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Literary Agent Interview: Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency

Victoria is looking for both commercial and literary fiction as well as young adult titles. Her favorite genres are historical fiction, suspense, mysteries, upmarket women’s fiction, and romance.

This is an interview with Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency. She was born and raised in Queens, New York and graduated from the City University of New York, Queens College. Before joining the Bent Agency, she completed internships at Serendipity Literary and the Carol Mann Agency. She now lives on Long Island and in her spare time can be found teaching dance classes for young students or watching re-runs of The Office.

She is looking for both commercial and literary fiction as well as young adult titles. Her favorite genres are historical fiction, suspense, mysteries, upmarket women’s fiction, and romance.

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How and why did you become a literary agent?

I started at the Bent Agency in 2013, first as Jenny Bent’s assistant and then gradually building my client list. Before that, I received my degree in Media Studies at CUNY: Queens College and completed internships at a couple of other literary agencies. As for the why, I think it’s the usual answer: I’ve always loved to read and I still need to pinch myself every now and again to make sure that this is really what I get to do.

You’re acquiring titles intended for digital-first publishers. Can you explain more about this platform and how it differs from traditional publishing? Are certain genres more conducive to it?

Digital-first publishing is exactly what it sounds like. You agree to sell your book in digital format only at first, and then usually if your sales hit a designated threshold, your book goes into print, whereas traditional publishing offers print deals right at the start. So far, romance has been the trend in digital-first, though more publishers are also looking for mysteries and thrillers. It’s also important to know that this format lets publishers take more chances on debut authors and can even be used to breathe life into an author’s backlist.

Also, I should note that I don’t only acquire projects intended for digital-first. I’m also very much looking to take on clients and pursue the traditional publishing route.

For a debut author, does publishing digital-first mean they may have a harder time getting future work published traditionally?

Not at all!

You mention on the Bent Agency’s blog wanting a contemporary romance with a touch of magical realism, like The Time Traveler’s Wife. What is it about Henry and Clare’s story that makes you want a query for a book like it in your inbox?

Oh, this is such a good story. I loved how Henry’s time-travelling was once something that added wonder & adventure to Clare’s life and then as their relationship matures, it eventually loses its magic for her and creates this distance in their relationship. I just really related to the evolution of their dynamic even though (unfortunately) I’ve never had any magical boyfriends.

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What else would we find on an updated version of your manuscript wish list? Any specific plots or themes you'd like to see?

I’m really on the hunt for a suspenseful domestic thriller that both keeps me on the edge of my seat and picks apart a complicated and perhaps volatile marriage. Also, TBA has started posting monthly wish list blog posts so you can always tune into our blog to see our most up-to-date requests!

What’s a recent book that’s been published that you wish you could have represented? Why?

Hmm, well like everyone, I read and loved Girl on the Train. It was beautifully written and so very suspenseful.

What's something personal about you writers might be surprised to hear?

That up until my junior year of college I had every intention of being an architect. But then I found out literary agents existed and I could read for a living and immediately changed course.

Will you be attending any writer’s conferences coming up where people can pitch you?

Yes! I will be at Washington Writers Conference: Books Alive! on April 25, 2015, then RWA National July 22-25, 2015, and the one and only Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam on August 1 [the conference itself is July 31 - Aug. 2].

What’s on your nightstand to read next?

The next few books I have in my queue are: M.O. Walsh’s My Sunshine Away, Katherine Heiny’s Single, Carefree, Mellow, and Heidi Pitlor’s The Daylight Marriage.

Finally, you and fellow Bent Agency agent Beth Phelan have been participating in an Ask Us Anything feature on your agency’s blog. What question (or two) seems most on the minds of today’s writers?

I think writers are always curious on agents’ takes on current trends—whether a particular genre is on the upswing and whether we think their genre is more or less viable in the current marketplace, which is totally expected and understandable!

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This interview conducted by Gail Werner, a freelance writer
and committee member of the Midwest Writers Workshop.
You can visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:

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