View Full Version : A Silly Question about Querying Adult Genre Fiction

08-23-2013, 06:08 AM
I apologize if this is a nitpicky question. (I think it is, but it's still bothering me!) :(

It seems that in a lot of genre fiction用articularly SF and fantasy葉he number of people writing YA these days far outnumbers those writing for an adult audience.

One of the agencies I want to query says in their submission guidelines that the query should say "whether the project is for adults or children".

That doesn't mean it's necessary to describe a work as 'adult fantasy' or 'science fiction for adults', does it? (Those phrases sound kind of odd to me, as if they insinuate that the book is X-rated!)

In the past, adult was always the 'default'. That is, if your novel were YA or MG, then you'd say so, but if you just said that your book was an 'XX,000 word science fiction novel', it was understood that it was for adult readers. Is this still true? Or does the preponderance of YA manuscripts mean that things have changed and it's better to actually specify that the book would be classified as 'adult'?

08-23-2013, 07:45 AM
Just say "science fiction" or "sci-fi." Adult is still default.

08-23-2013, 07:49 AM
Just say "science fiction" or "sci-fi." Adult is still default.

Though some people get persnickety about "sci-fi," so I'd say "science fiction."

08-23-2013, 08:22 AM
I'm not an agent, but if you're responding to a specific set of guidelines, you might be wise to simply respond using the guideline phrasing. E.g. this is a science fiction novel intended for an adult audience.

It seems this agent wants the answer spelled out. For other agents, it might be understood that if you don't say YA or MG then it's a novel intended for adults.

08-26-2013, 02:48 AM
Thanks, folks.

I guess I was kind of hoping more people would respond confirming that adult is definitely still the default. (And of course it would be reassuring to hear that directly from an agent who mostly receives YA submissions but also reps adult, since it looks like there must be a lot of agents in that boat!:))

But since no one has popped up to disagree, it looks like it's safe to conclude that the standard default hasn't changed. And I'll definitely consider doing as Aislinn suggested, and perhaps word it differently just for that particular agent.