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zclesa
04-16-2015, 03:19 PM
Hi,

A couple of quick questions.

1) Is it worth submitting a novel that bends genres to an agent that doesn't accept one of the genres? Eg. What if they have stated "No fantasy", but love literary fiction, and you have written a literary novel which has a fantasy framework (like Iain Banks). Would it be wise to submit it? If so, how would you put that across in a query letter so as not to get rejected immediately?

2) If you're querying one novel, but you've written a few manuscripts (or plan to) in different genres, should you avoid approaching agents who are less likely to appreciate your other works? Or will an agent pretty much dedicate themselves to whatever you have written, as long as they see a market for it? Will they have the contacts to sell work that is outside of their normal scope?

Thoughts? Many thanks.

Old Hack
04-16-2015, 03:53 PM
1) Is it worth submitting a novel that bends genres to an agent that doesn't accept one of the genres? Eg. What if they have stated "No fantasy", but love literary fiction, and you have written a literary novel which has a fantasy framework (like Iain Banks). Would it be wise to submit it? If so, how would you put that across in a query letter so as not to get rejected immediately?

Query it as literary fiction. Easy!

However, it might not be in your best interests to do so. An agent who does not work in your genre is not a good agent for you. She is not likely to have the experience, the contacts or the knowledge to be able to represent you effectively.


2) If you're querying one novel, but you've written a few manuscripts (or plan to) in different genres, should you avoid approaching agents who are less likely to appreciate your other works? Or will an agent pretty much dedicate themselves to whatever you have written, as long as they see a market for it? Will they have the contacts to sell work that is outside of their normal scope?


I think you're always better off finding an agent who represents all the genres in which you write. Yes, they can take advice from colleagues when required: but there's nothing to beat an agent who knows the market well, and is passionate about ALL her clients' works.

zclesa
04-16-2015, 05:34 PM
Thanks OH :)

Roxxsmom
04-17-2015, 10:11 AM
I'd probably go with the genre where you think your novel falls most firmly and focus your querying on agents that take that genre. For example, I have a fantasy novel that has a romantic subplot that's important to the story. It's not a genre romance, because, even though they're optimistically HFN at the end, without the love story, the central plot would still be there (if the MMC and FMC were just good friends). The romance adds something to the story (I and my betas all think), but it's not the main story. I suspect this novel has some crossover appeal with romance readers, but I feel comfortable querying it as a fantasy novel first and foremost, as it's a story where the fantasy elements are very central to the plot and it would be a very different story without them.

However, if an agent takes romance as well as fantasy, or if they have repped some fantasy stories with nice romantic subplots, I plan to mention their interest in stories with romantic arcs as an additional reason why they might be a good fit for mine.

As OH says, ideally, if you have future projects in mind that are more on the other side of the genre divide, there are excellent reasons to try and find an agent who is also fond of that genre.

While researching, I've run across some agents who say specifically they like genre-straddling stories as well. I'd say this is something to possibly play up if you query those particular agents.

zclesa
04-17-2015, 02:31 PM
Thank you. I did find a few agents who mentioned they liked crossovers, so I shall try them too.