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Cait
08-16-2010, 10:45 PM
Hello, I am writing a book and in the middle of editing it and reworking some scenes. My question has to deal with genre, and how you can tell where your book fits with the kind of agent to get. I write drama with fantasy, sometimes science fiction, sometimes both, with magic, and such mixed it. I write reality, but most of the time, there is romance so my audience is mostly aimed at women. There is no sex, generally unless it adds to the story; which there has only been once it has happened.

My brother suggested I go to an agent who works with fantasy/science fiction; but I am not sold on the idea. I guess I just want a second opinion about what someone else thinks.

Ryan_Sullivan
08-17-2010, 12:01 AM
Yeah, you're probably best with sci-fi/fantasy. The romance/reality are facets to the story, but the fantasy and sci-fi trump those when it comes to submission. Your best choice of agents, however, is somebody who reps all of those. You can find a ton of agents who rep. fantasy and romance. This is more of a question of how you pitch it.

Good luck.

omega12596
08-17-2010, 08:26 AM
But that's really the sticking point, isn't it? How do you pitch something that's cross genre? I know it's getting hotter by the week, the 'not quite this or that' book -especially in regard to UF/Spec Fic mixed with thriller or romance.

And yes, I know this is absolutely subjective, and so the caveat to each his own, but... How might one classify a mixed bag of genres when seeking representation, with the given understanding that no one/two specific genres are fully dominating the work?

Ryan_Sullivan
08-17-2010, 09:24 AM
Well, certain genres are more exclusive than others. For example, think of publishers. There are publishers who do ONLY fantasy, or do NO fantasy. Within most publishers though, they probably have wide ranges of romance levels, etc. So, if you have fantasy elements, it pretty much throws you into the fantasy realm (whether it be speculative, urban, or whatever).

When you write a query, you want to state the genre as being the most precise that you can--like fantasy, sci-fi, romance, YA contemporary, YA paranormal romance, etc. Your story should come across as what it is though. Also, you can signal that by placing yourself in the market, and signaling other writers who are similar. So, you say "my fantasy novel" and then qualify it as "high speculative epic fantasy, in the vein of Tolkein, but with a Nora Roberts twist" (I'm not a fantasy person, so this could sound crazy, and I'm just using popular examples. You shouldn't compare yourself to huge names.)

Old Hack
08-17-2010, 11:35 AM
If you've written something which is truly cross-genre AND IT'S REALLY GOOD then you've increased the number of agents and publishers who might be interested in it.

You pitch it as an SF book with a romantic influence to the SF agents and publishers; as a romance with some SF elements to the agents and publishers who are interested in romance; and so on. If the book is good enough then they might all be interested; if it isn't, then you're not likely to find a publisher however you pitch it.

omega12596
08-17-2010, 09:58 PM
Thanks for the answers :D I have no idea how 'good' any of the work is, beyond my own bias. But picking the genre has been difficult, since all of them have elements of many things, but nothing really dominates. And IMO, not knowing how to classify a work in a pitch would do me no favor.

Ryan_Sullivan
08-18-2010, 02:38 AM
You should bear in mind, if you don't know how to label it, an agent/publisher/bookstore might have trouble labeling it--which isn't a good thing. Labels suck, but they're a reality, so it's definitely something you should consider as you move on. You should start to see if things stick out of your work--perhaps have a reader tell you.

omega12596
08-18-2010, 04:30 AM
I've been lucky to this point in that I chose to e-publish and the variety of genres I mix is not a hindrance, but a help. I realize the print world is different, LOL and that I've been spoiled by being able to write paranormal, urban fantasy, techno/horror thrillers with romantic elements and graphic sexual content.

Narrowing that mix down in my queries to agents has, I'll admit, had me pulling out my hair at times. And when I get too frustrated, I set the queries aside and go work on cleaning up one or another of the mss. some more. Hopefully, once I think one of them is a shining, sparkling thing of greatness(LMAO) I'll have decided how to label it :D

idempotent1729
08-18-2010, 09:30 PM
This is an interesting thread, and I have a similar question. My story is a lighthearted, somewhat humorous mystery (has excitement and scary moments but no one gets killed), with a love story but no sex, and revolves around mathematics. I have been researching agents interested in mysteries/thrillers who also either list science as one of their nonfiction interests or who state that they like "offbeat/quirky" stories. Does anyone have thoughts about whether this is a good strategy or whether another might be better? In particular, is "offbeat/quirky" an appropriate category? Thanks!

Danthia
08-18-2010, 09:58 PM
Typically, wherever the book would be shelved in the bookstore determines its genre. Sometimes that's "fiction" if the book is just a basic story with no critical genre tropes that make it a genre book.

If your story would not work without the SFF elements, you're probably in the SFF genre. If it's all about getting the two love interests together, it's probably romance. Whatever the dominating genre element is will probably determine where the book would be shelved. Romance and mystery are included in most novels out there to a certain degree, but to fit those genres specifically, those aspects typically are the driving force of the novel.

Ryan_Sullivan
08-19-2010, 12:08 AM
This is an interesting thread, and I have a similar question. My story is a lighthearted, somewhat humorous mystery (has excitement and scary moments but no one gets killed), with a love story but no sex, and revolves around mathematics. I have been researching agents interested in mysteries/thrillers who also either list science as one of their nonfiction interests or who state that they like "offbeat/quirky" stories. Does anyone have thoughts about whether this is a good strategy or whether another might be better? In particular, is "offbeat/quirky" an appropriate category? Thanks!

Sounds like you could have a cozy mystery here. You definitely want to look at what agents want, but you should also look at their personalities via whatever sources you can find (twitter, blog, interviews...) that way you can tell what kind of person they are. Do they seem like they could they get your humor/writing?

idempotent1729
08-19-2010, 11:48 PM
Thanks, Ryan! This is helpful. OK, a cozy mathematical mystery - maybe I can describe it in this way, or even if I don't explicitly say that, I like your idea about trying to get a sense of a given agent's humor, since this is probably important in determining whether he/she would enjoy the feel of the story.

Ryan_Sullivan
08-20-2010, 01:41 AM
Thanks, Ryan! This is helpful. OK, a cozy mathematical mystery - maybe I can describe it in this way, or even if I don't explicitly say that, I like your idea about trying to get a sense of a given agent's humor, since this is probably important in determining whether he/she would enjoy the feel of the story.

It's ALWAYS a good idea to personalize queries. So, if you can find something you can reference and say that it made you want to query them because you thought they might be right for your work, it can only help.

idempotent1729
08-20-2010, 10:15 PM
Good to know. I am between query batches, but will apply this to the next batch!

McCarroll
08-24-2010, 01:03 AM
I am having the same issues. Figuring out the genre has been one of the trickiest parts for me. My book is loaded with romance with no sex. It also has mystery and magic. Dramatic scenes and action fill the pages. Best I could come up with was romantic fantasy but it could also fall under the lines of fiction.

Giant Baby
08-24-2010, 02:39 AM
If you've written something which is truly cross-genre AND IT'S REALLY GOOD then you've increased the number of agents and publishers who might be interested in it.

You pitch it as an SF book with a romantic influence to the SF agents and publishers; as a romance with some SF elements to the agents and publishers who are interested in romance; and so on. If the book is good enough then they might all be interested; if it isn't, then you're not likely to find a publisher however you pitch it.

QFT.

Once you sign with an agent, they'll know how to send it out, and they'll likely do the same thing with editors s/he thinks would be a match. I know mine has. Tailor your query to the agents' interests. Unless your book is really all over the place, this can actually open the market up to you, not constrict it.