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CraftyCreations411
05-19-2013, 06:21 AM
I really enjoy reading these boards. I've been given tons of advice, learned a whole lot of things, even found new websites to check out.

I've been doing a lot of research trying to find an agent. I use Query Tracker a lot. I can plug in what I'm looking for and get my list of agents. Then I start checking out the agents.

I've been thinking (and I've been wrong a few times before) that the agents fill out the genres that they represent. Then I get to the website and on the agent page - they DON'T accept what I need. Then I'll read that the agent likes 'narrative nonfiction' which includes 'memoir.' There's been several people who have desperately tried to explain the difference to me in narrative NF and memoir but I just can't wrap my head around it. I've even tried searching the net and only get more confused.

According to QT there was an agent who accepted biographies and memoirs but when I got to the site, she accepted biographies but NOT memoirs.

Then there's agent that works for some agency and when you get to the site - the agent isn't listed. So you check the internet, there's a link that takes you back to the site you just came from and danged if the agent hasn't suddenly appeared!

Is this normal or am I just having a bad day? :D

Candy

Samsonet
05-19-2013, 06:54 AM
A bad day? I'm sure it'll get better.

jjdebenedictis
05-19-2013, 07:07 AM
I use AgentQuery, but last time I was on it, it seemed to be getting a little less up-to-date than I remembered.

But even when it was up-to-date, it was very normal for agents to appear and disappear (they change agencies, they change jobs, they have babies, they quit and move to a hut on a beach in Thailand, etc.) It was also very normal for the agency website to have more accurate information than AgentQuery did.

So although I can totally see it giving you a bad day, it's also a pretty normal set of frustrations when it comes to querying. :)

ellio
05-19-2013, 07:23 AM
I've had difficulty with this looking for agents in England. Young adult isn't really a solid genre that agents here seem to be asking for, so it gets confusing when I think I've covered all my bases when I find agents looking for "ficition" and "children's fiction", but when I query they say explicitly that they're NOT looking for "young adult".

Oh, being a writer.

kkbe
05-19-2013, 12:55 PM
Hi Crafty, how's your day going? Couple of things. . .

I think memoirs are a form of narrative non-fiction. Both tell a story, but memoirs are the author's story whilst narrative non-fiction can encompass other peoples' stories, like IN COLD BLOOD or LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: LENNY BRUCE!

Btw, there's an interesting online thingie about the imp. of story in narrative nf, link *here* (http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-is-narrative-nonfiction-and.html) , here's an excerpt:

From Lit. Agent Jessica Faust:
What’s most interesting to me about the many, many memoir queries or narrative nonfiction queries I receive are the lack of story. A book like Into Thin Air doesn’t become a New York Times bestseller simply because it’s an interesting tale. If that were the case we could all write it. It hits the list because of the storytelling, and I think that’s the most important thing for memoirists or narrative nonfiction writers to remember—your book is at first interesting to readers because your story is intriguing or dramatic, but what makes it a book is the storytelling. You need to take the facts of your life that you want to share and make them into a story, and that includes plot techniques, dialogue, and character building. While the people in your story might be real people, you need to make them real to your readers.

Relative to QueryTracker and AgentQuery, I've had similar experiences. What the site lists as an agent's interests sometimes doesn't match what the agent lists on the agency's guidelines pg. I can't figure that one out except that, perhaps, the agency's website is more up to date as jj suggested. What gets me is when AgentQuery shows an agent actively seeking x genre, then when you check the agency website, that agent doesn't want x genre. :Wha:

Anyhoo, hope you are having a better day. :)

Purple Rose
05-19-2013, 02:08 PM
Regarding the accuracy of information on the Internet, I still stick Agent Query, Query Tracker and Publisher's Marketplace are all excellent sources but ultimately, it is best to cross-reference their information against the agent's website. From what I've gathered, the individual websites are usually more up-to-date.

When querying, I only wrote to agents who accepted memoirs or narrative non-fiction.

All the best!

Linda Adams
05-19-2013, 02:37 PM
This is one of the challenges of finding agents. There's a lot of inaccurate information out there. One agent publicly asked to be removed from Query Tracker a few years back because he was tired of getting material he didn't represent.

Ultimately, QT can only be a starting point, and the agent's website should be used for the official source.

Buffysquirrel
05-19-2013, 02:41 PM
I think the concept of YA is slowly gaining a foothold here in the UK, but mostly I see children's and teen fiction in the bookshops, still. Try querying your YA as teen fiction.

JFitchett92
05-19-2013, 04:39 PM
I think the concept of YA is slowly gaining a foothold here in the UK, but mostly I see children's and teen fiction in the bookshops, still. Try querying your YA as teen fiction.

Second on this. I've had a look around bookstores and there's a lot of books I would class as YA but are being marketed as teen fiction.

Siri Kirpal
05-19-2013, 09:20 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

OP, I've noticed that querytracker has broad categories: Biography & Memoir is one. Unfortunately, they use that category whether the agent accepts both or only one. I've noticed the same problem with Religion & Spirituality, which can mean anything from Christian only to New Age woo-woo. The trick is to check querytracker and agentquery first, then check the agent's website or hunt for interviews that give more detail on what the agent actually wants.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

juniper
05-19-2013, 10:16 PM
I think the concept of YA is slowly gaining a foothold here in the UK, but mostly I see children's and teen fiction in the bookshops, still. Try querying your YA as teen fiction.


Second on this. I've had a look around bookstores and there's a lot of books I would class as YA but are being marketed as teen fiction.

Err, what's the difference between YA (young adult) and teen fiction? Here in the US they seem to be pretty much the same, I think.

And now there's what's being called "New Adult" over here - targeted at roughly 18-25 year-olds.

CraftyCreations411
05-19-2013, 11:40 PM
Genres confuse me as well. What I think is one thing, turns out to be something else.

I love the HBO series "Game of Thrones." Then I found out that there's a series of books that the show is based on. I went to B&N to get the books. Personally I thought they belonged in the 'fantasy' section. Where did I find them? Science fiction!

I wish there was some place that I could find that would tell me EXACTLY what's what. I realize that each person has their own definition of what's fantasy, what's narrative, what's women's issues and thing like that but it's almost like there's no 'standard.' If a book has spaceships, robots, futuristic - then it's science fiction. If it has dragons, vampires, - then that's fantasy.

But I'm a literal person, so I confused easily! :flag:

Candy

Terie
05-20-2013, 12:06 AM
Second on this. I've had a look around bookstores and there's a lot of books I would class as YA but are being marketed as teen fiction.

YA = teen. 'Teen' more obviously means 'teen' to (ahem) teens.

Terie
05-20-2013, 12:08 AM
I love the HBO series "Game of Thrones." Then I found out that there's a series of books that the show is based on. I went to B&N to get the books. Personally I thought they belonged in the 'fantasy' section. Where did I find them? Science fiction!

Science fiction and fantasy are typically shelved together. Even the SF/F specialty shops I've been to don't shelve them separately.

CraftyCreations411
05-20-2013, 12:19 AM
I could solve the problem easily. Three categories:

A. Children's - anything like Dr Seuss.

B. Non-fiction - alphabetized by author or even book title.

C. Fiction - alphabetized by book title.

Works for me! :evil

Candy

Buffysquirrel
05-20-2013, 03:20 AM
Err, what's the difference between YA (young adult) and teen fiction? Here in the US they seem to be pretty much the same, I think.

Because in the UK, the category called YA in the US has until recently been universally called Teen Fiction. It's a difference in nomenclature, in short. However, YA is catching on over here. New Adult I haven't yet encountered.

Axordil
05-20-2013, 04:36 PM
This is one of the challenges of finding agents. There's a lot of inaccurate information out there. One agent publicly asked to be removed from Query Tracker a few years back because he was tired of getting material he didn't represent.

Ultimately, QT can only be a starting point, and the agent's website should be used for the official source.

I also believe some agent genre interests are more wishful than realized. As in, "I'd love to rep some of that but I haven't seen one that clicked for me." Checking their actual sales helps there. So do agency websites, obviously--but then I've seen some of those hover in the update-free Twilight Zone for many months at a time too.

And as noted, sometimes nomenclature is not universal. It took me a long time to figure out that for a lot of people, Urban Fantasy = Paranormal Romance. I pestered any number of perfectly nice agents with a novel they had no reason to expect to see because of that.

jjdebenedictis
05-21-2013, 05:49 AM
I love the HBO series "Game of Thrones." Then I found out that there's a series of books that the show is based on. I went to B&N to get the books. Personally I thought they belonged in the 'fantasy' section. Where did I find them? Science fiction!That is weird (unless it was simply a case of the bookstore not having a separate fantasy section.)

About the only thing in the Song of Ice and Fire series that could be called science fiction is the planet having a wonky precession of its axis tilt (making the seasons erratic) and some people potentially having alien ancestry.

And none of the characters are even aware of those things, which also erodes the legitimacy of calling the books science fiction instead of fantasy.

Plus, you know, all those frickin' dragons.

Filigree
05-21-2013, 06:46 AM
None of the bookstores I know of in my very big city keep fantasy separate from science fiction. They simply don't have the extra shelf space.

theDolphin
05-21-2013, 06:05 PM
Hiya!

One thing I would really recommend is becoming a member of Publishers Marketplace. (http://publishersmarketplace.com)They are one of the most respected resources for publishing industry professionals and I think it is often under-utilized by new writers. Among other things, they list all the deals made by agents and publishers daily and are an amazing resource when researching agents.

You can look up any agent or agency you're interested in and view every deal they've made for the past ten years. Using them I have often found that agents sometimes list themselves as representing several genres, but if you go to the deals they have made, there are ten years of a single category or genre. It's not always true, but it is more often than you might think. You can also see exactly which publishing houses and which specific editors at those houses the agent and agency has sold to, etc.

If you choose to subscribe they send out a daily newsletter listing the most recent deals as well as publishing industry news. It's a great way to keep abreast of what's selling right now and what's going on in the industry. I find it an invaluable tool. Good luck!

JSSchley
05-21-2013, 07:42 PM
I went to B&N to get the books.

B&N shelving standards divide adult fiction into Fiction, Mystery, Romance, and Sci Fi/Fantasy--fantasy authors are shelved alphabetically along with science fiction authors.

--your friendly local peon and facer-outer

CraftyCreations411
05-21-2013, 08:49 PM
B&N shelving standards divide adult fiction into Fiction, Mystery, Romance, and Sci Fi/Fantasy--fantasy authors are shelved alphabetically along with science fiction authors.

--your friendly local peon and facer-outer


That's why I was saying that I wish there was a specific way to break up genres. What I see as one thing, someone else sees as something totally different. I find them somewhat confusing.

While I've been looking for agents, I've started checking the AAR profiles. One of the things that I've noticed is that they'll put 'something - can't remember - FICTION,' all in caps and then a listing that falls under her. They do the same thing with nonfiction. When I check the list, I look specifically for 'memoir.' It seems that the agents list each category separately. It helps, but not all of the agents belong to AAR. (Which I keep reading as AARP! :roll:

Candy

Moose
05-22-2013, 06:58 AM
In Canada, the Fantasy and Science Fiction sections are separate. It actually frustrates me when I go to bookstores in the US because it takes longer to find what I'm looking for.

I also noticed that the US doesn't have a separate Horror section. At least not stores I've been too.

King God Kong Zilla
05-22-2013, 07:20 AM
Is this normal or am I just having a bad day? :D

Candy

It is an unbelievable pet peeve of mine, how specific and obscure genres are becoming. Not only movies, literature and story telling but in music as well.

Many of these genres are the same thing, and the example you just explained stands out to me as more of this overcomplicated silliness.

To me, there is practically no difference between sci-fi and fantasy because they're both world creation and set in fictional worlds.

Drama is a stupid genre because every single story has some element of drama.

I'm with you CraftyCreations.

lolchemist
05-22-2013, 08:59 AM
Narrative Nonfiction could be a lot of things. For example a book about your dog's life, a book about your adventures with Indonesian food, a book about your adventures researching Sapphire mines, a book about working for a year at Starbucks, a book about your experiences as a college student at Harvard. However these books are written in engaging, entertaining novel-like formats even though everything in the book is expected to be 100% accurate and not made-up.