STATUS: Heading into the final week of meetings and boy the days are packed.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? BIG TIME by Peter Gabriel
Here’s my advice for the day. Don’t read too much into these lists I post. I do it because writers are so interested in knowing what editors want (or don’t want in this case). As if there is some magic formula embedded in their “want” list.
The actuality is this. There are certain trends in publishing. Right now in YA it’s the paranormal element—be it a zombie, vampire, werewolf, witch or what have you. Basically, editors end up seeing so much in this genre, they get weary of it. Only THE best projects will stand out in the crowd. Only a really unique story will grab the attention of the sales force in an editorial meeting. In fact, editors contemplate their spin (how they’d pitch it) before they are even willing to make an offer to buy it. If they don’t have that new spin, they’re passing. Market is crowded.
Logically, you guys all know this. So when I say that editors aren’t buying epic fantasy, is that true? Sure. Until I put an amazingly written, wholly original epic fantasy in front of them. Suddenly, they are open to buying.
But what I’m trying to point out with my lists is what editors are seeing too much of—so those books are going to be a much harder sell for the agent. That’s it.
Today I spent the morning at a wonderful literary house—Grove Atlantic. They don’t have mandates. They don’t follow trends. They buy brilliant writers who write screamingly well. (So hard to find I might add…)
They did a title called BROKEN FOR YOU that I wish I had sold. In fact, I’d love more submissions in that vein—literary novels with emotional heart. Oh, that’s so hard to find. The level of writing matched with the emotional complexity of character… A lot of times writers will have one or the other fabulously done. That’s what upmarket commercial fiction usually encompasses. To have both together, well, that’s the trick.
As an agent, I’d love more of that. I’d love to do a book with Grove Atlantic. I waited five years for a book like Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet. I’m willing to wait another five for a title like Broken, but I’m hoping I don’t have to.