Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Sarah Fink Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/12/2022
  • Jazmia Young Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/21/2022

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Alyssa Eisner Henkin Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin here. She is a literary agent and the founder of Birch Path Literary.

Hi­ Alyssa! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Alyssa:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

I began my career in editorial at S&S Books for Young Readers. Kidlit captivated me from the start –shaping book ideas with my authors and illustrators, the craft of editing, and learning from my brilliant mentor colleagues. Seven years in, I was seeking something less corporate and more entrepreneurial long-term. Soon after, Trident Media Group hired me for a children’s book agent position. The job was the perfect blend of editor and entrepreneur. I spent the next fourteen years there building a list of amazing, bestselling, and multi-award-winning authors and learning how to serve their creative and fiduciary needs within a large, global agency. I have negotiated hundreds of book deals as well as film deals, set up a merchandising program, and even helped put a Broadway musical in motion. And my favorite part of the job is still shaping and fostering new ideas.

 About the Agency:

 2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

 Birch Path is a full-service boutique agency born from vast experience on both sides of the agent/publisher desk. We provide a nurturing foundation for career growth for debut and seasoned authors and illustrators alike. Contract negotiation and international rights are overseen by two brilliant colleagues, Lauren Carnali and Claire Roberts. We work with several talented film agents in L.A. My goal at Birch Path is to make each client feel that he/she/they is my only client each time we negotiate a deal. Every path is a little different and whether that means championing a project that falls a bit outside the norm, making copious edits before submission, fighting to retain international rights, or appealing to a publisher to keep a book in hardcover years after publication, I am always working for the good of my projects. When you love what you do, it doesn’t even feel like work.

What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

I represent board book through young adult, and I welcome select upmarket fiction and romcoms for adults. I’ve been growing my stable of author-illustrators and am eager to review more illustrated picture book, young middle grade, and graphic novel projects.

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

I’d love to see a fiction project in the vein of Julie and Julia about America's Early Female College Students Held Illicit Fudge Parties - Gastro Obscura (atlasobscura.com)  that incorporates themes of body positivity.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in? I am usually not a fit for dragons, paranormal, sci-fi, or gory horror.

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

I’m a big fan of transparent communication, hard work, and laughter. I don’t believe in following trends. I’m proud to have worked with many of my clients for many years. Several of my projects illuminate underrepresented voices and break new ground in the market with innovative formats and little-known topics. There’s no greater professional joy than championing a book that you believe in and watching the world delight in it.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

Yes, I tend to do several rounds of back-and-forth edits on novels, and sometimes dozens on picture books, until they are ready to be shared with the world. Of course, every path is different.

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

Please send submissions to submissions@birchpathliterary.com.

Submission directions are available through this link. Submissions | Birch Path Literary

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

No. I’ll forgive almost anything for a story that speaks to my heart.

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

Due to the large volume of submissions, I am now only able to respond to projects that interest me. I try to respond to requested manuscripts within two months, although sometimes it can be longer. If a query goes unanswered for over two months, please consider it a pass.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

Yes. I think it’s a robust time to be publishing independently. In the genres that I represent, I have witnessed success in both romcoms and kids’ activity/nonfiction. The best advice for any author is to do research and assess what agents seem best suited. There is no dearth of information out there!

12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

As major publishers continue to request only agented submissions, agents remain vital to the process. Further, even when books are self-published or published by hybrid publishers, there are still ancillary rights to develop and important contractual matters that benefit greatly from agent involvement. With that said, sometimes major publishers focus on the “main course” books rather than the “dessert” or “appetizer” books. It’s exciting when they find success in indie channels.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Ruth Behar, Julie Berry, Jen Bryant, Lisa Greenwald, Aya Morton, R.J. Palacio, Bobbie Pyron, and Gail Villanueva.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.

Alyssa Eisner Henkin - The Official Manuscript Wish List Website

Not just for kids: Young adult books are big sellers - CBS News

Agent Interview: Alyssa Eisner Henkin (Trident Media Group) - Only Picture Books

Agent Spotlight: An Interview with Alyssa Henkin, by Laura Parnum | EasternPennPoints (wordpress.com)

Links and Contact Info:

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

Submissions | Birch Path Literary

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

Sometimes I find that “analysis paralysis” can be exhausting when one is researching agents and editors with all the information out there. While research is important, it should never outshine the writing itself. I recommend Kendra Levin’s wonderful book The Hero Is You for wise advice on how to prioritize craft.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Alyssa.

­Alyssa is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through April 2nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.

 

37 comments:

Elizabeth Varadan said...

I enjoyed this interview. Alyssa has quite a range in what she handles, and I like it that she doesn't follow trends.

Karen Rafeedie said...

Thanks for the great insights -- including "analysis paralysis!" I have that frequently.

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for featuring Alyssa today! I would value a query critique from this agent, so please enter my name for a chance to win this chance to improve my own work. I shared: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/678899673094930432/agent-spotlight-alyssa-eisner-henkin-interview

Michelle Steinberg said...

Thanks for featuring this great agent and the chance to have a query critiqued.
michellesteinberg@comcast.net

Emily Esner said...

Fingers officially crossed for a query critique!

Jodelle Soon Brohard said...

Thanks for the interview. I always love these agent spotlights. Jabrohard@aol.com

Kathleea said...

I love hearing about agents and their editorial processes.

Jwrites said...

I love hearing agents' perspectives and whether a particular agent is editorial. Thank you for this interview and for Alyssa for her candor! jennamhammond@gmail.com

Unknown said...

Very cool give-away! Thank you both for taking the time to share this info. Query Critique would be awesome.

cdoucett515 said...

Loved reading this interview. I recently submitted a query to Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Birch Path, and I'd love to win a query critique for how to make that even better!

Liz A. said...

She represents quite the gamut.

Alexia Andoni said...

Thanks for the post, Natalie and Alyssa. I love your philosophy on agenting. Transparent communication, hard work, and laughter are all top on my list too.
alexiamandoni [at] gmail [dot] com

Melissa Miles said...

Wow, she's a dream agent! Thanks for the great interview and the chance to win a query critique. I'm sharing on Twitter @melissajmiles. Thanks!

Hollie Wolverton said...

Love the phrase “analysis paralysis”! Great interview - thank you both!! hgwolverton@gmail.com

Tharvey said...

Thank you for a great interview! I've heard wonderful things about Alyssa from a past client.

susangrayfoster said...

Great interview! Thanks for the chance at a query critique! sgrayfosterwrites at gmail.com

Thelia said...

Awesome interview. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom.

Andrea Strahan said...

Wonderful interview! And thank you for additional links to learn even more about Alyssa. My fingers are crossed for a query critique!

Judith L. Roth said...

Great choice for an agent interview, Natalie! I'd love a query critique....

Judy Bradbury said...

Thanks, Alyssa, for the specific, clear information that allows subscribers to get an idea of who you are, what you are interested in reviewing, and how you work with clients. Thanks, Natalie, for another great guest interview!

Yangmama said...

"Analysis paralysis" is sooo true! Right up there with impostor syndrome. Thanks for another in-depth interview! BTW, would love to learn why the name "Birch Path" was chosen--why not Maple or Oak or Apple? Curious if there's any significance to the Birch tree :)

Julie M said...

I loved to read that Alyssa doesn't follow trends and believes in the importance of championing books that speak to her personally. Very refreshing! I would love to have her critique my query letter.

Julie M said...

After posting my comment, I realized that my Google profile is listed as Unknown, so until I figure out how to change that, I'm reposting my comment and adding my email.
I loved to read that Alyssa doesn't follow trends and believes in the importance of championing books that speak to her personally. Very refreshing! I would love to have her critique my query letter.
julie.meridianstudios@gmail.com

Even in Australia said...

I'd love to win a query critique with Ms. Henkin!

Even in Australia said...

Best email is rfremmer@gmail.com.

Barbara Kimmel said...

I would love a query critique with Alyssa! I am such a fan of her books, especially ones with unique formats such as the fabulous TBH series.

Angie B. said...

Excellent information and reminder to focus on craft. Thank you.

Cynthia K said...

Thank you for this great interview! I would love a query critique from Ms. Eisner Henkin

Joe Samulak said...

You had me at, "she represents R.J. Palacio."

Karen K. said...

Thanks for sharing the interview and for the opportunity for a query critique. kkobylar@gmail.com

Shanah Salter said...

Great information here. Would love to win a critique! have shared on twitter.

Eileen said...

Great interview - thank you! Would love a query critique! Also shared on FB and Twitter.
eileen@wilkinusa.com

DonnellySports said...

Fingers crossed the Query Critique!!!

donnellytim9@gmail.com

Rachel Dillon said...

I've been away from polishing my YA novel while getting my Master's degree. I'm so happy to see a thriving community here! This is a wonderful interview. I especially love hearing what agents want and don't want, it makes research so much easier. I tweeted this interview @racheladillon. Happy Writing! art (at) racheldillon (dot) com.

sawilhelm said...

Wonderful interview! Very insightful.

My fingers are crossed to win this query critique.

Sharing on Twitter as well!

samanthawihelm@gmail.com

Sylvia Patience said...

I'd love to receive a query critique from Alyssa. I commented on my blog: sylviapatience.com. Please contact me at sylvibo@cruzio.com.
Thanks for introducing agents. This is an excellent website. I just discovered it.
Sylvia Patience

Natalie Aguirre said...

So glad you discovered Literary Rambles and find it helpful. I'm so glad you're a follower.