Agents and Genre and Websites, Oh My II

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Another book I picked up because I found it on an agent page was The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. While this agent didn’t represent the author, she said she was looking for women’s fiction like this; something that started book group discussions.

This felt much more like Julia is tone and subject. Although, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter might be considered more epic simply because of the time it covers…several decades. In Julia, a lot happens in only a few weeks.

In my first draft of Julia, the story took place over a year, but I felt it lost momentum, so I bumped up the pace by shortening the timing. I don’t think the timing changes the genre, it was just interesting how different these stories felt because of the time frame and yet how similar they seemed.

I like how The Memory Keeper’s Daughter story flowed through time, but I felt it moved slowly as a story. I wish we had followed the secondary group of characters more than we did. I was much more interested in the daughter than the memory keeper himself.

In the end, though, I think that, women’s fiction is absolutely the right genre…for this agent. Julia has the same book group discussion-type questions in it.

However, if I were to pitch Julia to The Peach Keeper agent, I think I’d have to change Julia to contemporary fiction.

A few posts ago, someone asked why I didn’t just submit it and let the agent figure it out…well, I’d like that, but everything I’ve ready says that you need to list the appropriate genre in your query letter. One, some agents don’t handle certain genres, so you have to know who to submit to and who to avoid. Two, agents aren’t just looking for good writing. They’re looking for someone who knows their genre. You don’t want a romance that doesn’t end in happily ever after.

Not sure how much of that is true, but I figure I should at least try to get a handle on it. But if I do that, is it OK to submit it to different agents under different genres?

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4 thoughts on “Agents and Genre and Websites, Oh My II

  1. bethfinke

    My, things have changed since I last sent out a query.
    You mean to tell me that if you sent out a short, well thought-out query letter describing your well-written manuscript to, say, agents who wanted women’s fiction and agents who wanted contemporary fiction, and you didn’t mention the genre “women’s fiction” or “contemporary fiction” in the query, the agent would just dismiss the book without another glance?
    I’m too lazy for all this! I’d just send your ms out to agents who handle good fiction, because yours is exactly that.

    • I could be WAY over thinking this and paralyzing myself.

      Everything I’ve read from agent sites and blogs say to include this info. Perhaps those are pie in the sky requests and they would read it anyway. I hope so.

      That’s for the compliment and support!

  2. Your query does need to state the genre that your book fits into. Agents, publishers, editors, they want a client who has already done a lot of the legwork, and who knows who their target audience is, and that their story will reach and satisfy this target, hence, stating the genre.

    I do think novels can be cross genre, and so long as your novel does fit into the genre you’re pitching it, go for it.
    Good luck–agent hunting is a lot of legwork! I hope it goes great!

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