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Agent Interview: Jenny Bent

Q: Describe what you're looking for in 25 characters or less.

A: novels that make me feel

Q: What other agents do you admire most?

A: Julie Barer, Eric Simonoff, Molly Friedrich

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

A: All my own clients of course; after that I love Jane Austen, Liane Moriarty, Jennifer McMahon, George RR Martin, Lisa Jewell, Naomi Novik, Larry McMurtry, James Lee Burke, Emily St. John Mandel, Anne Tyler, Mo Hayder, Tana French and Kate Atkinson.

Q: What sets you apart from other agents who look at the same type of material?

A: My weird sense of humor?

Q: What is the best advice you can give someone who is considering submitting work to you?

A: Take a look at what I currently rep and consider how well your work fits with my list.

Q: Describe the ideal query letter.

A: Be as concise and straightforward as possible while also being as descriptive as possible. Focus on plots, not themes. If you can include a strong hook and good comps, even better. Show me you understand where your book fits in the market and how best to describe it.

Q: Describe the ideal manuscript.

A: Funny, sad, fast-paced, great characterization, original, highly visual, that teaches me something new about places or people or takes me somewhere (real or imaginary) I've never been.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Anything interesting or relevant--if your novel is about cooking and you were once a chef, please let me know!

Q: How much of a manuscript do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: I try to read the query letter to the end, I don't always read all ten pages if I can tell quickly it's not right for me.

Q: What is a day in the life of an agent like for you?

A: Mostly answering emails, solving problems, and on good days, hopefully fielding offers!