Agent Savant

The musings of literary agent Laurie McLean

The new Foreword Lit Mascot

Written By: laurie - Apr• 05•13

Meet our new mascot, courtesy of the artistic endeavors of New York Times/USA Today bestselling YA author Julie Kagawa.


But this cutie pie needs a name. Can anyone guess his true name? (tip of the hat to Julie’s Iron Fey series!)

Foreword Literary Changes name to Backword Literary

Written By: laurie - Apr• 01•13

In a stunning announcement today, new hybrid literary agency, Foreword Literary, has changed its name to Backword Literary, according to founding partner Laurie McLean.

“We feel that there is a retro trend about to engulf publishing, including a backlash against eBooks, back-talking about digital audio books, and backstabbing in general towards digital publishing,” McLean said. “So we’re embracing that backwards trend, hence the name change.

Backword Literary has changed its corporate policies to focus on printed epic fantasies, Southern multi-generational sagas, Hollywood melodramas and very long drawn-out literary novels.

“Anything overwritten, send it our way,” McLean said.

To submit your 1,000-page-plus manuscripts, Backword will be accepting printed submissions only sent to 123 Main Street, Backword, CA, 12345. Or you can call and speak at length to the Backword agents at 415-123-4567.


A.R. Kahler’s The Immortal Circus: Final Act to Amazon 47North

Written By: laurie - Mar• 20•13

It is fitting that this deal is announced on March 20th, the International Day of Happiness, because A.R. Kahler’s series, The Immortal Circus, makes me very, very happy. It’s a fast-paced, fun read, filled with magic and terror and great writing. This is the third book in the series that, like the other two, starts out as an eSerial in installments, then is published as a complete print book, ebook and audiobook.

Mr. Kahler is a trained circus performer, an aerialist by trade, so he peppers this series with a lot of inside information. Would you like to see him dangling from chains high atop the Javits Center in New York during Book Expo America some day? I would! And he’d be just the daredevil to do it.

So, congrats, Alex. I know this might be the final act to the series, but your own real life series has many more hits to come. Check out his gorgeous cover to the first book in the series available now!
The Immortal Circus

Foreword’s First Sale!

Written By: laurie - Mar• 15•13

I am so excited by the speed of today’s publishing environment. There are hybrid publishers trying to combine the best of traditional with the new opportunities of digital publishing. Entangled Publishing is a good example of this hybrid type of publisher. And these folks move quickly. As soon as we opened the doors at Foreword we started contacting editors. Entangled loves Lisa Kessler’s writing (who wouldn’t) and they snapped up her next series very quickly. (Note: The next book in her current Entangled series, Night Demon, debuts on Monday, March 18th)

So, please congratulate Bram Stoker finalist Lisa Kessler for having the first client deal of Foreword Literary. Here’s the deal posting in Publishers Marketplace:

Bram Stoker finalist Lisa Kessler’s MOONLIGHT, HUNTER’S MOON, and BLOOD MOON, in which rich cowboy werewolves and unscrupulous assassin jaguar shifters tangle, to Danielle Poiesz at Entangled Edge, in a nice deal, for publication in 2013/2014, by Laurie McLean at Foreword Literary (World).

I am so jazzed about this announcement. I hope it’s the first of many deals we do together, Lisa!

Hello, I’m now at Foreword Literary!

Written By: laurie - Mar• 09•13

I have taken a big step forward into the unknown. With partners Pam van Hylckama Vlieg and Gordon Warnock I have formed a brand new type of literary agency. One that blends the best of traditional publishing with the opportunities and technologies of digital publishing. Please, say hello to our new company: Foreword Literary, Inc.

Foreword Literary


Before I became a literary agent in 2005, I had previously spent 25 years in high tech marketing working with clients such as Apple Computer, Adobe Systems, Intuit, Hotmail and hundreds of other companies. It was a heady time in our culture with technological advances occurring at the speed of light. It also proved to me that technology can transform an industry, big or small, creating chaos, opportunity and excitement in its wake.

This was an important consideration for the formation of Foreword Literary, Inc.

I thought I’d left the crazy pace of the tech realm behind me for a more sedentary life in the slow-moving world of publishing. In fact, the agonizing pace of 18-24 months from contract to bookshelf was the most difficult part of the job for me. Then Smashwords, and Amazon’s Kindle eReader and KDP self-publishing service, debuted in 2008, and my dormant virtual tech-antennae sprang out of my head. I knew that publishing would never be the same again.

I spent thousands of hours over the years studying these new technologies. I could not prepare a conference presentation on this subject more than a day in advance because change was happening at such a rapid pace. It was (and still is) exciting. My passion was engaged. I started incorporating eBooks and self-publishing and new technologies into all my clients’ writing career plans.

And in the back of my mind I kept envisioning how a literary agency could emerge from this chaotic transition to embrace this change and use it to a writer’s best advantage.

It was very difficult to leave behind an agency with the longevity (40 years) and heart of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents. But I needed to blaze a previously undiscovered path if I was to build something entirely new.

I also knew that I needed amazing partners to make this company work. Pam van Hylckama Vlieg started off as my assistant and within 3 months it was crystal clear to me that she was destined to become a super literary agent. She became an agent after 3 months of rigorous training and in her first year sold 21 books. This is astounding success. And her love of technology and social media marketing rivals my own…perhaps even surpasses it! So Pam was the first person I approached once I’d made the decision to leave Larsen Pomada. Thankfully she saw the potential of my vision, and amped it up several megawatts with her own creative ideas. Pam is pure awesome. On steroids!

Gordon Warnock and I have known each other for 5 years. I am always encouraged by his thoughtful consideration, wonderful eye for nonfiction, droll sense of humor and the solid name he’s created for himself in the publishing industry in such a short time. Plus he is a culinary explorer par excellence. And that is an understatement. When I heard that Gordon might be looking to start the next chapter of his professional life, the timing was perfect, and we had to have him on board.

Together we are a triumvirate ready to take on the world. I can’t even imagine what we can accomplish together with our intelligence, experience and energy.

So what is Foreword Literary? We are a brand new type of author representative. Sure, we’ll sell books to publishers and sell subsidiary rights to movie studios, foreign publishers, magazines, audiobook companies, etc. But we’ll also work with a network of affiliates such as self-publishers, cover designers, app creators, web series developers, comic book producers, social media marketers, publicity experts, teachers, game designers, speaker bureaus, and many, many others to offer our clients a fully-fleshed world of possibilities for their creativity.

We would be lying if we said we know everything. We’re learning new technology, new procedures, new ways of doing business every single day. And that’s what keeps this fresh and exciting for us. Foreword Literary, as the name implies, is an endorsement of our talented clients and the direction in which our industry is moving. We applaud the pioneers who are revolutionizing publishing. Gutenberg would be proud. So would Steve Jobs. is moving publishing Forward. Watch. This. Space.

Iron King Comic/Graphic Novel series to debut!

Written By: laurie - Feb• 11•13

Yes, this is Julie Kagawa’s year so far. A seven-figure publishing deal. An even larger seven-figure movie deal. And now her first blockbuster novel, The Iron King, is going to be made into a comic book series and graphic novel by Bluewater Productions. Julie and Bluewater have decided to take a novel approach to funding this series. They are going to let the fans decide how big the series will ultimately become, and how many books will be included, by waging a Kickstarter campaign! And the prizes for every level of contribution are simply AWESOME. Go here immediately and check out the shiny, shiny things you can get for as low as $5. And if you’re a super huge fan, you could end up having dinner with Julie! Lots of love went into this Kickstarter, so if you like once-in-a-lifetime author goodies, visit the URL below and get them before they’re gone!

Iron King cover

Berkley Buys Olivia Mayfield Mystery at Auction!

Written By: laurie - Feb• 05•13

A big WHOOP-WHOOP goes out to my client Olivia Mayfield (aka writer/editor Rhonda Helms) for her new Berkley/Penguin contemporary romantic mystery THE INHERITANCE in serial format. We sold it at auction to Leis Pederson of Berkley, an imprint of Penguin, for release later this year. Here’s the Publishers Marketplace listing:

THE INHERITANCE by Olivia Mayfield is a contemporary romance told in serial format, where siblings, the widow, and the ex-flame gather for a funeral only to discover that they must compete for the deceased’s $10 million inheritance by solving a cold case. Sold at auction to Leis Pederson of Berkley/Penguin by Laurie McLean, Larsen Pomada Literary Agents. (world)

Congratulations, Olivia. Can’t wait to read all of it.


Biggest Deal of My Career: a 7-Figure Kagawa

Written By: laurie - Jan• 28•13

I am so excited this morning. I helped propel New York Times and USA Today bestselling YA novelist Julie Kagawa to a million dollar deal for her next series with teen book imprint: Harlequin Teen. It’s my first seven-figure deal. Julie’s too. Together we worked hard to make this happen. And now we can bask in the glow of all that success. For today at least. Then it’s back to the hard work of writing all those words (Julie) and managing her career (me). Thanks to all the wonderful people at Harlequin who continue to see the brilliance in Julie’s writing. And if you want more details, it’s all over the interwebz. Check it out!


Publishers Marketplace listing:  NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Iron Fey series, Julie Kagawa‘s new series featuring mythical creatures in a contemporary setting, again to Natashya Wilson at Harlequin Teen, in a major deal, for seven figures, for multiple books, for publication beginning in 2015, by Laurie McLean at Larsen/Pomada Literary Agents (world).

Romance Writers: Entangled is HOT!

Written By: laurie - Jan• 08•13

entangled_logo_3            macmillanlogo

Yesterday three huge game-changing announcements came from Entangled Publishing’s founder and CEO Liz Pelletier:

1. Entangled inked a first-look deal for movies with Davis Entertainment through the fabulous Brandy Rivers at the Gersh Agency in LA.

2. Entangled digital-first books will be distributed worldwide by one of the Big Six, er, Five: Macmillan Publishing, the US part of the Holtzbrinck empire.

3. Entangled best-sellers will be published as a new Macmillan imprint called St. Martins/Entangled. If any Entangled book sells a certain amount of copies (I’ve heard 100,000) it will automatically be picked up by this new imprint and published in print. Plus other books that the joint acquisitions team thinks will be big could also end up in print.

Why is this huge you ask? Well, it’s the first sign of the blending between traditional and indie publishing. In one year, Entangled has added 12 new romance imprints, published the #6 bestselling book of the year for 2012 (The Marriage Bargain), and had eight bestsellers. That’s amazing growth for a company that is barely two years old.

Here’s a great story that you can peruse for more details. Liz Pelletier is also very active on Twitter, so do follow her at @Liz_Pelletier (where she’s been known to spill the beans early on deals, new acquisitions, and other news to her followers!)

Penguin Settles with DOJ

Written By: laurie - Dec• 18•12

I had a feeling this was going to happen. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Macmillan also tosses in the towel. The Agency model of publisher-centric ebook pricing is dying and I just don’t believe anyone can salvage it…or defend it for that matter. eBooks will be priced at levels that sell well and create profit for retail. It will sort itself out. Here‘s the entire article. Let’s see what 2013 brings on this issue.