This week's Agent Spotlight features Jessica Regel of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Jessica Regel has been with JVNLA since 2002. She maintains her own list of talented writers while also handling Film, Audio, and UK rights for the agency. Originally from Iowa, she was working at her local library when she was offered an internship at JVNLA and she promptly moved to New York City. After receiving her B.A. in English Literature from Hunter College, she became a full agent at JVNLA, representing both children's and adult writers. With energy and persistence, Jessica works closely with her writers to develop and sell their work to publishing houses.” (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“Jean Naggar established her eponymous literary agency in 1978 with no staff, no capital, and ten previously unpublished authors.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)
Happy Birthday, Book! (Ms. Regel’s blog).
What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Commercial Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Edgy/Quirky Fiction.
From the Website (03/2013):
“Jessica represents children's book writers and a select list of adult writers.
“In children's books, she represents young adult and middle grade writers of all genres, but specifically fiction with genre elements, such as fantasy, paranormal, gothic, horror, suspense, magical realism, romance, or humor.
“In adult books, she represents novels that bridge the gap between literary and commercial. She especially likes humor, modern love stories, international fiction, and quirky/edgy fiction. She also represents nonfiction titles in the humor, pop culture, and memoir genres.” (Link)
From an Interview (01/2013):
“I’m always on the lookout for new voices in YA fiction and nonfiction. Specifically, I’m looking for high concept contemporary stories (dying for a funny John Hughes-ish/Easy A high school story), love stories, magical realism, horror (but not gory), and sophisticated thrillers.
“I still see a lot of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. I also see a lot of what I call “powers and prophecies” pitches and dystopian novels. While I won’t automatically reject a book that involves these elements, it is much, much harder to get my attention with these pitches because the market is flooded. For these books to stand out the author needs to have an incredible voice and a strong grasp on what makes their book stand out from what’s already been published in the genre.” (Link)
From an Interview (01/2012):
“I’m actively looking for more young adult and middle grade books, so anything that is pitched to me in those genres I’ll pay special attention to. However, I also represent women’s fiction and a select list of non-fiction. […]
“I’d love to see more magical realism, more gothic, more creepiness, more suspense. For example, I loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I’d love to find the YA Sarah Waters. I’m also interested in taking on more contemporary stories with unique takes, such as something like 13 Reasons Why or The Hate List. Finally, I’m also on the hunt for good tear-jerkers and modern love stories.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“She is not looking to represent picture books, practical non-fiction, inspirational or spirituality books, genre fiction (such as sci-fi, fantasy, cozy mysteries, crime, or romance), political thrillers, misery memoirs, screenplays, or animal books.” (Link)
“I’m not typically drawn to books that play with the formats. I’ve never liked epistolary novels (and don’t even get me started on Pamelaby Samuel Richardson). I’m also not a fan of books that are told through verse or text message.” (Link)
“Typically I like to do a round of edits a on manuscript before submitting out to editors, just to make sure that the manuscript is in tip-top shape. And then, I keep my author’s in the loop as things progress.” (Link)
There are lists of clients on the JVNLA website. Ms. Regel’s clients include:
Julie Bourbeau, K. Ryer Breese, Jeryl Brunner, Jillian Cantor, Emily Danforth, Cecilia Galante, Kristi Helvig, Adrienne Kress, Lesley Livingston, Steve and Matthew Murrie, Kate Kae Myers, Karen Schaler, Susan Schoenberger, Samantha Seiple, Victoria Strauss, among others.
Online-Form: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Follow the steps and submit to Ms. Regel using the agency form online.
Note: Ms. Regel asks for an exclusive on requested material, though she’s usually willing to wave it if it’s not possible to grant.
See the JVNLA website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“One of my pet peeves is repeat queriers. I remember if I’ve read a book concept before from an author. I’m bombarded with queries– which is a good thing!– but I don’t like to waste my time rereading a query that I’ve already read before.” (Link)
“Yes! I hate it when a query starts with a question!” (Link)
#queryfail -- when authors diss their genre, ‘I wrote this because all the other YA books suck.’ Stop talking smack about my babies!” (Link)
Ms. Regel only responds to queries if interested. Her response time on requested material ranges from days to about a month.
What's the Buzz?
Jessica Regel is a well-established agent with a great list of clients and sales. She handles the agency’s film, audio, and UK rights, and her clients seem happy with her representation. The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency is recommended by P&E.
Worth Your Time:
Literary Agent Jessica Regel of Jean V. Naggar Literary Seeks New Clients at Guide to Literary Agents (01/2013).
Q&A with Agent Jessica Regel at Sisters in Scribe (01/2012).
Interview with Jessica Regel at MediaBistro (07/2010).
Agent Advice Interview with Jessica Regel at Guide to Literary Agents (06/2010).
Interview with Jessica Regel, Literary Agent with Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency at Gumbowriters (12/2008).
Q&A with Jessica Regel at Pennwriters (5/2008).
Around the Web:
Jessica Regel at P&E ($, AAR).
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency at P&E ($, AAR, Recommended).
Click on the book covers on Ms. Regel’s JVNLA website page for tidbits on what she loves about her clients’ work.
“The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc. Announces New Venture” at the JVNLA blog (01/2012).
How I Got My Agent post by client Kristi Helvig at Sisters in Scribe (01/2012).
Jessica Regel: What Works in Women's Fiction, YouTube video (07/2011).
How 2 Pitch to an Agent at a Writer’s Conference, article with quotes by Ms. Regel at WOW! (2010).
Please see the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 3/11/13 – added interview, quotes.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/15/12.
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.