View Full Version : Who to Query To: What is Historical Fiction?

07-30-2009, 06:00 AM
I've written a fictional novel about the Holocaust based on lots of intensive research. It is character driven, but includes very specific facts as well. The novel takes place both in Europe and in the US, discussing a little bit about women's issues in post-war USA.

I'd had the idea that this novel was historical fiction for a long time and had been querying agents and agents all to get the dreaded rejection notice. At a recent conference, someone asked if 1930s fiction is historical fiction and it became a debated topic.

At the same conference, I talked to an agent about a few things and she requested a sample chapter, even though her agency is not partiuclarly interested in Jewish themes or historical fiction. Today, I received a request from Andrea Hurst to send the first 50 pages after seeing she had represented a Holocaust novel in the past. However, her website asks for women's fiction and commercial fiction, so I thought she'd pass on me.

All this being said, should I be querying agents interested in literary fiction and fiction with strong women characters or continue with the historical fiction route (to which I've had little luck)?

07-30-2009, 08:59 AM
Cast as wide a net as possible. Query agents who cover historical and literary fiction, but include agents interested in "general", "mainstream", or "commercial" fiction, as well.

07-30-2009, 04:48 PM
You can also target agents who are interested in Jewish themes. There aren't too many, but I remember seeing a few who explicitly listed it as a "genre" they represent. That might give you an edge. And, yes, what BenPanced said - cast a very wide net. Especially, since it seems like you can with your book - literary, mainstream, commercial, women's lit...

07-31-2009, 08:02 AM
Good advice above. Also, don't call your work a "fictional novel" - straight to the shredder!

07-31-2009, 05:21 PM
When in doubt, call it fiction (which yours could easily fall into) and query agents who have rep'd or sold or say they are interested in books with similar themes, ideas, style as yours.

07-31-2009, 10:30 PM
Thanks guys! I'm actually getting MS requests from agents after querying those interested in women's fiction, so woohoo! :)

Thanks for the tip about the "fictional novel" phrasing as well.