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  • 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: Jenny Bent

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency.
Status: Open to submissions. As of 11/6/2023, Jenny is closed to submissions. Please check the agency website to find out when she reopens to submissions. 
headshot banana dressAbout: “Jenny Bent represents literary and commercial adult, young adult, and nonfiction in the areas of self-help and lifestyle. 
“After graduating from Cambridge University, I worked at several New York agencies before founding the Bent Agency in 2009. In the course of my career, I have represented a great many New York Times-bestselling authors, a list which includes Stephanie Garber, AG Howard, Gary John Bishop, Lori Nelson Spielman, Goldy Moldavsky, Tiffany D. Jackson, Dhonielle Clayton, Yangsze Choo, Lynn Weingarten, Lynsay Sands, Lori Wilde, and Julia London.
"I’m currently looking for literary and commercial fiction and young adult fiction as well as select non-fiction in the areas of self-help and lifestyle. My client list is diverse and I welcome submissions from BIPOC authors.” (From the agency website)
About the Agency:
“We strive to provide the gold standard of representation by championing the individual needs and potential of our clients and agents. We are committed to inclusive practices and value the creativity, innovation, and richness of diversity. We do not discriminate or tolerate biases of any kind regarding race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, age, disability, nationality, or citizenship status. We are dedicated to fostering and creating a space for creativity and inspiration that enriches the lives of our agents, clients, and communities.
“With offices in New York and London, the Bent Agency represents authors of books for every reader, including dozens of award-winners and New York Times and Sunday Times (UK) bestsellers. Our list is broad, including commercial and literary fiction and non-fiction, as well as books and graphic novels for children and young adults. We pride ourselves on our collaborative approach to advocating for every client.” (From the agency website)
Web Presence:
The Bent Agency website.
Agent Query.
What She's Looking For:
"In adult fiction, I’m looking for high concept, upmarket women’s fiction; grounded fantasy; speculative fiction and horror (I particularly love a good scary ghost story, along the lines of writing by Simone St. James and Jennifer McMahon); and domestic suspense, but the bar is very high in suspense right now so it has to be an extremely creative concept. I also rep some romance and rom-com, but no other genre fiction: I’m not a good choice for high fantasy, cozy mystery, or sci-fi.

In young adult fiction, I’m pretty open to genre — I love fantasy, rom-coms, suspense, contemporary, almost anything except for sci-fi. I do notice that my YA taste does tend to skew towards older readers, more in a crossover direction.

In general, I tend to prefer plot-driven books to character-driven ones and pacing is very important to me. I also love novels — for adults or young adults — that have an element of magic or fantasy to them or that take me into a world that is new to me, whether real or imaginary. And while I love books to be dark and weird in terms of content, I find that I am more drawn to traditional, rather than experimental, methods of structure and storytelling. Finally, I am not the right fit for books with overtly political or extremely complicated plotlines." (From the agency website)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Science Fiction, Poetry, Picture Books, Middle Grade, Comix, Graphic Novels, Erotica, Gay/Lesbian Literature, Western, True Crime, Textbooks/Academic Books, Serious History or Biography, Political Science/Policy, Business, Reference, Investment, Professional, Sports, Puzzles, Games, Arts, Cinema, Photography, Crafts, Hobbies, DIY, Health, Diet, Mind, Body, Spirit, Music, Musicals, Nature, Ecology, Politics, Current affairs, Science, Technology, Technical, How-to, Travel, World Cultures, Dramatic Works. 
Editorial Agent?
“This sounds trite, but you cannot give up and you cannot stop believing in yourself. So many incredibly successful writers spent years and years trying to break into this business and you should take inspiration from how hard they worked and how they never stopped trying. That, and brush up on online promotion—increasingly it is essential for publishing success, both for published and unpublished authors.” (Link)
There is a list of agency clients on the website.
Ms. Bent’s clients include: Stephanie Garber, AG Howard, Gary John Bishop, Lori Nelson Spielman, Goldy Moldavsky, Tiffany D. Jackson, Dhonielle Clayton, Yangsze Choo, Lynn Weingarten, Lynsay Sands, Lori Wilde, and Julia London, among many others.
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify): 
"Review our agents’ pages and decide which of us you’d like to query. Please do not simultaneously query our agents; submit your work to only one of us. If that agent passes, feel free to contact another. See the Bent Agency website complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
"Email your chosen agent using the address indicated on their page, or their QueryManager link if indicated. Tell them briefly who you are and what your book is about. Include the title of your project in the subject line of your email. Then paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (not as an attachment, please)." 
Response Times:
The agency has a stated response time (or goal, rather) of responding to queries within a month. If you do not receive a response within that time, resend your query and indicate you are resending or feel free to query another agent. 
What's the Buzz?
Jenny Bent is a highly respected agent with an established list of successful clients, including many New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.  Her clients seem very happy with her representation, and despite her full list Ms. Bent is always looking for brilliant new talent.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Interview at Duotrope (09/2022).
Podcast with SCBWI (12/2021).
Podcast with Inside Writing (7/2020).
Podcast with 88 Cups of Tea (05/2018).
Podcast with Jessica Lahey (10/2016).
Literary Agent Jenny Bent on Foreign Rights and Comp Titles (3/2016)
Q&A With Jenny Bent (6/2015).
Agent Jenny Bent Wish List (04/2014).
Query Questions with Jenny Bent at Michelle4Laughs (01/2014).
7 Questions for: Literary Agent Jenny Bent at Middle Grade Ninja (01/2013).
Around the Web:
Please see the Bent Agency website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 12/31/2022. 
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 2/4/2023.
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.


Lorena said...

She seems wonderful. Thank you, Casey!

Anonymous said...

Great agent spotlight. Thanks for sharing.

Marsha Sigman said...

Is it horrible of me that one of the reasons I would love to have her as an agent is so I can tell peeps they should get bent?

It's not like the main reason...

Angela Brown said...

*grinning at Marsha* - that's just the coolest. Love it.

Another great agent spotlight. Thanks Casey!

Amy Jarecki said...

Thank you Casey! Your posts are marvelous! I'm just finishing a contemporary romance (I don't do YA), and this information is very helpful.


Unknown said...

Thank you for compiling all this info for all of us, Casey. Informative and helpful, they could only be made better with random pics of wiener dogs. (hint hint) Hehehe. Thanks again!

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you, everyone. She really is fantastic. Good luck to those of you who query her!