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View Full Version : Genre Question--Have I Been Querying the Wrong Agents?



Clone80
03-01-2009, 12:22 PM
I've written a post-apocalyptic novel that I've been describing as a work of mainstream/commercial suspense in my query letter to agents (25 queries, only one request for a partial). However, a simple Google search of "disaster novel" brought up many similar books published by heavy hitters in SF (Tor/ Tom Doherty, among others).

I can count the number of SF novels I've read on one hand. When I think SF I think Star Trek, interplanetary travel, futuristic societies, etc. My novel revolves around what the MCs do after the Earth goes bye-bye; three disparate groups of survivors do what they feel is necessary to keep on keeping on. The initial catastrophe takes place over the course of a couple of days, basically without warning. The rest of the MS focuses on how they try to rebuild their little patches of society.

Does this premise fall under the umbrella of SF? If so, it would open my little novel up to many, many more agents and publishers. Any advice from those fluent in SF would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.

Brian

gothicangel
03-01-2009, 02:13 PM
I would place it under SF.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is placed under [speclative] Science Fiction - also dys-utopian fiction.

Danthia
03-01-2009, 05:18 PM
I've always considered post-apocalyptic stuff sci fi myself, though it can be found in and out of the SFF section. You might as well query agents who take sci fi, especially if they have post-apocalyptic novels on their lists. Worst case you get rejected because they don't rep them and all you lose is a stamp. Best case, one loves the book and you gain an agent.

Kathleen42
03-01-2009, 05:47 PM
I've always considered post-apocalyptic stuff sci fi myself, though it can be found in and out of the SFF section. You might as well query agents who take sci fi, especially if they have post-apocalyptic novels on their lists. Worst case you get rejected because they don't rep them and all you lose is a stamp. Best case, one loves the book and you gain an agent.

I think this is good advice. I've seen The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake in the literary fiction section but, in all honesty, I suspect that is partly due to the fact that I'm in Canada (In Canada, it's mandatory that bookstores place Margaret Atwood as close to he front of the store as possible and Atwood books must take up 5% of shelf space - it's known alternately as The Atwood Ratio and the informal Atwood Act).

If you're reluctant, you could always make sci-fi agents tier two and query them only after you've exhausted your tier one list.

Ambrosia
03-01-2009, 05:52 PM
I would query Sci-Fi agents.

virtue_summer
03-01-2009, 11:07 PM
I'd place it under science fiction. Really, science fiction consists of a large variety of stories. It goes way beyond just Star Trek. Especially if other stories that seem to share similarities with yours tend to be classified as science fiction, that's a big hint right there.