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View Full Version : Parallel universe and demons - how should I query this novel?



Nonicks
02-05-2017, 03:50 PM
(It also has parapsychological abilities.)
Can I say it's Fantasy? Or narrow it to a subgenre? I want agents to give this book a chance and I'm afraid some might reject the query because of the genre. But if I say it's "Fantasy", it could help.
What do you think?

Aggy B.
02-05-2017, 04:30 PM
(It also has parapsychological abilities.)
Can I say it's Fantasy? Or narrow it to a subgenre? I want agents to give this book a chance and I'm afraid some might reject the query because of the genre. But if I say it's "Fantasy", it could help.
What do you think?

I'm not sure what you mean "might reject the query because of the genre". Are you talking about calling it Fantasy? The solution there is to query agents who rep Fantasy.

It does sound like it could be Fantasy. Possibly also New Weird (think Max Gladstone and China Meiville).

Bacchus
02-05-2017, 04:46 PM
(It also has parapsychological abilities.)
Can I say it's Fantasy? Or narrow it to a subgenre? I want agents to give this book a chance and I'm afraid some might reject the query because of the genre. But if I say it's "Fantasy", it could help.
What do you think?

I am querying my parallel universe story as fantasy, but then my parallel universe is comedic and has wizards in it.

If it's "just" a parallel universe I guess it could be sci-fi, but demons would suggest fantasy or even horror (not having read your work it's difficult to say)

What do your Betas say? One of mine (a high fantasy author) described mine as comic fantasy after a single page...

Nonicks
02-05-2017, 05:40 PM
They said it was a bit comic.

It doesn't have magic, just parallel universe, telekinesis and telepathy, and demons. And it's MG.

Marissa D
02-05-2017, 07:18 PM
I'd say MG fantasy, then. That's where it would be shelved in a bookstore.

Thomas Vail
02-09-2017, 08:30 AM
I want agents to give this book a chance and I'm afraid some might reject the query because of the genre.
When agents reject a novel because 'it's the wrong genre,' it's because, say, an agent who specializes in romance gets a query for a psychological horror. Or, one who reps a particular style of sci-fi gets a submission that's pure swords and sandels epic fantasy.

If an agent rejects an MS purely because of genre, you're querying the wrong agent.

Old Hack
02-09-2017, 11:19 AM
If you're querying a book which could comfortably fit into more than one genre then you can query agents from both genres. Just make sure your book really does fit into those genres you're querying, and make sure your query reflects that. It's a good idea to have different queries for different genres in this case.

Laer Carroll
02-13-2017, 07:34 PM
Why waste precious query space on declaring the genre or sub-genre? It should be obvious to any experienced agent what it is from your description of it, and from your story sample if they requested one. In fact, they are better judges than you are.

Use that query space instead on grabbing their attention and interest.

mpack
02-13-2017, 08:30 PM
Why waste precious query space on declaring the genre or sub-genre?

Most agents ask for the genre to be included in the bookkeeping section of the query along with the title and word count. If you follow #tenqueries or similar, you'll see "no genre listed" often mentioned as a negative. The omission may not earn an instant reject, but it starts you off on the wrong foot.

Thedrellum
02-13-2017, 11:50 PM
Why waste precious query space on declaring the genre or sub-genre? It should be obvious to any experienced agent what it is from your description of it, and from your story sample if they requested one. In fact, they are better judges than you are.

Use that query space instead on grabbing their attention and interest.

Because it shows the agent that YOU know what you're writing.

Laer Carroll
02-20-2017, 08:51 PM
Most agents ask for the genre to be included in the bookkeeping section of the query along with the title and word count.

I just re-read the submission guidelines of 53 agents to choose the next 10 queries I'll send out. Only 3 of them wanted us to include genre in the subject or the content of the query. Not one of the other 50 felt they needed that info.

Maybe it's different in the sci-fi/fantasy world, which is what I'm querying.

mpack
02-20-2017, 11:02 PM
I just re-read the submission guidelines of 53 agents to choose the next 10 queries I'll send out. Only 3 of them wanted us to include genre in the subject or the content of the query. Not one of the other 50 felt they needed that info.

Maybe it's different in the sci-fi/fantasy world, which is what I'm querying.


We have very different experiences, I suppose. I'm primarily experienced querying high/epic fantasy, and a quick check of my list confirms my initial impression. I've yet to see an agent interview or discussion recommend against including genre information, while I've seen many recommend it be included. Ultimately, of course, it's your query and your prerogative. I'll continue including genre and recommending other querying authors do so as well.

Toothpaste
02-20-2017, 11:41 PM
I'm so confused, how does specifying genre take up precious query space:

"I'm querying my 80,000 word high fantasy middle grade novel . . ." If I count that . . . it's . . . 4 extra words.

Also quite frankly I am concerned about any writer who thinks their work is so unique as to defy category. Chances are then they are not nearly as well read nor well researched as they thought. Everything in a query should be seen as a little test of how competent an author you are. Why not pass with flying colours as opposed to skipping some of the questions?

Old Hack
02-21-2017, 12:35 AM
Also quite frankly I am concerned about any writer who thinks their work is so unique as to defy category. Chances are then they are not nearly as well read nor well researched as they thought. Everything in a query should be seen as a little test of how competent an author you are. Why not pass with flying colours as opposed to skipping some of the questions?

Yep.

blacbird
02-21-2017, 07:02 AM
It strikes me that explicit expression of the intended reader age range would be an important part of any query. The overall genre should be evident from the story summary itself.

caw

Laer Carroll
03-06-2017, 05:51 AM
I'm so confused, how does specifying genre take up precious query space:
"I'm querying my 80,000 word high fantasy middle grade novel . . ." If I count that . . . it's . . . 4 extra words.

Every query displays our ability to write. They are almost like poems, extremely compressed because we may have no more than 30 seconds to get the attention of an agent or those few editors who accept unsolicited queries. They are usually very busy people, with dozens of action items every day. It's not unusual for them to work late hours and on weekends.

My practice is to put the genre in the subject line, as in "Query THE STAR WOMAN (science fiction) 113,000 words". Then to delete every unneeded word. For instance, if the email address is QueryJoan@whatever then the subject line does not need "Query". If they only handle sci-fi (which is case of a few agents, at least those who wrote one of the 200+ submission guidelines I read a few months ago) then I leave out the genre.

Putting the genre in the body of the query is the choice of the writer, part of their writing style and skill. But as always the final word is the specific submission guidelines of the agent or editor. If they don't ask for the genre that suggests to me that they feel they can recognize it from the content of the query or the title of the story. I leave it out. You may of course choose to do the opposite.