Friday, June 11, 2010

Interview with an Agent: Lauren MacLeod

I’ve got another good one for you. (In fact, a few of these answers reminded me of a few of you specifically:) ) Today’s installment of “Interview with an Agent” features Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency. See you on the other side.

KV: How did you get into agenting?

LM: I started as an assistant to Wendy Strothman at the Strothman Agency. I was so very lucky to get a position at a small agency where I could get my hands dirty and learn from someone as accomplished and knowledgeable about the industry as Wendy--she was and still is fantastic about showing me the ropes. I had some success finding projects in the slush pile and was eventually given the opportunity to start developing my own list.

In college I’d interned in the publicity department at Da Capo and then in the editorial department at Beacon Press--I think agenting is a pretty natural mix of those positions.

KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

LM: The Strothman Agency works closely with our clients to get a project ready for submission and we are always looking to help them build careers--not just sell one book. As an agent I’m always looking to fall in love with a manuscript--I’m really invested in the books and the authors I take on.

KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?

LM: Very next will be REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS by Hélène Boudreau (December 1st from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky). I fell in love with the voice of this project from the query letter, so when the first few pages of the manuscript actually made me laugh out loud I was hooked. Funny takes a lot of skill and Hélène makes it look effortless.

In addition to being talented writers, all of my clients also have this indefinable charisma about them which I think is increasingly important as authors are being asked to step out from behind their desks.

KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?

LM: I represent young adult and middle grade--I don’t take on chapter or picture books, though I will represent them if one of my YA/MG clients has something fantastic. I’m probably not the best for high fantasy.

KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?

LM: Not following guidelines. There is so much information out there and so many agents writing really fantastically helpful blogs that there is no excuse for not doing your research before querying.

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now?

LM: I’m always hungry for books that make me laugh and increasingly I’m looking for contemporary YA, especially romance.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

LM: I take both e-mail and snail mail submissions, but I prefer e-mail ( Our most accurate submission guidelines are always on our website at

Thanks again, Ms. MacLeod, for these responses. I think we’ll all be checking out REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS in a few months--who could walk past that title and not pick up the book?

Best of luck to all you queriers! And have a great weekend, everyone!


Amanda J. said...

Awesome interview! Thanks Lauren and Krista!! : )

Kris said...

Great interview -- Thanks to Krista for sharing, and Lauren for taking the time!

Krista V. said...

Amanda and Kris, you're welcome! And Kris, welcome to the blog:)

Callie Forester said...

You're right about that title--just that made me laugh.I'll be checking this book out when I see it on the shelves!

Thanks for a great agent interview, I always love these!!

Krista V. said...

Callie, you're very welcome!

Myrna Foster said...

I thought I commented on this last week, but I don't see my comment.

Thanks for another great interview, Krista! Lauren sounds really great, even if she doesn't want high fantasy, and I'm definitely reading the mermaid with an attitude book.

Krista V. said...

Yeah, Myrna, I'll be checking MERMAIDS out, too:)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Thanks, Krista and Lauren. I'm adding to my query list. :)


Krista V. said...

Yay, Amy!