This week's Agent Spotlight features Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency, LLC.
Status: Open to submissions.
“Lauren’s primary interests are young adult fiction and nonfiction, middle grade novels, as well as highly polished literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. Some of her favorite (non-client) YA authors are Meg Rosoff, Maureen Johnson and John Green.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“The Strothman Agency, LLC is a literary agency dedicated to promoting authors of significant books through the entire publishing cycle. Our offices are located in historic Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Our extensive inside experience and knowledge of both the editorial and business aspects of publishing—how editors and publishers make decisions, the economics of publishing, the importance of focused and strategic marketing and publicity, the nuances of contracts—as well as our many contacts among independent booksellers give us the ability to provide effective support to our clients.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. (Link)
From the website (as of 5/2012):
“Looking for: Young adult & middle grade. Especially: YA thrillers or mysteries, contemporary YA or MG, YA or MG romance or chick lit, YA horror. She is currently especially drawn to YA & MG projects with humorous situations, funny characters, a lovely romance or a great voice.
“Flooded with: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Tragedy Memoirs.” (Link)
From an Interview (12/2010):
“I’m really hungry for well-written contemporary YA without any fantasy or paranormal elements. I’ve seen a lot of manuscripts in the last year or two about teenagers who can read minds, open magic portals, or talk to ghosts. I think those stories are fascinating, but I’m increasingly interested in reading manuscripts with situations and characters that readers can relate to.” (Link)
From an Interview (06/2010):
“I’m always hungry for books that make me laugh and increasingly I’m looking for contemporary YA, especially romance.” (Link)
From an Interview (07/2010):
“I think what all editors and agents are really looking for-and I suspect this is as true today as it will be five years from now-are fresh, original voices.
In addition to a great voice, I’m always looking for funny books in any of the YA or MG sub-genres. Funny is very hard to pull off, but it is a real sweet spot for me. I’d also love to see more YA or MG horror in my slush pile.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“Lauren is not accepting queries for picture books or chapter books or early readers at this time. She does not represent adult romance or chick lit.” (Link)
“I’m probably not the best for high fantasy.” (Link)
"A great story with dynamic writing will always be relevant. Write good books, don’t worry about trends." (Link)
“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.” (Link)
"I still do editing, but I have to really, really, really love the book before I'll take it on. On the fence now equals no, more than before." (Link)
The agency has a "Catalog of Published Works" on the website. Ms. MacLeod’s clients include:
Hélène Boudreau, Monica Bustamante Wagner, The Barbara Cooney Estate, Sashi Kaufman, Robert Lettrick, Jodi Meadows, Kathryn Miles, Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff, Bria Quinlan, Christopher White, among others.
As of 5/2012, Ms. MacLeod is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 2 deals in the last 12 months and 10 overall. Recent deals include 1 young adult and 1 international rights.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter outlining your qualifications and experience, a synopsis, the genre and word count of your manuscript, and the first ten pages in the body of an e-mail. No attachments. You should receive an auto-response upon receipt.
Please see the Strothman Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“My biggest query pet peeve is when people try to query via a phone call, but a close second would be authors who pitch more than one project at a time. I find being presented with ten different ideas all at once very overwhelming.” (Link)
“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.” (Link)
“…every submission is read and considered. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, please allow three to four weeks for a response. If we have not replied to your query within six weeks, we do not feel that it is right for us.” (Link)
Stats on the web show Ms. MacLeod often responds to queries within days to a couple weeks and requested material within six weeks.
What's the Buzz?
Lauren has an active presence on Twitter and the agency blog and is popular with aspiring authors. Her clients are very loyal and happy in her hands. Her sales seem modest but balanced with her selective client list. Writers of realistic MG/YA fiction should definitely take note!
Worth Your Time:
Agent Chat transcript with Lauren MacLeod at WriteOn (05/2011).
Agent Advice Interview with Lauren MacLeod at Guide to Literary Agents (12/2010).
Interview with an Agent: Lauren MacLeod at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (06/2010).
Lit Agent Lauren MacLeod Has “Sweet Spot” for Funny Books, interview at GalleyCat (01/2010).
Around the Web:
See her bio on the agency website for conferences she’ll be attending.
See the agency’s FAQ for general agent info and tips.
The Strothman Agency on P&E ($, Recommended).
The Strothman Agency thread at AbsoluteWrite.
Successful Queries: Agent Lauren MacLeod and “Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings” at Guide to Literary Agents (12/2010).
"Straight Talk on Tough Times for Writers" at Mitali's Fire Escape featuring comments by Lauren Macleod, Colleen Lindsay, and Elana Roth (10/2009).
Lauren MacLeod was a Secret Agent for Miss Snark's First Victim's blog; follow the link and then locate the entries for that month (July 2009) to see her comments on each entry as well as her chosen winners.
"An Agent Talks Trends in MG/YA Publishing" featuring Lauren Macleod; what she's seeing a lot of and what editors are asking for (06/2009)
A relay of some #askagent tweets by Lauren Macleod on Words of Inspiration and Romance (06/2009).
QueryDay Q&A summary featuring many comments by Lauren Macleod on Writing For Kids While Raising Them (04/2009).
Notes from QueryFail at Writing For Kids While Raising Them. Check out the reasons Ms. Macleod and other agents might reject you (03/2009).
Please see The Strothman Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 5/1/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/1/12.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's and/or teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.