This week's Agent Spotlight features Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Jenny Bent has worked in publishing for over 15 years, both as an editor and an agent, most recently as Vice President at Trident Media Group
before founding The Bent Agency in 2009. There she has continued her
tradition of representing bestsellers, with over 15 titles on the NYT list
since she opened her doors. The agency recently expanded to include an
in-house foreign rights agent and a children's book agent, Susan Hawk,
formerly the Marketing Director at Henry Holt Children's Books. She is
looking for young adult, literary suspense, crime, romantic suspense, and
general fiction. Please see her website, www.thebentagency.com, for
submission guidelines.” (via e-mail)
Bent On Books (blog).
What She's Looking For:
Genres/Specialties:Middle grade, young adult, literary suspense, crime, romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, general fiction, memoir and select nonfiction.
From her AAR profile:
“I'm a true generalist, but I've had a fair amount of success representing books that appeal to middle America, as well as books targeted to women, whether humor, lifestyle, fiction, or memoir. I also love suspense and crime.” (Link)
From An Interview (04/2011):
“I would love more high concept young adult, dark creepy romantic suspense, and literary suspense, and women's book club fiction.” (Link)
From a Blog Post (09/2010):
“…Please send me your wonderful romance novel, be it historical, paranormal, or contemporary. […] I love inspirational, heartwarming stories, particularly about people that others might consider ‘average’ or unremarkable. […] Editors all over New York are clamoring for great crime/suspense with female leads, so if you are writing this in particular, please send it my way.
“What else am I looking for?
“1. Women's ‘bookclub’ fiction, like TBA client Amy Bourret's Mothers and Other Liars, a Target Breakout pick this summer. I just read the new Kristin Hannah book in galleys and loved, loved, it. If you're the next Kristin Hannah please get in touch.
“2. Memoir with an amazing hook and great writing. If you're working on your own personal version of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, I would love to hear from you. I also really like memoirs about mental illness or anything to do with the brain--I represented one of the very first memoirs about Asperger's Syndrome, the winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, called Songs of the Gorilla Nation by Dawn Prince Hughes.
“Really it all (mostly) comes down to this: make me laugh or make me cry. Preferably both. Hope to hear from you soon.” (Link)
From An Interview (12/2009):
“I handle fiction, both commercial and literary. In terms of nonfiction, I do memoir, and limited lifestyle by female authors. I also represent some very prominent female humor writers and I just took on my first new humor writer in about ten years.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Science Fiction, Poetry, Picture Books, 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.
“As much or as little as the client wants/needs. If the client has a long-standing relationship with her editor, I’m not going to muddy the waters by offering my own feedback, unless I’ve been asked for advice by either party. If we are working on submission material, however, I often work quite closely with authors, and offer detailed editorial letters. I often do the most editing when I’m submitting a first novel.” (Link)
“In a career spanning 15 years, I have made a practice of making bestsellers - either by spotting new talent or developing careers for multi-published authors. My list is varied and includes commercial fiction and nonfiction, literary fiction and memoir. All the books I represent speak to the heart in some way: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story-telling.” (Link)
“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:
Jennifer Archer, Amanda Ashby, Kathryn Caskie, Tera Lynn Childs, Brent Crawford, Janelle Denison, Stephanie Hale, Sandra Hill, John Kasich, Kieran Kramer, Julia London, Laurie Notaro, Liz Rosenberg, Lynsay Sands, Mark Steensland, Lori Wilde, among many others.
As of this posting, Ms. Bent is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 10 deals in the last 12 months, 28 six-figure+ deals, and 143 overall. Recent deals include 4 women’s/romance, 2 general/other, 3 young adult, and 1 middle grade.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“If you know you are a great writer with a story to tell, we hope you will be in touch. Tell us briefly who you are, what your book is, and why you're the one to write it. Then include the first ten pages of your material in the body of your e-mail.”
See the Bent Agency website complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
The agency has a stated response time (or goal, rather) or responding to queries within a month. If you do not receive a response within that time, resend your query and indicate you are resending.
Stats on the web show the agency responding to most queries within hours to a month. Requested material ranges from days to quite a few months.
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:
A BBCHAT with Jenny Bent at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (06/2011).
Q&A with Jenny Bent at Writer’s League of Texas (05/2011).
Interactive Interview with an Agent: Jenny Bent at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (04/2011).
The Five-Question [Literary] Agent Interview with Jenny Bent at The Writer’s [Inner] Journey (09/2010).
Interview with Jenny Bent at Novelists, Inc. (04/2010).
Q&A with Jenny Bent at Pennwriters (04/2010).
Interview with Jenny Bent, Spring 2010, at College of Arts and Sciences.
Jenny Bent Tells Us What Agents Want at WOW (12/2009).
Interview: Jenny Bent at A View from the Top (12/2009).
Interview with Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency at Much Cheaper Than Fiction (04/2009)
Agent Advice Interview with Jenny Bent at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (02/2008).
An Interview with Jenny Bent at Algonkian Writers Conference.
Jenny Bent Guest Q&A at AbsoluteWrite (05/2006).
Interview with Literary Agent Jenny Bent at pcquill (03/2006).
Agent & Editor Q&A: Agent Four (Jenny Bent!) at POD-DY MOUTH (02/2006).
Interview with Literary Agent Jenny Bent at readersvoice.com (09/2003).
Selected Blog Posts:
Fall-Winter-Spring Conference Schedule (07/2011).
Think of me as a conduit, not a gatekeeper (04/2011).
On Failure (10/2010).
And now a word from...Intern X (07/2010).
Bent on Bragging (11/2010).
Rookie Mistakes (02/2010).
What’s Not to Like (11/2009).
Subscribe and read many more fantastic posts in the archives of Bent on Books, including a recent series where Bent Agency clients discuss how they got their agent and sold their first book.
Around the Web:
Pitching An Agent: The Bent Agency at MediaBistro (AvantGuild Membership required) (04/2011).
What to Expect When You Get Published by Jenny Bent at Backspace (02/2011).
Dance with the One What Brung Ya, guest post at Backspace (01/2011).
Agent Talk: Jenny Bent, conference notes at Muse (02/2010).
Spotlighting Agent: Jenny Bent at examiner.com (07/2009).
Agent Appreciation Day post by client Robin O’Bryant (12/2009).
Guest: Agent Jenny Bent, great post on contracts at Genreality (08/2009).
Tag! Jenny Bent is it!, pre-blog meme at Pub Rants (03/2006).
Please see the Bent Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 7/28/11.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/28/11.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(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.