Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 6, 2023

January Agent of the Month Leslie Zampetti


A former librarian with over 20 years’ experience in special, public, and school libraries, Leslie’s focus was on the reader, giving them the right book at the right time – which works for matching client work to editors too. Having negotiated with organizations from Lexis-Nexis to the elementary school PTA, she is able to come to terms that favor her clients while building satisfying relationships with publishers. And after cataloging rocket launch videos for NASA and model rocket ships for an elementary school, Leslie welcomes working with the unexpected challenges that pop up in publishing.

Leslie joined Odom Media Management in 2022. Previously, she was an intern for The Bent Agency and an agent with Dunham Literary.

A writer herself, Leslie is very familiar with querying from both sides of the desk.

LESLIE is looking for:

  • Fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Leslie seeks middle grade and young adult novels, especially mysteries and contemporary fiction. Historical fiction with a specific hook to the time and place, novels in verse, and off-the-beaten-path romances are on her wish list.

  • Picture book authors and author-illustrators. Leslie prefers nonfiction that tells a story almost too good to be true, witty wordplay, and dry, sly humor, both fiction and nonfiction

  • Verse novels and novels-in-stories for both children and adults

  • Fiction for adults in the following genres: Leslie is interested in literary mysteries, upmarket romance with interfaith or marginalized couples, and historical fiction set in regions other than Europe and North America. Literary mystery | Upmarket romance and women’s fiction | Historical fiction

  • Nonfiction for adults in the following categories: Science | Memoir | Narrative | True crime. For nonfiction, Leslie finds narrative nonfiction that straddles the boundaries between crime, memoir, and literature especially appealing.

  • Leslie does not represent science fiction, fantasy, horror, political thrillers, collections of poetry or short stories, or Christian fiction & nonfiction. Though she reads widely, she’s not a fit for political thrillers, high fantasy, inspirational or Christian fiction, memoirs about violence against women, or hard sci-fi.

For both children’s and adult books, Leslie seeks work by under-represented creators, particularly disabled writers. She is most interested in stories that show everyday representation and the full experiences of life, especially joy.

How to Submit to Leslie

Leslie is open to queries starting February 2023.

Please visit

Leslie requests a query letter and the first five pages of your manuscript within this form. Leslie reviews all queries within four to six weeks, and she will respond if interested in seeing more.



In the subject line, please write “NOVEMBER 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2022 JANUARY FIRST PAGE  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.


DEADLINE: January 20th. – noon EST

RESULTS: January 27th



When did you decide you wanted to become an agent?

I had been writing for children for a few years and was mingling at a SCBWI-NJ conference in 2014, I think. John Cusick had been chatting with a few of us, and I commented that being an agent sounded amazing. Another writer said, “I’d be your client if you were an agent!” I thanked them and laughed, but when I got home I started thinking about what I could bring to the table as an agent and what I would need to learn. After being a reader for Jenny Bent, I decided to change careers from librarianship and started looking for assistant positions. Jennie Dunham posted an opening, and my journey began.

What made you decide to join Odom Media?

Odom Media Management has a distinct mission serving under-represented writers and illustrators. I’d met Monica at an SCBWI panel in Westchester, NY just before the pandemic – do you see a theme here? – and we really clicked. I also liked that Monica was interested in growing OMM and working for equity in publishing. As a librarian, I had changed jobs several times, and I knew that sometimes change is necessary to grow.

Were you able to take any of your clients with you when you changed jobs?

All of my clients were supportive, and nearly all stayed with me at OMM. Jennie Dunham was gracious about my changing agencies, and I greatly appreciate my time with Dunham Literary.

Do you work from home or go into the office?

Since moving from Manhattan, I have a wonderful home office. Which is great, because I’ve been working remotely since March 2020, like many folks in publishing! I’m happy to head into NYC for meetings, though.

Has what you want to represent changed with the job change?

Yes and no. I’ll always love a good mystery, and I’m always seeking complex stories with multiple layers of emotion and a distinct voice. But now I’m looking to add more clients who write for adults and clients who have disabilities. As always, I’m seeking stories with everyday diversity, hope, and joy.

Have you limited the number of clients you want to represent?

My client list tends to be small, but I don’t have a numeric limit. It’s really more about balancing the needs of my current clients with my capacity for more. I tend to be quite editorial, and that affects my list as well.

Any story or themes you wish someone would submit?

I’ve been seeking complex but lighthearted interfaith romance, a fun twisty adult mystery. Recently someone posted about wanting stories about D/deaf archaeologists and children’s books encouraging D/deaf/HOH children to think of archaeology as a career. I’d like that, too – and the same for other careers in the humanities and sciences.

Which do you lean more towards: Literary or Commercial?

I love the center of the Venn diagram: a strong commercial premise with a literary voice and great prose. For children’s writers, I love stories that are appealing whether read as part of a class assignment, cuddled with a parent, or sprawled on the floor in a corner of the living room.

What do you like to see in a submission?

A strong premise with multiple layers of meaning & emotion and an individual voice.

How important is the query letter?

It’s important in that it’s my first introduction to the writer. But it’s really just a business letter. I look for a good sense of the story as a whole, evidence of an understanding of publishing as a business, and hints as to whether the writer and I would be a good fit.

By this, I mean specifics of the story’s theme(s) and narrative arc, mentions of genre, category, and word count, and a sense that the writer has reviewed my list and agency website.


Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks so much for this post!


  2. Leslie- I remember this like it was yesterday! I’m so glad you found this path.


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