Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 6, 2017

Agent Looking for Clients: Alyssa Eisner Henkin – Trident Media Group


When Alyssa Eisner Henkin became an editorial assistant in 1999 she was just happy to have coworkers who loved Anne of Green Gables as much as she did. Little did she know, over the next decade children’s publishing would become the fastest-growing genre in reading and entertainment.

Alyssa candidly admits that she did not foresee the magnitude of this when she became an agent. “I joined Trident because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, to have a more direct impact on authors’ careers, and to use both my creative and business acumen”. While at Trident, Alyssa has been able to take advantage of changing formats and venues for her clients. “Most companies consider the international market to be secondary,” says Alyssa, “but at Trident, we view foreign as a ‘must’ market, and my clients are pleased to find their books selling around the world.”
“Through all of the growth and change”, Alyssa emphasizes, “there is no doubt that the key elements of storytelling have remained the same. The book that cannot be put down will continue to hold value, whether as a groundbreaking app, or as a beloved and tattered paperback that still reigns your bookshelf.” Alyssa considers it a great privilege to represent books that readers cannot put down.

Alyssa is actively seeking middle grade and young adult novels, innovative nonfiction projects, and a very select number of picture books, both illustrated dummies and standalone texts.

She is actively seeking new clients and represents all forms of literature for young people. Query letters should be submitted via email to The first five pages of text for a longer work, or the full manuscript for a picture book text should be submitted below the query letter in the text body of the email, not as an attachment. Art samples or dummy texts should be inserted as links in the body of the query letter.

On the YA side, Alyssa would love to see more lyrical period pieces in the tradition of Ruta Sepetys and Julie Berry, whom Alyssa proudly represents, and more haunting contemporary page-turners like E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars. Bonus points if they are set in the South or offer a diverse spin on a classic tale.

In middle grade and young adult fiction and memoir, Alyssa craves tight plotting, lyrical prose, rich regional flavors, and unexpected conclusions. She especially enjoys mysteries, period pieces, contemporary school-settings, issues of social justice, family sagas, eerie magical realism, and retellings of classics. She’d loved to find more heartfelt stories presenting characters who muster courage in the face of adversity in the vein of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, which Alyssa proudly represents. She’d also love to see more magical realism or books in which things outside the contemporary ordinary are possible, in the vein of Shakespeare’s Secret and From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. If there’s a foodie-twist, all the better!

On the picture book front, Alyssa is considering texts alone as well as fully-illustrated dummies. She adores rhyming stories when they gracefully roll off the tongue. She’s also drawn to biographies, fresh spins on seasonal themes, and inventive premises that make one stop, think and laugh. Picture books that feel both obvious and incredibly fresh, like The Day The Crayons Quit and The Scrambled States of America are in high demand. And biographies on little known yet fascinating figures are always intriguing to Alyssa’s (not so) inner history nerd!

In nonfiction, history and STEM/STEAM themes are always intriguing. Alyssa would also love to find a series with the interactive spirit of a trivia game.

Above all, Alyssa digs deep when she sees potential, from editing, to title brainstorming, to securing the best publisher, to devising new marketing ideas and making ancillary sales across all forms of media. “There’s no greater professional joy than championing a book that you believe in and watching the world delight in it.”

Submissions should be emailed to

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Nice interview and congratulations to Alyssa on her continued success. When I attended my first SCBWI conference many years ago, Alyssa gave me a critique of my chapters and in turn gave me the confidence to keep working. Her wisdom and kindness have not been forgotten. 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing this interview with Alyssa Eisner Henken. A literary agent who supports an author’s career and seeks the best publishers for an agent’s manuscript sounds like a champion to me.
    ~Suzy Leopold


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