Pub Rants

Inside Market Peek

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STATUS: End of the day. Just got back from Mario Batali’s restaurant Casa Mono where my husband and I met Linnea’s editor Anne Groell and her husband.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? Actually nothing at the moment.

I’ve been all over today and yesterday so I thought I’d share a quick summary of info passed my way.

While talking to my film agent, YA is a little harder to sell lately since SISTERHOOD didn’t do as well as anticipated in the box offices. Now we have to pray for the next Lindsey Lohan movie to break out to get the folks excited about YA material again.

What’s being asked for? Male-driven comedy and family stories. Interesting. (And please don’t send me screenplay queries. I don’t rep screenplays. I only do book to film.)

Women’s Fiction
Some editors made it very clear that they didn’t want Lifetime TV soap opera drama but
but more reality-based yet commercial stuff (think the movie FRIENDS WITH MONEY).

Several editors expressed a lovely wish to find the next Jodi Picoult (and let me tell you, I’d love to find that too!).

One editor wanted mature chick lit with tough, acerbic heroines.

Another editor wanted a smart young voice (a la PREP).

Paranormal Romance
Paranormal and romantic suspense are still hot. Would like to see some different elements tackled in paranormal rather than the same-old (so think beyond vampires and werewolves).

A ghost-hunting series would be cool. Urban fantasy and more urban fantasy.

Thrillers and Mysteries
Thrillers were mentioned (but since I don’t rep them, I didn’t pay too much attention—sorry). The emphasis seemed to be on Templars and the like. Cozy mysteries of all stripes.

One editor was avid for thriller/horror hybrid.

Market is wide open to anything as long as the story encompasses an intimate point of view. Genre can be contemporary, fantasy, horror, wry chick lit, multicultural. Voice is everything.

Lots of folks looking for big historicals (a la THE HISTORIAN) or even women’s fiction historicals.

Several editors expressed interest in some new literary voices.

Lots of room for a debut author to break in. Just remember, the editors aren’t expecting your call, but mine. Big smile here.

25 Responses

  1. Nephele Tempest said:

    I love Anne. I had lunch with her last fall and left her office with so many books she had to give me a bag to carry them all in. She’s terrific. I can’t wait to find the perfect project for her so I can work with her on a regular basis.

  2. Bernita said:

    Mine hits some of those “mature heroine,” “acerbic voice” myth-busting “paranormal” sans vampires,plus “romance” etc.
    Thank you. Provides hope.

  3. Anonymous said:

    It’s hard to read this when my book hits “acerbic” chick lit, mature heroine, and even historical “mystery” (Historian, et. al.) BUT gets ignored/rejected for whatever reason (probably because agents can’t fit it into a specific genre)!! Very, very annoying…

  4. Anonymous said:


    I don’t think erotica went cold since Monday. She just met with different editors looking for different genres on Wednesday.

    Otherwise, this would be the ultimate example of why writers shouldn’t chase trends.

  5. bruno said:

    Oh Man! Gotta be honest, Before I started writing anything more than articles I filed everything else in the someday file, working out novel synopsis and filing them for the “someday I’m going to write these” files. Well, as I began nearing the end of my 20’s I went over my synopsis list and realized if I wrote a book a year (and just kept to the exisiting list) I’d still be writing flat-out when I was sixty-five. Now the rub. Based on Ms. Nelson’s latest update, I’ve got about seventeen synopsis waiting to be fleshed into full novels that meet the current criteria of what is wanted by editors. Arrrggh. Thankfully, the one I’m working on now fits nicely into the urban fantasy genre. But what was my opener? My first manuscript polished only two months ago? Epic fantasy. Step 1. Point gun at foot. Step 2. Pull trigger. Ah well. At least it was fresh. Still, I remember a few words of wisdom for situations like this. “Don’t think of it as being overrun. Think of it as a wide target selection.” And me with only 24 hours in the day. Sigh.

  6. joanr16 said:

    A man, his little son, and their donkey are traveling from one town to another, let’s say in Sicily. The boy is riding the donkey, which the man is leading by a rope. They come upon an old woman outside her cottage who shouts at the boy, “Why, you ungrateful brat! Riding while your poor father has to walk! Show some respect!” So the boy gets off and the father rides for a while. They come to the next town, and the donkey is looking pretty worn out. A man approaches and berates them: “What is wrong with you? Can’t you see that donkey is exhausted?” The man helps them rig a carrying pole, and they tie the donkey to it by his hooves. The man and boy struggle along, carrying pole & donkey on their shoulders. They come to a bridge over a river, and when they’re halfway across, the pole slips and crashes through the handrail. The donkey falls into the river, his legs still tied together, and he drowns.

    Prevailing opinions are ever-changing, and besides, they’re only opinions– not wisdom. Write what you love.

  7. PRNewland said:

    New voices, eh?

    I’m new! Well… ‘pending’, which is technically so new it hasn’t even happened yet 😛 (still working on batting out the last 35-40k words on my debut novel which will then function as little more than my “Hi, I’m Bob” nametag in the publishing world until it or one of its successors finds a home, but hey… we all have to start somewhere)

    But I must agree with previous posters here, just reading this blog is inspiring me to work more on my writing. Not in the same way as reading awesome fiction always does, but still it has had an impact on my recent time spent/focus on writing.

    I think more than anything this blog and the others I’ve found from industry professionals have really helped to begin educating me about the business, and humanized the whole process for me. Which to me makes it much less mysterious and intimidating.

    So thanks Agent K, for the info and the insights!

  8. Korie said:

    Kristin said, “Just remember, the editors aren’t expecting your call, but mine. Big smile here.”

    I’m not sure what she means by that. Anyone else understand it?

  9. Anonymous said:


    I believe what she is trying to say, nicely, is don’t shoot her in the foot. Don’t take the hand that’s feeding you the information about what’s popular and in demand and bypass her for the editor. Everybody deserves a piece of the pie, some of us unfortunately have to wait till the buffet gets a refill.

  10. Anonymous said:

    What about memoir? I hate that word, by-the-way. I wish there was another name for it. Can we call it memoria? It is easy to be fresh with a memoria, but difficult to be entertaining. Honestly, the only reason I started reading them is because I wanted to write one. Maybe that is my answer. -JTC

  11. Anonymous said:

    re: “One editor wanted mature chick lit with tough, acerbic heroines.”

    I’d love to know who this editor is! I have a manuscript, mature chick lit, with a tough, acerbic heroine. I have gotten several flattering positive rejections which say the title’s great, the story’s great, the writing’s great, but the protagonist is not sympathetic enough. So the thing is, she is written to be a tough, acerbic heroine–she’s a bit of a smart-ass. And part of the story arc is for her to come round a bit. I know this model works b/c I just read WE ARE ALL FINE HERE with an incredibly unsympathetic heroine, yet it was an AWESOME book. So how does one sell a book with a tough, edgy heroine, when everyone wants an entirely embraceable heroine?

  12. Dhewco said:

    what about alternative history? With a heavy focus on the history…I’d hate to think I’d done all this research and then nothing happens…LOL

  13. Anonymous said:

    I’m new to this world, and as such, don’t know a whole lot about the acronyms used. What’s YA? For future posts, would you mind spelling this stuff out for neophytes like myself?

    Much obliged!

  14. Stephanie said:

    Thanks joanr16 for saying something I was thinking all along. My genre is women’s historical fiction. Why? Because I love it; because it inspires me. Now, whether or not I’ll find the right agent or “catch the trend” of the moment, who knows? (I’ve got 2 partials, one manuscript, and a half a dozen queries still out there–crossing my fingers.) But, I can’t imagine changing focus and genre to sell myself better. Writing/storytelling is an artform. Right? (I know all agents are laughing at this right now, coming from the business end, but I can’t help but be an idealist.)

  15. M.E Ellis said:

    ‘Get an agent!’

    Ha! As if it’s as easy as picking up a loaf of bread and buying it.

    Finding an agent isn’t something I have pursued with any great fervour. One, we’ll call him RH was ‘intrigued’ by my novel (currently out on e-book version with WCP) but was not able to pigeon hole it into a specific catergory so said it would be hard to get a deal for.

    Psychological thriller/horror/murder.

    I read books like that all the time so it’s hardly difficult to get a deal for those.

    Perhaps it was his way of saying it was crap.