STATUS: It’s going to be working weekend as I catch up on some client reading.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? LIGHTNING CRASHES by Live
This is more of an observation than a rant per se because there really isn’t anything wrong with doing or having this. It’s just sometimes when a query element is repeated often enough, it can become a cliché, and I don’t think there is any way for a writer to know this to be true unless I mention it on the blog.
Or maybe I should state it this way. If you are an African American writer tackling women’s fiction, you don’t have to write a novel about four girlfriends with intertwined lives.
Seriously, you really don’t have to. I know that WAITING TO EXHALE was an enormous and powerful book that really broke open this market (and for those of you who have been living under a rock and don’t know, this novel is about “four 30ish black women bound together by warm, supportive friendship and by their dwindling hopes of finding Mr. Right” (Publishers Weekly).
I have to say that for the last several months, Sara and I have not seen a query for African American women’s fiction that wasn’t about four girlfriends. Nary a one.
And we’d really like to. This is a market with plenty of room to grow. We’d love to see more African American women’s fiction but we don’t want to see a reinvention of EXHALE (which unfortunately the emphasis on 4 tends to create).
So, just an observation. It’s not like we are going to say NO to a query just because it’s about 4 girlfriends but it might make us pause and hesitate to say “yes”—and that’s never what you want an agent to be doing.