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View Full Version : Curious that I'll be passed just because there's vampires



Merenwen
10-03-2012, 08:12 PM
I've been working of the same series for nearly a decade. It's a fantasy cross-over with Sci-Fi elements. About 5 years ago I queried several agents and got two requesting a full. I was ultimately rejected, not becuase of the concept, but because it needed to be flushed out.

I spent all this time on the series since then and vampires have exploded. I'm ready to start querying again, but now I'm concerned that virtually no agent will consider me because anything to do with vampires is a crowded market.

Wondering if my fears are founded, or, just that, fears.

Cyia
10-03-2012, 10:44 PM
While it's true that many agents and editors are taking a "no vampire" stance, that doesn't mean that you can't find representation or sell if your book is awesome. (Maybe you could stress the sci-fi aspects, or find another name for your bloodsuckers besides vampires.)

Torgo
10-03-2012, 10:59 PM
As a publisher, I think the position is, we don't need many more books like Twilight at this particular moment in history. (Though there was the one that HarperCollins just bought, via Wattpad - Dinner with a Vampire?) Paranormal Romance still sells, but the time when everyone wanted to buy a few is past. It's contracting a bit and the normal shape of a commercial genre is asserting itself.

What you've written couldn't possibly feel like it was written to cash in on the Twilight gold rush, unless you are an absurdly unlucky Cassandra. So if it's good, I think your chances of getting it published are no worse now than ten years ago.

As an agent, it's probably a bit different, because if you have several authors with similar novels, you maybe don't want to add to that; but there are lots of agents out there. If you're concerned that the mere word 'vampire' will put them off, you might consider a deft disarming of that in the query - tell them the story involves vampires, up front, but emphasise how it's a very different spin on things than people might be used to/bored with. (If they're allergic to the very concept of vampirism, it can't really hurt.)

Merenwen
10-04-2012, 12:10 AM
Thankyou so much for the input. I started this series before Twilight was published, or even sold, so-far as I know. And the entire concept is completely far-fetched from anything I've read in the current market. So I'm kinda banking on that. But I may be blunt about the vampires, per your advice.

Authorman
10-04-2012, 12:54 AM
Dude, gotta kiss a lot of frogs as they say. Give it your best shot, and you never know. I know producing good work never came with any guarantees, but if you don't try ...

Well good luck, I think there may be room for one more Vampore novel.

Kenderson
10-11-2012, 12:48 AM
I've been working of the same series for nearly a decade. It's a fantasy cross-over with Sci-Fi elements. About 5 years ago I queried several agents and got two requesting a full. I was ultimately rejected, not becuase of the concept, but because it needed to be flushed out.

I spent all this time on the series since then and vampires have exploded. I'm ready to start querying again, but now I'm concerned that virtually no agent will consider me because anything to do with vampires is a crowded market.

Wondering if my fears are founded, or, just that, fears.

I have this same fear. The ms I am currently querying is about vampires, but they are different from the vampires you find in a lot of books. I've wondered how you tell agents that it's not the traditional thousand year old vampire that is bored with his endless existence until the love of his life comes along.

My vampires are alive, born from parents, and cannot turn humans into vampires. They are a separate species but from the same (Homo) genus as humans. Maybe this isn't a big enough difference, but I know it's something I look for when reading vampire novels and rarely find it. My novel as includes shifters, as in cat-shifters, but it's a plot twist so I don't mention it in my query.

My biggest struggle is when I hear that the story isn't original enough or it's been done before, because one of the reasons I was inspired to write this particular story is I wanted to read a book about a vampire/shifter romance, where they were both born and not turned, but was unable to find such story. So, whenever I hear that it's not original enough I want to ask the person where is the book like mine, because I would sure love to read it.

Getting off topic. Sorry. My point is I know how you feel.

Old Hack
10-11-2012, 07:44 PM
I took this authors query letter (last paragraph of first query) and tweaked it to show how my vampires are different. http://www.kaseymackenzie.com/wp/for-writers/query-letters/ I just hope it works when it comes time to send out my letter. :-)

Kenderson, can you confirm: do you mean that you used Kasey Mackenzie's query letter and tweaked it to produce a query letter for your own book? Because if so that's just not on. You need to write your own query letters and not plagiarise the works of others.

I do hope I've misunderstood you here.

Kenderson
10-11-2012, 08:03 PM
Kenderson, can you confirm: do you mean that you used Kasey Mackenzie's query letter and tweaked it to produce a query letter for your own book? Because if so that's just not on. You need to write your own query letters and not plagiarise the works of others.

I do hope I've misunderstood you here.

Yes, I completely worded that wrong. What I was trying to point out is that she actually told the agents how her book was different. I had never thought of that before, and thought why can't I do something like that too. I should not have said tweaked because to be honest I didn't even read the fist few paragraphs of her query letter. I apologize for the confusion. My query letter was written before I even stumbled across this website. I just added stuff to let agents know my vampires are not your traditional vampires.

WeaselFire
10-11-2012, 11:12 PM
I'm ready to start querying again, but now I'm concerned that virtually no agent will consider me because anything to do with vampires is a crowded market.
Some agents will pass on it just because it's vampires. Most will pass on it if it's a clone of the bazillion other vampire stories out there. But there are still plenty of agents who will read, and rep, a good story that happens to include vampires.

The key is the story, not the genre, content, etc. Though if you're looking to write the next great thing, it can't be the last great thing rehashed.

Jeff

blacbird
10-12-2012, 10:53 AM
find another name for your bloodsuckers besides vampires.

vampires n. See bankers.

-- Blacbird's Unabridged Dictionary, 2012 ed.

caw

Polenth
10-12-2012, 11:40 AM
There's a risk with explaining why a book is different, because you don't want it to look like you're poorly read in the genre. Kasey's query worked because furies really haven't been done much at all. Vampires have in all their varieties, including separate species vampires.

In the case of vampires, you're trying to show that your path is lesser-trodden, perhaps with a nod to works that took similar approaches, rather than all-new.

Stacia Kane
10-12-2012, 03:24 PM
Personally, I think what matters is the story you tell, not the creatures in it. If your story is intriguing and the writing is good, people will be interested.

Undercover
10-12-2012, 03:47 PM
Basically what everyone's saying here is true. Some agents I've come across don't even want anything paranormal because the market is flooded with it. But the new spin on things will get attention if it's a totally fresh concept. The writing is the rest of it. If your writing and new concept are good, you shouldn't have a problem with requests.

Barbara R.
10-12-2012, 04:26 PM
In a recent interview (http://barbararogan.com/blog/?p=70), I asked a Viking/Penguin editor if there are any genres or subgenres that she won't touch, and this was her reply: "I wouldn’t say that I am ever avoiding certain genres. If a book is good, I will always want to publish it. If it has an excellent plot and incredible characters, I’ll find a way to make the genre work."

Everything depends on how well the novel's written. I'm quite tired of vampire stories myself, but just now I'm reading Justin Cronin's brilliant "The Passage" and enjoying every page. You're right that the first big hurdle is hooking potential agents with a query strong enough to overcome whatever reservations they have about the genre. There's another interview on my blog with literary agent Gail Hochman (http://barbararogan.com/blog/?p=81) about what wows her in a query--there might be something of interest to you there, too.

Good luck with the series.

Merenwen
10-12-2012, 08:08 PM
You're right that the first big hurdle is hooking potential agents with a query strong enough to overcome whatever reservations they have about the genre.
Good luck with the series.

Thankyou for the links, Barbara. I'll just have to make sure they can't say no!

Tepelus
10-22-2012, 06:43 AM
My vampires are alive, born from parents, and cannot turn humans into vampires. They are a separate species but from the same (Homo) genus as humans. Maybe this isn't a big enough difference, but I know it's something I look for when reading vampire novels and rarely find it.

George R R Martin's book Fevre Dream has vampires just like you've described.