Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday wishlist

This is one of the quietest weeks of the year in publishing; when I can concentrate, I'm trying to work my way through the backlog of queries. Here are some of the categories I'm actively looking for right now:

-commercial women's fiction, or literary/commercial women's fiction (also sometimes called "book club books")

-multi-generational family sagas

-stories about female friendships (I'd especially love a book that traces a group of friends over a couple of decades)

-historical romance, especially a Regency romance series with a great sales hook

-paranormal romance, especially shapeshifters

-contemporary romance, especially a series with lots of quirky secondary characters (think Gilmore Girls)

-character-driven historical fiction

-stories with a crafty angle, especially knit/crochet, quilting, or a character who makes his or her own clothes

-likeable heroines (I'll have much, much more to say on this soon)

Any terms you'd like me to explain in a future post? Let me know in the comments!


G.M. said...

Thanks for your wish list. I have a novel with 81K words that covers four categories, but also have a question. It's commercial women fiction and might be a book club novel, following the success of the novels by Lisa See. It's multi-generational family saga starting with the birth of the heroine and her bond with her mother. Then the heroine gives birth to her daugther and the three generations of women enjoy being togther at the end of the novel. It's a story about female friendship: a friendship between Chinese and American young women. The heroine is likeable, but I am biased so readers have to decide. While the storyline is original, it is set mainly in contemporary China so might be a difficult sale for an agent.
My question is about how to make my novel excellent. I really like to know what is your reaction if you get my query with the ending like this: " ... if you like the storyline but feel that the writing can be improved, I have a budget to hire an intern to rewrite some parts." Thanks for reading.

Courtney Miller-Callihan said...

Giora, this sounds terrific, and I'd love to take a look. Contemporary China doesn't bother me in the slightest-- and Lisa See sounds like a great "comp" for this. Re: the writing quality, I strongly encourage you not to include a line like this in the query. It's MUCH better to have others read the novel and give you feedback-- a writing critique group is great for this-- and to make the novel as good as it can be before you send to agents or publishers. When you say you've got a budget to hire a freelance editor or an intern, I tend to assume that means you already know the novel's not as good as it can be.

I always work with my clients to help get their work into publishable shape. I cannot remember ever sending a project to a publisher without working on it first! My job is to help a publisher see its potential, and then the editor at the publishing house will take it the rest of the way. But I could never say to a publisher, "if you think this isn't good enough, we'll hire someone to fix it." You shouldn't tell me that either! Fix it and then send to agents.

And when it's "fixed," please send it my way!

G.M. said...

Thanks, Courtney. I emailed with explanations. Best wishes.

Amber Schamel said...

Agent Courtney, :)

First I would really like to say thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share on a blog! I have been following your posts for about a year now and I learn something new in every post. I don't know if you understand how helpful you are to an aspiring author. :)

Could you clarify Character Driven Historical Fiction? I love to write Christian Historical Fiction with a moral prose, but I'm not a romance writer. I've long been wondering if there's a market for that. If you have a moment, could you give me your thoughts on that?

Thank you so much!
Amber Schamel