Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I Don't Acquire Sci Fi, and the other Mysteries of Life

I have been asked a lot as to way I limit my searches to women's fiction and romance. Along the same lines, I have been asked why I even limit the romances and don't acquire certain genres, specifically sci-fi, fantasy, inspirational and erotica. I have to say, I am really not unlike any other agent or editor out there. I have parameters that I work with for very specific reasons.

When I eliminate specific genres, it isn't that I don't like reading the stories every now and then, it is simply because I haven't figured out all of the twists and turns of that genre. As all of you know, I am a big fan of dissecting novels and figuring out what makes a book tick. With some of these genres, what makes the story tick is really unique and unlike a lot of other stories out there. Take sci-fi and fantasy for example. For the most part, these readers have very specific tastes. If an author doesn't "nail-it" with that story, the book is a goner.

For me as an agent, I am certainly not going to sign an author in a genre that I am not overly comfortable with selling. I may love the story, but if I haven't quite figured it out, then my sale of that book will be awful. I should note there is a parallel here to all of the things I have told you as authors. Just having a good story is not enough.

I have also limited the types of book I acquire for simplicity. As many of you know, just keeping track of the romance industry is tough. Genres shift, editors move, trends (if there really are any) are always a moving target. When I opened Greyhaus, I realized this tendency with this genre and I have never regretted the decision.

I guess finally, there is that element of having to like a genre to promote it. There are many times I have rejected a story, not because the story wasn't good, or that the writing was bad, it was simply because I wasn't drawn to it. Agents have to love a story to want to keep calling editors and pushing for it.

I hope that answers a few of those questions...

Now to answer a couple more mysteries of life...

  • Krispy Cream doughnuts are perfect for making Bread Pudding.
  • Multi-tasking is the key to success
  • The weather in the Pacific Northwest is not always rainy.
  • The Seattle Mariners really are the most polite MLB team out there.
  • Slice Anise in small pieces and saute with butter, salt and pepper, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese - yum.
  • Scott's favorite gift is a Starbucks Gift Card

Think that covers it.


  1. You mentioned you've done detailed analysis of novels to find out how they work. Will you share a few from your list of titles so we can chase that "ah-ha" moment as well?

    ( . . . . mmmmmmm, Bread Pudding!)

  2. Hey Scott:

    You've mentioned that you're looking for Harlequin Teen material. Would you make an exception to your fantasy/futuristic rule for this genre?

    BTW love your blog flogs!

    How does swimming pool snack bar coffee compare to Starbucks?? LOL!!

  3. Karen,

    In terms of the analysis of novels, I can't say I have any specifics. When I do an analysis, it is always with a purpose and goal in mind.

    For example, right after I started Greyhaus, I had an intern working for me. For one year, the two of us spent the time doing an analysis of category romance to determine what makes it tick. It is that information that I now use to really spot those category romances from a mile away.

    The key is to determine what you want and search that genre.


  4. Anon,

    In answer to your fantasy/futuristic approach of the YA Market, I would simply have to say that I would return to what Harl. Teen is looking for. If you look at the guidelines and see your story fitting there, then certainly.

  5. How does swimming pool snack bar coffee compare to Starbucks??
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