of submissions you receive in a month?

1200-1500

If you could give writers one small piece of advice about the world of publishing, what would it be?

Write every day.

Who was your first client?

Karen Morrison-Knox, a middle-grade fantasy author.

What was the first project you sold?

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin (it became the first book in an 8-book series, the final book will be out this fall!)

What do you love most about your job?

The ability to use both sides of my brain for creativity and art-of-the-deal sharkness. And the variety.

What is something that you often see beginning writers doing wrong?

Pitching a manuscript before it is ready.  When you type “the end” it is really the beginning of the hard work. Edit. Polish. Share. Edit some more. Then pitch.

What is a little known fact about yourself?

I played in a bluegrass band with my husband for more than a decade (Foggy Mountain Jam.)

What book are you reading right now?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

If you could have a beer or coffee with a literary luminary living or dead, who would it be and why?

Stephen King.  I respect his dogged determination, love his stories and root for his characters, am amazed at his prolific nature, and dig that fact that he’s a big baseball fan.

Beer or coffee?

Tea?

 

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