Blog Why Foreword? Why Now? by Laurie McLean

Why Foreword, Why Now? by Laurie McLean

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.

Foreword is moving publishing Forward. Watch. This. Space.

Comments (33)

  1. Stefon mEARS - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 9:46 am


  2. Stefon Mears - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    By the way, did you know that your text fields show all caps, regardless of what is capitalized and what isn’t? Looks like I hit CAPS LOCK after the first sentence, but I still don’t know what happened in that first sentence. For this comment I cheated and wrote it in a text editor. :-)

  3. Kimberly Unger - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Absolutely BRILLIANT!
    Congratulations, we can’t wait to see what you all get up to :D

  4. Andrea b - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

    This is so exciting that even the coment foNt is excited, lol. Honestly The Lit world is ready and needs this forward thinking. Best of luck! -a

  5. Beth Stilborn - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

    This looks Fabulous! I wish you all the best. (How do we subscribe to your blog?)

    • admin - Reply

      March 5, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Hi Beth,

      Depending on what reader you use. If Google just add our web address to your reader :).

  6. Tricia Skinner - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Thrilled to be part of the new adventure, Laurie!

  7. Paul VanDevelder - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great statement, great concept…go for it.

    Your new slogan should be Yogi Berra’s great line: “The future isn’t what it used to be!”

  8. Laurie McLean - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:42 am


  9. karen lee - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

    WOW! What an amazing journey. And the future sounds exciting–you trail blazers! Best of Fortune!

  10. Donna L Martin - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:54 am

    What an innovative way to combine all the possibly paths to publishing! I wish you much success in your new endeavor.

    Donna L Martin

  11. Foreword into the future - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 10:55 am

    [...] with technology and marketing, she has a great handle on what is happening right now in publishing. Reading her reasoning behind starting Foreword explains it all. And I am sure its going to go to be a fun and exciting ride. I’m very happy to be on this new [...]

  12. [...] new agency Foreword Literary. For the full details, you can check out the press release and these blog [...]

  13. Lisa Kessler - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Happy Launch Day, Laurie!!!

    I’m very excited for you and Pam and Gordon!!! Foreword is gong to be a great endeavor and I’m super excited to be a part of it!

    Here’s to the future! *clink*

    Lisa :)

  14. K.M. Jackson - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Congrats and happy launch day! Wishing you all the best!

  15. Laurie McLean - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I feel like a rocketship whose launchpad clamps have just been released! Thanks everyone for the congrats! We have big plans so stay tuned.

  16. Kait Nolan - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    It’s such an exciting time to be a writer, and I’m thrilled to be taking this journey with you!

    • Edward K Samson III - Reply

      March 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Congratulations to The Three Musketeers!

  17. Lisa-Anne Moore - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Congratulations, Laurie! As someone who worked in several aspects of the media world -TV to Internet and now writing/content creation – this is very exciting to see! Best of luck on the new endeavor!

  18. Shea Berkley - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I’m so excited for you and the gang, Laurie. I know wonderful things are about to take place and you’ll be at the fore, leading the charge! It’s going to be a fun time.

  19. Anne R. Allen - Reply

    March 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Congrats to all of you! This is soooo exciting.

  20. Joanne Huspek - Reply

    March 6, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Congratulations! I thought I felt sparks at the conference! :-)

  21. Hilary Sierpinski - Reply

    March 6, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Thank you. Really. You have given a very discouraged writer hope for the future. There is no end to the possibilities afforded by the digital space and I am bewildered by what appears to be a lack of appetite within the industry for outside-the-container, cross-platform storytelling, especially in the area of middle grade fiction. Best of luck to all of you!

  22. George Djuric - Reply

    March 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Way to go! Shake the mainstream boredom, let fresh voices in the chorus.

  23. Mary-Anne - Reply

    March 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    May success be yours I see you have two of my fav authors in tow Julie Kagawa and Pip the Kiwi .I love their style of writing and look forward to supporting your new venture by buying your books.

  24. Jeff Rivera - Reply

    March 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I’ll be cheering you on, Laurie. Congrats on your success!

  25. lINDA lEE - Reply

    March 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Congratulations to all 3 of you. I am looking forward to working with ForewordLiterary and watching you do great things.

  26. Tina P. Schwartz - Reply

    March 12, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Congratulations to the three of you. How exciting for you, and for all of those you will soon be working with. I’m thrilled to learn of your new agency, and will follow it closely with admiration. Best wishes! ~ TPS

  27. [...] more about the agency’s blog: “We are a brand new type of author representative. Sure, we’ll sell books to publishers [...]

  28. Judy Reinsma - Reply

    March 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    How exciting. and how wonderful that you are including self-publishing in your client list. As a self-published author ( illustrated Christian children’s book) I have found no agents, or booksellers even willing to look at the book, no matter how highly praised it is by educators and clergy. I hope your agency will remedy this.

  29. Michael j Daugherty - Reply

    March 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Whoa! Logical and smart …… and what a team! Congratulations, Mike

  30. Top Twos-Day: Rumor has it | Roxie's Blog - Reply

    March 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    [...] big names in the agency field are pulling together to form Foreword Literary. Laurie McLean, Gordon Warnock and Pam van Hylckama Vlieg share with Media Bistro, “We are a [...]

  31. [...] more from the agency’s blog: “We are a brand new type of author representative. Sure, we’ll sell books to publishers [...]

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