Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

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JustineDell
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Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by JustineDell » March 10th, 2010, 9:51 pm

So, I'm curious. Are all genre's created equal when it comes to representation? Or, are some genre's more difficult to find representation for because the market is so stiff?

When I think about this, I think about the slew of queries agents probably got after Twilight came out. Suddenly YA paranormal went through the roof, so it was harder to crack that market. But are any genre's more difficult right out of the gate, no matter the trend?

~JD
Last edited by JustineDell on March 11th, 2010, 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nick
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Nick » March 10th, 2010, 10:02 pm

It depends how broad I'm being. Technically speaking, crime is a sub-genre of mystery. So if we want to be that broad, Query Tracker turns up 314 agents (and I'm sure I could find more). If we get more specific to crime novel/detective story/police procedural, QT lists 88 agents. So numbers wise, I'd say it's hard. And again this is just talking numbers. I could go and look at an agent or agency who say they represent crime novel and find something which bars my WIP. But really I think any genre is difficult to find an agent for. You have to make your work look like the frakin Koh-i-Noor.

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shadow
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by shadow » March 10th, 2010, 10:28 pm

I guess it's not too bad for me! My genre is YA and Fantasy so I come up with quite a few :)
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casnow
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by casnow » March 10th, 2010, 11:25 pm

I think my craptastic writing is what makes finding an agent hard - not my genre (isn't it illegal for agents to discriminate on race, creed, sex, religion, or genre? Damn genrist and their biases.)

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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Seamus » March 11th, 2010, 9:21 am

I don't write to genre. I know that is commercially naive, but it feels more natural to let a story be what it is and try to categorize it later. Consequently, I'm an in-betweener and have a hard time figuring out the whole genre thing. The industry doesn't help. For instance, I really envy Nick's certainty in his post (above). I have read many things trying to get a bead on genre -- there are the classical genres in the textbooks that never anticipated anything like police stories, and then there are lists of genres and subgenres in various internet sources. And, as though to further mystify this, one of the agents I queried recently stipulated that when you query her you should not attempt to name a genre, that she was better at figuring that out than writers were. Does someone have the genre bible? I'm sure I'm just looking in the wrong places. In particular, I have not seen a clear distinction between mainstream adult fiction and literary fiction, except by degree of depth and quality. If I get this right, this leaves me deciding whether my work meets the "higher test" of literary fiction or not -- which makes me either appear delusional or arrogant or both if I name what I've aspired to. Educate me.
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Scott » March 11th, 2010, 11:51 am

Yes. In fact, the idea of genre makes it harder. If I say horror, agents think splatterpunk. If I say horror-thriller with transgressive and literary elements, I get "round-filed". And that's where I am.

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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by JustineDell » March 12th, 2010, 8:09 am

kayemevans wrote:
JustineDell wrote:So, I'm curious. Are all genre's created equal when it comes to representation? Or, are some genre's more difficult to find representation for because the market is so stiff?

When I think about this, I think about the slew of queries agents probably got after Twilight came out. Suddenly YA paranormal went through the roof, so it was harder to crack that market. But are any genre's more difficult right out of the gate, no matter the trend?

~JD

Christi (on here) was saying something about her area, science fiction. She used query tracker and only found like a hundred-something agents who represent that genre. I guess the fewer agents there are, the harder that genre would be to "crack" so to speak.

K
I'm an RWA member and they give us a list of all the RWA approved agents who rep romance. There are only 74 agents on the list. Sure, there are others, but I would stick to what is recommended for me.

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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Melyn » March 12th, 2010, 4:43 pm

I write middle-grade fantasy, which is hard to find agents for. I've gone through Agent Query twice, Query Tracker, Google, etc., and I only have 30-some agents on my list.
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Tycoon » March 12th, 2010, 6:46 pm

Christian Fiction has something like 27 or 28... and to make things worse, many of them work in the same agency!

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Remus Shepherd
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Remus Shepherd » March 12th, 2010, 7:01 pm

The genre I write is science fiction, and there are few agents who want to see that. A lot of agents explicitly say that they don't want SF stories.

I don't know if that makes it harder, but I do know that there are fewer than other genres.

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JustineDell
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by JustineDell » March 12th, 2010, 7:18 pm

Tycoon wrote:Christian Fiction has something like 27 or 28... and to make things worse, many of them work in the same agency!
Those are some pretty tight odds, Tycoon. I wish you the best of luck. Your story sounds really good though, so I think you'll be fine. ;-)

~JD

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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by mbourque » March 13th, 2010, 10:37 am

Remus, try Donald Maass. I saw a specific call for SF.

http://www.maassagency.com/thismonth.html

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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Ishta » March 13th, 2010, 12:16 pm

Picture Books. Agents hate picture books. Or, rather, most agents who represent PB authors say that they're not really taking on PBs at this time, which I interpret as "write a good MG or YA, and if you have some PBs in the drawer, we'll take a look at those too."

So, I'm really trying to crank out that YA or MG. But I prefer PBs, so it's kind of tough right now.

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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by Erica75 » March 13th, 2010, 12:52 pm

I find it funny (depressing funny, not silly funny) to read that people think it's difficult to break into YA with a paranormal since they're so prevelant. I thought it was hard to break in with a YA romance because everything is paranormal these days. I'm hoping to send my YA romance query within the week and have about 30 "preferred" agents, but I figure I'll have to tap into my list of "maybe" agents, too.
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JustineDell
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Re: Does your genre make it difficult to find an agent?

Post by JustineDell » March 13th, 2010, 4:30 pm

So, it seems that there are less agents that represent some genres. Okay, that makes it tougher for those genres. The less agents you are able to query, the less chances you have of finding that perfect fit for you. That makes sense.

How about genre specifics? For example, Sci-Fiction. Sci-Fi seems to not only have less agents, but a tighter market in general. Is that why there are less agents? Less requests?

Or take my genre for example, romance. My genre boasts huge sales compared to some, and readers range in age from 18-102, so I wonder if it's easier? Don't get me wrong, I personally, haven't found it easier yet, but I wonder since the market for that genre is on the constant upswing, if theres a better to chance to break into it?

~JD

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