Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 20, 2023

January Agent of the Month Leslie Zampetti – Interveiw Part Three


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.




Once you submit a manuscript to a publisher, how often do you communicate with your client during the submission process?

Again, as often or as little as my client wishes. Transparency is important, but the volume of communication must suit my client’s needs.

What happens if you don’t sell a book and the author wants to self-publish a book? Would you be okay with that?

Persistence and patience are vital in publishing. Books that don’t sell at one time may well sell at another. If a client wanted to self-publish, I’d support them, but I’d make sure they’re aware of all their options, so they can decide what’s best for them. That may be hybrid publishing, a small press, or self-publishing.

Do you seek help from other agents at your agency to get suggestions on editors and/or publishers to submit to for the clients you sign up to represent?

Yes. We all help each other in various ways at OMM.

Would you ever send a manuscript to another agent at Odom Media Management if it was good, but not what you want to represent?

Yes. I also share queries or refer authors to colleagues at other agencies occasionally.

What do you think of digital and audio books? Are they part of every sale these days?

Digital and audio books are books! Readers read in various ways. We always seek to obtain the most advantageous terms for a client’s project. Publishers frequently expect digital and audio rights these days – the negotiation becomes about who is better placed to exploit those rights and how the author will benefit.

Do you handle all foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who will be handling those contracts?

OMM has a foreign rights manager, Sandy Hodgman, and we handle film rights with co-agents.

Do you see any new trends building in the industry?

I’m not a fan of writing to a trend. By the time you finish your work, often it’s over or fading. Write the story you tell best.

In terms of the industry itself, I’m seeing editors working remotely more since the pandemic and more online connections than in person meetings. To me this is a good thing, as it enlarges the pool of editorial staff and widens perspectives.

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, secure an agent, and get published?

See above: read, read, read. Inside and outside your category and genre. Work on your craft using the resources available to you – Inked Voices is a great online resource, as is Manuscript Academy. Persistence and patience!

Would you like to attend other conferences, workshops, or writer’s retreats?

Yes. I love connecting with writers, other agents, and editors.



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 22nd. – noon EST

RESULTS: January 27th

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR First Page Critique results.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Deadline and results dates are confusing?


    • The results will be posted on January 27th. Thanks for pointing out the typo. I just corrected it.


  2. Thanks, Kathy!


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