Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle

Well, hello there. Thanks for joining me. And thanks too, to Axl, for the shout-out. I think he says it best and most appropriately given the current climate, don't you? And yet, as anyone starting a business right now would have to be, I am actually feeling pretty optimistic these days.

I know things suck in publishing right now. But I wouldn't be setting out on my own if I didn't think that there were ways of working with this. Let's not forget that editors still need to buy books and are in fact continuing to spend significant amounts of money on said books. So to survive as agents and authors we need to put ourselves in their shoes and think about what they will need to buy. Here's a list of what I'm thinking it will be, in no particular order. It's just kind of off the top of my head and I'm sure I'll forget lots of stuff, so please post with your own ideas. Or tell me I'm a moron. Or whatever.

The Bent on Books List of Topics To Write About In the New Economy

1. Selected business and personal finance

A. As subset of the above, books on saving money, sustainability, downsizing, surviving hard times

B. Also subset, books on job hunting, resumes

C. Books on starting your own business

2. Fiction by authors who have a good solid track record with numbers that are trending up. Even if the numbers are not huge, if there is solid improvement over time, editors will be interested.

3. First fiction, particularly with a commercial hook--more trade paperback and mass market than hardcover

4. Celebrity books, even by minor celebrities

5. heartwarming nonfiction--particularly heartwarming nonfiction which will get a lot of media attention

A. about pets

B. about surviving hard times

C. insert something else heartwarming here

6. faith-based fiction and nonfiction

That's all for now. Thanks for tuning in.

P.S. Coming soon: what to do if you're not writing any of the above.


  1. Found your blog via twitter. Would love to hear more of your thoughts.

  2. Congrats on starting your own agency, and much success to you! :-)

  3. Do you think the YA market is still trending up? The kids I have around me are still buying books in a steady stream, but I'm not sure if that's true nationwide.

    And congrats on the agency! That's really exciting!

  4. I really liked your list! Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Congrats on your new agency, Jenny. -- Jeff Rivera (GalleyCat &

  6. Jenny, congrats on your new venture! Love the optimism. Keep it coming!

  7. Congrats and best wishes for the success of your new agency!

  8. Congrats on the new venture!

    I'm going to stay tuned because I loved your list and can certainly see why these would be books purchased right now...but alas, I'm not writing any of that. :(

  9. Congrats on your new agency!

    Thanks for this list, I'm marketing a 5, sort of 6, and working on 3's. LOL!
    I'll check out your submission guidelines.

  10. Congratulations on the new agency! Wishing you much success!

  11. Jenny,
    I just read of your starting your own agency and a big hearty East Texas congratulations to YOU! I have been following you for years as I love the authors you represent and you also are a pro-active literary agent. Now I love my agent more than life itself, (Marly Rusoff), but I also admire you too! I kind of see this as a time where the marathon literacy promoters are breaking out from the pack to lead the road to better reading!
    If you ever get to Texas, I would love to meet you in person. You are a great role model for women and authors.
    Tiara wearing and Book sharing,
    Kathy L. Patrick
    Founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs

  12. Congrats!!! I found you started your own agency when I went to Trident's site and saw you were no longer listed there! I googled you immediately and found your new site!!

    Thanks for your list...glad to see what I write is on it (#3). My query is already in your inbox!

    Best of luck to you!

    Stephanie Haefner

  13. Great list, Jenny! Congratulations on the new agency. I adore the graphics. I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts, especially the next post!

  14. Congratulations. Found you through the Query Tracker blog. Good luck. I like your list. I feel the same way...optimistic.

  15. You are one of the best, and I'm interested in what you are doing!

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  17. Dear Ms. Bent,

    Congratulations on your new agency!

    I like your list on non-fiction books for the new economy. I know you're a busy lady, but it would be wonderful if you could provide us with tips on non-fiction book proposals. I've read sample elsewhere, but since you have been so successful with nonfiction, I would love to know what you look for in a proposal.

    Best of luck going forward!

  18. Hey Jenny - yay on your new agency! It's going to be fabulous!!!!

  19. Good idea about non-fiction proposals--will add it to my list of topics.

  20. Major congrats on your new agency.

  21. Major congrats on the new agency.

  22. Hi Jenny
    Congratulations on starting your own agency! I agree it is a good time to start. Our local TV Channel in Phoenix just did a spot on Things that Sell Well in a Recession. Romance Novels was #3! Three cheers for books!

  23. Jenny, this is Sherry Austin, posting as Trixie Goforth because that's my Google name.

    I'd love to see something that clearly explains the issue of platform for nonfiction. I understand why it helps. What I don't understand is why it seems so necessary for nonfiction but not for fiction, since it seems to me that surely some nonfiction topics, without a big author platform, would sell better than the vast majority of novels, unless those novels are by established writers with a following, or new writers chosen for big book treatment.

  24. Congrats on opening your own agency! Wishing you adventure, opportunity, and success...

    Smiles to you,
    Chiron O'Keefe

  25. Dear Ms. Jenny Bent,

    I found you through the Kentucky Women Writers website and just want to send a little shout your way. I've researched a ton of agency websites since completing my manuscript last month and have to say that I found your new site to be not only informative, but also refreshing. I think the blog is a good idea. Makes you a little less scary.
    I wish you great success and thanks for inviting feedback.

  26. May you bring great authors to the world.

    Congrats and best of luck for the new challenge.

    God Bless.

  27. Congratulations on your new adventure,Jenny! May you sell many books.

    Jenny A.