Agent Advice: Janet Benrey of Benrey Literary

“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Janet Benrey of Benrey Literary) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This series has more than 170 interviews so far with reps from great literary agencies. This collection of interviews is a great place to start if you are just starting your research on literary agents.

This installment features Janet Benrey, founder of Benrey Literary in New Bern, N.C. Janet founded Benrey Literary in 2006. Previously with Hartline Literary Agency, Janet worked several jobs that have had two common themes: marketing and publishing. A published novelist, she’s co-written seven cozy mysteries with her husband.

She is seeking: For fiction, she is currently seeking contemporary women’s fiction for both markets, romance for both markets, and suspense/thriller for the secular market. She does not handle science fiction, fantasy or erotica. For nonfiction, she’s looking for Christian Living books and self-help books for both markets. She’s also keeping her eyes open for a unique project that captures her interest.


GLA: What’s the most recent thing you’ve sold? 

JB: Just this week, my client, Brenda Minton, received an offer from Harlequin’s Steeple Hill Love Inspired for her second book, Making It Right.

GLA: When writers send you a nonfiction book proposal, what are the most common things you see lacking?

JB: Nonfiction proposals should be fairly easy to write. There’s a lot of information available to writers on how to write the greatest, the most compelling, the “no-fail” nonfiction proposal, so I’m often surprised when authors fail to mention their reasons and credentials for writing the work. Like publishers, I often jump to the credentials section of the proposal before getting to the meat of the proposal. I need to know why an author is qualified to write what they’re writing and how their work differs from what has already been published on the topic they’ve chosen.

GLA: One of your specialties is “Christian Living.” Can you help define this and give a few book examples?

JB: The Christian Living category of books represents a huge umbrella that covers a multitude of topics. Christian Living works can include books on issues of importance to women, men and teenagers; Christian Living books can be about parenting, marriage, family life, divorce, breast cancer, healing, health, faith journies, spiritual challenges, leadership and devotionals. (One) series that I’ve contracted is for three books with a theme of taking faith to the next level. These were written by a pastor of a large church and the audience will be members of churches across the country who are interested in working through a study program that deals with parenting and other topics.


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GLA: You handle different genre workmystery, romance, Christian. When an author queries you, should they say their submission is simply a “mystery” or a “romance”? Or do they need to be more specific, saying it’s a “cozy” or a “Christian romance” or a “sensuous contemporary”?

JB: Please tell me in which genre you’re writing. An amazing number of authors fail to do this, leaving me to scratch my head. Please be specific. For example: This is a (insert word count) cozy mystery written for the Christian market. This is a (insert word count) contemporary/historical Christian romance. This does two things. It tells me that you read in your chosen genre and that you have a grasp of the requirements of the marketplace.

GLA: Bottom linewhat attracts you to a work? 

JB: Voice. Ain’t got voice, ain’t gonna sell. Voice is craft. Voice is dialogue. Voice is creating a fictional dream. Voice is the narrator you chose for your story. Voice is doing everything well. Voice is point of view. Voice is the sound of the novel



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3 thoughts on “Agent Advice: Janet Benrey of Benrey Literary

  1. Rev. Dr. Athanasius-John T. Nkom

    God judged Adam &. Eve: [Gen 3:19]
    Logic: Greek Hellenic and ancient philosophers: Theory of sound thinking: Aristotle: Plato reasoning sound: Logic, the study of valid inference, was developed by ancient Egyptians/Greeks philosophers as a result of their interests in arguments of every kind topics through their social influences on the self-willed, social perceptions, and social cognition etc: No resolution could be attained until this day in the modern age: Moreover, these genius philosophers so, they claimed to be; are all dead for good! But God the Creator of all still live with all resolutions;

    The Lord made all for Himself! Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom!� [Prov. 16: 4] Words of purpose/meaningful to everyone else ears and truth: The judgments of the Lord are true and just altogether! Jesus Christ is the ultimate Judge! Genesis language parallels links: God has set up a day for His righteous judgment such as that of Adam and Eve: God judged the ancient world: Also God will judge the modern world:

    The Book of Genesis constitutes of judgment! The beginning of every good and evil acts and aspiration: See [Acts 17: 30-32]: Everything is precisely sealed up for the Second Advent intervention: It is crucial for the modern world history.

    The first technical term for what we now call logic was used by Aristotle, Plato and other westerns tradition philosophers such as John Lockey, Jean Rousseau and this was dialectic: It is meaningless and un-purposeful. Let us face this truth that all men on earth shall face Jesus Christ Judgment� Seat on the Last Day! [2 Corinth 5: 10]:
    If you would like to see my manuscript, I can be reached at: I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks very much for your time.

  2. Athanasius-John Nkomo

    I need Christian agent to represent me to publishers.
    I am published author. I write lamentation books with biblical references: I write appealing books to repentance. I have five complete book need publishers. Will you please consider me as you client?
    Please respond at your earliest convenience. I real look forward to hearng from soon?
    May God bless you.

  3. Mary Cayton

    Hi Janet,
    I live in New Bern, NC and have a book published by Bloominghouse Publishers, Bishop George Bloomer, from Durham,NC.
    The book, "Conversations, Getting to Know an All Knowing God" is forwarded by Bishop Joby Brady of The River Church in Durham, NC who is married to Pastor Sheryl Brady. All three of the people I have mentined have been on TBN and Pastor Sheryl preached for T.D. Jakes, "Woman Thou Art Loosed". My book is a journey of struggles many women deal with in this day an age. It is a self-help book with instructions on how to overcome the dispair of severe rejection and abuse. The book also tells the story of how my 15 year marriage dissolved for a year. Then I share with the reader how God spoke to me, restored my marriage, and put my husband and I in ministry. I have spoken at a number of women’s conferences and conferences throughout the US and in other countries. I need an agent to help get this book into the hands of hurting people so they can know that God has a hope and a future for them. My phone is 252-637-3820, and my cell is 252-229-0431 if you would like to talk.


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