Agent Savant

The musings of literary agent Laurie McLean

Goodreads Author Tips

Written By: laurie - Mar• 05•14

As a former marketing pro with 25+ years in that industry before I became a literary agent a decade ago, I am bullish on establishing a strong author brand. I speak about it a lot at conferences and in webinars. So I was delighted that a recent Forbes magazine article entitled “The Strongest Brand in Publishing” featured my client, science fiction and fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan. Towards the end of the article, Michael J. gives you three tips on how he became one of the “most effective authors” on Goodreads according to Patrick Brown, Goodreads’ Director for Author Marketing.

Michael J.’s strategy has to do with building and participating in community, as well as interacting with your fans and giving away books. Another tip is that he started out as a reader and knows both sides of a story. It’s a fascinating article and well worth a couple minutes of your time to read. Find the Forbes article here:



UPDATE: Michael has added more detail to his advice here:

Hollow World Cover 1200 x 1900

My client, AR Kahler, Nominated for 2 Book Awards!

Written By: laurie - Jan• 23•14

My client, debut fantasy author A.R. Kahler has made me a proud mama today by sharing the news that his The Immortal Circus fantasy trilogy (Amazon 47North) has been nominated for two awards for 2013: The Endeavor Award for best science fiction or fantasy written by a Pacific Northwest author and published in the previous year, and the Compton Crook Award for best first novel of the year written by an individual author from the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. He is also eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and will be in their 2014 Campbellian anthology. Way to go Alex! Plus look at his cool photo. And did I mention that he’s a circus aerialist as well as an author. You go, sir!

Alex Kahler author

Kindra Nikole Photography

Wild 2014 Publishing Predictions

Written By: laurie - Jan• 02•14

If you’re wondering what to expect in the new year, hop on over to Foreword Literary’s blog and see what zany predictions we cooked up in our last staff meeting of 2013. Remember that this was at the end of an hour long Facebook chat, so forgive us in advance if we got a bit irreverent.

Iron King Motion Comic Debuts!

Written By: laurie - Dec• 14•13

Here’s a great idea for a stocking stuffer!

The best-selling young adult novel The Iron King has been transformed into a new medium – a comic book series and now an interactive digital comic book.  Bluewater Productions has released the first two issues of the 4-issue mini series.

Bluewater Productions has partnered with Piglion Studios in developing an animated comic book version, which  released this week on iTunes for $1.99.  The full-length interactive animated manga motion comic book app will also be released on the Android platforms later this month.

Iron King Motion Comic

Julie Kagawa, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series of books for young adults, said “My fans know that I am a huge comic, manga, and anime enthusiast, and I write in a very cinematic and visual manner in part due to my love of this medium.”  Julie’s new title in the spinoff Iron Fey series The Iron Traitor just hit bookstores.

To view a sample of the motion comic book cover:

The 4-issue Iron King comic book series features the art of Lidia Chan, and is written by Julie Kagawa and Sara Gundell.

The app on ITunes can be viewed here:

“We believe giving subtle movements to make the work dynamic and interactive at the same time will help augment the readers’ imagination. Piglion Studio is excited to see the success of this partnership and the fans should be too!” said Melch Valimento from Piglion Studio.

The Iron King is a young adult novel that was on the best-seller lists for the New York Times and USA Today while getting amazing reviews. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series, and follows the adventures of a girl named Meghan Chase. On her sixteenth birthday, Meghan discovers her little brother has been kidnapped by a faery race known as the “Fey” and even worse, replaced with an evil changeling and taken into the “Nevernever.” Meghan bravely ventures into the faery realm to rescue him, and that’s where an epic plot unfolds.

“The goal is to get people reading.  I was a reluctant reader growing up and comic books helped my reading skills.  Comic books are not only for pop culture fun, but also can be used as a tool.  We are always trying to think outside the box to get people reading, this motion comic book will be another incentive,” said Bluewater publisher Darren G. Davis.
“Motion comic books have come along way since our first one we did on Wrath of the Titans.  It is pretty amazing how the technology has advanced. I have watched the Iron King #1 over and over and still amazed at how polished it is,” added Davis.

More motion comic books are on the horizon at Bluewater with a partnership with Authorly.  In January, Female Force: Julia Child and Dorian Gray will be released as digital interactive comic books.

Bluewater has previously worked with best-selling novelists such as John Saul, SE Hinton, William F. Nolan and William Shatner to develop novel-based comic book series.

Interviews and PDF review copies are available upon request.

Bluewater Productions:  Bluewater is a full-service publishing and production company specializing in comic books, graphic novels and multimedia. Dedicated to pairing high-quality art with innovative storytelling, Bluewater creates a wide variety of intellectual properties that engage a growing readership and bridge the gap between comic books and the diverse multimedia marketplace. With more titles than ever, including smash hits such as the 10th Muse, VSS and The Legend of Isis; Bluewater has worked with many best selling novelists in developing comic book series. The company also has a line of biographical comics featuring The Beatles, Stephenie Meyer, JRR Tolkien, Justin Bieber, and etc.

About Julie Kagawa Julie Kagawa is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series. Born in Sacramento, California, she moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things: how to body board, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks and that writing stories in math class is a fantastic way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate. Julie now lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and a plethora of pets. She still laughs whenever she sees a centipede. For more information on Julie visit .

About Piglion Studio
Piglion Studio, based in Markham, Canada, is focused on creating Motion Panels+, an application that combines a standard comic book and animation with added interactivies. To exemplify this application, the team converted its flagship web comic, Coin & Flour, to Motion Panels+, which can be downloaded from app stores.

Media Contact:
Darren Davis, Publisher
Bluewater Productions
Twitter: @bluewaterprod


Congratulations to the 2013 Goodreads Winners!

Written By: laurie - Dec• 03•13

From Publisher’s Marketplace: announced the winners of their Goodread Choice Awards, based on close to 2 million online votes. Among the 20 winners:

Fiction: And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini

Mystery & Thriller: Inferno, Dan Brown

Historical Fiction: Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

Fantasy: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

Science Fiction: MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood

Horror: Doctor Sleep, Stephen King

Memoir & Autobiography: I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

History & Biography: Jim Henson: The Biography, Brian Jay Jones

Nonfiction: The Autistic Brain, Temple Grandin

Humor: Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh

YA Fiction: Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

YA Fantasy/Sci-fi: Allegiant, Veronica Roth

Middle Grade: House of Hades, Rick Riordan

Though Stephen King took the No. 1 spot for horror, his son Joe Hill was right behind him at No. 2 for NOS4A2. Rainbow Rowell took both first and second place in the YA competition, with Fangirl about 5,000 votes behind Eleanor & Park.

Welcome Emily Keyes to Foreword Literary

Written By: laurie - Nov• 05•13

We are so happy to announce a new agent has joined the team. Emily Keyes, formerly an agent at the L. Perkins Agency in New York. She also worked at Simon & Schuster in the contracts department for five years prior to that. Emily is based in Manhattan.

Emily will be representing middle grade and young adult children’s books, as well as fantasy, science fiction, women’s fiction, and new adult. For non-fiction, she’s looking for pop culture, humor, and “everything nerdy”.

Check out the press release here, and her interview with my co-founding partner Gordon Warnock here.

Welcome aboard, Emily!

Emily Keyes

JM Frey ‘HERO is a Four Letter Word’ Facebook Contest

Written By: laurie - Sep• 12•13

Hero is a Four Letter Word JM Frey

Enter this on Facebook by visiting J.M. Frey’s Facebook page. And as an extra bonus, check out her rocking a TARDIS dress!

Christmas eLight Opp for Romance Authors

Written By: laurie - Sep• 04•13

Call for Submissions: Quick and Dirty Christmas eLight anthology


FFWD is opening for adult romance Christmas stories that are 3,000 to 6,000 words in length. The final day to submit is September 30 and final edits will be done by the end of October. All stories will be contracted for the use of this anthology and will be non-exclusive so that you can use them elsewhere.

We are specifically looking for stories that are contemporary with a hot heat level, or contemporary erotic romance, that are dealing with Christmas.

Send your story and your query to!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Book Birthday!

Written By: laurie - Aug• 06•13

Two of my fabulous clients have books debuting today!

Ransom Stephens has created a new sub-genre called scientific fiction, which I also describe as a science thriller, with his new novel THE SENSORY DECEPTION. It’s got everything: Somali pirates, eco-terrorists, scientists, virtual reality, videogames, and Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Oh, and did I mention whales? Read his blog post at Foreword Literary’s site.

The Sensory Deception

And Philippa Ballantine launches KINDRED AND WINGS, the second story in her Shifted World fantasy series. Look at this gorgeous cover! And the writing will knock your socks off. If you love fantasy, try book one, Hunter and Fox as well.

Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine

July 12-14 Online Publishing Boot Camp!

Written By: laurie - Jul• 10•13

I am really proud of the webinar we put together on Digital Publishing and Marketing for Writers Digest. And they did a great job wrapping a program around it with personalized critiques and advice from the three founding partners of Foreword Literary: Pam, Gordon and me.

If you’re thinking about self-publishing, or you want to know how to best build your author brand and market your work in the digital age (because the publisher isn’t going to do much), this could be the weekend your writing career takes a huge step forward. It all happens on July 12-14, 2013. And since it’s 100% online, you can do this in your pajamas!

It’s called the Agent One-on-One: Publish and Promote Your Work in the Digital Era Boot Camp. That’s a mouthful, but it says it all. We give context and perspective on why publishing has changed more in the past five years than in the previous 200, give you the tools you need to succeed in digital publishing, then add the personalized touch specific to you as an individual author. The best of everything in one place.

Okay. Enough of the sales pitch. If you’re interested in what we have to say, and why we founded this visionary agency, check out all the details at Writers Digest here.