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Success Story Interview - Lauren Khan

An Interview with Lauren Khan (Ljpk1992 on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency, Inc..


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Lauren Khan:
DEAR SLOANE is a romantic comedy about lawyer Sloane, who is left an unfinished manuscript and Upper East Side townhouse in her author grandmother’s will, thrusting her back to the life she left in NYC ten years prior, where she reconnects with her dream to be an author, high society family, and ex who broke her heart. When I started this book, I had just moved back to New York City after a year away, and was so excited to be back in my favorite place. The city was coming alive again post-Covid and I really wanted to capture the magic of Manhattan. I also was realizing that my day-job (as a lawyer, believe it or not) might not be fulfilling my creative itch. Diving into Sloane’s POV allowed me to fantasize my dream version of Manhattan and my dream job of being an author!
QT: How long have you been writing?
Lauren Khan:
My entire life. I was constantly writing short stories, songs, and plays as a child that turned into starting multiple novels throughout my twenties. I have pitched so many book ideas to my family. They’re probably glad I have an agent so they don’t have to hear about them anymore….just kidding! I’ll still pitch my ideas to them.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Lauren Khan:
I started writing this book in spring 2022 right before turning 30. Something about that number really lit a fire in me to finally write the book I’d been talking about writing my entire life. I began querying in February 2024. I took many breaks throughout that time, especially when I was pregnant and had a newborn, and even wrote an entirely different first draft of a book (that will never see the light of day) during NanoWriMo 2022.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Lauren Khan:
There were times when I paused my work on DEAR SLOANE but I never gave up. Working on another story, taking breaks, and traveling all helped me stay motivated and inspired. I also was determined to query until I got representation, however long that took.
QT: Is this your first book?
Lauren Khan:
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Lauren Khan:
I took a writing class in college and legal writing in law school. Working as a legal writing TA made me extremely effective with my words. In terms of creative writing, I took Fiction Writing, Novel Writing, and How to Get Published at Gotham Writers Workshop, which really took my writing and my query letter to the next level. Craft books taught me how to write a novel, especially Save The Cat. My favorite podcast, The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, has made me a better writer and helped my query letter stand out. I also love their webinars!
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Lauren Khan:
I try to write first thing in the morning. I find that I am less creative and more tired as the day goes on, and less likely to put in the necessary work. However, now that I have a baby, my best writing happens when the baby is sleeping! The second he falls asleep, I jump right in. I thought having a baby would make me less productive, but it has made me so precious with my time, that I am more productive than ever.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Lauren Khan:
I was keeping track in the beginning but have no idea at this point. Each chapter has gone through many, many revisions, so it’s hard to say.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Lauren Khan:
I did! I met my beta readers in my classes at Gotham Writers Workshop and in various Facebook writing groups. Their feedback was invaluable!
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Lauren Khan:
I am a pantser through and through! I start with an idea and see where the characters take me. This book started with a girl moving in with her playwrite grandmother in the Hamptons…. You see where I’m going with this!
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Lauren Khan:
I sent my first query for DEAR SLOANE on February 20, 2024. I queried my agent on March 24, 2024, sent her my full manuscript on April 3, and she offered on April 8. I ultimately received 24 full requests, 3 offers of agent representation, and one offer from an indie publisher.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Lauren Khan:
I queried agents that were looking for romance, romcom, and/or women’s fiction novels. I also queried agents who represented authors/books that were similar to mine or were interested in books that I comped. Sometimes, I would find an agent who was specifically looking for a New York City romance, a millennial coming of age story, or a story about authors. My favorite thing to do (even now) is to read the acknowledgements sections of books to see who the author’s agent is.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Lauren Khan:
Sometimes. If I saw something on the agent’s MSWL or Twitter that specifically matched my manuscript, then I would absolutely note that in my query. If not, then I left it generalized. As you will see from the query letter that landed me an agent, the winning letter was generalized.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Lauren Khan:
Keep going. My agent was closed for queries until the day I queried her. If she was still closed, I might still be querying. The agent you are meant to sign with may just not be open to queries yet!

Work on a new project. I was determined to find an agent, whether for DEAR SLOANE or for my next novel, and so I threw myself into my new project instead of constantly refreshing my email waiting to hear from agents.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Lauren Khan:
Absolutely. Please see below for the query letter that led to signing with my agent!

Query Letter:

Dear Pamela,

My romantic comedy DEAR SLOANE is 75,000 words and will appeal to readers who enjoy the enemies-to-lovers author romance and family secrets of Emily Henry's BEACH READ and witty banter and NYC setting of Kate Spencer's IN A NEW YORK MINUTE.

Sloane Albrecht never intended to return to Manhattan after her famous author grandmother struck a deal with her college sweetheart, aspiring writer Jack Rollins. The terms? Break up with Sloane and get a book deal. The arrangement killed two birds — Jack got the shot at literary success he so desperately craved and Nana saved Sloane from a relationship she disapproved of. Ten years after leaving behind their betrayal and her own dream to become an author, Sloane is living in LA as a corporate attorney, dispassionately working towards firm partnership for no reason other than the distraction that work affords her. When Nana dies, shockingly leaving Sloane her brownstone and last unfinished manuscript, Sloane is thrust back to NYC, where she reconnects with her high society family and Jack, now a hotshot author.

Armed with a box of letters from Nana, Sloane takes a summer sabbatical to pursue her dream to become an author while navigating family dynamics and her feelings for Jack. Letter by letter, Sloane falls back in love with the city and writing while finding forgiveness and the purpose she's always craved. But as the summer unfolds, Sloane uncovers the truth surrounding Nana's deal with Jack, leaving her wondering if the real betrayal was that she ran from Manhattan in the first place.

Like Sloane, I am a lawyer with a dream of becoming an author. I lived in Manhattan for a decade before moving to my small beach hometown in Florida where I am working on my second novel. I am a graduate of Duke University and Fordham Law, and workshopped this novel in multiple classes at Gotham Writers Workshop. I edited my manuscript throughout my first pregnancy and now my five month old son sits in my lap as I type this query letter.

As per your submission guidelines, I have included the first five pages of my manuscript. Thank you for your consideration.


Lauren Khan