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Agent Spotlight: Jessica Regel

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jessica Regel of Foundry Literary + Media.
Status: Open to submissions. 8/5/2020: Ms. Regel has left Foundry Literary to start her own agency Helm Literary. You can find out more about what she is looking for and her submission guidelines on the agency website.
jessicaLAbout: "Jess represents fiction and nonfiction in both the adult and the children’s markets.
"Her authors include New York Times Bestsellers Bryn Greenwood (All The Ugly and Wonderful Things), Amber Smith (The Way I Used to Be) and Shea Ernshaw (The Wicked Deep), as well as national bestseller and award-winning writer/podcaster Nora McInerny (It’s Okay to Laugh) and Pura BelprĂ© Honor Winner Pablo Cartaya (The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora). No matter the genre, Jess looks for distinctive voices and stories that are one of a kind.
"Jess is passionate about discovering books that are compulsive, contagious, and creative. She’s particularly interested in “conversation starters,” novels that bridge the literary-commercial divide, combining a high-concept plot with beautiful writing, and voice-driven contemporary stories. She’s always looking for diverse characters who tell a story from a unique perspective, and through which we see the world differently. Jess is drawn to coming-of-age stories, ambitious fiction, charming and stylized love stories, atmospheric magical realism, dark and twisty suspense, and genre-bending literary fiction. Jess does not represent genre fiction, such as high fantasy, sci-fi, romance, westerns, chick lit, cozy mysteries, etc.
"In the nonfiction space, Jess specializes in memoir and pop culture, with an emphasis on female voices, humor, and narrative nonfiction.
"Originally from Iowa, Jess was working at her local library when she was offered a job at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and packed up for New York City. She spent eleven years at the Naggar Agency before moving over to Foundry in 2013. She received her B.A. in English Literature from Hunter College.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Foundry is a full-service literary agency and media development company dedicated to providing the most positive and profitable publishing experience for our clients, from the American book market to foreign publishing, film and TV, merchandise, online media and beyond.
"Rooted in the tradition of representing writers and other talent in the book trade, the Foundry team is relentless in finding new and diverse ways for our clients to reach wider audiences.
"It all begins with the book. Whether you are a first time novelist or a veteran author, a comedy writer slugging it out in the trenches, or an established film or television personality, we take your book seriously. We roll up our sleeves and make sure that nothing lands on an editor’s desk that isn’t the best that it can be, and then guide you through the entire process of getting published, in the US and abroad.” (Link)
Web Presence:
Foundry website.
Foundry Facebook.
Foundry Twitter.
#mswl on Twitter.
What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Commercial Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Edgy/Quirky Fiction.
Non-Fiction: Young Adult, Narrative, Biography, Memoir, Humor, Pop Culture, Journalism. (Link)
From an Interview (10/2013):
“Great writing with a strong hook catches my eye in a query letter. I’m specifically looking for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction and Nonfiction, as well as Adult Fiction.
“For YA I represent high concept stories paired with great writing. I’m always up for a contemporary story that is thought-provoking—something that has an interesting non-fiction hook. For example, I represent JC Carleson whose book THE TYRANT’S DAUGHTER will be published by Knopf Children’s Books in February. In this novel the main character’s father is the King of an unnamed Middle Eastern country and when he’s killed in a coup she is forced to seek asylum in the US, where she must integrate into a regular US High School. Obviously this book draws on some riveting real life events.
“I also represent YA genre (magical realism, sci-fi, fantasy) when it’s grounded in reality. Specifically I’m looking for sophisticated thrillers, suspense or horror. I’d love to find the YA Secret History or Fingersmith!! I don’t shy away from gritty or edgy stories. I’d also love to find a really unique YA love story.
“For MG, I’m looking for sophisticated and timeless stories. Something like Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz or The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.
“I’m also on a crusade to find YA and MG memoirs and narrative non-fiction.
“On the adult side, I represent general fiction. Fiction that borders the line between literary and commercial. For example, I represent Margot by Jillian Cantor, which is a novel about Anne Frank’s older sister Margot and reimagines what Margot’s life would’ve been like if she’d survived the Holocaust. I just finished reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and I’d love to find something like that—a love story that I haven’t read before.” (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)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Practical nonfiction, inspirational/religion, genre science fiction or fantasy, or political thrillers
Editorial Agent?
There’s a page of agency titles on the Foundry 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.
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter, synopsis, bio and first three chapters of your manuscript. Include your name and project name in the subject line. Chapters, etc. can be pasted in the email or attached.
See the Foundry Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.Query Tips:
“Yes! I hate it when a query starts with a question!” (Link)
“Major #queryfail -- when authors diss their genre, ‘I wrote this because all the other YA books suck.’ Stop talking smack about my babies!” (Link)
Response Times:
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.
You can follow her on Twitter @jessregel.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Spotlight: Jess Regal at kidlit411 (09/2016)
Agent Interview - JESSICA REGEL at Realm (10/2013).
Literary Agent Jessica Regel of Jean V. Naggar Literary Foundry Literary + Media Seeks New Clients at Guide to Literary Agents (01/2013).
Agent Advice Interview with Jessica Regel at Guide to Literary Agents (06/2010).
Please see the Foundry Literary + Media website for additional contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/23/2020.
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 natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's and/or teen 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.


Kristen Wixted said...

Thanks, Casey. This is a good one and I'm not familiar with that agency--back to my homework!
You guys are great.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, this is great!

Unknown said...

Thanks for another great spotlight! I come here when I want a heads-up on agents I might not have thought of yet, and Miss Regel is one I haven't thought of yet.

Thermocline said...

What? No Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency this week?

Barbara Watson said...

Ooooo! An agency I didn't even have on my list, so thank you!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks Casey for another awesome spotlight of someone not on my list. I'm so excited Jessica Regal is looking for MG and likes fantasy.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks! I'm almost ready to start querying a MG fantasy so I'm definitely interested in querying Jessica!

Rachel said...

Great. Thanks. I just sent her my query!

Ali B said...

I'll put Ms. Regal on my list. Thank you, Casey.

Martha Ramirez said...

Very nice spotlight! Thank you!

Alice said...

Great spotlight. I think I sent something to her before.

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for the info. I can't believe how quickly the agency has taken off.

Winter Hansen said...

Jessica Regel has moved on to Foundry Literary: http://www.foundrymedia.com/team

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you, Winter. I've updated.