This week's Agent Spotlight features Faye Bender of Faye Bender Literary Agency.
About: "Faye Bender formed her agency in 2004 and has been in the business for 14 years. With a focus on an even split of fiction and nonfiction, she selects the books she represents based on the narrative voice and strength of writing. Faye works with previously published as well as first-time authors, and her tastes are wide-ranging. She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives." (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. (Link)
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.” (Link)
"I choose books based on the narrative voice and strength of writing. I work with previously published and first-time authors." (Link)
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." (Link)
“Born and raised in Denver, CO, I graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with degrees in English and Latin American Studies. After spending time in Central and South America, I attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course and subsequently moved New York to work as the assistant to one of the most powerful agents in the industry. There, I learned, up close and personal, what it meant to be an agent. Part advocate, part editor, part entrepreneur - all the parts added up to something I loved. I went on to become an agent at two other agencies, and in the process have had the opportunity to work with some true luminaries. In 2004, blessed to have a remarkable stable of authors, I formed the Faye Bender Literary Agency.” (Link)
“My best piece of advice for writers is to keep writing. Doesn't sound groundbreaking, I know, but writing well takes practice and revision and occasionally scrapping it all and starting again. The more a writer writes, the better his or her skill becomes. And I also find that when an author derives joy from whatever he or she is writing, that joy comes through in the writing. So try to enjoy it and that pleasure might speak directly to your readers.” (Link)
About the Agency
"Faye Bender Literary Agency represents authors writing a diverse range of literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and high quality non-fiction. The agency works with authors throughout the publishing process, from editorial input on a proposal or manuscript, to an initial deal, to film and translation rights, to offering guidance with publicity and marketing. Faye Bender Literary Agency looks to build long-term working relationships with authors by offering thorough and aggressive representation." (Link)
Yes. I've seen Ms. Bender's clients mention revisions and the web site claims:
"...the agency works with authors throughout the publishing process, from editorial input on a proposal or manuscript, to an initial deal, to film and translation rights, to offering guidance with publicity and marketing." (Link)
Twitter (not positive it's hers).
A list of clients is available on the website. Clients include: Liane Bonin, Kristin Cashore, Deborah Davis, Bennett Davlin, Emily Franklin, Catherine Friend, Ariel Gore, Nicole Helget, Patricia Henley, Michelle Kehm, Jennifer Anne Kogler, Liane Moriarty, Jennie Nash, JT Petty, Sophie Powell, C. Leigh Purtill, Elizabeth Rudnick, Rebecca Stead, Francisco Stork, Kate Veitch, Karen Romano Young, among others.
There is also a page of select titles including Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME, Kristin Cashore’s FIRE, and Francisco Stork’s MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD, 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.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter and ten sample pages by e-mail (no attachments) or by snail-mail (with SASE).
See the Faye Bender Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
"Please keep your letters to the point, include all relevant information, and have a bit of patience with us." (Link)
Ms. Bender does not appear to have a stated response time. In looking at response stats around the web, she seems to go through phases of lightening quick responses, to back logs, to phases of no-response and then they pick up again. The average seems to be 1-2 weeks, however.
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 for her agency since founding it in 2004.
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:
Please see the Faye Bender Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 2/9/11
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes – 7/2/10
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 agentspotlight(at)gmail.com
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.