Friday, November 30, 2012

YA Agent Highlight: Alice Tasman

I’m excited to share another edition of the YA Stands agent highlight feature. Alice Tasman is a top-ranked young adult agent with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.  JVNLA represents award-winning authors is every genre, and the agency has reported strong sales, including 6-figure deals, to Publishers Marketplace. Alice describes herself as a music lover and, even though she lives in New York, says she’s a Philly girl at heart. 

She represents MG, YA, and adult fiction as well as narrative nonfiction. Publishers Marketplace lists deals for picture books, as well.  

Madigan Hoen, Dianne Dixon, Maud Casey, Hannah Weyer, Ellen Potter, Tom Lichtenheld, Thomas Fox Averill, Timothy Schaffert, Gina Frangello, and more. 

Tip: Researching an agent’s clients to see what elements they are drawn to in the genres they represent is a great way to decide if an agent is right for you. Referencing a client’s work is also a good personalizing detail for your query letter. 


Ms. Tasman attended Brown University, and then earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She’s been with JVNLA since 1995 and represents award-winning writers of literary and commercial fiction. MediaBistro cites JVNLA’s five agents as representing 200 authors total, including notable writers Jean M. Auel, Newbery medallist and poet Nancy Willard, New York Times bestseller Philip Margolin, National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner nominee Mary McGarry Morris, and MacArthur fellow Carl Safina. 
Looking for:

She is always looking for debut authors. Her recent deals reported to Publishers Marketplace include the following genres: memoir, contemporary, historical, and biography. Her biography on the JVNLA website says she wants “excellent writing, voice, and characters with a great plot. She is also drawn to smart, off-beat non-fiction, particularly works of narrative non-fiction on biography, music, or pop-culture.” Her deals on PM seem to be works with a literary bent and a particularly unique concept. Ms. Tasman was kind enough to let me know that right now she’s especially looking for great writing with a strong voice, and she’d love to see some throwbacks in the style of Ellen Raskin and E. Nesbit. She’s not the right agent for fantasy works, but she loves E. Nesbit for her sense of adventure and even more because she doesn’t write down to children. 

To query:

She is seeking new clients. All queries must be sent through the form on the JVNLA website.

Around the web:

Twitter: @AliceTasman

Tip: Referencing an agent’s comment in a blog post in your query is another good way to personalize your query. It shows you did your research and you genuinely want that agent, rather than just any agent.

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