Monday, March 5, 2012

What Agents Want

When you find out, tell me. I just returned from a small writers' conference that I usually enjoy. This year, they lost my registration so I walked around with a handwritten name tag no one could read and had no pitches scheduled since no one knew I was coming. Two very nice people donated pitches to me. I had prepared to sell my Regency series of which six books are written. The first pitch session with a young agent went like this: I am looking for representation for my Regency series.... Her: The Regency market is dead. Pitch something else. So, I stumble through a pitch for a contemporary I finished last week, A Trashy Affair. Her: It sounds funny. I don't like funny. Needless to say if she doesn't like the Regency period and hates funny, we would never have gotten along, so no loss on either side there.

Next up, I pitched to an editor. Since I'd just been told the Regency market is dead, I went with the new contemporary and did a better job this time. She was very nice, gave me some pointers, but did not ask to see the book. We got on the subject of my football romances, and she advised me to keep on writing those which of course I intended to do anyhow. I left that pitch with a smile since several years back I was told no one would buy a sports romance.

Okay, I have strung you along listening to my woes. Here is what most of them seemed to want this year: short Harlequin type romances that could be sold easily and published quickly, and books like The Help, though I found it odd they would be looking for that at a romance conference. Since I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town where everyone did their own housework, I'm not likely to write one like that either. Best advice received: If everyone in your writers' group is writing the same sort of thing, that market is already overcrowded.

And so I add to my list of topics agents have told me they can't sell: A Regency series, funny books, 18th century stories, 1920's novels, and sports romances. Do not believe it.