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proudtobedad
04-15-2011, 09:19 PM
I'm having trouble getting anyone to look at my new novel, which has LGBT and HIV themes in it. The few that have gave me terrific/glowing notes, only to state that they weren't sure about its commercial prospects.

Any leads on agents would might be open to a more edgy, outside the mainstream read???

(If I can't get any traction, I'm thinking of self-publishing, but know how hard that can be.)

Any leads would be appreciated!
Kergan

Uncarved
04-15-2011, 09:27 PM
Hmmm, you should post in the "Ask an Agent" thread. This one is about sharing leads you've come across, and it may not be seen by those that can help you;)

proudtobedad
04-15-2011, 09:31 PM
Thanks!

Kitty Pryde
04-15-2011, 09:41 PM
On agentquery.com you can search for agents that rep LGBT fiction. My search brought up 38 agents. Even if you would categorize your novel as fiction about LGBT characters, rather than LGBT fiction, you know you're querying an agent who is actively seeking those kinds of stories.

proudtobedad
04-15-2011, 09:44 PM
Thanks! While the lead is gay, I am getting the impression that is automatically getting it lumped in the "gay fiction bucket". But there are bigger themes and I think it could have a much wider audience, as it really is literary fiction. Targeting folks who have enjoyed the work of Michael Cunningham or Augusten Burroughs. Gay topics, but bigger relevance.

Thanks for the tip! If anyone has specific names of folks they know, please share!

PinkAmy
04-15-2011, 11:12 PM
I use querytracker.org where you can also track by genre. You're probably going to have to do your own legwork. Use one of the sites, then go to the agents' websites and research what agents are interested in. Once you get an agent and the agent find a published, the audience and market will be ferreted out. I think you're more likely to get representation from agents who rep LGBT lit. and having the book marketed for a larger audience than going for an general agent and hoping they realize your book is could reach more people than the LGBT mkt.

AyJay
04-16-2011, 04:43 AM
Great suggestions above, and I'll share that I feel like I'm in the same boat, with a novel that's been called "unmarketable." (though totally different genre within the gay theme)

I haven't given up hope completely in getting it published traditionally. I'm in the midst of a major rewrite, and will then query agents and small publishers. But I'm also feeling like if that final try doesn't work, self-publishing could be the way to bring this looong time endeavor to some level of satisfying closure. We should talk. :)

tarak
04-16-2011, 05:42 AM
I'd also suggest going to a bookstore and taking a look at LGBT literature. The authors might list their agents on the acknowledgments pages, and you might get a nice list started that way.

proudtobedad
04-16-2011, 05:54 AM
Great suggestions--thanks!

suki
04-16-2011, 06:02 AM
And you can use querytracker.net's "who reps who" function to look up authors to see who represents them - it's not an exhaustive list, but it does list many authors.

I'd also caution against excluding agents who don't list lgbt fiction - I'd cast a wide net. You never know what agent might connect with the book.

~suki

proudtobedad
04-16-2011, 06:14 AM
I'm tackling agents who specialize in literary fiction, but initially those who note an openness to LGBT issues as well.

But if anyone here's of someone who really is in this marketplace, I'd appreciate the lead! :)

susz
04-17-2011, 03:49 AM
I'm having trouble getting anyone to look at my new novel, which has LGBT and HIV themes in it. The few that have gave me terrific/glowing notes, only to state that they weren't sure about its commercial prospects.

Any leads on agents would might be open to a more edgy, outside the mainstream read???

(If I can't get any traction, I'm thinking of self-publishing, but know how hard that can be.)

Any leads would be appreciated!
Kergan

best of luck and please share in your success story of finding your dream agent. i'm in the same boat in the sense that i write stories with a gay male lead that are not classified as romance or erotica.

KalenO
04-18-2011, 11:20 AM
Honestly, if you want your work to be considered as part of the larger, literary market instead of a niche 'gay lead' novel, your best bet is to forget about the fact that you wrote a gay lead and treat it and query it the same as you would one of the literary novels you compare it to. If you differentiate it yourself, there's no way for agents not to do the same.

So I say forget about researching agents who rep LGBT or are 'gay friendly' and just query agents you respect or who rep authors you respect. Query widely. What's the worst that can happen? They say no? Instead, you could find the one agent who never bothered to list themselves as interested in LGBT literature or characters, because they never thought they were, until your query/MS got to them and they saw something in it that reminded them of the authors you reference and makes them look closer.

Most of my stuff is genre fiction, sci-fi or fantasy oriented, and while LGBT characters crop up frequently, they're rarely the main characters. I don't consider myself an LGBT focused author or intend to market myself as such. I just want to be an author who writes books, some of which happen to be about gay characters. So when I started querying my first novel last month, and it happened to be the one novel I've written that has both a gay lead and no paranormal elements, it just didn't make sense for me to try and find agents best suited to THAT particular work when I don't think its representative of the path I want my overall career to take. So instead I queried the science fiction and fantasy agents I dream of representing my genre works and stated in my query that I KNOW that this MS is nothing like what they normally represent. But as its not what I normally write, I figured that if I could hook them or intrigue them with my voice and writing in this MS, then surely they could be equally passionate about my genre stuff, which is more in line with what they normally rep.

Currently, I have a revised partial out with a very prominent fantasy/scifi agent whose stats, client list and website gave absolutely ZERO indication that she would have the faintest interest in my MS, as its so apples and oranges to everything she's ever dealt with or mentioned looking for. I was flabbergasted when she requested a partial the day after I sent the query, and she got back to me in less than two weeks saying that my MS would be a VERY tough sell, as its YA, dealing with homosexuality and death, both topics very taboo to teens to begin with, and that a MS would have to be absolutely exquisite to have a chance at being published, so she's hesitant - and then she went on to say that she found my voice compelling, and requested I revise the partial according to some writing-specific feedback she gave and send the pages back to her. She has my revisions and I have no idea if its enough to make her take a chance on it and me, but point is, I never would have made it this far with her if I'd stuck to just querying agents who were known to be interested in LGBT works or gay friendly. I think there's such a thing as TOO much research, and sometimes we just have to go with our gut. If you find an agent you love and just KNOW you could work well with if you had the chance, what does it hurt you to query them regardless? Another rejection notice?

Jamesaritchie
04-18-2011, 07:41 PM
It isn't about agents, it's about what publishers want. This is always what agents want. You might do better by searching the large publishers to find ones that release books such as yours. If you can, this is leverage with an agent. If you can't find any, your book is probably not commercial, and you may have to go to a small pubisher on your own.

Medievalist
04-18-2011, 08:07 PM
Unless you have a agent who is deliberately indicating that they have giant problems with queer characters, it's pretty much a non-issue.

proudtobedad
04-18-2011, 08:17 PM
Thanks everyone!

I think the biggest issue may actually be "will this book sell". Although the lead is gay and dealing with HIV, the themes are much bigger and more universal. But I think folks are looking at the query and thinking "gay/AIDS" = tough sell.

But I do appreciate the leads and feedback. Thanks!

Medievalist
04-18-2011, 08:55 PM
Thanks everyone!

I think the biggest issue may actually be "will this book sell". Although the lead is gay and dealing with HIV, the themes are much bigger and more universal. But I think folks are looking at the query and thinking "gay/AIDS" = tough sell.

Go run your query through query hell.

proudtobedad
04-18-2011, 09:32 PM
Hmm--not sure what "query hell" is, but maybe my query is the issue. Please point the way!

And thanks!

proudtobedad
04-18-2011, 10:14 PM
Found Query Hell, but I'm too "new" to post! Oy vey! :)

Medievalist
04-18-2011, 10:50 PM
Found Query Hell, but I'm too "new" to post! Oy vey! :)

Well, go do some reading, and welcome Newbies in the Newbie's thread.

You'll rack up 50 posts in no time!

In the meantime, I'll warn you that the script that has to run once you've hit your 50 posts runs about once an hour, so it might not be instantaneous.

When you hit fifty, try logging off AW, then clear your cache and delete your AW cookies, then log back on. That will force the database to look at you, sort of.

proudtobedad
04-18-2011, 10:53 PM
Cool--thanks!

Becca C.
04-19-2011, 01:27 AM
Remember also that publishing is an extremely liberal, gay-friendly industry in general. YA author Malinda Lo did an awesome blog post (http://www.malindalo.com/2011/04/how-hard-is-it-to-sell-an-lgbt-ya-novel/) about this the other day -- I think it could help you.

proudtobedad
04-19-2011, 01:42 AM
Great blog post!

Jamesaritchie
04-19-2011, 02:40 PM
Remember also that publishing is an extremely liberal, gay-friendly industry in general. YA author Malinda Lo did an awesome blog post (http://www.malindalo.com/2011/04/how-hard-is-it-to-sell-an-lgbt-ya-novel/) about this the other day -- I think it could help you.

Well, overall, no, it isn't. There are certainly places in publishing for gay writing, but there is an overall bias, and many publishers shove it waayyy over to the side, take extremely few manuscripts, and shy away from any gay writing remotely concerned with children.

Very often, it's tokenism.

quicklime
04-19-2011, 06:54 PM
I'm tackling agents who specialize in literary fiction, but initially those who note an openness to LGBT issues as well.

But if anyone here's of someone who really is in this marketplace, I'd appreciate the lead! :)

I don't think you need to restrict yourself to "gay fiction"; you listed Augusten Burroughs, for example, and I don't believe "Scissors" is lumped in "Gay Memoir", just "Memoir".

That said, "literary" isn't a catch-all for anything not in the major genres, and I'm not sure your work is litfic; to the best of my knowledge scissors is mainstream, and would be a plain mainstream fiction novel if it had not been a memoir, not literary fiction.

Medievalist
04-19-2011, 09:20 PM
Well, overall, no, it isn't. There are certainly places in publishing for gay writing, but there is an overall bias, and many publishers shove it waayyy over to the side, take extremely few manuscripts, and shy away from any gay writing remotely concerned with children.

Very often, it's tokenism.

1. Suddenly, a book with a queer character is "gay writing. "

2. Have you actually talked to anyone in acquiring in the big six? A queer character is not going make much difference one way or another in mainstream fiction. It's not much different than having a token Swede.

3. You had to go from queer to pedophile. Have you actually heard or seen anyone in editorial say anything of the kind? Because frankly, people like me and the rest of the 10% who work in publishing would have made it very clear that that's a prime example of ass hattery.

Hillgate
04-19-2011, 10:15 PM
'Tales of the City' anyone??? Rock Hudson's/Dirk Bogarde's/Andy Warhol's/Freddy Mercury's biography?

KalenO
04-20-2011, 03:06 AM
Well, overall, no, it isn't. There are certainly places in publishing for gay writing, but there is an overall bias, and many publishers shove it waayyy over to the side, take extremely few manuscripts, and shy away from any gay writing remotely concerned with children.

Very often, it's tokenism.

From YA agent Kristin Nelson's Blog about a month ago, about what a children's editor told her she's actively seeking:

"On what sheís looking for. And Iím loving this list. Iíd be happy to see queries from writers for anything she mentions. Bring it on. 1. Contemporary YA where the heroine is not a victim.
2. Witches, MG or YA, dark or light
3. SF YA
4. Multicultural SF or fantasy
5. Humor
6. Strong novels with gay protagonists
7. Steampunk
8. Novels with the perfect blend of literary and commercial that will get starred reviews, win awards, and land on the Times list.




Oh thatís not asking for much! Iím getting right on that last one. *grin *"


As Kristin Nelson is one of the most sought after YA agents, with a large number of six figure deals and books optioned by Hollywood, I very much trust her word on what agents and editors are and are not looking for/open to.

proudtobedad
04-21-2011, 08:55 AM
Given some of the conversations this post brought up, I just ran across a great article in PW (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/print/20110418/46887-on-the-front-lines-lgbt-publishing-2011.html) about the state of LGBT-Publishing, for anyone interested...