Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

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."(From the agency website)

About the Agency:
"We are a full-service literary agency founded in 2015 by longtime friends and publishing industry veterans Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom and Elisabeth Weed. Since then we have expanded our agency to include Brenda Bowen, Dana Murphy, Jamie Carr and Nicole Cunningham, and our office manager DJ Kim.
We are passionately committed to fostering the careers of writers from a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, and we represent books for readers of all ages. Please explore our virtual bookshelves, where you’ll discover award-winning novelists and illustrators, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and book club favorites, bestselling thrillers, fantasy, horror, and young adult classics, inspiring memoirs and beloved cookbooks.(From the agency website)
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
"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
Brenda's Manuscript Wishlist on The Book Group website
Brenda Bowen website
Publishers Marketplace
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:
Interviews and Podcasts:
Lunch With Brenda Bowen podcast at Applebaum Editors and Publishers (08/2021)
Brenda Bowen podcast at Picture Book Summit (03/2021)
Four Questions for Brenda Bowen at Publishers Weekly (06/2015)
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
Please see The Book Group website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 1/7/2023
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. :)