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Agent Spotlight: Faye Bender

This week's Agent Spotlight features Faye Bender of The Book Group.

Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 12.17.22 AM  About: "With almost 20 years of experience in the business and a focus on strong collaborative working relationships with her authors, Faye Bender represents fiction for readers aged 8 to adult. Her authors have won numerous awards and honors, including the Newbery Medal, the Schneider Family Book Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, the Indies Choice Book of the Year Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and the International Latino Book Award, and have been finalists for the National Book Award and the Impac Dublin Literary Award. Her clients' books have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Book Review Notable Books, and selected for Best Books of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, School Library Journal, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the American Library Association, and the New York Public Library, among others.

Faye is always eager to discover authors with a strong narrative voice and an eye for imaginative storytelling, and she works with her authors for the length and breadth of their careers. Born and raised in Denver, Faye lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children." (Link)
Status: Open to submissions.

What She's Looking For:
Genres of Interest:  Middle grade and young adult as well as literary, commercial, and women's fiction.  Non-fiction interests include pop culture, women's issues, narrative, health, memoir, biography, and popular science.
From an Interview (02/2011):
“I've never been a sci-fi or fantasy reader as an adult, so when I got into the children's book world, I assumed I wouldn't be a good agent for those types of books. But fortunately, Kristin Cashore (author of Graceling and Fire) challenged that mental boundary when she submitted Graceling to me and I fell in love instantly. 
“I'm still not particularly interested in high fantasy, but I'm sure there are terrific writers out there who can make me reconsider that stance. In the end, superb writing and well-crafted stories can speak to any reader, whether initially a fan of the genre or not.”
"I choose books based on the narrative voice and strength of writing. I work with previously published and first-time authors." 

What She Isn't Looking For:
Faye does not represent picture books, genre fiction for adults (western, romance, horror, science fiction, fantasy), business books, spirituality or screenplays.

About the Agency
"Launched in 2015 by publishing industry veterans Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom, and Elisabeth Weed, The Book Group shares a singular passion: to seek out and cultivate writers, and to serve as their champions throughout their careers.

We represent a wide range of distinguished authors, including critically acclaimed and bestselling novelists, celebrated writers of children's literature, and award-winning historians, food writers, memoirists and journalists.

With our hands-on approach at every stage of the publication process, our exceptional subsidiary rights team, and our commitment to helping each client reach his or her fullest potential, we provide the benefits of a larger agency alongside the personalized attention and collegial spirit offered by a boutique group.
" (Link)

Editorial Agent?
Yes. I've seen Ms. Bender's clients mention revisions and the web site claims:

Web Presence:
The Book Group
AgentQuery, QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.

A list of clients is available on the website.  Clients include: Natalie Anderson, Kristin Cashore, Deborah Davis, Catherine Friend, Ariel Gore, Nicole Helget, Patricia Henley, Jennifer Anne Kogler, Liane Moriarty, Rebecca Stead, Francisco Stork, among others.

As of 06/2010, Ms. Bender is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 0 deals in the last 12 months, fifty-two overall, and one six figure+ deal. 
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales. 

Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter and ten sample pages by e-mail (no attachments). See The Book Group website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:
Please keep your letters to the point, include all relevant information, and have a bit of patience with us.

Response Times:
There is no stated response time on the website, and it does not appear that agents respond to queries that they are not interested in.

What's the Buzz?
Ms. Bender has great buzz in the online writers' community.  She has years of experience in the publishing industry and some truly fabulous clients and titles on her list.  She's a member of the AAR and has built a great reputation.
There was some concern over the controversy that ensued when her client, Margaret B. Jones (Peggy Seltzer,) admitted her memoir was actually all fiction. I did quite a bit of digging on this and found nothing that suggests Ms. Bender's capacity or reputation as an agent has been jeopardized. In fact, everyone involved, except the author herself, seems to have been unaware of the falsities.
Her clients seem very happy with her representation and have described her as "fabulous," "smart," "highly professional," "eager," "enthusiastic," "lovely," and much more.  See the comments!

Worth Your Time:
Agent Advice Interview with Faye Bender at The Guide To Literary Agents Blog (02/2011).
Around the Web:
AbsoluteWrite thread on Faye Bender Literary.

Please see The Book Group website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/11/17
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes – 6/11/17
Reviewed By Agent?  No – No response
Comments: Added Interview / new quotes - 2/11
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiguirre7(at)
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who represent children's 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.


  1. You do such a nice job gathering all the information!

  2. That's really interesting about Kristin Cashore, and I'm sure she's very happy she gave that book a chance!

    Unfortunately, I'm all fantasy, so I don't think Faye will be too keen on me. Unless I can make friends with a friend of hers, haha.

    But great roundup, once again! Thanks!

    Word verification: ovelcave. As opposed to a rhombus cave?

  3. As one of Faye's clients, I can attest to the fact that, when she does take someone on, it's because she truly believes in that person.

    Thanks for the link back to my site!


    p.s. word verification: "redoc" - the rewrite you send back to your editor after she has requested massive changes?

  4. What a wonderful and extensive line up. That's too bad she doesn't take fantasy and I was surprised by this because of Graceling.

  5. Chiming in late here--Faye's my agent and she's terrific--smart, savvy, professional, prompt, articulate, and assertive in all the right places.

  6. Oops--didn't mean to leave that last comment anonymously.

  7. Thank you so much for the feedback Leigh and Deborah. It says a lot about an agent when their clients are willing to speak up and sing their praises. Best to you both!