Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

What Editors Have Bought Recently – Women’s Fic and Literary

STATUS: It’s BEA time! Oh crazy schedule

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

Obviously I’m not just talking to children’s editors while in New York. So here’s a little snippet of what editors have been buying in the adult realm:

1) Literary novels with some sort of magical element (i.e The Night Circus)
2) Multi-cultural literary novels by non-American writers
3) Voice-driven literary novels that shed light on the contemporary modern landscape for protagonists in their 20s or 30s.

In women’s fiction and romance
1) contemporary stories with small town settings
2) southern contemporary women’s fix
3) looking or romantic comedies in romance (haven’t heard that desire in a while!)

Off to the Javits Center!

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25 Responses

  1. A. M. Perkins said:

    As much as I read, I don’t think I’ve ever read something that would be classified as “women’s fiction” (yes, I am a girl).

    I’m sure there are many lovely stories in that category, but the base descriptions never appeal to me enough that I pick them up.

    Am I alone on that?

  2. Lynn August Linse said:

    What is “Voice-driven literary novels” … 🙂 Is this something geared towards audio-books, or a method if writting in first person or something.

  3. Richard Barkley said:

    @ Joseph – I called Nelson recently, and though I haven’t submitted my query yet, they told me they would be happy to look at something in the “general fiction” category. Perhaps they do look at mystery/thrillers?

  4. Carmen said:

    Richard, where would your book be shelved? You want your book in front of the readers who are looking for books like yours. And you want an agent who has relationships with editors who want books exactly like yours. Go for the niche.

  5. Adrianne Noel said:

    Hmm . . . my novel fits two of the points under women’s fiction (comedy and small town setting). And it is about a protagonist dealing with issues common to women in their 20s and 30s. But–I’ve been getting quite a few rejections to my query letters. I guess this means my plot doesn’t appeal, or else I need to work on my overall query.

  6. Michael Price said:

    I’m not worried that my novel is not on this list. My novel is what it is. If Nelson is not my agent one day that is fine. There are others out there and other ways to be seen and heard. I would prefer going with an agent because I believe that is the BEST way but certainly not the only way. I write what I love with great passion and vigor. I don’t write so EVERONE out there will like it. I know not everyone likes fantasy but that’s ok because there are those that do. No matter the genre you write in just remember you need to do it for yourself first. Not for wealth or fame. If that comes then great but don’t look for it. Concentrate on the story you are writing and make it the best you ever have done. You may find that you impress yourself before ever impressing someone else.

  7. Lucy said:

    Uh, guys? I’m pretty sure you won’t find STEVEN Nelson discussing anything here.

    But I assume that was a typo. 🙂

  8. Lucy said:

    No, never mind, I misread. Simply a lack of punctuation. Yes, I’m laughing at myself now.

  9. Richard Barkley said:

    @ Steven: I was curious about self publishing on various sites before at least attempting to get agent. I can not get an answer from ANYBODY as to whether that’s a good idea or not! These blogs are entertaining, but not always helpful.
    And Carmen, I really appreciate the advice! Makes enough sense. However, Nelson said that they did in fact represent that genre…Do you have some insight perhaps on this matter? I’m very curious. Thank you so much!

  10. Anonymous said:

    @ Richard – even 5 years ago people would have said self-publishing is a bad idea. More and more it’s becoming a viable and potentially legitimate avenue for getting your work out there (see: E.L. James and Amanda Hocking for debut writers who hit it big). However, there are trade-offs with self-publishing: you need to do a lot of proactive marketing to get your book out there, or else it will get lost in the mire with other self-published novels. You’ll want to make sure it’s as polished as could be and consider using an editor to give it a look for grammar and continuity. Nathan Bransford has posted some great articles in the past about self-publishing.

    @ Lynn and Wendy – voice-driven usually means that either the narrator or characters have a really strong voice. It often goes hand-in-hand with character-driven, but not always. Think of books like The Help or The Hunger Games, though you don’t need to be narrating in first person. Voice is one of the hardest things to define in writing – people either have it or they don’t. It’s a very subtle thing, and is most often revealed through the writer’s personal style. I hope that helps!

  11. Lucy said:

    @Richard (and anyone else new to the game)

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums

    AbsoluteWrite forums: where your questions get answered. 🙂

    And I promise there are pages and pages devoted to all the topics that have come up here and many more. You’ll want to search the archives before posting your own.

  12. dodlebuggm said:

    You have to be one of the more informative agents out there. Regardless of who you rep you seem to share your knowledge with the public. Thanks. That being said i am glad to see that i might be writing something needed and wanted vs just writing and hoping someone is going to go against the tends.

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