Alyssa Eisner HenkinLiterary Agent
TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN', BUT COMPELLING STORYTELLING STILL RULES
When Alyssa Eisner Henkin began her career in children's publishing as an editorial assistant in 1999, the typical reaction that she would receive in social situations was, "Oh, how cute,” or “My (fill in the blank) is writing a children's book." Now, as a successful literary agent at Trident, Alyssa sees children's and young adult publishing as the fastest growing sector in reading and entertainment.
Alyssa candidly admits that she did not see this coming when she decided to become an agent at Trident several years ago. "I joined Trident because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, to have a more direct impact on the careers of talented writers, and to use both my creative and business skills". 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 consider foreign to be a 'must' market, and my clients are very happy to find their books succeeding around the world."
Through all of the changes in children's publishing, 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 have constant and high currency, whether it is in the format of an iPad Kindle app that you are trying to wrestle away from your toddler or the beloved and tattered copy of Anne of the Island that still reigns your bookshelf." Alyssa considers herself privileged to be able to work with such talented authors and illustrators who create the books that readers cannot put down.
Alyssa sees her book agent role at Trident as two-fold: to continue the high standard of strategically layered negotiation to ensure the best deal for authors in the short term while devising the most inventive and steadfast publishing strategy in the long run; and to act as co-pilot with authors as they take advantage of original e-book opportunities through Trident's groundbreaking e-Book Operations.
Alyssa is seeking middle grade mysteries in mansions, wish-fulfillment premises that give goose bumps, and epic young adult/crossover love stories filled with strong regional flavors. She is constantly re-evaluating the literary landscapes to avoid areas that may be flooded with more of the same and to hone in on themes poised for growth. Above all, she digs deep when she sees potential, from editing, to title brainstorming, to securing the right publisher, to working intimately on marketing. “When author, book agent, and publisher work together, a book can go from a sleeper hit to a groundbreaking bestseller in a matter of weeks.”