This week's Agent Spotlight features Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “As Vice President of JVNLA, Jennifer Weltz has sold books domestically, internationally, and for film for nearly two decades. Coming from a mediation background, Jennifer sees herself as a liaison between her author and the editor and publishing house that acquire her author's work. This role takes on a myriad of forms — business manager, confidant, task master, preliminary editor, and matchmaker — to name a few. Since Jennifer takes up an author's career and not just a project, she is very careful and selective about signing on new authors.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Jean Naggar established her eponymous literary agency in 1978 with no staff, no capital, and ten previously unpublished authors. What she did have was unwavering commitment and dedication to her authors' careers and the tenacity to fight for their success on all fronts possible.
“As this singular philosophy proved its worth, Jean's one-woman agency expanded. In 2004, Jean decided to partner with Jennifer Weltz, who had joined the agency in 1994. They incorporated as The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc., or JVNLA, Inc. Some 30+ years later, the agency numbers five agents. Each agent represents an independent list of authors that reflects her individual styles, tastes, and strengths, with all collaborating as a team to orchestrate the agency's contracts, subsidiary rights, publicity, and editorial development.
“JVNLA is an agency that has never identified with the ordinary. Our list includes award-winning writers from every genre. Our books have been published in over 50 countries; showcased in big screen, in small screen, and on stage; featured in short story anthologies, magazines, and webzines; and adapted for audio and e-book publications. Our knowledge of the print and digital world is driving the conversation of publishing's future so that our authors are protected in an ever-changing market. We invite you to peruse our website and learn more.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Picture Books, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Commercial Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Thrillers/Suspense, Humor/Satire, Narrative Non-Fiction. (Link)
From the Website (as of 03/2012):
“Jennifer's favorite part of the day is plunging into a wonderful read! In the adult market, Jennifer responds to well researched and original historicals, thrillers with a unique voice, wry dark humor, and magical realism. Enthralling narrative non-fiction that illuminates and inspires is always welcome as well. In the realm of children's books, Jennifer looks for fun, fresh, and exciting reads with unforgettable characters that have a unique voice. If she wants to hang out with your character, she's in! Because of her extensive work in the international market Jennifer is always on the lookout for the kind of book that travels well and has a strong international appeal.” (Link)
From a 2012 Conference Bio:
“No rhyming books please. I will consider both simple text and author/illustrators, but please do not have someone create illustrations for your text- it is simply NOT necessary. I also love a great Middle Grade read- here I find the voice to be key.” (Link)
From an Interview (06/2009):
“Jessica Regel in our office has a great eye for YA’s and so I leave it up to her. I do go for YA’s if they are more the fun or fantastical. Angst is not my forte.
“I’m looking for something I have never seen with writing that grabs me from the first page and a character that comes to life from the moment I meet him/her. The voice, the originality of the story and a story that takes me out of the world and life I am living.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Rhyming picture books, angsty YAs, illustrators (who don’t also write), screenplays. (Link)
“My role as an agent also involves being a preliminary editor who gives you feedback from a reader’s point of view.” (Link)
There are lists of clients on the JVNLA website. Ms. Weltz’s clients include:
Berthe Amoss, Jane Ashford, the Roger Duvoisin Estate, C.W. Gortner, Susan Lowell, Emily Kate Moon, Anne Easter Smith, Iza Trapani, Doreen Orion, Pamela Hearon, Wendy Webb, Frances Wood, Sandra Worth, among others.
As of this posting, Ms. Weltz is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 8 deals in the last 12 months and 24 overall. Recent deals include 2 women’s/romance, 1 general/other, 1 mystery/crime, 1 sci-fi/fantasy, 1 thriller, 1 picture book, 1 young adult.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
Online-Form: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Follow the steps and submit to Ms. Weltz using the agency form online.
“If an author truly feels that another agent in the agency would also be a good fit, then they can submit but please do keep in mind that we all work very closely together and do tend to pass submissions along if we feel a different agent would be better.” (info via e-mail.)
See the JVNLA website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“Make sure to tell me what your book is about front and center when sending me a query, especially if it is fiction. I’ll read about the other stuff later but only if the story grabs me. One last thing – I read every query with great hope and desire to find something wonderful that I can love because first and foremost I am a reader!” (Link)
Ms. Weltz’s response time on queries ranges days to about six weeks, though she doesn’t always respond. Her response time on requested material ranges one to four weeks or so.
What's the Buzz?
Jennifer Weltz is a well-established and respected agent. She is vice president of JVNLA and handles some of the agency’s subrights. I highly recommend reading her keynote from The Historical Novel Society Convention, 2011.
Worth Your Time:
The 7 Question Interview with Jennifer Weltz at Writing Raw (date unknown).
Agent Advice Interview with Jennifer Weltz at the Guide to Literary Agency Blog (06/2009).
“The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc. Announces New Venture” at the JVNLA blog (01/2012).
Ms. Weltz occasionally contributes to the AARdvark blog. You can find her archived posts here.
Attention Big Six – Time to Revise Those E-Royalty Rates?, guest post by Jennifer Weltz at [e-reads] (11/2011).
Around the Web:
Jennifer Weltz at P&E ($, AAR).
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency at P&E ($, AAR, Recommended).
Click on the book covers on Ms. Weltz’s JVNLA website page for tidbits on what she loves about her clients’ work.
Genres to Watch, YouTube video featuring Jean Naggar and Jennifer Weltz (07/2011).
Young Adult Fiction, The Evolution of Content, YouTube Video featuring Jennifer Weltz (06/2011).
Jennifer Weltz’s keynote for the Historical Novel Society Convention at William Dietrich’s site (06/2011).
My First Sale by C.W. Gortner, If At First, You Don't Succeed, client success story at Dear Author (08/2008).
Please see the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 3/22/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/26/12.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.