Literary Agent Interview: Victoria Lowes of The Bent Agency - Writer's Digest

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.
Author:
Publish date:

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.

literary-agent-victoria-lowes-bent-agency

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.57.50 PM

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

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!

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 6.07.16 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more 
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying, 
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.