Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Sarah Stephens Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveawawy on 10/10/2022
  • Eve Adler Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/17/2022
  • Adria Goetz Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/14/2022
  • Kelly Dyksterhouse Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/12/2022
  • Savannah Brooks Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/19/2022

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Brenda Bowen

This week's Agent Spotlight features Brenda Bowen of The Book Group.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "Brenda Bowen represents authors and artists of books for young readers from preschool to young adult; she also represents some adult titles. Her clients have won the MacArthur Fellowship; the Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor; the Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honor; the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; the Stonewall Award; the Geisel Honor; the William C. Morris Honor; the New York Times Best Illustrated Book prize; the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal; as well as many other awards and citations. Brenda’s clients have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, and have been translated around the globe; she represents Oscar-, Emmy-, and Tony-Award winners; career authors and artists; and newcomers making their debuts. She can’t decide which she loves more: a bold picture book, or a lyrical middle-grade novel.
"Brenda has the unusual advantage of having seen publishing from all sides: she began her career as an agent at Sanford J. Greenburger; she was a children’s book publisher for many years; she has written an adult novel; and she’s an award-winning author of some forty books for children. She lives with her family in New York City, and spends August in a cottage in Maine, where the menu almost always includes blueberry corn muffins. (Link)

About the Agency:
"Since its launch in 2015 by publishing industry veterans Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom, and Elisabeth Weed, The Book Group's mission has been to seek out and cultivate talented 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, essayists, memoirists and journalists." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Books for children and teens, as well as some fiction for adult trade.
What She's Not Looking For:
Picture book texts, adult fiction and non-fiction, Christian fiction and non-fiction
From SCBWI Conference Notes (06/2010):
“I am very catholic in my tastes, but I can like anything from the trashy to the literary.   I am not a fan of paranormal books, and in general I am not hugely into young adult novels. I really like to focus on Picture Books through Middle Grade (including chap books and the educational market). What I like is hard to define. I also fear the ‘conference polish’ as Mary Kole mentioned earlier. So I always ask for the first three chapters in a submission. I want to work with people I love to be around! I want to be happy to see their name in my in-box. I would like to do more fiction, I already have a lot of picture books on my plate. I represent both picture book authors alone, as well as author/illustrators. I like boy oriented books that are funny. I want a story that I have never read before.” (Link)

"It's not good for us to make one sale and never sell your work again. You have to imagine a partnership, to trust that we're going to give our best to each other and that we'll be there for the long haul." (Link)
Referring to when she was an editor: "I was aware that some agents' names in the inbox meant that what was attached, although maybe not perfect for me, was going to be really good for someone in the house, and that it was ready to go. I'd like to be one of those agents..." (Link)
Editorial Agent?
Web Presence:
The Book Group website
#MSWL on Twitter.
Publishers Marketplace.
QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.
There is a list of clients available on The Book Group website.  Clients include:
Carin Berger, Marisa Calin, Jessie Hartland, G. Brian Karas, Hilary Knight, Caroline Lawrence, Martine Leavitt, George Ella Lyon, Donna Jo Napoli, Chris Raschka, Stephen Savage, Marilyn Singer, Naoko Stoop, Rosemary Wells, among many others.
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:
“A catchy title can be reason alone for me to request a manuscript. For example: The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant. This shows me that the author is confident enough to name his/her book this. It shows me the book is not a trend, and the title has a lyrical sound to it.
“Please query me as Ms. Bowen and not Mrs. Bowen.
“I like non-classical queries that are whimsical and share a confident story.
“Have a query that shows your voice.” (Link)
Response Times:
Ms. Bowen only responds if she is interested in reading more. 
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Bowen has nearly 30 years of experience in the publishing industry and has worked with some truly amazing companies and talents.  Her transition to agenting was met with great approval.  She’s quickly become a top dealmaker for children’s book authors and illustrators. 
I recommend following her on Twitter @bbowen949.
Worth Your Time:
Four Questions for Brenda Bowen at Publishers Weekly (06/2015)Brenda Bowen interviews her new agenting self at Bunny Eat Bunny (05/2009).
Around the Web:
Her author bibliography on Amazon (She writes as Margaret McNamara).
Agent Day: Insight from Brenda Bowen, detailed conference notes at Ingrid’s Notes (06/2010).
Notes on Ms. Bowen from the SCBWI blog, and a few more here.
Please see The Book Group website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/11/2020
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes
Last Reviewed by Agent:  3/28/11
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept 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.


Crystal said...

Thanks SO MUCH for another great profile, Casey! I've been wanting to learn more about her . . . Great job!

Unknown said...

I've heard great things about her from one of her new clients. Thanks for this. :)

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Casey your agent profiles are great! You've put in a lot of work. I don't think this agent is for me, but it's great to have the info all laid out so I know not to waste her time or mine by querying her.

Christina Farley said...

More great stuff here Casey! Thanks!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Casey, I heart you. Your efforts are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I haven't been able to find out who any of her clients were before this. FWIW, I queried back in July/August and never heard anything back at all--I've been curious if she's a non-responder-if-not-interested sort of agent, or if she does respond. Good to hear about other responses.

Brenda Bowen said...

Hi Anonymous: I do try to respond to all the queries I receive, but I got so many when I first started that I missed a whole bunch in July & August. I'm sorry if I didn't get back to you. My loss, I do realize.

Many thanks for the profile, Casey!

Lee Thompson said...

Hi, Casey. I stumbled across your blog while researching YA agents. Excellent site! So glad I found it. Thanks!


Casey Something said...

Thank you for the great comments, everyone. I'm glad these profiles are helpful to you.

Brenda, you're welcome. Thank you for stopping by!

Mike Winchell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casey McCormick said...

Hi Michael! Thank you for stopping by. Congrats on all the offers! Brenda truly sounds fantastic.

remarz said...

Hi Casey - Thanks for compiling such a great list with a ton of resources for each agent. You've made the difficult task of finding agents to query much easier.
Now if you could please come up with a way to get rid of rejection letter-itis. :)

Casey McCormick said...

Glad you find the profiles helpful, remarz! Rejection letter-itis isn't terminal, fortunately. You can over come it with a concoction of talent, patience, and determination. :)