Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 13, 2023

January Agent of the Month Leslie Zampetti – Interview PART TWO


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.




Would you have a sample of a good query letter or a link to one you saw on the Internet that would help writers?

Jane Friedman’s blog ( is a wonderful resource for query help, as is Writing and Illustrating. 😉

Do you have any tips on how to find comps to use in a submission query letter?

Read, read, read. And ask your local librarian or bookseller!

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

A solid professional query and interesting sample pages. (Interesting might mean an actual mystery or conflict, or it might be about the relationships on the page.)

After you request more, how long do you think it will take to respond?

I try to respond to queries within 4 weeks and requested manuscripts within 4-6 months.

Do you have any pet peeves?

People who are deliberately rude – this is a business, and I try to be respectful and polite. I make an effort to respond to all queries, and it’s simply not possible to send personalized feedback in every response.

Also, people who don’t use a name in query letters. Queries are supposed to be the beginning of a business relationship – how am I supposed to address you when I reply?

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Common mistakes are sending queries for projects that are obviously not a fit and being too vague in the query in an attempt to be intriguing. The first means the writer hasn’t done enough research about whether I’m the right person to represent them. The second is usually due to not understanding what an agent needs to know to want to represent you or not knowing their story well enough to be able to pitch it.

What are your feelings about prologues?

I’m neutral. A good prologue can really draw a reader in – but it needs to be necessary. Too many prologues are unnecessary backstory or an attempt to disguise a weak opening. It also depends on the genre.

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

I have an entry on Manuscript WishList (, and I’m fairly active on Twitter and other social media. That may be changing, given what’s been happening with Twitter. I also try to update my agency bio and the bios I use for conferences, etc.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?


How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)?

It depends on how my client prefers to communicate. My personal choice is that most business can be done via email, but I like to have calls, video calls, or online chats with my clients at least a few times per year.  It’s a different kind of connection.



In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 2023 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 2023 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


Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks for the info, Kathy. 🙂


  2. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations to Leslie!


  3. Kathy, can I still participate if I participated in the first page in 2022? I have revised it a gajillion times since. haha


    • Yes, send it to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Kathy!!
        Question: Can I have a cover sheet with name, title, and genre. Otherwise, I can’t get 23 lines on one page.


      • Dedra,

        Just run all that info across the top of the page.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ok, I’ll resend. Sorry


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